Thursday, December 01, 2005
FAQ: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FAQ NUMBER ONE:
I CAN’T BE AWAY FROM SCHOOL/WORK/HOME FOR TOO LONG. CAN I VISIT VEGAS FOR A LONG WEEKEND AND STILL ENJOY MYSELF?
For example, if you can get out of work a little early on Thursday or Friday and get to the airport in time to catch the 2:30PM Southwest direct flight, you will arrive in Vegas at supper time.
The Southwest nonstop return gives you most of a day in Vegas and you are home in time to get a goodnight’s sleep for the next day of work.
And there are lots of other air options.
(I recommend the nonstop because it shortens the trip, allows uninterrupted sleeping, lessens a chance of getting stuck in a snowstorm in some stopover city, and virtually eliminates any chance of misplaced baggage.)
some sample Southwest schedules:
Albany to Vegas
768 2:30pm 5:00pm Nonstop
1023/2201 4:00pm 9:05pm BWI/1
128/1578 5:45pm 11:25pm MDW/1
Vegas to Albany
2877 3:50pm 11:30pm Nonstop
532/1138 12:00pm 9:35pm MDW/1
312/1497 1:10pm 10:20pm MDW/1
So, by taking just one weekday off of work, you can have 3 full days and one night in Vegas. Going to Vegas by air is about like driving to Buffalo, only you don’t have to bring your boots or worry about getting snowed in.
Three days is not enough time to see everything. It is just enough time to get a taste. But with good planning, it will be a memorable snack.
FAQ NUMBER TWO:
I DO NOT LIKE TO GAMBLE. CAN I STILL HAVE FUN IN VEGAS?
I have taken two of my nongambling good friends (Jill from Albany, and Frank from London, England) around Vegas for an entire week on a whirlwind schedule and they had a blast. In fact, I recommend it for nongamblers because they can still get great deals on hotels, cheap car rentals, cheap or the best gourmet food, free or inexpensive shows and entertainment and don’t have to worry about risking money. Gamblers pay for your vacation.
I can even tell you where as a Vegas virgin you can gamble $10 absolutely for free. Kid Peter and his girl Jen did a lot of that on their last visit. $10 goes a long way if you play a penny at a time so you can have a frugal slot experience and be guaranteed no losses. Jill took her 10 free dollars and recklessly gambled on penny slots for a couple hours at the famous Palms before she cashed out and took $6 home. Another Vegas winner!
I KEEP HEARING THE AREAS "STRIP' AND "DOWNTOWN"
WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
There are two main areas of casinos in Vegas.
The Strip is the one you see most often with Bellagio Fountains, Mirage Volcanoes, Paris Eiffel Tower, Stratosphere Tower. If you have seen Vegas on TV, you have seen this area. It is the tourist attraction and you can easily spend days walking about there and not see it all. It is generally more expensive to stay on the strip, but there are good deals too. For example, friend Jan and her mother are going for the first time and Mom was thinking Bellagio. Well, rooms there start at about $150 and are often a long walk from the street. Directly across the intersection is a little casino called Barbary Coast with very nice rooms at under $70 a night. Some have a view of the Bellagio Fountains. So that is a more reasonable way to be right in the middle of the action. I get access by staying just off the strip at the Orleans where last December we stayed for $20 a night. They have a free shuttle to the strip.
Downtown is more like what Vegas was like 40 years ago. The casinos are smaller and linked by a nice wide walkway with a huge canopy that does a famous light show on the hour every night. Bellagio or Caesar's Palace on the Strip are each about the size of a huge modern mall like Crossgates Mall; the entire Downtown is like a 60's Mall, where you walk outside from one smaller place to another. And there are outside vendors too selling jewelry and swirled art and such. The gambling is better, but the shows and attractions are not. It is probably a section a first time visitor wants to visit for a couple hours one night, just to see. It is not worth visiting in the daytime. I stay there because it is cheap, and I like the slightly better odds gambling.
HOW DO YOU GET FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE ORLEANS??
My choice as a single fellow with lots of time is to grab the Las Vegas Limo Shuttle which is outside the baggage area and around the corner. I think it is the fastest shuttle and it is the cheapest.
But if cabs are available, they are faster and for two or mor not that much more expensive.
Here are some discussions of the issue: