Entertainment,  Marriage,  Recommendations,  Tips & Tricks,  Vacation

3 Things I Learned About Myself While Saving Money in Vegas Last Week

When your husband signs you up for a free four-night, five-day trip in exchange for listening to a two-hour timeshare presentation, you pack your bags and go. 

If that sounds like a cringy-but-totally-worth-it trip, read on to see how we also saved tons of money on food and Ubers.

But if you timidly opened this because you’re slightly horrified that two Christians even went to Las Vegas, this post is probably not for you. Feel free to close it, judge us quietly, and move on with your day. Haha.

Just because it’s called the City of Sin doesn’t mean it’s a sin to go there. On the other hand, my retinas can’t unsee all the things I saw, so I’ll probably make an appointment with my eye doctor soon and see what he thinks.

Here’s the first thing I learned about myself: As impressive as Vegas is, it will never be my destination of choice. I’m more of a forest girl with a side of beach. I’ve now been there eleven times (mostly for softball) in the past 34 years and none of them were my idea.

But despite the sea of concrete, my husband was a happy camper, so I went along for the free part. 

The Strip was its typical overwhelming self with excessive wattage, constant noise, and too many showgirls. Not sure what the corresponding guys were called. Showboys? Sounds weird.

The electric atmosphere outside runs 24 hours a day, and also shows up when you pull open a too-heavy door and suck in third-hand smoke against your will. All those hopeful people, sitting alone, waiting for two cherries to line up with a third cherry, fulfill their jackpot dreams, and turn their lives around. 

Some might only be there for a few hours, while others invested in Depends so they could sit there all night and not give up on their beloved machine. Think I’m joking? Look it up. 

Actually, save yourself the horror and don’t bother. 

Food Hack

The second thing I learned about myself? I can skip expensive food in a big city and be completely content with regular groceries. I thought I would miss going to a few well-known restaurants, but I didn’t. 

Instead, I packed a cooler full of Trader Joe’s premade meals and treats. Our room had a mini fridge and a microwave, so we were set. Gordon Ramsay might be famous, but we ditched his high prices for a high view instead. Who wouldn’t want warm yellow curry on the 22nd floor with the Eiffel Tower on one side and The Sphere on the other? Dinner and a show in my soft clothes and slippers did not disappoint.

How it holds 20,000 people is beyond me.

Cirque du Soleil delivered an incredible show full of about 16 things to watch at all times, every single one equally as impressive. Taking in an hour and a half of tumbling, flying, and bouncing left me wanting to interview those cute 20-somethings in 20 years and ask them how their joints were getting along. 

My ligaments twitched every time they flew from one trampoline to a vertical net and back to the stage like red kangaroos. All I ever did to ruin my skeleton was a bunch of throwing, diving, hitting, shooting and sliding. Not exactly Cirque-worthy.

Back to the sustenance. After a ridiculously expensive gelato experience, we opted for desserts at Whole Foods on the last night. For probably the same price as a sliver of cheesecake on the Strip, we got a variety of sweets to sample and then watched a movie after a day of walking and sightseeing. Felt like a win.

The third thing I learned about myself revolved around riding bikes all day. My husband surprised me with electric bikes for Christmas, so we took them with us and one day drove 45 minutes out of the city.

The Historic Railroad Trail near Lake Mead provided a beautiful ride along the water, complete with zero fluorescent lights! Getting away from the crazy pace of Vegas felt calming. I didn’t think I’d want to pedal that many miles, but it led us to Hoover Dam and made it all worth it. 

Also, shifting my gears to “Sport” and then “Turbo” on the hills made it a piece of cake. We brought a picnic lunch and ate while overlooking our grand water and electricity source. 

Share the Road

Bonus thing I learned about me and bikes in the city? It’s slightly sketchy but perfectly legal to ride in a car lane down the Vegas Strip. It made me a little nervous at first with vehicles all around, but it was fun. No need to pay for an Uber when you can ride your bikes straight from Mandalay Bay to the Venetian for free! Side-by-side we easily pedaled, from one end to the other, taking in all the sights without having to walk four miles.

Moral of the story: the next time somebody offers you a free trip to Vegas, say yes to the affordable experience and no to the timeshare presentation. As long as you pack your bike and a cooler, your groceries will keep you nourished for a great price, and your transportation will be zero dollahhhs!

P.S. If someone hands you a card and asks if you want your picture with a cowboy, just keep walking. 

Have you ever been to Vegas? Do you have a vacation hack for how to experience cool things on a budget? Please share it below so we can all save money!

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