Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Newest prices and PHOTOS OF VEGAS

Checking today a little I discovered that Travelworm will beat the Gold Coast price, so I changed my booking by calling the Gold Coast and telling them to look up the the new Travelworm price, and while I was at it booked from Dec 10th just in case I want to stay there for that entire stretch. Janice is thinking about going to the Barbary Coast in that cheaper week so that would put me in easy reach of her and anyone who books to go along with her.

I'll we working to use my free nights from the 4th through the 9th when things are expensive. Probably I'll end up at the El Cortez downtown.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Note from Slink on hotel availability

Slink writes: My experience and research on Vegas is that this is one of the few places that it doesn't necessarily pay to book a hotel early. Hotels hold back big blocks of rooms for the discounters and prices tend to go down as you get closer to your date and they start to release the rooms. December should not be bad even with the rodeo since a lot of people don't like to travel around Christmas.

I agree with you, buddy. I too expect the prices to drop as we get closer to blast off. So we’ll just keep looking. There are lots of months coming. Booking now is just a hedge bet. I would certainly not book anything I could not change.

Car Rental Tips

Renting a car in Vegas

It has been fairly easy getting a car in Vegas. We can hope it stays easy. At the airport they are building a new car pickup location served by a single shuttle bus. Regardless of which company you rent from, you will take the same shuttle to your car. This should make finding the shuttle bus easier, but it may remove the advantage that some customers had who joined a car VIP program. For example, at Dollar you can send in your information and be on file with them. That means when you rent a car all the paperwork is done and previously you could by pass the office and just go to get the car in the lot. During busy times this saved a lot of hassle. How it will work in the new lot, no one knows for sure. For more information:

However, it is still a good idea to sign up for this service because it may save you time or get you a deal. For example, Dollar Express also sends free upgrade coupons for new members so that could be handy.

Speaking of Dollar, a good time to book a good fare is right no. They have Compact cars for $98 a week which is about the cheapest price. This compares with $130 in the other usual places. I booked for the three weeks. It locks in that price and I can always cancel. They do not take a charge card when you book. If you fly Southwest Dollar also will add some rapid rewards points to your frequent flier card, but you must remember to tell them.

Also, many of the car rentals offer discounts to certain groups who enter a Promo code. These codes change but can be used by anyone. For example, by using an FF05 code I got a 5% reduction in my rate today. I got the code from a bulletin board note. Other companies have codes. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. Here is one source of such codes:
o use a code at Dollar you need first to go to the Specials section of the menu and then you will see the promo code box.

Two things to be careful about:

1. Be certain that your own insurance or the insurance on the credit card you use (or both) covers you for the rental. If you have to buy insurance from Dollar, it will be pricey.

2. If you choose the option of coming back with a full tank, it is easy to get gas on the way in to the airport at a good price. For the empty tank return option, Dollar will quote you a price lower than what is around, but remember that any gas left in the car when you return it, it theirs to keep for free. What you need to be careful to do is get a receipt when you fill up the car. In the recent past Dollar has required those receipts or even added a $10 refill automatically if the car was run under a certain mileage. None of this ever happened to me, but to some other posters on the informational boards.

All of the standard car companies are about the same. Some of the smaller ones will not let you travel out of the state, or will rank cars so that you think you are getting a compact, but you are getting what other places would be an economy. Some too charge you for a ride from the airport. I’d avoid those. If you are going to rent, it is to your advantage to rent at the airport and return there to save your cost of transportation between airport to hotel.

If you are going to stay a long time, and want the car for just part of that time, remember that Dollar will shuttle you from their airport drop off location to your hotel. You just have to ask. And also remember that El Cortez (real low scale frugal place downtown) has a free shuttle to the airport up until 2PM for guests staying there who sign up the day before.

Here is a post from one site. I don't know how accurate it is:

SAMS is a good discount. Typing in SAMS for the discount
code at Thrifty will get you 10% off. At Alamo, if you are a member of
their Quicksilver program, you sometimes get 10% automatically on line.
Couple that with an entertainment book coupon and you have a good deal.
My next LV trip is for 6 days. I got a compact for $117.05 out the
door. $76.75 for the car, $40.30 in taxes and fees.

Here are some ueful rental sites:

Vegas Locations for Dollar cars

Southwest Check in Tips

Southwest does not board with assigned seats. It boards like a bus, first come, first pick. They group people into three corals (like cattle) and herd them on the plane one row at a time. The lines are labeled A, B, C depending upon when you get your boarding pass. You want to be in A or B but if you wait until you are at the airport, you will be in C.

So at home, within 24 hours before flight, you can print out a boarding pass on your computer and that will give you good seating.

On the way back it is a little trickier, but if the hotel has a computer you can check in on the computer and if they a have a printer, you can get a pass there. You can do this at the Orleans business office. Also, here is a very good thread discussion of the issue:

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hotel and car questions


I checked the web site for the Orleans but they didn't have any reservations information up yet for December. Any thoughts on that? I'm so not into spending a lot of money on hotel rooms. I just stayed at a Super 8. It was clean, the bed was comfortable -- what MORE do people want for an extra $50 or more? There must be places like that around Vegas, but are they readily accessible, or would I have to have a car and be way out of the way?

Try this for the Orleans in December. If you have trouble navigating, let me know.

Go to this site:

1. In the left hand menu click on "Las Vegas Hotels"

2. put in your dates ( I did Dec 10-20)

3. The Orleans comes up first for under $100 hotels.

4. Hit Quickcheck under the Orleans

5. A box should come up on the left. HIt “Go” in that box.

If this works right, you should get a half dozen discount prices for the Orleans. I see it from $46 to $53 a night for this entire period.

Now if you booked thru one of the discounters, you would have to pay a fee if you rebooked later.

But if you call the Orleans (1-800- ORLEANS) and tell them that the discounter named "I4Vegas" has those nights for $46, they will give you that price and you can cancel up until about 72 hours of arrival. This means that next week if you find it cheaper there, you can rebook the new price and then cancel the old price. So if you are nervous and want to lock in a price today, you should be able to do that even if the Orleans web has no prices yet. And you will be able to change it later.


I did the same nights for the Gold Coast:

Same deal as Orleans.

i4Vegas has them for $32 a night. Nice price. You do the same thing. Call Gold Coast 1-888-402-6278. Tell them i4Vegas has $32 price and they will match it. i just called and checked that they will do that and book into December.

This casino has nice rooms and is in walking distance to the Rio and the Palms and has the same free shuttle to the strip or to the Orleans until about midnight.

Cab is under $10 from strip to Gold Coast so even if you planned on one cab fare each night you would beat the Strip prices.

Wow, same kind of prices for the Barbary Coast. That puts you right on the strip for $46. Sweet.


Whether you want to rent a car usually depends on whether you want to do a day trip away from Vegas or whether you like driving and being able to get around quickly from place to place.

I am less stressed with no car, but I have all the time in the world to ride buses. I like to get those free drinks and the bus is better than driving then. On the other hand, it might happen that a hotel deal somewhere will be so cheap that car rental will be almost free. Then it is nice to have one. I'll probably have one in December just so I can coordinate a birthday meal, gamble, walk, or whatever with everyone who comes.

Don't worry about hotel rooms. Just be ready to act when I hit a good deal. I'll find you a nice place for cheap money. If you want to be very sure of that, aim your times for after the cowboys leave, December 10th and afterwards. That will be the cheapest time to visit Vegas all year. The Orleans hotel that we would not book on April 22 (at $235 for that night) we booked for $20 on a weekend in December. But some of the good deal hotels host the cowboys so prices are up while they are there and some places are just filled up completely. conventions drive prices up but no on has a large convention just before the holidays so there are usually lots of deals.

Here is another way to save money. If you can go Sunday thru Thursday, the rooms will be a third of the price that they are on the weekend. And whatever you do, do not arrive on Saturday as they all bundle Friday and Saturday together and won't rent just the Saturday or will charge you for both days. Most won't rent at all for Saturday arrivals. They want you there to gamble not paying for an empty room.

One other cool way to check for hotel rooms is to download this software:

What it does is compile room offers from discounters and then spit all the info back to you in a neat spreadsheet. I can't run it on my MAC because I don't have a high operating system, but regular PC will run it easily. It is good for some other cities too, but it is great for Vegas. But don't book through it until the last minute and then only if you have to. Once you book there, you must pay a cancelation fee if you change your plans, so it is way too early to do that. It is just a good way to see some cool deals and to get a sense of what nights may be underbooked and available. Some of the hotels will take the price of the discounters if you call them and tell them the discounter who is selling. Orleans, Gold Coast, and Barbary Coast all do that. They match the same cheap price and you get potential cancelation without penalty.

The key thing now is to get your times in line. Then if I find a deal for those times, you can hit it. Some really good deals only last a day or two and then they dry up. Once the bulletin boards tell everyone, the cheap rooms are sold out. And if you can, stay flexible by a day on either end. I might be able to add a day for ten bucks. It happens sometimes in December.

You can at least start looking at air prices. Out of Albany, I recommend Southwest, but Jet Blue used to have a great flight out of NYC. Try to avoid layovers, so you don't get stuck in Chicago in a snowstorm. I also like Southwest because you can change your travel plans with no penalty. So if you find a sale there, you just rebook.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Odd Attractions for nongamblers


- World's tallest and largest volume chocolate fountain
- White, medium and dark confectionary grade chocolate
- Designed by Montreal artist Michel Mailhot
- 6 pumps circulate close to 2 tons of chocolate
- Over 500 feet of stainless steel piping
- Chocolate circulates at 120 degrees F
- Climate controlled enclosure maintained at 95 degrees F
- Chocolate rises 27 vertical feet from lower level pump room
- 6 ceiling spouts disburse chocolate 14 feet above floor level
- Chocolate cascades into 25 hand-crafted artistic glass vessels
- 2 years of engineering, planning and design

Also while you are in Bellagio you have see the Fiori de Como which in 1998 was in the Guiness book as the largest glass sculpture ever made. The ceiling chandelier measures 65 feet 7 inches by 29 feet 6 inches.
Fiori de Como photos


The Guiness Book of World Records Museum displays a collection of AIR SICKNESS BAGS from 470 airlines all collected by Niek Vermeuten. The crown jewel is a NASA space shuttle bag which Vermeuten pursued for more than ten years.


This is one to see this trip. With coupons ( I have plenty) it is free. The collector died and gradually they are selling off all the cars, so you may not get a second chance.
Click here for details
Click here for photos
Click here for more photos and details


You might not think you can see birds in the desert, but we enjoyed a morning walking the trails between nine ponds and seeing all the waterfowl here. This is just 15 minutes from the strip by car. Click for details


If you are my age, you probably remember seeing Liberace on television with his sidekick George. His flamboyance was a great joke at the time and continued until his sad early death from AIDS. This museum captures some great parts of his life. Included is a 1788 Broadwood piano (one of the oldest in existence) a French Pleyet piano owned by Chopin, a chickering wood piano once owned by George Gershwin, and a piano made of tootpicks. Of course, we don't pay full fare. 2 for 1 tickets are in many of the magazines and I've saved some for December.

click here for more information