A couple of weeks ago, J and I went to Vegas for a weekend vacation and so that he could meet several members of my family. We’ve been dating quite awhile now (time flies when you’re having fun!) but it just hasn’t worked out for him to meet my parents, great-grandma or uncles. I also wanted to see my best friend and her husband. It was something we talked about doing for roughly 6 months, before Alaska Air had a sale on fares that I couldn’t ignore and had to book!
Note: This was a purchase that set me back a little on my debt payoff plan, but it was worth it. I am a believer that depriving yourself of all fun while paying off debt will only result in a relapse and binge spending. If you’re looking for a good deal on flights and/or hotels in Las Vegas, you can check out Vegas.com’s travel deals website where they will search for package deals on various sites so that you can see them all in one place!
My dad was nice enough to let us stay with him while we were there, and he picked us up from the airport. Does anyone else always underestimate how awesome it is to see people in the airport?
The next morning we went to see my Great Grandma. She only recently moved to Vegas so I feel really spoiled to be able to see her at the same time as everyone else, without having to also fly to the LA area.
When we sat down she asked, “So, how’s your love life?”
Me: “Well, he’s right there.”
Grandma: [Looks J up and down] “That’s a lot to love!”
And that started the first of a wave of comments about how tall J is. haha They’ve all seen our photos together but apparently it’s something you must experience in person. At some point during the weekend, every single person commented on his height when he wasn’t listening.
Can I just say, that this is one of my Top 3 favorite photos of all time? J was showing Grandma photos from our Pacific Northwest adventures and I just couldn’t get over how sweet it was!
Next we went and saw my mom, and looked through lots of old photos and stuff of mine that was still at her house from my childhood so that I could help her downsize.
J and I made sure to get selfies with everyone, which was kind of silly and fun.
That evening we went to In ‘n Out (obviously) with my Dad, and then the Shark Reef. I liked it, but after having recently gone to the aquarium in Dallas, it wasn’t as exciting as I remember as a kid. I would recommend it to people, but not if you’ve been to a big aquarium in the last year. You can only look at so many fish tanks of the same fish so many times, ya know?
As for In ‘n Out… there’s no maximum limit of times you can eat that burger with a chocolate shake.
After checking out the aquarium, we did a little gambling. I budgeted for this, which was unusual. Typically when I go home I only play $5 or so in the airport while I’m waiting for my flight back to WA. But I knew J would want to gamble and I wanted to be a part of the fun. At Mandalay Bay, I lost most of my budgeted gambling money, but he won! Wahoo!
Then we met my uncle and his husband for dinner at Town Square. We forgot to get a selfie with them, which is a huge bummer. I did, however, get a photo of my first bowl of ramen!
While there, we found a hotel for the night. I’m a planner, but J is teaching me to be a bit more spontaneous. We ended up staying at Hooters. They were the cheapest, and after J convinced me to give it a fair shot, I said OK. I remember it being a less than desirable place to visit when I was young. Needless to say, I was very skeptical.
But I ate my words. Believe it or not, the Hooters casino was one of the best casinos we visited on the strip! The room was clean, spacious and had everything we could need. Even the beds were comfortable! And for $10 more at check in, we got two free breakfasts the next day.
The Hooters Casino is smaller, so it felt more like a big group of friends hanging out. The cocktail waitresses, bar tenders, dealers and the DJ were all more fully clothed than most of the other places I went, and no one was being a creep to me or any other girl that I could see. It was awesome.
Then, J won $600 playing blackjack and the vacation went from having a budget, to being free! In the morning I wanted to spend some time by the pool. This was the only disappointing part of the stay. The pool was emptied for some unknown reason.
In the morning we woke up, ate our yummy and free breakfast and determined where we would stay the next night. Because our final night was Sunday, a lot of the rooms were significantly cheaper than the night before. For example, we paid about $120 after fees and taxes for the Hooters room on Saturday night. The same room on Sunday was like $29.
Thanks to J’s big win, we went baller status, and he found us a suite at the Treasure Island! Thanks to being Sunday, it was only $149. The room had a gorgeous, HUGE, bed, a sectional couch, a dinning table, an awesome view and two bathrooms. Who needs two bathrooms and one bed?!
The best part? It had a jetted tub. And yes, for part of that night while J hung out with some friends who happened to also be in town, I took a bath and read a book. It was heavenly.
Thankfully, the TI pool was not under construction! Wahoo! We were able to coordinate with J’s friends and my best friend and her husband to all be at the pool at the same time. I was in charge of saving seats, and I didn’t even pretend that’s what I was doing.
Yes, that whole row was for us while I just sat in the middle and gave people the “sorry” expression when they looked down the row expecting to be able to snag a chair.
Mrs. S. showed up and I was finally able to gang up on J about how much better the Cowboys are than the Seahawks. Although, unlike me, Mr. and Mrs. S hate Tony Romo, so he was still able to use that against me.
That night, before and after the awesome, quiet, jetted tub bath I took, we wandered the strip, ate dinner and did some more gambling. And by gambling, I mean that I expended my whole gambling budget by losing at Hooters, and I stood by and watched. The cocktail waitresses still brought me free drinks though, which was awesome.
I was hoping to be able to catch Britney in concert, but it wasn’t in the cards. No pun intended (Ha!). If you’re more interesting in catching a great shows on a budget than standing by a Blackjack table drinking free cran-vodkas, you can check out this scheduling tool for affordable tickets to amazing Vegas shows (and no, it’s not just the cheap magician shows that no one would want to go to anyway, you can get Britney tickets there too!). I used their site a lot when I was planning this weekend because I’m so used to being in Vegas as a local instead of a tourist. I didn’t want J to miss out on the touristy-vacation parts of our weekend and it was a great place to get ideas on what we could do in town when we weren’t with family.
For dinner we went to the PBR Rock Bar and Grill at the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile. There were about 10 of us at the table. I wouldn’t recommend it. Not only was the food sub-par the waitress was super rude. She was also impatient while we decided what to eat and drink. J corrected her on an order and she asked him if he thought he could do her job better than she could.
uhhh, excuse me, what?!
And then, shockingly (sarcasm font), several orders were incorrect. A couple people in our group had eaten there on their last trip to Vegas, and really liked it. So it was extra disappointing for them.
The next day I had hoped to see friends and family before our flight left at 3:00. But I didn’t think about the fact that everyone would be working on Monday. I never stay into Monday and thought this was a genius way to have more time with people. Now I know to come in earlier on a Friday (we arrived very late Friday night) because people have an easier time taking off work or leaving work early.
J and I packed our room and I ran down to the Starbucks in TI for breakfast. It was pretty good (sometimes Starbucks breakfast is rubbery). Then we loaded our bags and walked the strip. 10,000 steps and lots of people watching later, it was time to go to the airport. (Thankfully, J carried my bag for the second 5,000 steps.)
Even though I didn’t get to meet up with anyone else, it was nice to have some time to just the two of us. We were both pretty worn out, and I was already experiencing some anxiety about the flight home, so it actually worked out pretty well that we could decompress while still being on vacation.
The flight took off and even though I was nervous in the airport, I didn’t panic. I started doing a sudoku puzzle before we took off and that helped a lot to distract me from what was happening around me. Then once we evened out, J and I both fell asleep and slept most of the way.
Well, I woke up once when I somehow realized I was listening to the same three songs over and over. One of which was Jingle Bells. Does anyone else hate iTunes music? I don’t understand why it’s so hard to listen to my own music. I swear I sync it onto my phone and yet it’s still never available offline. What the heck?!
Luckily, I had some Spotify music available offline and I was able to switch to that, take a photo of the desert below, and then fall promptly back to sleep. When I woke up right before landing, I played some more sudoku and then we were back in SeaTac!
That night I laid down at 8, just to rest, and woke up at 6:15 am when my alarm went off. Apparently my body says that three days is more than enough time in Vegas!
It was a great trip and I am so glad that key people in my family finally got to meet J! There are still some important people he hasn’t met yet, but we’re making progress :).
Have you ever stayed at a hotel you were skeptical about and then ended up actually liking?