How to Get Away to Vegas for Under $600.00

Everyone needs to go to Vegas at least once in their lives. Preferably more than once. After I went, I was convinced I should move there and I immediately started looking for apartments. Of course, I then realized this was mildly illogical and here I am, still in New Jersey. There was just so much that I loved about that city. I’m sure you know you can never run out of things to see and do. It’s pretty easy to stay up until 7 in the morning without even noticing the time until you see the sun coming up. When it’s still dark, the lights and sounds can mesmerize you while you’re trying every signature cocktail at every bar on the strip. There’s hundreds of restaurants for any budget, tons of shows and entertainment options, and of course there’s enough slot machines to try out for the rest of your life and then some. I’m sure you can envision Vegas pretty well, but you really can’t get a feel for how awesome it is until your plane is landing in McCarran airport and you’re flying directly over the strip. It’s one of the most exciting feelings in the world. You’re just flying over the desert and then this magical strip just appears out of nowhere. So, you need to go to Vegas.
You really don’t even need a huge budget to go to Vegas unless you plan on going all out and getting bottle service and gambling away stacks of money. If you’re like me, that’s not really in the budget, so I’ll break down how to go to Vegas for cheap.
First, airfare out of Philly is literally half the price of the New York City airports and Newark. For example, I found airfare as cheap as $127.00 including taxes and fees in February, and that was nonstop. You can’t ask for a better deal. If you’ve never flown out of the Philly airport, it’s surprisingly easy, and it’s a dream compared to JFK. Plus, long-term parking is half the price. In this hypothetical trip that I’m going to price out, my Philly airfare is $284.80 per person, and it’s nonstop. My pretend dates are February 19th-23rd. You can get it even cheaper, but of course it depends on the dates and convenient flight times.
Hotels in Vegas are dirt cheap. For my example I’m using the Tropicana, which is right on the Strip. It’s a 4-star property, and it’s priced around $312.00 for the four nights, over the weekend. It’s only $78.00 a night. The Tropicana in Atlantic City for those exact dates is $512.00 with taxes and fees. You can essentially go to Vegas for the same price or even less than Atlantic City INCLUDING the flights. My pretend package that I just made comes out to $596.80.
After I got back from Vegas I never wanted to go to Atlantic City again. Naturally I’ve probably been there 100 times since then, but it will never compare to Vegas. Besides the cheap flights and hotels, everything else is a better value too. Most clubs are less expensive to get in, and you can easily find promoters walking around during the day that can get you on the guest list, which usually means you get in free. We did this all week when we were in Vegas. The only night we paid Saturday night, and it was $20.00 a person. I’ve paid as much as $50.00 in AC. A lot of promoters will give you free drink vouchers too, and sometimes they can get you in VIP once you’re in the clubs.
Basically, in Vegas they treat you like royalty at little cost. It’s not even comparable to Atlantic City, and you absolutely need to get there.(Cue the shameless plug…) By the way, I’m a travel agent so I will gladly book your trip and get you the best rates as well as some other benefits you couldn’t get by booking online. Plus, I’ll give you a few ideas on things you can do while you’re there. You can call me at (908)722-7800 or email me at samuelsn@libertytravel.com and you’ll be in Vegas in no time.

How I miss Vegas and it's blue skies and adorable replicas of famous landmarks

How I miss Vegas and it’s blue skies and adorable replicas of famous landmarks

Me at Red Rock Canyon just outside Vegas...worth seeing when you're there

Me at Red Rock Canyon just outside Vegas…worth seeing when you’re there

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Any upcoming trips?

I’ve been in the process of finishing all my training with Liberty Travel, and it’s been beyond exciting to be learning about reputable companies who work together to make the travel industry so great.

I’m glad I found an industry that I absolutely love, and I just wanted to let everyone know that whatever your travel wishes are, I would be glad to help you plan them. Although I started only recently, I work in an office with professionals who have been tailoring their travel knowledge for years.

I’m learning that there is an unmeasurable amount of knowledge that travel industry professionals know that you just wouldn’t ever find out on your own, like awesome deals with certain hotels or cruise lines, how to get the cheapest airfare, and where and where not to stay. That’s why travel industry professionals are so important.

If you are interested in learning about any destinations or would like to possibly book any trips, feel free to call our office (908)722-7800 and ask for me (Nicole) or email me at samuelsn@libertytravel.com. I could talk about travel all day and would be more than excited to give you advice and help you book an upcoming trip.

I will still be using this blog to write about my trips, and I will be giving so much more good advice about traveling now that I’m learning so much.

Hope to hear from some of you soon!

Two Exciting Upcoming Events

This weekend I’ll be in Boston and Salem to celebrate fall/Halloween/beer a little more. I love New England and I’m excited to be back!

Also, I just received news yesterday that I will soon be working in the travel industry! This is obviously a dream to me, and I will elaborate more in a few weeks when everything is official.

I’ll post some photos while I’m in New England, and you can expect a post next week about my trip.

Visiting New Orleans: Some Thoughts

As you may know, I recently visited New Orleans this month for a quick trip. For once, I didn’t do too much research before visiting. My dad and I kind of went on a whim, but sometimes that’s the best way to travel. Of course, we researched the hotel reviews and location, but otherwise, I went in with a completely open mind and no agenda.New Orleans is an awesome place if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, and it’s a great place if you do have an endless budget. First, the flights aren’t that expensive, at least not from anywhere in the North East. The Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans is small, and it’s not nearly as crowded as other airports I’ve been to. In order to make the flight cheaper, we had a layover in Miami on the way there, and a layover in Dallas on the way back. I don’t mind layovers as long as they’re not too long, because I honestly love exploring new airports. Miami and Dallas airports were both really nice, so I didn’t mind spending an hour or so in each.

The hotels in New Orleans are also reasonable, especially compared to cities like New York or London. We stayed at the Wyndham Riverfront a few blocks from the French Quarter, and it was only $80 a night. It was a great hotel for the price, and I had no complaints. Plus, they gave me Shutterfly coupons for free photo books, which I already took advantage of.

You don’t need a rental car in New Orleans. Everything is in walking distance, and you can take advantage of their streetcar systems for only $1.25 a ride. I definitely recommend riding them at least once, simply because it’s different.

Like most cities, New Orleans has a ton of discounts. For example, I was able to use my Student ID on a tour of the St. Louis Cemetery, we used our AAA Discount for several activities such as a Hop On Hop Off Bus, a steamboat ride on the Mississippi River, and also for our hotel. I don’t usually participate in the Hop On Hop Off bus that is featured in a lot of cities, but I think it’s a good idea to go on the one in New Orleans. We saw the entire city within two hours, including the Mercedes Benz Superdome, the French Quarter, the French Market, the riverfront, and the prestigious homes on the famous St. Charles Avenue. Not to mention, at the end of our ride, the tour guide gave us $5 vouchers at Harrah’s, which we used and consequently won $1300 on a slot machine. That’s definitely a quick way to save money on a trip, although I can’t guarantee it’ll work.

The restaurants and bars in New Orleans are aplenty, which is obvious, and although I’d say they’re the same price as any other restaurant or bar, you definitely have the option to go the cheaper route if you need to. The food is amazing. We tried gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, alligator bites, beignets, and a few other New Orleans favorites. I picked up a ton of coupons for places all over the French Quarter, although I forgot to use these coupons every time we went out to eat. But, they are available.

You can really tailor your trip to New Orleans toward whatever you’re interested in. If you like partying and drinking, Bourbon Street is for you. If you’re more interested in the history of this city, you can go on a tour of a cemetery, a plantation, or my usual favorite, a haunted walking tour. If you’re adventurous, there’s airboat rides, which I totally wish I did. There’s always next time, though. You can also just spend time walking the French Quarter, bartering for souvenirs in the French Market, or enjoying listening to street musicians scattered throughout the town. Make sure you also pay attention to the architecture of the buildings. You’ll notice they’re slowly sinking into the ground, and they have rods running through each structure to keep it from collapsing. This fascinated me, because it shows a lifestyle completely different than anywhere else I’ve been in the US.

New Orleans has a unique culture. It’s almost European, but not really. It’s almost American, but not really. It’s in the South, but it’s not Southern at all. And, the people absolutely love Saints Football. I’ve never seen a more proud city when it comes to the sport. Anyway, the bottom line is that most of the people are really fun, friendly, and willing to strike up a conversation about their city. Take advantage of talking to bartenders, tour guides, and locals about cool spots to go to, what to avoid, and where to best food and drinks are. This is my favorite thing to do no matter where I go, because I love getting opinions from people who live and work there rather than what’s obvious.

And now, here are my photos.

Street Sign

Street Sign

French Quarter

French Quarter

Fountain in the French Market

Fountain in the French Market

Colorful buildings in the French Quarter

Colorful buildings in the French Quarter

St. Louis Cathedral and Horse and Buggies in Jackson Square

St. Louis Cathedral and Horse and Buggies in Jackson Square

The House in American Horror Story Season 3

The House in American Horror Story Season 3

The House in Real World: New Orleans

The House in Real World: New Orleans

Mercedes Benz Superdome

Mercedes Benz Superdome

Canal Street

Canal Street

St. Louis Cemetery 1

St. Louis Cemetery 1

French Quarter styles

French Quarter styles

Me in front of St. Louis Cathedral

Me in front of St. Louis Cathedral

Fountain in Jackson Square

Fountain in Jackson Square

New Orleans from a distance

New Orleans from a distance

Feel free to comment about any other New Orleans topics and I’ll gladly respond.

My Love for All Things London

If you know me at all then you know I will take any opportunity to talk about anything involving London…I’m obsessed with this city and wish it wasn’t across the Atlantic Ocean, because I would be there all the time. After my recent trip to the UK, I got to understand this incredible city even more, and I grew to love it deeper. Below are some reasons why I love London, aside from the shopping, the awesome bars and clubs, the outdoor markets, the architecture, the abundance of tea and coffee shops, the scones…I could go on.

1. The Tube- The subway system in London is the most efficient transportation system I’ve ever experienced in my life. There are maps everywhere, you never have to wait more than a minute or two for your train, and the place is essentially spotless compared to some disgusting subways in some other cities. Every city should model their system after the London Underground, because it would make commuters’ lives so much easier. The tube also has cool names for their lines, like “Waterloo” and “Victoria” and “Picadilly.” These names are easy to remember and go along with their own color, unlike difficult train systems that are simply named “A” “B” and “C”. Within a day or two of navigating the tube, you should be a pro at figuring out where you need to go and transferring lines. I also love their use of the Oystercard, which is a metro card that you can use to purchase trips, or in my case, an unlimited weekly pass for about 30 pounds. I know most cities use a card, but I just love this one more simply for the reason that I am ridiculously obsessed with London. Even the way they tell you how the service is running fascinates me. They’ll announce things like “There’s a pretty good service on the Bakerloo Line,” and I’m sure you are familiar with their famous “Mind the Gap” phrase. While I was there, I either used the app below called Citymapper, or when I didn’t have wifi, I used the maps in the station. This app is amazing for use in London, and it also features New York City, but somehow I still got lost while using it in NYC, most likely because the subway changes lines and tries to be as confusing as possible for people who don’t travel into the city often.

Citymapper app that I used while in London

Citymapper app that I used while in London

2. The Parks- London’s parks are absolutely gorgeous, and there are a ton of them. From the famous Hyde Park, to Green Park, to St. James Park, or Regent’s Park, they are a great place to escape the busy London life and enjoy some well-maintained greenery, play with some ducks, or gaze at the ponds and fountains. I wish everywhere had beautiful parks like London does. I could spend hours wandering the gardens and footpaths, and there are an unlimited amount of photo ops.

 

Bridge in Hyde Park

Bridge in Hyde Park

 

Swans in Hyde Park

Swans in Hyde Park

St. James Park

St. James Park

Peter Pan Statue in Hyde Park

Peter Pan Statue in Hyde Park

Italian Fountains in Hyde Park

Italian Fountains in Hyde Park

 

3. Almost everywhere you go in Central London is safe. I walked around this entire city center (which is huge) multiple times, and I never once felt unsafe or even came across a not-so-nice area. This is hard to find in most cities, where making a wrong turn could lead you to some sketchy alley way you wish you never stepped in. Everywhere I went in London was picturesque, especially during the day. I wasn’t out past midnight any nights, because the tube stops running at 12:30 am, so I can’t vouch for late night hours, but for the most part, London is as safe as is gets.

 

4. The efficiency in which people move should be done in all cities. These people don’t waste any time. Stand on the right of the escalator, walk on the left. Continue at a brisk pace at all time. Keep to yourself. Don’t be obnoxious, and don’t take up extra space. This city understands me. I’m not into loud people in other cities. I immediately convince myself they are up to no good because naturally I’m paranoid. In London, everyone goes about their business and no one bothers you. There are homeless people and subway musicians, but even this is displayed at a much less obnoxious level than most American cities. I love not being bothered, and so do Londoners, so we get along well.

5. Pimm’s. I’d never heard of Pimm’s until I was in London, probably because it’s really hard to find in bars in America. Pimm’s is a British liqueur based on either gin, brandy, or whisky depending on the kinds, and it is used to create lovely cocktails that can be found in bars all over London. I ordered this drink everywhere. It’s almost like a mojito, but not. Usually it’s made with fruit, like strawberries, oranges, lemon, lime, and even cucumber and mint. They also have Pimm’s Lemonade, which can either be ordered at the bar or as a premixed drink in a can or bottle. I’m obsessed with this drink and I can’t wait to have it again next time I’m in London. When I was in New Orleans this weekend, they actually had Pimm’s, but the cocktails were nowhere near as good as the ones in London.

My Pimm's cocktail, a mozzarella salad, and tortelloni at an Italian Restaurant by Leicester Square

My Pimm’s cocktail, a mozzarella salad, and tortelloni at an Italian Restaurant by Leicester Square

6. They are so welcoming to tourists. This city is easy to navigate, the people are helpful, and they truly want to make your London experience as smooth as they can. If you are travelling to Europe for the first time and you don’t know any other languages, this place is your best bet because of how friendly and helpful they are. It doesn’t make you feel as if you are in a foreign country, and by the end of a visit, you may even envision yourself living there thanks to how easy to adjust to the city is.

Of course there are a few things about London I’d change, like perhaps making the tube run a little later or making our dollar a little stronger to the pound so visiting there doesn’t cost a fortune, but I can overlook these things because of how much I love and belong in this city…there are so many more things I adore about London, but you’ll be able to figure them out if you’ve visited or perhaps are in the future. I type this as I sip tea from my I<3 London mug on my coaster of the London Underground tube map. I am that much of a loser when it comes to this city but I don’t care. Let me know in the comments if you love anything else about London. I could talk all day.