This is my 100th post on Travelbyky.com, which is huge for me. In one year, I’ve managed to write 100-times, wowzers! I am celebrating just like TV shows celebrate their 100th episode. To commemorate this milestone, this post will be a wild, all-access view of my trip to Vegas! Since they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—I am completely flipping the script and telling it all!
I took the Megabus to Vegas from L.A for a little under $30 bucks. I was paranoid because I just started reading A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown, and it made me distrust a lot of things and people. I literally slept with one eye open, on the 6-hour ride. It was the middle of the night and I was on a bus with a bunch of weirdos, what would you do? When I got to Vegas, around 6AM, I caught a cab to my hotel which was the Hilton Grand at the end of the strip (by the Stratosphere). Imagine my surprise when the 6-minute cab ride from the bus station to the hotel came up to $22.
Ky Tip: Vegas is expensive. Vegas taxis are even more expensive. Beware!
I was staying with my friend Britt, who was already at the hotel. The first thing we did was walk the strip. That’s when I realized how far we were from the center of the strip. We walked for about 20-minutes and was only at the Wynn Hotel, which is not even close to the main strip. I didn’t see The Paris Hotel, I didn’t see The Mirage, I didn’t see Bellagio—we were totally away from the action. At first, this seemed daunting but using hindsight, it was actually a great thing for us:
- Public Transportation: We were able to learn and navigate the public transportation system in Vegas. There are buses that go up and down the strip as opposed to taxicabs. The bus passes are $6 for a 2-hour pass and $8 for a 24-hour pass. One cab ride along the strip can cost you $18. You be the judge.
- Cheaper Prices: The further away you are from the center of the strip, the less things cost. For instance, everyone walks around with over-sized cups in Vegas. They range in size but the largest you can get is about 3ft tall. The souvenir shops around our hotel were significantly cheaper, and we got one of these cups for about $3.95, whereas on Central strip it was triple the price.
- Access to CVS, McDonalds, 7/11: Since Vegas is so expensive we tried to reduce cost as much as possible. We went to CVS for everything from wine to TV dinners. Luckily, we were in Vegas on July 11th (7/11), so we were able to get free slushies while singing Beyonce. We made our own drinks that were just as good as Fat Tuesday; our version just cost us next to nothing.
- Peppermill Diner: We found a really classic restaurant called the Peppermill Diner, which had the best breakfast for a reasonable price. The food was only $12-14 a plate for a very large portion. We came here every day. Had we been on the central strip, breakfast would’ve started at around $20. Another plus about this place was they take a picture of you and give it to you as a keepsake. Peppermill diner is a great dining experience.
Once we became acquainted with our neck of the strip, the fun began. We kept our day time activities pretty simple. We slept in, had breakfast/lunch and hung out by our hotel pool or other hotel pools on the strip. Our nights, were when everything came alive. We went to clubs, pool parties, and concerts. Las Vegas is one of the best places I’ve ever partied in my life!
- Our hotel pool was resort style: We spent most of our days in the over-sized Jacuzzi and cooled off in the pool. Did I mention how hot Vegas was?
- The Water Show at the Bellagio: The Water Show at the Bellagio was pretty cool. It happens every 15-20 minutes and the water dances to different tunes. It’s an experience.
- Surfing (Flowrider) at Planet Hollywood: In the words of Beyonce #Surfboardt, I had a lot of fun surfing. The activity will cost you about $25.00 for 30-minutes of instruction and surfing. Once the instructor finally let me surf on my own, I got the hang of it. Then, something happened. I lost my balance and the waves washed me up. My back hit the wall and I was sore for about a week. I thought I’d share this embarrassing moment with you guys.
- Boyz II Men Concert: I am Boyz II Men’s #1 Fan. There’s no one who loves Boyz II Men as much as me. So when I found out they were playing at the Mirage I had to get tickets. On the day of the concert, Britt said “Kydee we have to meet Boyz II Men tonight” I looked at her like she had completely lost her mind. I was actually afraid of the thought, but my desperation outweighed my fear and I didn’t care what we did to make this happen! The concert was beautiful. They did a lot of covers by other artists, but also sang some of their hit songs including “Bended Knees,” “Water Runs Dry,” and “I’ll Make Love to You.” After the concert and two failed attempts at convincing security that we needed to be backstage, we were lingering in the lobby, when 2-middle-aged women came up to us frantically, “Hello, we have to catch a plane, but we have two backstage passes. Do you guys want them? You both look like fans–please take them” Would you look at God! We ran backstage with our passes, just in time to meet the legendary Boyz II Men. AHHH! I loved Nathan all my life, and now I was hugging him and standing next to him. Magical things happen in Vegas. I still can’t believe this happened.
- Shopping: Vegas has every store you can imagine on the strip and they are still building more. The shopping in Vegas is unimaginable and will make you either lose your mind or go broke. Everything from Chanel to Forever21 is right at your fingertips or better yet, in your hotel lobby.
- Night Life: There’s lights, dancers, acrobatics, amazing DJ’S, props, and smoke. Clubbing in Vegas is a show in itself. We hit up Tao Night Club and Encore Beach Club.
I’ve been to Vegas once before, so it wasn’t necessary for me to do all of the touristy things. The Vegas strip revolves around the hotels. Every activity you do is most likely inside of or associated with a hotel. If you’re a first-timer to Vegas, I’ll share with you a few great things you must do while in Vegas:
- Take a pic in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign
- See a show or a concert. They’re all pretty good. You’ll be surprised who’s performing while you’re out there
- Take a Gondola ride at the Venetian
- Interact with the Flamingos at the Flamingo Hotel
- Visit the Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage
- Check out the Palms Hotel, where they shot one of the best seasons of The Real World (in my opinion)
On the last day of our Vegas trip, Britt’s friend from Philly picked us up and took us on an off-the-strip tour of Vegas. She lives in Vegas now and wanted to show us around. We visited a bunch of the properties and homes in Vegas that were just exquisite, and might I add reasonably priced. This was a special moment on our trip because it brought about a lot of perspective. Anything is possible with faith and hard work. I realized that I used to have a dream of being a homeowner, with a pool in my back yard. I lost that dream along the way, possibly even thinking it was unattainable but I am after it again. My trip to Vegas was the extra pep that I needed. It left me in high spirits and excited about what the future might hold.