Saturday, 13 July 2013

Planning A Holiday to Vegas

I love travelling. I don't like flying, but I love travelling! The whole process of planning a holiday can be almost as exciting as going on holiday itself to me, sad I know :)

Last year I decided I wanted to go on a big holiday to celebrate my son passing his GCSES and we decided on California and Vegas. Most people think of Las Vegas as an adult resort, but there is plenty for children, in particularly older children to do.

I thought I would share some of my planning tips with you, my readers. Planning such a large holiday was complicated on times as we moved around and I did all the planning myself, without using a travel agent. The Vegas part was relatively simple however.

1. When are you planning to go? Vegas can be extremely hot in the summer. The hotels can also be cheaper. Everywhere has air conditioning so this can be a great time to go if you don't plan on sunbathing! School holidays can bump up the prices however, also Vegas is known for big conferences, so the hotel prices can be bumped up when these are on. Hotels in Vegas can be much cheaper than a similar standard of hotel elsewhere as they keep the prices artificially low as they want you to spend in their casinos!

2. Think of using a comparison site for flights such as www.kayak.com or www.skyscanner.net. These sites can be very useful to source great prices on flights. 

3. Consider the length of the flight. From London Gatwick it is approximately 10 to 10 and a half hours. Are you happy in economy with limited legroom or would you prefer premium economy, business or even first class? You can also book extra legroom seats and exit row seats if like me you would appreciate the extra space, or you are particularly tall. These often come at a price though, gone are the free upgrades. Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Delta and American Airlines all run flights to Vegas amongst others. Sign up to their newsletters via email for advance notice of any sales. 



The Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace

4. What sort of hotel do you want to stay in? Does it have to be family friendly? If so you may want to stay in one with a large pool complex, with activities for children and a food court. The MGM Grand is a great hotel for families. it is also one of the largest in the world! Prices are reasonable depending on when you want to go I paid around £85 a night for a large suite. Circus Circus hotel and casino is another family friendly hotel. Children cannot gamble in Vegas and you have to be 21 to drink, most hotels do have a casino, as long as your children do not wait around the gambling area there isn't a problem, if they do they will be politely asked to move on.  Compare hotel prices with Trivago and consider staying off the strip if cost is an issue.

5. Most hotels allow smoking in the casinos, however there are a number of smoke free hotels you could stay in, such as the Vdara hotel, if this was a major issue for you. I thought it would have been more of a problem for me than it actually was, as the hotels have good air conditioning and I didn't notice the smoke as much as I thought I would.  

6. Don't forget the resort fee. Almost all the major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip charge a fee usually between $15 to $30 a night for wi-fi, newspapers and so on.

7. Don't forget to put the suncream on whilst walking around, you can still get burnt. With temperatures in the summer over 100 degrees F /38 degrees C suncream is essential. Check out the weather in Las Vegas here 

8. Consider a pre-paid card such as the Post Office Travel money card when you are abroad, these cards do not charge for foreign purchases abroad. The Post Office travel card works as a Mastercard but is loaded with money in advance of using it.  Some benefits of using a prepaid card are here

9. Use planning sites such as Vegas.com to help you plan your stay. I am a great fan of Tripadvisor, for hotel and restaurant reviews, especially the forums, which can help with queries and give advice too.



The Ceiling Of The Venetian

10. Go and see a show! I still regret not going to see one. Many big stars play Vegas such as Celine Dion, Lady GaGa, Madonna and Justin Bieber was in my hotel when I was there. It's not all about singers though, there are musicals, magicians, comedians and burlesque shows playing amongst others. 

11. If you are going to gamble, set yourself a limit and do not go over it. Teach yourself how to play games beforehand, Facebook has many good poker sites for example. You can gamble from 5c on machines. If you do sit and play for a while, hostesses will come around and ask you if you want a drink. These are free as long as you continue playing they do expect a 1 to 2 dollar tip each drink though.

12. Ask for iced water wherever you go, you don't need to pay for bottle water in cafes and restaurants. Starbucks and other cafes will give it to you for free to takeout.

13. Use vouchers for money off meals and attractions, they all do in America. Sign up to Groupon.com or Goldstar for great Vegas deals.

14. If you are thinking of planning a special meal when away, consider booking in advance especially on the weekend. I use opentable.com with great success.

A List of Activities For a Family Friendly Vegas Holiday

Ride the rollercoaster at New York New York
Go see a show, a particularly good one for kids is The Blue Man Group
Go to the cinema
Eat at the Rainforest Cafe at the MGM Grand
Spend time in the pools (but slap on the High SPF ) 
Go on a gondola at The Venetian
Visit the Grand Canyon
Visit the Ethel M chocolate factory outside of Vegas
Visit Madam Tussards at The Venetian
Go the the top of The Stratosphere and go on on the rides (if you're brave!)
Visit the Observation deck at the top of The Stratosphere.
Do a Cirque du Soleil show such as Mystere, Ka or O
Watch the fountain show at The Bellagio
Take a helicopter tour over the strip
Visit The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay





The Bellagio Fountains

A List of Adult Activities For a Vegas Holiday

Do some gambling but be careful with your money
Shoot a gun at one of the many gun ranges, such as Battlefield Vegas
Have cocktails at one of the slick cocktail bars such as The Chandelier bar at the Cosmopolitan
Visit a nightclub such as Tao at the Venetian
Go to an adult orientated show (no not that type!) such as Evil Dead the Musical
Drive a fast car into the desert
Get married or have your vows renewed (Elvis optional)
Drive a digger at Dig This Vegas
Visit The Bodies exhibition at The Luxor (suitable for teenagers and over )
Go Skydiving over Vegas
Go to an adult pool party such as Wet Republic at MGM Grand
Visit the CSI experience (suitable for teenagers and over)
Drive through the desert to LA. Visit Calico Ghost Town or Death Valley on the way.

Have you been to Las Vegas? Do you have any planning tips you would like to share?

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16 comments

  1. Great review you've made me excited already about my next adventure. Glad you had a fabulous time. I do remember being in America when I was 18 years old and I didn't know about the 21 law so before I went in they had to stamp my hand for under age drinking LOL - I need to go back :)

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  2. Ha Ha Corinne! What adventures are you off on next?

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  3. My next abroad adventure is Tenerife, I'm taking my parents as it is hubbys BIG 50th birthday. Decided on Tenerife because my parents won't go anywhere that isn't English related and of course all the English are out there LOL. Where is your next adventure?

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    1. I am hoping to go to Rome or New York next :) I have been to Tenerife and I did enjoy it - you will have a great time

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  4. ;0) one day when the kidds are older im determined to go x till then ill keep reading about mels fab adventures

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    1. Aw thank you! I enjoyed Vegas and I took my son, who is 16. It would be great to go just with my husband though

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  5. Thanks for these tips, especially the one about the prepaid card.

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    1. Pre-paid cards are great you can top them up when you want, when you have the money, or when the exchange rates are particularly good

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  6. We have wanted to go to Vegas for years. Children came along, so now we have to wait until they are a bit older lol! We are hoping one day to use the 6 week summer holidays to hire a motorhome and tour a part of America, so it's great to read some tips for when we finally manage to do it!

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    1. Thanks Rach! If you hire a motorhome though you can do it with the family relatively easily

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  7. fab info here. we are planning a small get away to Vegas in 2014. x

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  8. There's so much useful information here. Having a son who is 17, it's interesting to get ideas for holidays with teenagers.

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    1. Yes Trish my son loved Vegas and he's about the same age as yours

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  9. LOL Now I have kids - Vegas - my dreams yeah!

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    1. Hopefully you will get a chance to go one day Tracy!

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