Wednesday, May 14, 2014

More Las Vegas

A year went by and I never did update about my 2013 trip to Las Vegas.  I'll summarize, but will tell you more about this year's trip that I just went on last week.

Flashback to April 2013...
The weather in Chicago was terrible, in fact I came home after the trip to my suburb of Lisle practically under water - it was on the news and everything. Lucky for me I live on the higher point of town and didn't flood or anything but I always like to get out of town in the spring to avoid this stuff for a short time.  Only this time the weather was in the mid-80s and dropped to low 60s when we paid a visit.  
What to do in Las Vegas when it's not pool weather???
Well, the pools open in March in LV.  I saw the change in weather before we left so I did some fast thinking....
Rent A Car!!!
People think it's silly to rent a car there but really, there are SO many sights to see off the strip, you'd be surprised.  Even if you rent a car for a day like we did, you really get your money's worth, plus it saves on cab fare.  I will admit driving Las Vegas Blvd is a big of a headache, but if you come from a city, you'll be right at home, though that is something you don't really want on a vacation.

We were staying at the Venetian and like other hotels, they had a car rental agency on site which happened to be Avis.  You can get car rental discounts all over the place, the best I found was a promo code from my employer so I used that.  I want to say our compact car was about $60 for 24 hours and it was just perfect...and so was the car.  A VW Beetle.  I was pretty psyched to drive it!  It was pretty fun compared to my SUV back home.

If you're looking to do something during the day off the beaten path there is Red Rock Resort, Casino, & SpaRed Rock CanyonHoover DamMt. Charleston, and Valley of Fire just to name a few.  I've visited the 9 mile scenic drive at Red Rock Canyon, visited Hoover Dam & Mt Charleston in 1999 while visiting the first time, and Valley of Fire this particular trip.  While driving into Valley of Fire there is a nice little Indian Reservation casino which also has a gift shop selling alcohol, snacks, fireworks, name it!

 Valley of Fire was a great scenic drive.  It was worth every penny to rent a car and drive out here and check it out.
The drive itself is very scenic too, though it's not an actual path like Red Rock Canyon that you follow
As you could see, it wasn't ideal Las Vegas weather...but we made the most of it.  

And again, we saved on cab rides as we had breakfast at Peppermill 
After our drive to Valley of Fire we drove to the Hard Rock Casino, and later on drove out to Freemont Street before returning our car for the night back at the hotel.  I wrote up reviews of all the great places I visited that trip on yelp and created a yelp list so check it out at: My Las Vegas Yelp List 

 May 2014

 Although we really enjoyed our visit at the Venetian, we decided to upgrade our suite and booked the 2 bedroom Hospitality Suite at The Mirage this time.  I will admit, it was pretty fab...

Another suggestion I have about Las Vegas is to get on email lists for hotels that you are looking to stay at, if you are booking air and hotel separate...sometimes it costs about the same as booking a package.  If you are booking separate (I get an air fare voucher every year) you will get email promos from hotels pretty often.  The Mirage has the AAA discount as well.  We booked at a 20% off rate along with $25 room service credit so we got our morning coffee sent up to us!  I've mentioned other suggestions about traveling here in previous posts so if you're a new reader, be sure to check those out too. 

I also reviewed all of the places I stayed at this time as well on Yelp so be sure to check those out too for suggestions.  There is a really great off the strip Italian Restaurant that I suggest there called Battista's Hole in the Wall

And as I've mentioned before - I always find something new to do here with each visit because this place just doesn't get old.  The new hot spot just opened this year called The Linq which is located next to the Flamingo. This is home to the new tourist attraction The High Roller

You get the idea! :)

I also checked out Sigfriend & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat because I've been hooked on playing Las Vegas Slots on Facebook and on my phone - where you can earn FREE stuff in Vegas like buffet passes, drinks, hotel discounts and more!  I've used these the past two visits so it's worth it to play that particular game every now and then.

I need to start counting down the days till next year's trip for sure...because I miss it already!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vacation Car Rental Tips

I have to say...I, never pre-pay for gas, bought the extra insurance a few times only to learn it's just a waste of money.  And sadly, passed up all of the gas stations on a road leading into McCarran Airport in Las Vegas and forced to pay them for the gas we didn't put in there...lesson learned, fill up in advance!  Here are more good tips I just discovered online: