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10 Day Trip Report - Linq - August 17-26 2016

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by JoeM78, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. JoeM78

    JoeM78 Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Hey Everyone! This thread will recap my 10 day trip to las Vegas (August 17-26 2016)! I will post it in 12 parts over the next few days:

    -Background & Pre-Trip
    -10 Individual Days
    -Final Thoughts/Notes

    I will also include a few photos throughout the posts. I hope you enjoy and please don’t hesitate to ask any questions.

    Background:

    This is my first trip report. Over the last few years I have really enjoyed reading trip reports on this site (both live and post trip) so I wanted to give it a shot.

    I fell in love with Las Vegas on my first trip there in 2008. A friend and I were doing a road trip and stopped in Las Vegas for 2 nights. On the first night we were eating at Margaritaville and had just finished and paid. My friend, who had been to Las Vegas a few times, said it was time to hit the strip. I told my friend to hold on because I still had a full beer. My friend's reply was “just take it with you.” It was at that very moment I realized how much I was going to love this town. Walking down the street with a beer in hand was just a tease to the many wonderful things Las Vegas has to offer.

    Since 2008, I have gone every year. This year I actually went twice (first time in January) and it was nice but I prefer going late summer. I don’t mind the heat, it doesn’t seem too busy, and it’s easy for myself and friends to take time off work.

    Many friends have joined me over the years. Last year we had a group of 21 people at one point! This year, there were six of us. Myself (10th trip), my girlfriend M (5th trip), my good friend R (8th trip), R’s wife K (7th trip), and R’s parents S and A (7th trip).

    For me, going to Las Vegas is not a relaxing trip. I hate sitting around. You won’t ever find me by the pool or ordering room service. I spend my time eating, walking around, and playing craps. A lot of craps…

    Pre-Trip:

    Planning for our annual summer trip started almost 9 months ago when we chose the tentative dates. We knew there wouldn't be many people going because so many people went last summer. Just six of us decided to make the trek this year.

    M and I planned to go one day more on either end of everyone else. We like getting to Las Vegas early to settle in and stay late to make sure to do anything we may have missed. The total trip for M and I was 10 days and 9 nights (August 17-August 26).

    I used to stay at the Flamingo but during our 2014 trip we had a terrible time with the elevators and swore off the hotel after that. It is still one of my favorite casino floors though. Since then we have stayed at the Linq and we really like it there. The Linq is center strip, relatively clean and fresh, around a lot of great restaurants, and close to all of our favorite craps tables. Oh, and it’s cheap. We booked 9 nights for about $167 (5 were comped) and no resort fee with TR Diamond.

    Usually we make plans to see a show or two but this year decided to play it by ear. We did make reservations for Hexx, Giada, and Buddy V’s. Additionally we made plans to visit Red Rock Casino, take the Red Rock Scenic Drive, and check out Top Golf.

    Leading up to the trip I did a few things in preparation:

    -Redeemed a myVegas $10 blackjack match play for Red Rock Casino.

    -Prepared my gambling tracker. I use an app called iSpending on my iPhone. It's for tracking income and expenses for personal budgeting but I use it for tracking gambling wins (income) and loses (expenses). I pre-populate the income/expense categories as games (craps, blackjack, etc.) and I put keyboard shortcuts in my phone for all the casinos (cos = Cosmopolitan, osh = O'sheas, etc.) so I can input wins and losses quickly. In the "note section" I put how many minutes I played for. When I open the app I immediately see my total win or loss amount for the trip. I can easily view reports of each game (category) and can edit details as needed. It's also nice because I can export the data to excel after the trip. It's not perfect, but it's the best option I found for tracking everything quickly and efficiently. I've tried all the gambling tracking apps and even tried making my own and they all stink.

    -3 days prior, I ordered 2 cases of illy coffee cans and plastic cups with lids from Amazon. Normally I ship these to the UPS store at Flamingo but this year I was able to ship these to the new Amazon Locker in the Linq promenade. My girlfriend (and me by association) can’t function without coffee first thing in the morning. Going to Starbucks or the Nook at the Linq is fine but my time in Las Vegas is precious so I hate waiting in long lines for coffee. With the illy coffee cans and cups I save time and money every morning. I just fill the cups with ice from down the hall, pour the coffee in, drop in a straw, and we are out the door in no time, iced coffees in hand!

    -Purchased plenty of pedialyte powder for mixing with water. Last year, these things saved us. I also put these over ice in the plastic cups from Amazon.

    -Updated my packing list and outfit schedule. I am pretty OCD about a lot of things and packing is one of them. I maintain a spreadsheet from year to year that lists every item I bring with me and what my outfits will be for each day. Yes, I know it’s goofy but, as I mentioned, time is precious in Las Vegas. I don’t have to think about what to wear each morning or evening, I just look at my schedule! (Unfortunately my girlfriend has not adopted this technique and I end up waiting around for her anyways…)

    -Updated my schedule and list of things to do. The schedule was pretty open this year (which is very unusual). We never stick to the schedule exactly and that’s fine. It’s just nice to have one so everyone is on the same page and we don’t waste time thinking of things to do. When we don’t have something to do, I just refer to my list of things to do! The list is comprised of restaurants, happy hours, activities, and such. It helps when we have time to kill. I don’t want to waste time reading yelp or looking up things so I just refer to the pre-vetted list of things to find something on the fly.

    -Picked up some of my bankroll and change from the bank. I don’t like to travel with my entire bankroll so I only bring about $500 with me. I’ve accepted that ATM fees are part of the expense of gambling so I usually end up hitting ATM’s a few times during the trip. I brought change ($100 in 10s, 5s, and $50 in 1s) in envelopes. I find that this is helpful for refreshing my wallet each day (non bankroll money) for use in cabs, tipping, etc.

    OK that's enough. I'm ready for Las Vegas!

    1.jpg
    Pedialyte to get us through the heat and the drinking.

    ***
     
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  2. emmas

    emmas Low-Roller

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    Sounds like quite a set up. Can't wait for the recap.
     
  3. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Just like a 12-step program! :beer: A good one, though!
    Great start and I'll follow along for the rest!

    RICHARD
     
  4. kevin853

    kevin853 Tourist

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    Following!

    Love all the trip reports on here. So much I miss doing but everyone's I have read gives me another idea/place to go.

    Good luck.
     
  5. cam9219

    cam9219 Tourist

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    Love the iSpending app idea. I'm actually going to grab that right now for normal life as i've been trying to get my own monthly personal budget under control.
     
  6. johnnytwofingers

    johnnytwofingers Low-Roller

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    I love OCD trips reports so really looking forward to this!

    Any chance you could share your spreadsheet of activity ideas as well (or paste the content in?) Might be useful for others.
     
  7. JoeM78

    JoeM78 Tourist

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    Day 1, Wednesday August 17, 2016:

    I barely slept (as usual) and M and I were awake at 2:30am for a Southwest 5:45am flight out of Providence RI. We always take early flights out so we have nearly a full day when we get there. The flight connected at Chicago Midway with no issues and we landed in Las Vegas 30 min early at 10:00am.

    We taxied to the Linq. I usually say “no tunnel” but didn’t this time. The taxi driver looked like he was about to take the highway when he asked if this was our first time. When I said we come every year he immediately cut to the left to take Swenson. Total was around $18.

    Upon arrival I went to the Total Rewards desk to pick up my newly minted Diamond card. While there I was also provided with my $100 celebration dinner voucher and a list of shows to choose our free tickets for. I then went to the Diamond Registration and checked into our Deluxe King Non-Smoking room. I requested a room near the elevators and with a pool view (we have had this before) and got exactly that. No early check in fee and we were in the room at 11:15am!

    The room was exactly what we expected. Small, basic, and clean enough. The bed sheets had a couple of minor stains but nothing to warrant complaining about for the amount of money we paid. I set the fridge and AC to high, unpacked, and taped the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. Yes I actually taped it. We never get room service (bad experience from a non-Las Vegas vacation) and I didn’t want the sign to fall off or be removed. I just asked for extra towels and toilet paper and we are set.

    We were out the door and ready to go at Noon. Hungry as can be we head to Mon Ami Gabi and were promptly seated on the outside patio. We both ordered coffees and the Croque Monsieur sandwich. It was delicious. When given the check I asked if they swipe TR cards and the waitress said no they are owned by a company called Let Us Entertain You. I joked with my girlfriend that it sounded like she said Lettuce. The check came and guess what, it said “Lettuce Entertain You.” Yup.

    After lunch my girlfriend and I bounced around Paris and Planet Hollywood playing some slots. We didn’t play too much but floated around even for a while. On the way back to the room we stopped at the brand new CVS in front of Bally’s for a couple of supplies. Then to the Amazon locker in the Linq promenade for our coffee and plastic cups.

    My girlfriend has a part time job that requires her to work even on travel and my new job also required me to do the same. Unfortunate but not a big deal, we both did a couple hours of work, usually mid-day. So after some work in the room we headed back out. We have always been big fans of Cosmo but never stayed or even gambled there. This year we wanted to make an effort to give them a some play. Not just for possible comps, but because we like the atmosphere and slot selection there.

    At Cosmo we bounced around playing a few slots we had been looking for and then found ourselves hungry for dinner. We sat at the bar at Jaleo and the bartender we had was great. I had a couple good beers and we had a few tapas. It was all very good but waking up at 2:30am and traveling was starting to get to us so we headed back. I think we were in bed by 9:00pm which, in 10 trips to Las Vegas, is the earliest I have ever gone to sleep there. I guess I’m just getting old…

    1.jpg
    Good Morning!

    2.jpg
    There she is. In all her glory.

    3.jpg
    The view from our room at the Linq.

    4.jpg
    The view from our table an Mon Ami Gabi.

    5.jpg
    Croque Monsieur sandwich at Mon Ami Gabi.

    6.jpg
    Decent hit on an Airplane bonus at the Cosmopolitan. We love this game!

    7.jpg
    Tapas from Paleo at the Cosmopolitan.

    9.jpg
    The view during the walk back to our room at the Linq.
     
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  8. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Great start!
    Awesome Bellagio fountain pic there!

    RICHARD
     
  9. rje

    rje High-Roller

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    Great start! Looking forward to the rest!

    While not quite as OCD as you, I approach a trip in much the same way. :)

    Plan each day to an extent and have a to-do list printed. I agree that it’s always a waste of time to sit around and ask.. "What do you want to do?... I don’t care, what do you want to do…” Especially when you only have a few precious days!

    I also agree with bringing a portion of my bankroll- usually $400 or $500. To me the ATM fee is somewhat of a "lost wallet" insurance policy. If I lose my wallet I can have a new ATM or credit card overnighted, but if I lose all my cash… not so good.
    :cry:

    I did laugh at your “Lettuce” remark.

    Coming from Chicago, I’m very familiar with the name, as there are several company restaurants I frequent. (They are a Chicago based company). I forget that outside the Chicago area, they don’t have very much exposure.
     
  10. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC Low-Roller

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    Nice start.
    I agree that pedialyte can be a lifesaver.
     
    Bonus early day Downtown
    Annual end of the rodeo trip
  11. rutgers

    rutgers Tourist

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    OOh.. do share the pedialyte trick! How often do you drink that? I plan to do a lot of drinking on my trip and don't want to be hung over or sick!
     
  12. JoeM78

    JoeM78 Tourist

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    Here is the "things to do" list from this year. Nothing too novel or crazy. The list is helpful on the fly especially when trying to decide what to do with other people. One thing I'd like to do for the future (maybe next year) is actually make a list of things I'd want to do (drinks, activities, food) at each casino. This way, no matter where I am I can just refer to the list if I am hungry or looking for something to do at that casino (or one nearby).


    -Hash House a Go Go (Linq) for breakfast.
    -Margaritaville (Flamingo) for drinks.
    -High Roller with bar cart.
    -Olives (Bellagio) for dinner or lunch.
    -Skyfall Lounge (The Delano) for drinks at night.
    -Chandelier Bar (Cosmo) for drinks.
    -Country Club (Wynn) for lunch or drinks.
    -Brooklyn Bowl.
    -Payard Patisserie & Bistro (Wynn) for breakfast.
    -Café (Palms).
    -Mon Ami Gabi (Paris) for breakfast (7-11) or lunch.
    -Gold Spike for drinks and games.
    -Minus 5 Ice Bar (Monte Carlo or Mandalay Bay).
    -Eiffel Tower Experiences (Paris).
    -In and Out Burger.
    -White Castle (Casino Royale).
    -La Cave (Wynn) for Brunch.
    -Shake Shack (NYNY).
    -Bound (Cromwell) for drinks.
    -Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (Planet Hollywood).
    -3535 Bar (Linq) for drinks.
    -Mandarin Bar (Mandarin) for classy drinks.
    -Beerhaus (NYNY Park) for Happy Hour 2-6pm.
    -Beer Park (Paris).
    -Yard House for Happy Hour 3-6pm.
    -El Cortez for cheap beers.
    -Searsucker (Caesars) for drinks or Happy Hour 5-7pm.
    -Earl of Sandwhich (Caesars or PH) for a quick bite.
    -The D for Sigma Derby.
    -Egg Slut (Cosmo) for breakfast.
     
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  13. JoeM78

    JoeM78 Tourist

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    Ah pedialyte. A major lifesaver for M and I. I often found myself having one in the morning or late evening. For me, it's kinda of a pick me up (especially combined with coffee). It helps with hangovers and the dehydration that comes from lack of water and not sleeping very much. I always buy the powder packets (CVS has them) and they can go in a pocket or purse. Just pour the powder into one of those small bottles of water the waitress gives you, shake it up, and enjoy!
     
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  14. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Just an FYI...at Mon Ami Gabi you can get a voucher if you have TR comps available to use ...or you can charge to your room & pay with points at checkout....We do this all the time.... Look forward to reading the rest. Thanks for sharing with us!
     
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  15. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good start!
     
  16. Bettyboop66

    Bettyboop66 Low-Roller

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    Great trip report so far, thanks for taking the time to share with us!!
     
  17. 93 Octane

    93 Octane Low-Roller

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    Nice start can't wait to hear the rest, thx for sharing
     
  18. rutgers

    rutgers Tourist

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    Thanks!! Will pick some up! I have my own hangover trick involving alka seltzer and zofran LOL but this may be a better option. I used to use something called "chaser" but they took it off the market. Never had a hangover with that stuff. Ever. Can't wait to read more of your trip!!
     
  19. jamesxnj

    jamesxnj VIP Whale

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    Liking the read so far! OCD I can relate to..Though just a list of things to pack,do starting a week ahead of time..No app for daily expenses,pen and paper in the room.and agree with the ATM fees.I always worry about carrying too much and losing it whatever..Even car keys as I just noticed the spare on the table.Main keys in carry-on and spare in the suitcase and cash in the car to get out of airport parking just incase...
     
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  20. rosestara

    rosestara Tourist

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    Great report so far. I can't wait to read the rest
     
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