Believe it or not, Las Vegas can be both family friendly and affordable and with some diligence and planning we were able to spend four nights and five days taking in a little of the fun and craziness the city of sin had to offer. The total expenses for this family of four? $271….and here’s the breakdown.
So what if it was in a casino parking lot, under some bright lights, not far from the highway overpass. It was far enough away from the strip, patrolled by security and occupied by many retired couples. That price included full hook ups, which was our sweetest deal yet. We generally pay that price for dry camping. The weather was 112 degrees when we arrived and there was no way we could’ve left Daisy in the RV for any amount of time without air conditioning . And it wasn’t until we hit Nevada that we ever even turned on the AC unit.
Food and drink~ $76
This total is mostly snacks and drinks we had to grab while out on the strip as we weren’t toting a cooler around town with us. However, if you look, you can find some great happy hour deals and that we did. We actually hit one the first night at the casino we were camped at, which coincidentally happened to be the local award-winning brewery. So, Brian and I, being suckers for sampling local beer, decided that dinner would be ½ price apps. $2.50 IPAs and root beer floats. No arguments from the kids and a great introduction to “Viva Las Vegas”. Other than that we didn’t spend any more than usual to feed ourselves. Maybe even less as I did mange to locate a Trader Joe’s and stock up on some healthy essentials.
Free Attractions~ $0
Just about every hotel has some sort of attraction and this did take some planning. I honestly think we walked more miles on the strip than we did hiking in Utah trying to see as many as possible. Some are very visible and easily accessible with frequent happenings throughout the day and evening, such as the Fountains at the Bellagio, and the Volcano at The Mirage. Others, which we realized later, were strategically located inside where you had to first walk through either a mall of high-end shops, through a smokey casino or past a timeshare rep. offering free shows to take their tour. These included The Fall of Atlantis at Caesar’s Palace, and The Fashion Show at Fashion Show Mall.
The Siren’s vs. Pirates at Treasure Island was our favorite. The show is performed at various times nightly and does draw a fairly large crowd so after the first night we realized that it was wise to show up about ½ hour early to get a good viewing point. I say after the first night because after lining up for four nights, we actually got to see the show on the fourth night. Every other night it was cancelled due to gusty winds. It was well worth the wait as the cast’s performance was stellar.
Vegas Show~ $116
You can’t visit Vegas without seeing a show and thanks to Groupon, we saw “BeatleShow” for ½ price at Planet Hollywood. The music was dead on as the band performed songs from mop top to Sergeant Peppers to Let It Be. The appearance of the naturally beautiful go-go dancers and Austin Powers was an added bonus.
Celebrity sightings~ $2
Or, celebrity impersonators making a killing posing for photographs I should say. I believe we counted 5 Elvis’ (all of a different ethnicity), 3 Captain Jack Sparrows, a plethora of Disney characters, a few of The Avengers, one drunk Batman, one homeless looking Spiderman, an elderly guy with a lame Liverpool accent claiming to be John Lennon, the guy from “The Hangover”, a nearly naked gladiator, and a Botox botched burlesque diva. Aside from the Diva, all had tip jars overflowing with dollar bills and by the looks of it they probably raked in in a day what we net for a week! That got Bri and I thinking…..if someone’s willing to ship us our Halloween boxes, we could definitely have that street market cornered.
Bri and I are not gamblers by any means(and this total does include tipping the cocktail waitresses), but that didn’t mean we weren’t gonna try our luck, especially after Riv had a dream that we hit it big. We signed up for slot cards at every casino we went through offering free money and played the 25 cent slots while the kids hung in the corner people watching. This never took longer than 10 minutes and just when the kids started to complain (or noticed security eying them), I hit for $80. (So, technically, that would bring our total down to just $191). Thankfully, that was on our last night so just as we started to feel that tinge of winning greed, we split town.
Vegas was a great experience for all of us and it stands to reason that both River and Mercy are now savvy to the ways and ideas of sin city. To name a few, pole dancing can be a profession, drinking margarita yards tends to make some women loud, mouthy, and obnoxious, about 90 percent of the women donning six-inch heels have no idea how to walk in them, a bag lady does indeed carry lots of bags and the cards and brochures being handed out on the strip aren’t souvenirs. I wonder if they’ll have any desire to return anytime soon?