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TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

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Wichita, Kansas
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TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

A little background: Last fall we (husband 42, myself 45-parents of 5 children ages 18-23-non-drinkers, non-gamblers) decided we had better start planning our 20th anniversary trip. We had a low budget and no idea where to go! We tossed around going to (don’t shudder), Branson. It is drivable, had a place we would have been ok staying at, had a few things to do that would be interesting…BORING! We could hardly stand it! We then began our search for direct flights from our city. After contemplating a couple of choices, we settled on Vegas. With cheap flights, and a cheaper place to stay, we could go for not much more money – let the planning begin!

After many months of planning, this is where we ended up. (Sure to be long, if you hate those kind of TR’s.)

Oregon
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1. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

Am looking forward to how it went for you! Have seen all your input and questions and know you went prepared! Hope it was great.

Wichita, Kansas
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2. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

Thursday, May 16

Arrived at the airport for our 9:15 flight, traveling on Allegiant, with a short wait in line. It was late, and it took quite awhile before we were all on and finally on our way. We purchased our tickets in February after watching prices. They went up once, and I finally decided to purchase our tickets out. The tickets home were a little higher, so kept watch on them until they dropped back down a level after a couple of weeks. I kept watch afterward to see what the trend was. They held steady for weeks. Dropped one more time to just below our price one way, and then climbed up until the last week where they fluctuated from much higher to the same as our flights. Paid $109 pp, one way.

Flight was uneventful. This was our first time on Allegiant. I was a little nervous boarding at how cramped it seemed. But the plane was very full. We found our seats at the back of the plane and sat in very comfortable seats that weren’t too bad roomy wise. (I am 5’ 7” and my husband 6’1”). Not a lot of room to move, but not pushing into the seat in front of us either. Smooth landing. We were about 20 minutes late since we left late. Husband grabbed my carry on for me, what a gentlemen! As we left, I couldn’t help feeling like I was leaving something behind with my hands empty.

We made our way to the tram that would take us to the luggage carousels. We couldn’t figure out why our bag wasn’t coming. The attendant had told us the wrong carousel numbers, and finally looked at the signs to see where the flights were from. No problem, just a couple minutes delay. As husband grabbed our bag, I realized why my hands felt so empty! I had left my folder with directions, restaurant.com certificates, MyVegas redemption information, and a really nice pen in it! Uggggg. I am a super planner, borderline anal. This put a kink in our arrival for me. I took some deep breaths, thought through what was in there and although not happy with myself, thinking through what I would need to do. Husband was very kind and asked an Allegiant Agent if we couldn’t get it. She was appeasing and took some information, but she would have actually been more helpful if she would have just said, “Oh honey, they have already thrown that away!” I was a little worried that someone could have used the $75 in restaurant.com certificates and we would lose that savings.

We made our way to the Dollar agent, via bus, and quickly had our Convertible Mustang! We debated on how long to rent a car for. We had a couple of side trips off strip planned, and knew we would want one. I logically decided by the time we paid for a cab to and from the airport and bus passes up and down the strip, we would save money (more on that later). We paid $18.88 a day, with enough taxes and fees to double that price. We were offered an upgrade to a convertible Camaro for $31 a day extra. We declined.

We put the top down, and headed to the strip. It must have been close to midnight by now, (2 at home), but we cruised up and down the strip before heading to our hotel, Bally’s. We were on a budget, so took the TA advise of Bally’s being a lower cost hotel, mid-strip. I was prepared. I tried to prepare husband with what I had learned. He was underwhelmed and a bit disgusted by how dirty the hallways to the room were, the poor patch job on the wall, and stained carpet. Oh, and the late 70’s early 80’s furniture (South Tower). I knew what to expect and was ok. Positives were the room size as well as the bathroom size. We had decided we were starving as we landed. We grabbed a slightly overpriced deli sandwich (not too bad for a casino/hotel) and drinks and headed to the room. We ate quickly, and thought we should have just went to bed and not spent the money. Not because it tasted poor, but we were so tired, we wouldn’t have remembered! After putting a few things away, we hit the hay. It was 3 at home by now, and VERY much past my bed time.

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

I love long TRs, so looking forward to it. The more details, the more helpful information others will find.

Saint Louis...
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4. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

I feel your pain leaving the trip folder on the plane. Dont worry about the rest.com certs as you can reprint them and they dont expire. Looking forward to the rest of your tr.

Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

Keep it coming ...

Australia
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6. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

Oh you poor thing.. I would have been beside myself if I'd left all those vouchers, maps etc behind, good on you for not letting it upset you too much though!! Apart from that off to a good start, looking forward to reading the rest.

Wichita, Kansas
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7. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

Sorry took so long to get back. Had to deal with a teenager who had a little too much fun while we were gone. And I do have to work again, too, darn it.

Friday, May 17

The plan for the day was drive out to Valley of Fire. We wanted to get started fairly early, to enjoy the cooler temps. With the time difference, that wasn’t too hard. Even though we had been up very late, our eyes popped open by 6 AM (Vegas time)! Again with the uggggg. We contemplated our day and topped off our game plan. A couple hours later, we dragged out of bed and got ready for the day. Hats – check. Sunscreen – check. Money – check.

We had valet parked the night before as I didn’t relish trudging who knows how far with our old school, 28 year old luggage (for the younger generation that means no wheels). I have been wanting a new large travel bag, but just never got around to it. We did self-park later and it is a bit of a hike from the parking garage, down the elevators to Paris, and through to Bally’s, coming around to the check in desks at Bally’s. I would definitely valet when dealing with luggage. So worth the price of a tip only!

We headed North on Las Vegas Blvd. to catch a 7-11 for a Styrofoam cooler, ice, water, sandwiches, fruit, trail mix and breakfast. Cost was about $30. A quick jaunt and we were on the highway to Valley of Fire. We had the top down, our shades on…and the heater on! After about 20 minutes or so we were talking about how we should have brought jackets after all and I said, “Let’s turn on the heater”. We laughed and did just that.

Before we knew it we were turning off to VOF. There was an entrance fee, I believe it was $7. The park was beautiful!!! The sandstone formations are so unique to anything we have seen before. We stayed until about 1 Vegas time, stopping along the way to get out and do some short hikes, check out the vistor center, and eat a picnic lunch with some friendly (ok, hungry) little Antelope Ground Squirrels.

One of the best hikes was at the White Domes (IMO). IF you stop, don’t be discouraged by the 50 feet or so of sand you have to hike over. It is tougher, but that is the worst of it. There is one smaller area of sand further down the trail. You do have to go down into a canyon. But at the base of the hike down, are ruins of a long ago movie set “The Professionals”. You then hike a half loop and back to the other side of the parking lot from the trail head. This was one of our favorite parts of our trip!

Next we thought we would go see Hoover Dam on “our way back”. Now, when you look at the VOF map, it shows the Northshore Drive to HD. Almost direct drive there. It is about 63 miles. Be aware, this is not “just a drive”. This is the Lake Mead National Recreation Area – aka. $10 “park” entrance. It only makes since to take this drive, versus driving back to Vegas and then over to HD. But wasn’t feeling the extra $10 fee to drive this boring drive. But the top was down and we were on vacation!

We only viewed the dam from one of the parking areas on the Arizona side that are free. IMO – you are nickel and dimed here. $7 for parking, $7 entrance to the visitor center – or $11 for entrance and a smaller tour. And there is the $30 deluxe tour. I was not intrigued by touring. And my husband had toured Glen Eagle Dam before. I think he would have liked the longer tour, but he was too cheap and felt bad leaving me for that long. I would have been ok, I wish I would have just booked it.

IMO – VOF and the Dam are too much for one day. Would have been even more so if we had done a tour. Choose one or take two side trips.

We then headed back to the strip. It was probably around 3, and the sun was pounding down. The temp wasn’t unbearable, just hot on the head. We found our way back to Bally’s to clean up and rest for a bit (although husband would have just left immediately). The evening plans were to head to Fremont Street, get some dinner, and hang out.

Now, you have to understand I have been planning this trip for 4 months. I had learned tons about everything Las Vegas on TA, and knew what would be available to us. I am also often accused of being an over planner, and let husband take the lead without bossing him around. Somehow we ended up at El Cortez Casino, in the coffee shop. It was actually quite good. I had steak and shrimp with a nice baked potato and vegetable du jous (aka peas and corn, the only yuck) and husband had a fish special that was very good! His was $8.95, I think mine was $13.

We walked back to Fremont, watched some of the street performers including a young man that was on America’s Got Talent amongst others. I have to say, I didn’t understand the wife taking a picture of her husband with the bare chested, large breasted women with pasties.

IMO – There has been a lot of discussion on this board about children in Vegas. I am not going to debate the right or wrong about it, but make a few observations that may help a family trying to decide whether to bring their kids along. There are family friendly areas, such as game rooms at New York, New York and Circus Circus, along with rides at both hotels and circus acts at CC. At Circus Circus, there is a wing of rooms near the Adventure Dome area where you can easily access a shopping/food area and the Dome. I cannot remember the path to the Circus area.

If you are anywhere walking on the strip or Fremont Street, you will see skin, from truck billboards riding up and down the strip, scantily clad tourists, and “performers”. I saw a women with at least 44 FFF’s, in a tank whose top came to under her nipples with green cross pasties “strategically” covering them and men with weird underwear rolled up and up their crack to simulate a thong that was just gross. You decide if you want your children to see that at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 14, 16, as I saw walking around, then of course that is your decision. Just be aware that is what they will see.

Back to the report.

After watching some of the music and light show, stopping to hear some of a couple bands, and walking up and down I could not stand it anymore. Not Fremont Street, but walking and standing on that hard concrete. It had been a very long, full day – too full actually. We walked back to the parking garage for the street. We paid $5 to park there. It was so much per 30 minutes with a max of I think $10. It was so worth it to be close.

It was close to midnight when I hit the pillow. I am so old. My excuse is 5 hours of sleep and going since 8.

Oregon
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8. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

Not so old ! A youngster would have had trouble with that full day! Wow! Looking forward to more.

Australia
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9. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

We were planning on V of F and Hoover Dam in our next trip but I think we'll stick to V of F now.. .thanks!!

It never ceases to amaze me how much you can pack into a day in Vegas! Sounds like you had a great time. Looking forward to the rest.

Connecticut
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10. Re: TR May 16-20 Bally's, myVegas, and budgets (?)

I'm really enjoying your trip report and looking forward to the rest. I remember how hard you planned. So far it seems you did okay without your folder. :)