Spring Break in Vegas, Family Style 2015

Another adventure that has happened in the past year was a Spring Break vacation with the kids to Las Vegas.  The last time they were there was back in 2009 so this time around it was a bit different but still a lot of fun.  My parents were supposed to go with us but my mother took on a new job right before and had to travel to MD for training that week.  Bad timing.  But I still urged my dad to come with us.

We had 4 nights comped at MGM and one night at Excalibur…also had 4 nights + one paid night at Flamingo – which is where my dad stayed. This was great for a mid-strip resting point most days.

This is the longest we have ever been in Vegas at one time. Did a lot of walking and mainly played slots at night after the kids were tuckered out. My husband had a few good wins on the 2nd and 3rd nights which let us go home with one day’s full budget still in the bank. That has never happened before!

Unfortunately I was the only one recording slot bonuses and I wasn’t winning anything big. We missed out on recording some nice big wins by my husband which would’ve been good to add to our slot channel. Isn’t that the way it always happens?!

The trip was too long for me to post the daily details so I will just post the highs and lows.

Highs:
– Limo transport both ways via Presidential Limo. I booked this as a surprise for everyone. We got in from Dallas really late so it was nice to just get in a vehicle and go without making a gazillion stops and without having to worry about the tunnel. The cost included gratuity but I tipped extra there and back. The way in we had a stretch limo with champagne for us adults and on the way back it was one of the SUV stretch cars. Complete with mood lighting and an awesome sound system – everything was perfect. Hubby and I have decided we will spring for this every trip now that we are spoiled!

20150309_224217

20150314_143016

– Freeplay at MGM through MLife and MyVegas turned into a profit. Not much but $75 freeplay at MGM turned into $95 cash and $20 freeplay at Excalibur turned into $35 cash. It was nice not to lose it for once.

– MGM breakfast buffet was great. We ate here twice and normally I don’t like breakfast buffets but going around 10am gets you breakfast and lunch so there was a wide variety of food.

– Sprinkles cupcakes in the Linq area. My daughter is Vegan so we got two Vegan red velvet cupcakes there. They were so good and I think we inhaled them in under 4 minutes!

20150310_141224

– Diablo’s Cantina @ Monte Carlo. We had the $50 food credit from MyVegas to use there and our bill came to about $100. The waitress came back and said that their cashier wasn’t there and the bartender said he didn’t know how to apply it so the entire lunch was FREE! We were floored and I gave her a big tip that she was very appreciative of.

– Ka @ MGM. Of course it is always a good show. Hubby and I saw it about 6 years ago. The pre-show entertainers (the ushers) were really fun. Dad dozed off in the beginning but midway through it grabbed his attention and he stayed awake. One of the ushers playing with “George”, my daughters stuffed whatever it is

20150310_182132

20150310_182142

20150313_211338

– Dad’s room at Famingo. It was a CET comp and I think it may have been a Go room. Hardwood floors and a nice view of the pool area. I was actually impressed.

– Slots at NYNY and MGM – for my husband at least. He had a nice $310 win on a new Azure progressive slot at MGM we had never played before (picture below) and the whole bank of them were playing out nicely for a few hours hitting progressive amounts every now and then. I was able to catch the very end of it on video. He also had a nice $260 bonus win at NYNY on some WMS slot we don’t know the name of and another $150 line hit on 50 cent Wicked Winnings there. His best hit of the trip was at MGM on a Monopoly game. Not sure the name but the bonus win was $38 and then he hit a 10x multiplier for a $380 total win. He also had a $188 bonus on Goldfish 3. My one good win came from the Reel Em In slot at MGM for a catch of about $160. I did manage to get that one on video. One night we went back to the room with that entire day’s budget, including what we had spent during the day on non-gaming activities and food.

20150312_005809

 20150313_015623

– Monorail transportation. All I can say is thank God for it. With Dad mid strip and us on the South end, it made meeting up each day and going back much easier!

– The weather. After being in the Dallas area with nothing but rain and recent ice – it was so nice to walk around in 80 degree weather for a few days.

– Lucky Cat @ Cosmo. Even though my fortune said “By the time you turn around the person in front of you will have disappeared” it was pretty cute and they let the kids come in and take a pic.

20150313_194021

– Hash House a Go Go. Man the pancakes are huge! Nobody could finish theirs. The biscuit that came with my veggie hash was the best I’ve ever had.

20150312_105056

20150312_105234

20150312_105239

– The Secret Garden at Mirage! After watching the dolphins play, we walked through to the tiger area and who was there? Seigfried!! Probably the highlight of my trip, it was an honor to meet such a Vegas legend. Totally unexpected and worth the price to get in. I’m so glad my daughter talked me into it! They say he just shows up sometimes to meet people and hang out. We caught him before he left for the day.

20150311_154634

20150311_154741

– Pink’s hot dogs. The boys really enjoyed theirs and I was able to get a veggie dog. It was the cheapest meal we had the whole week.

$8.99 Prime Rib dinner at Tony Roma’s downtown. The boys loved this meal.

– The Bellagio Conservatory. It’s so much prettier at night!

20150313_192120 20150313_192124 20150313_192136 20150313_192157 20150313_192219

20150313_192252

20150313_192352 20150313_192356 20150313_192506

– Adventure dome @ Circus Circus. It’s pricey to get in but my husband and the kids said the rides were great and they liked that there wasn’t a wait for any of them unlike most amusement parks. I bowed out of that one and lost some $$ in the casino while waiting with my dad.

20150312_141909– The dude impersonating Dr Evil in front of Planet Hollywood. Spot on!

20150313_203605

-Gold and Silver Pawn Shop…aka. Pawn Stars.  We took the bus towards downtown and walked to visit the shop.  It’s a tiny little place but fun to see, especially since my dad and my husband are fans of the show.

20150312_142947

20150312_143016

20150312_143205

Lows:
– Our room debacle at MGM. I opted for the $34 upgrade from the offer I got via email before our trip to the tower spa suite so we would have more room. Upon arrival very late that night, she said they were all out of them but we could do a 1 bedroom instead. The catch – it was their last one on the 1st floor – but she said she put an 8th floor room on hold for us that we could move to the next day. I hate those first floor rooms. Right off of the casino floor, you feel like you are in a dungeon. The couch and couch pillows had what appeared to be crusty food – or vomit on them. It was a large room and would’ve been great on a different floor and minus the unidentifiable substance on the couch. The next day I went to check on the 8th floor room and the lady said come back around 2 and it should be ready. 3pm I go to the desk and the agent is talking forever – talking to a manager back and forth a hundred times. She tells me that the room that was on hold had a maintenance issue and we were being upgraded to a different room on the 20th floor. I didn’t mind that because I heard the word upgrade. Getting to the room, it wasn’t an upgrade – it was the tower spa suite I originally reserved. That room is actually smaller than the one on the first floor. But on a good note – there was no vomit on the couch. On the 2nd night around 915pm, the shower backed up and flooded the bathroom. We waited an hour and a half for maintenance to come up and plunge it and for housekeeping to replenish our towels and take away the soaked ones. They did give us 4 free buffets but in hindsight I think I may still write them a note. They charged me $40 per night for the upgrade instead of $34 because we were supposed to keep the 1 bedroom – which we weren’t able to.

– The crowds. The college basketball tournament was going on at MGM and by Wednesday there were fans and players everywhere. When the games let out you could barely walk without stepping on someone.

– Chasing progressives. I need to make a mental note here. Chasing progressives only make you frustrated and depressed. There was one hanging on at over $460 on a must pay by $500 WMS Queen of Africa at Flamingo. I played it for a long time and hit about 7 bonuses. That damn thing never dropped. I gave up. The next day of course I just had to go check it. Yup…someone won it and it was back at $250. Dammit.

– Flamingo slots in general. We lost our butts there and couldn’t hit a damn thing. They don’t seem to have many new slots, just a bunch of old ones.

– The smoke. I’m an ex-smoker. I vape now. Maybe I’m just more sensitive now but the smoke at the casinos – especially NYNY – was so heavy I could literally taste it. Made me wonder why the hell I ever smoked those things. Our clothes went straight into the washer when we got home.

– The line at Carlo’s Bakery! Insane!

20150311_141012

– The Walking Dead slot machine. OMG. $200 gone in no time on max bet without one bonus and only one good hit for $90. Unbelievable. Never again!

– The Excalibur room – oh…the Excalibur room. What can I say? Motel 6 downgraded a few categories with 1970’s décor, little plastic cups in the restroom and hallways that smell like an old gym sock. Yuck. I’ll never stay there again. I added the night as an afterthought when we bought our airline tickets and had to extend a night to get the cheap fare. One good thing, they did not charge the resort fee so it was completely free. I will never stay there again and I made it clear on my survey that they are in dire need of a renovation!

– Downtown. Not really a low for me and my husband but my dad hated it this time around. I think the 70 year old man wearing a diaper up his ass and the naked large ladies with nothing on but duct taped nipples did him in this time. I found it hilarious and didn’t mind our teens seeing it, it made for some funny conversation. I mean, it is Vegas!

And finally, Chief Two Cheeks:

20150312_174843

The trip was fun overall but I think 5 nights is a little much in Vegas!  My daughter had a blast.  My son, well he’d rather be home playing video games or on a beach vacation. At least I don’t have to worry that he’ll slip off to Vegas when he turns 21 and become a degenerate gambler like his mom and dad!

Advertisements

Sometimes Spontaneous is Good

Last night both kids ended up staying at friends’ houses so at 1030pm the hubs and I looked at each other and said, “let’s go to the casino!” We drove an hour to OK and hit up WinStar.  I wasn’t having the best of luck but as usual my husband could make a $20 last  hours.  On the way out around 245am, I saw my favorite machine and lost my last $20.  I told my husband to take a shot at it and this is what happened:

I’ve been trying so hard to finally see a full screen of unicorns in person instead of watching others hit it on YouTube. It took 60 spins to get this so you can either lose your ass at these machines or make out pretty good.  It was nice to walk out with a $70 profit and a “free” tank of gas and also got us off the couch for once!

 

Viva Las Vegas Part I

Sorry this is so delayed, it has been a very busy time in the office since I got back from my short two-nighter in Vegas. So my mother and I left DFW early Sunday morning on an uneventful flight. We left from terminal D at the DFW Airport and even thought I worked at the hotel there for 2 years, I never noticed this weird music making contraption inside the terminal.  It was so strange I had to take a picture of it.  You apparently walk around in it and it makes sounds…

Weird

The only comment I have about the flight is that AA flight attendants sure are unhappy with their jobs and it is VERY obvious. We had an older lady who just seemed completely “over it”. To her, I say….go get a new job. We flew first class but were treated like the lowest of the low. I can only imagine how the people in coach were treated.  My mom has since written a letter — we’ll see how much of an impact that makes…if any!

We decided to take a Bell Trans shuttle over to the Aria because we were early and really weren’t in a big hurry. It did take us about 35 minutes total by the time the driver stuffed the filled up the van and we were the 2nd stop. Quick but of info – if you take a taxi you would be dropped off around the Aria’s front drive not too far outside of the check in area. If you take a shuttle, as we did, .they can only drop off in the underground garage area from which you would take the escalators up to the opposite side of the casino from where the front desk is. It is a long walk through the casino to check in. We didn’t mind it, as my mom had never seen the Aria before but if you have a ton of luggage you might take the bellman up on his offer to help with your bags…as you will be walking quite a ways.

View of the Luxor from the route our driver took

Mandalay Bay

Another Luxor View

It was around 10am by the time we got to the hotel and they hadn’t formed a line for check “IN” yet. There was a long line of people checking out and about 5 clerks at the desk. One thing about Aria check in…they are extremely friendly but very slow. I’m not sure what they have to do in their system to check in a guest but from 12+ years of hotel front desk management experience, I can tell you that I could check in my guests in less than 3 minutes each. We had a really nice clerk but he was sure taking his sweet time!

Outside of City Center

City Center / Aria / Cosmopolitan

Aria check in area, fall decorations

Aria casino

The room wasn’t going to be ready until much later so we quickly brought our bags to the bellstand for storage. I only stopped at one machine on the way out the door…the new Ghostbusters transmissive reel machine. $20 gone just like that…nothing,, zilch, nada. Sadly, this would be the recurring theme throughout the trip. We headed out to lunch and like an idiot…I didn’t change my shoes before walking down to the Mirage for our tradition of eating at Carnegie Deli. My dogs were barkin LOUD by the time we got there and I planned on grabbing a pair of flip flops from somewhere before heading back down the strip.

Views while walking

Bellagio

Inside the Cosmopolitan

More of the Cosmopolitan as we were coming down the escalator

Vegas is getting to look more like New York!

Time for lunch!!

Always a tradition to eat here on day 1

Lunch at Carnegie was good as usual…we laughed because we got the same waiter we had a few years back…an older Asian gentleman who just seems constantly confused and forgetful. He’s extremely nice and it’s always a hoot watching him run around like a chicken with his head cut off so we really didn’t make a big deal about having to remind him about our request for pickles 5 times…. We shared a potato knish and a grilled cheese/tomato …just a little over $20 out the door for the both of us. You can barely eat at Mc Donalds for that price nowadays (I don’t eat at Mc Donalds tho…) I swear that the knish size has shrunk however…it did seem much smaller than in the past. Either that or I was just extremely hungry.

Grilled cheese and knish (that is mustard I promise!)

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the purple gleam of light from the new Monsters penny slot machine and headed over there after eating. Not too long and the machine had eaten my $20 for its lunch too. I hit something and saw at the top of the screen it said “45 Wilds added”…sounded good. You can see by the video that I won a whopping $1.80.

What a let down! Of course I had to play my arch-enemy Davinci Diamonds … walked away with about $10 only. We played a few more slots and I walked out of the Mirage about $40 lighter, while my mom played a Wheel of Fortune slot and walked out after doubling her money.

My mom’s win on WOF

$24.21 profit

Next was TI because I knew they had that store where everything is $10 or less and I was in desperate need of some different shoes. We took the tram over from Mirage to TI and I made a b-line for that store. Grabbed a pair of blinged out sandals and my feet cried with relief. After a quick Starbucks run and a bathroom break, we decided to take the tram back over to Mirage and then cross over to do the Casino Royale promo slot and grab a couple of margaritas. My promo $ ran out rather quickly and my mom was able to sit a while longer before hers finally ran out.

We didn’t play any there but went into the Flamingo to get our TR cards (I forgot mine and I don’t think mom even had one). We tried a few slots there. Here is a small bonus win on one of my most favorite slots, Ghostbusters:

And another small win on the Hangover slot machine (another favorite — btw, I had just reduced my bet because I was running out of money and hit the bonus…always happens that way!)

I sat down at the new “Clue” machine and got some random bonus after just a few spins that made me $40….that was the one and only time that “Clue” game paid me anything. I wish I would’ve filmed it but I forgot.  I also played “Aladdin” and made it to the bonus where the chair moves – which was pretty cool if you ask me. I think I made like $15 off of that bonus…I was only playing like $.40 a pull. Mom fell in love with one of those Penguin machines…because her Penguins were pretty active. They were jumping around, leaping and swimming, turning things wild and re spinning…which resulted in about a $50 profit for her. I tried the machine next to her and I think my Penguins were hibernating. I got nuttin.

From Flamingo was a walk past Harrah’s carnival court to get to Paris. They’ve got the sidewalk all torn up over there and it is a tight squeeze to get around. We saw some interesting “characters” hanging around. I don’t know about you but there is something incredibly wrong with a 6 foot Dora just hanging around on the strip! Creepy. Inside Paris we took a stab at that new community Wheel of Fortune video slot and a couple of others. No profits but we had fun.

Creepy Spongebob and Dora

Be afraid kids, be very afraid!

By this time it was nearing 4pm and we needed to see if our room was finally ready…as they never texted us to let us know. I picked up our show tickets from that night at the old Viva Elvis box office…now the “Zarkana” box office.  When I mentioned to the guy that I would be back in February and am excited to see “Zarkana”, he commented that they probably will still be working the kinks out of the show at that time, so it might be a good idea to see it twice.  Once in Feb and once later in 2013.  The box office area was really gorgeous and the show seems like it’s going to be excellent.  He mentioned that “Zarkana” will be a resident show to the strip, similar to the other Cirque shows like “Mystere” and “O”.

Zarkana theater area

The room was available and we were able to change and get ready for our show at NYNY. The room was decent – they had given us 2 beds even though I had made the reservation for a room with one king to avoid the extra $30 they originally wanted to charge me for 2 beds on the night that was not comped. It ended up that they gave us the 2 bed room for free because there was never that $30 additional charged to our room. The room seemed much smaller than the one my husband and I stayed in back in Feb. In my opinion, the huge entry way wastes a lot of space. However, the shower/tub combo thing is awesome.

Tryin out the technology

We took the back way through Monte Carlo to get to NYNY and grabbed a soda on the way. We had tickets for the new show “Broadway Celebration”. Mom and I are both musical theater nerds so this was right up our alley. I had heard and read some not too good reviews of this show but we both thought it was really good. Obviously the chorus/dancers were lip syncing to all of the background vocals while they were dancing. However the 4 main performers, 2 guys and 2 girls, were great and they had microphones. They had amazing voices and outstanding charisma. The guy who sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables gave us chills and brought tears to my mother’s eyes. That is personally my favorite musical ever so I was very glad that they didn’t change any of the arrangements and to me this was the best part of the show. They did a great job with it. The show is in a very small and intimate theater and all the seating is at one level. We got second row center and the view couldn’t have been better. The man next to me was begging his wife (before the show started) not to post anything about him going to this show with her on Facebook. He said the guys at the office would kill him if they knew. It was hilarious to me later that he was dancing in his seat, singing along and was cheering loudly at the end of each segment. I think he secretly wanted to be up on that stage with them!

I snapped this shot of the stage prior to the show

After the show was over we were starving. Nothing at NYNY sounded good and we were planning to try out the Lion’s Share machine anyway so we went over to MGM. I’m really getting to dislike MGM…it seems dirty and smelly to me…crowded and just …well, a zoo. There’s constant construction (I can’t remember a time within the last 6 years where there hasn’t been any construction on something) and it’s a pain to walk around without getting trampled by some drunk hoochie in 9 inch heels. Unless MLife comps me my entire stay and offers me a ton of free play to go with it…I won’t be staying here in the future until everything is renovated and complete.

We don’t really do any fancy dinners when I go with my mom so we ate at the Studio Café which didn’t have any line. I ordered the potato skins (4 tiny skins) and my mom had some chicken noodle soup. Add a side of fries and the bill came to $40. What a ripoff.

Thanks so whomever on T2V described exactly the location of the Lion’s Share machine at MGM..because we found it immediately. It’s like they’ve hidden it – it faces the wall of the high limit room! I expected to see droves of people around it but there it was…all by it’s lonesome. My mom and I sank $100 into the machine without even so much as a small hit. It was gone in less than 10 minutes. We were so not expecting that and just sat there staring at the machine once it was gone…..in shock. Hopefully it is still there when I go back in Feb with my husband. I want to kick it.

The infamous Lion’s Share

After MGM we just headed back to the Aria. The crowds and the smell was getting to us and we needed some fresh air. My mom wasn’t feeling too good either. It was either the chicken soup or the fact that we just blew a shot at $2.8 mil In 7 minutes. I could’ve put more money in but I figure that if it were meant to be, then it would’ve hit…apparently someone else needs that money more than we do.

Night view

Once back at the Aria, the gaming began. We played a ton of machines until around 1230am…and thanks to a quick bonus hit and run on the community Batman machine I ended up $50 up for the day. That was the only large bonus of the trip but it came at a good time. It was around $100. One thing I absolutely love about the Aria is the size of their drink glasses. At the Mirage, they are tiny….the Aria’s are huge. The waitresses are quick to return also and pretty friendly.  I think I finished the night with about 5 Vodka/Crans!

Small line hit on Double Davinci Diamonds

My Batman profit

Feeling every one of my 35 years, it was time for bed and hope that the next day would be just as much fun as the first.  Stay tuned for part II…this one took me forever so with any luck, I should have it up by tomorrow night.

I Won Da Big One

“I won! I won da money! (slumps over for a second) I won da money!”
~Sid Caesar, Vegas Vacation

I was making my way through Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas and spotted the new bank of “Grease” video slot machines.  It was like a shining beam of light through the clouds…I swear I heard angels singing.  All of the seat were taken however I spotted the machine I wanted.  It was like it was calling my name.

New “Grease” Machines at Treasure Island Las Vegas Casino

This lady was playing it feverishly for a very long time but I just sat and waited my turn.  Another woman approached me from behind and I could feel her breathing on my neck.  I inched forward in an attempt to remove her from my personal space.  She wouldn’t move and just continued to stand there.  I was not going to let her take my turn on this machine!

As the credits wound down for the lady who was playing, I began to get more excited about my chance to play…wondering what the outcome would be.  As soon as she made the motions of getting up to leave, the lady behind me pushed by me…almost knocking me over.  I yelled…. “Oh hell no!  I have been waiting here for over an hour and I was here first!”  She fought me….she pushed my hands away as I attempted to insert my money in the slot.  She was a much larger woman than I and I didn’t have much of a chance.

A slot floor attendant witnessed our scuff and quickly came over with security guards to break it up.  The resolution went in my favor, as this psycho lady was hauled away and I was allowed to take control of the machine.  With a big sigh and a satisfied smile, I put my money in, said a prayer,  hit “max bet” and SPIN.

Three spins in I hit the bonus round.  This bonus round was based upon the Grease movie song “Grease Lightning” sung in the auto shop.  I was picking tools on the screen and watching my credits add up.  All of a sudden I was down to the last choice and the screen cleared.  Suddenly lights began to flash and up on the screen appeared the words “BIG WIN!”.  Credits started to ring up and continued for quite some time.  A crowd gathered behind me…what did I win??  It looked like $400…..wait, no….it’s $14,000!!  I couldn’t breathe and then………

BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ  my alarm clock went off.  Dammit!! oh well, it was a nice dream while it lasted.  At least I know how good it feels to win that much money, even if it was just a dream.  I am off to Vegas in a little over two weeks and you can bet I will be taking my chances with this machine.  Even if I have to fight someone to get to it!

Travel Tip Tuesday: Vegas Dos and Don’ts

Last week I had a really good idea for Travel Tip Tuesday but I should’ve written it down when it came to me because I cannot for the life of me remember what it was about.  So I decided to go with what I know.

Aaaah Vegas!

My husband and I have been to Las Vegas approximately 15 times in the last 12 or so years.  Our first trip was in 2001 for our 2nd wedding anniversary.  Having only been there once in 1994 with my mom when I was 16, I knew nothing about what to do, where to stay, how to book etc… I booked a package through Vegas.com with airfare on Sun Country airlines and a room at the legendary Stardust Hotel and Casino.

I think this is from 2002…boy does time fly!

Before booking the trip, I had to talk my husband into going.  He told me “Vegas is just for gambling and drinking — neither of which I do.”  I begged him to just give it a chance.  Upon walking out of the plane, it was love at first sight.  We had an excellent trip, learned how to play blackjack, ate some good food, did all the touristy things and vowed that we would be back.  And, we did go back….14 more times!

Another visit

And….another

Over the years we’ve learned a lot of things about Sin City.  What to do, what not to do etc… If you are going for the first time, it helps to know some of these things in advance so that you can be sure to get the most of your money while in town.

DO:

  • Check the Las Vegas convention schedule prior to your trip.   Huge groups flocking to the area will cause airfare and hotel prices to be higher than normal.
  • Try to go during the week, Sun-Th.  Hotel/Casinos offer their best rates on these days.  Weekend rates can be nearly triple and if it is over a holiday weekend…even higher.  Off peak times are good (don’t go during spring break, Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend etc…).
  • Sign up for players cards at every hotel/casino even if you don’t play much there.  You will get future offers for discounts, show tickets, food etc..
  • Learn how to play.  If you are new to the world of casino gaming, look into lessons.  many of the casinos will offer free lessons during off-peak hours and allow you to practice with “play money” before taking a chance on the real thing!
  • Try the $20 trick at check in.  Many of the hotel front desk agents would be happy to upgrade you for a little extra cash in their pockets if it’s possible.  Stick a $20 bill between your ID and your credit card to where it is noticeable to the clerk.  Be nice and say “I’d really appreciate any upgrade you might be able to do for me…” If they can, they will.  If they can’t, they will look disappointed and turn you down.  No harm done.

    $20 trick at the Bellagio got us this view

  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Las Vegas is a busy, busy place at all hours of the day.  Keep your purse close to your body (I wear mine across) and gentlemen, don’t keep money in your back pockets.  Thieves are everywhere and you might not even notice until you are already a victim.

DON’T

  • Let your cabbie take the tunnel to the strip.  This is called “long hauling” and it is not allowed.  Tell your can driver to take you to your hotel “no tunnel”.  If they argue with you or do it anyway, then tell them you will be contacting the Las Vegas Taxi Cab Authority to report them.  They will shape up right away.
  • Think you can smoke everywhere.  A lot of places now are non-smoking even in Vegas.  Obey the signs and only smoke in designated areas.
  • Try to hail a cab in Vegas.  It is illegal, you are not in New York City. Cabs cannot stop in the streets to pick you up.  Find the nearest hotel and wait in the taxi line for one to pull up.
  • Think she is THAT into you…for the guys.  Women of the night are prevalent in Las Vegas.  They are like vultures waiting for their next meal.  If she seems too good to be true, she probably is.  And hold onto your wallet!
  • #1 don’t in Las Vegas: Don’t go to Vegas expecting to go home a winner!  Those ginormous, glittering monstrosities weren’t built on winners.  You are there to have fun.  If you win, then even better but if you expect to win you will be disappointed and ruin your experience.  We’ve been close to 16 times and are still waiting to win THE BIG ONE.

    They are fun but dangerous!

    I read a blog recently where someone absolutely loathed and hated their time in Sin City.  To each his own I guess.  My husband and I really enjoy going there.  We enjoy the lights, the sounds, the crowds…even the smells of Las Vegas. There is just something about it that keeps us coming back.  Yes, we even took our kids….once.

Say what you like about me taking them, but they had a blast! (2009)

If you have any specific questions about LV, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’d be happy to help where I can!

Explore the Strip for FREE (or almost)

For today’s Travel Tip Tuesday I wanted to share some insight on the many, many things you can do in Vegas without spending too much of  your hard-earned cash — better to save that for the slot machines right?

A little background:  After much deliberation and trying to “convince” my husband that there was more to Vegas than degeneracy and debauchery, we decided to spend our 2nd wedding anniversary in Las Vegas.  I had been there once before, when I was 15 and I went with my mother, her friend and her friend’s German high school foreign exchange student.  We ate, saw the sights and went to a few shows….It was 1994 and Vegas was a totally different place then.  Our first trip as husband and wife in 2001 sparked an addiction that we would be feeding for the next 11 years and more.

I think I will save the details of our first visit for another blog post some time and today,  list a compilation of the things we have experienced over the years in Vegas for free or close to free.  A weekend in Las Vegas does not have to break the bank, wipe out your kid’s college fund or blow the family nest egg.  There is plenty to keep you entertained on a small budget.  Here’s some of our favorites as we :

Luxor & Mandalay Bay

  • Mandalay Place – Shops and restaurants
  • Free tram and indoor walkway between the two and to Excalibur
  • Shark Reef – Open daily, 10am-8pm; $16.95 adults, $10.95 children 5-12 (pricey) Mandalay Bay
  • Titanic, The Artifact Exhibition – daily, 10am-10pm; $28 (pricey) Luxor
  • Bodies… The Exhibition – daily, 10am-10pm; $32 (pricey) Luxor

Excalibur

  • Motion Rides 11am-10pm daily, from $9.95

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

  • CBS Television City Research Center – 10am-8:30pm
  • LV Monorail Stop – Daily 7am-2am. 3 ticket types starting at $5

New York New York Hotel and Casino

  • Manhattan Express Rollercoaster – daily, 11am-11pm; $14

    Manhattan Express

Cosmopolitan

  • Art scattered all around the property
  • Live music at several bars

City Center

  • Fine Art Collection – Free, open daily 24/7
  • The Gallery – 10am-midnight, daily; free
  • Water features – at Aria’s porte-cochère

 

Mirage

  • Volcano – Daily, every hour dusk to 11pm.
  • Aquarium behind the check-in desk in hotel lobby.
  • Free tram to Treasure Island
  • Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat – Hours vary, $15 for adults, $10 for children

Treasure Island

  • Sirens of TI – Open daily, 5:30, 7, 8:30 and 10pm
  • Free Tram to Mirage

Venetian/Palazzo

  • Gondola – daily 10am-11pm, $16.
  • Grand Canal Shoppes – Shopping, restaurants, street performers and more.
  • Madame Tussauds – (702) 862-7800 times vary, $25 (a little pricey, but fun)
  • Painted ceilings, 2nd floor balcony and hotel lobby.
  • Giant waterfall and flower display, changed seasonally

    Venetian Singers

Bellagio

  • Fountains – every 30 minutes from 3pm-7pm, then every 15 minutes until 12am.
  • Gallery of Fine Art: 10am-6pm daily, Admission $15
  • Conservatory – Displays change with Seasons.
  • Fiori Di Como – Artwork by Dale Chihuly on ceiling of hotel lobby.
  • Chocolate Fountain – Jean-Philippe Patisserie
  • The Art of Richard MacDonald – 10am-11pm daily, free.
  • Free tram to Monte Carlo and CityCenter

    Bellagio Fountains

Wynn/Encore

  • Penske/Wynn Ferrari-Maserati showroom – 10am-9pm, $10 per person.
  • Lake of Dreams – nightly on the hour beginning at 8pm. Outside the Parasol Down Bar, 2 drink minimum for balcony seating.
  • Gardens near the lobby.

    Water feature outside the Wynn

Imperial Palace

  • Auto Collection – Located on the 5th floor of parking garage. Daily 10am-6pm. Admission $8.95.
  • Dealertainers – Celebrity impersonating blackjack dealers
  • LV Monorail Stop – Daily 7am-2am. 3 ticket types starting at $5.

Harrah’s

  • Carnaval Court Live Entertainment
  • Dueling Piano Bar
  • Ghiradelli Ice Cream Shoppe
  • Free shuttle to Rio, Bally’s/Paris
  • LV Monorail Stop – Daily 7am-2am. 3 ticket types starting at $5.
  • Hash House – Order one meal and share, the portions are HUGE

Flamingo

  • Wildlife Habitat – 8am-dusk, free.
  • Bugsy Segal Memorial – Plaque located in a small grotto behind the hotel.
  • LV Monorail Stop – Daily 7am-2am. 3 ticket types starting at $5.

Casino Royale

  • $1 beer specials and $1 margaritas
  • Free promotional slot play with player card sign up

Fashion Show Mall

  • Fashion Shows – Fri-Sun every hour noon-6pm

Paris

  • Indoor walkway to Bally’s with shopping and eateries
  • Eiffel Tower Experience – Open daily, 9:30-12:30am weather permitting. $10 for adults; $7 for children. From 7:30 p.m. – close: Admission is $15 for adults.

    See Vegas from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Planet Hollywood

  • Miracle Mile Shops
  • Pleasure Pit – Sexy dealers
  • Indoor rainstorm at timed intervals

Bally’s

  • Jubilee! – All Access Backstage Walking Tour: Mon, Wed, Sat at 11am. Admission is $10 purchased with Jubilee! show ticket or $15 without.
  • Indoor walkway to Paris.
  • Free shuttle to Harrahsand Rio
  • LV Monorail Stop – Daily 7am-2am. 3 ticket types starting at $5.

Bill’s Gamblin Hall and Saloon

  • Big Elvis – M, Tu, Th, F @ 3pm & 7:15pm

Caesars Palace

  • Forum Shops – Don’t miss the great statues or the spiral escalator.
  • Fall of Atlantis and Festival Fountain Shows – Forum Shops. Every hour 10am-midnight.
  • Large aquarium near Cheesecake Factory

Showcase Mall

  • Gameworks
  • M & M World
  • Movie Theater

Stratosphere

  • Tower – Tower rides Sun-Thurs 10am-1am, Fri-Sat and holidays 10am-2am. $15.95 for adults, $10 children
  • Big Shot – $13
  • Insanity the Ride – $12
  • X Scream – $12

This extensive list was put together with help from my friends at the Vegas Message Board