I have been to Vegas 5 times now, but this will be my first TR. Thanks to all for the informative board. We are relatively low rollers and stretch our dollars by using tips found here and am sure this has enabled us to get to Vegas more than once a year. I prefer the category method, so read only what you care to. It is long winded, so be forewarned. Getting there and back Departed Wednesday June 24th returned July 2nd. We drove from home in southern Ontario to the dog sitter’s place to drop of our two Whippets and then headed to Detroit Metro for our flight with Northwest. The drive was quite easy – lots of speed traps with the construction ongoing outside of Windsor, but no major delays despite some single lane sections. Customs was a breeze both ways. As usual I get on the wrong highway in Detroit and have to backtrack to get back on I94…. I wish the construction detours were more clearly labeled! Parked at US Park on Middlebelt. Very efficient service – the shuttle was waiting for us within 1 minute of parking. Driver also provided us with directions on how to pick up the bus upon return which was there within 2 minutes of arrival as well. Cost for 7 days and 20 hours was only $60 as I printed off a coupon from their website that gave us 1 day free. This saved us $17 off. I would recommend this lot. Flights were alright. Managed to snag exit row seats both out and back from Vegas. Tickets for the flight were a bargain at $167 roundtrip, but the exit row seats were $35 a piece each person, each way! Seems a tad hefty, but I am not the smallest girl at 6ft tall and lets just say not even close to skinny so the extra room is worth it for me and thus my DH is not subjected to me complaining about how I was a squished up human pretzel for 5ish hours. NWA planes are not the newest – but they get the job done. If you are taking a domestic Boeing 757 don’t wait to board – get on there ASAP as the overhead bins are for some strange reason undersized so regular rollerboards have to be squeezed in. This is important to us as we only do LEGAL size carry on for out trip and hate to gate check. Delta and NWA are merging so all their flights tend to be packed. Bring along your own snacks as two cookies and a can of soda/pop is all you get. Overall no complaints about Northwest – no frills airline. I do wish they had IFE like Westjet and Air Canada, but again for $167 I can go without it! Also, the new Detroit terminal is very nice. Car rental I had been searching for a good rental rate for a while and piled up some coupons and managed to snag a compact for $148 all-in for 1 week and 1 day with Alamo. I was happy with this. We have usually had a midsize or larger, but decided to keep the cost down as only the two of us ever use the car. Also the last couple times we paid for our car class Alamo has not had the car in stock and have offered us upgraded vehicles at no charge. So I gambled and we show up to a choice of 3 Kia Rios and 1 PT Cruiser. Hate the PT Cruiser, so got the Kia Rio. Nothing wrong with the car really, just not my favourite. Gambled and didn’t really win. No power windows….. can live with that, we have AC. No power locks – uggghhhh spent half the week asking if DH had locked the car. No power mirrors and every time I closed my door the mirror would move…. A little aggravating for a car with 1800 miles on the odometer! So the car is very basic…… then we discover a strange contrast…. We have Sirius satellite radio for no extra charge. Bonus. Would still prefer power locks! Small engine that seemed to use a lot of gas – we spent $36 on gas and the odometer showed we traveled only 230miles…. Not as efficient as I would hope for being that it is a little car. :confused2: Used the Alamo kiosk which is super easy and fast and didn’t have to show or hand over my coupons so can use them for next time. Had a strange shuttle bus driver who preached over the loudspeaker the whole trip about not being stuck on the strip which is a tourist trap and we all need to get off strip and see what the locals see. Fine by me, we have ventured all over Vegas, but other customers seemed to not enjoy the speech. Hotel Ok, so not everyone is a fan of the IP, but that’s where we were comped the most, so off we go. We got all our offers and comps simply by playing poker at Caesars Windsor over the last 5 months or so. I got the first 5 days at reduced rate - $15 for weekdays, $25 for weekends. DH got 3 free days so we joined forces to keep our costs down. At check in the reservation is wrong. They want $35 for the weekend. No big deal, $20 difference but there is the principle here. All the documentation I have from the IP does not list the prices quoted at all. (Someone else had posted about this problem before as well.) The check-in lady was pretty well unhelpful (I am trying not to say useless and unfriendly) and showed little interest in my concern. I am not about to waste my afternoon in Vegas for $20 so I accept. I ask her to link our reservation so we don’t have to check out (we have $ in our hand), well in 2 seconds flat she tells me this is not possible. Whatever. We eventually did get our reservation linked by going to the front desk on Saturday at 3am with nothing happening and waving a $10 bill asking for assistance so we don’t have to check out. Worked like a charm. Cleared the whole matter up in minutes and never had to do a thing for the remainder of the week. The comped room was for a deluxe, but we didn’t want to pack up so got the lady to downgrade us (she seemed concerned about this for some reason) to the room we were already in. I applied the $53 I had on my TR card and the hotel ended up costing us a ridiculous $33 for the week. We spend literally our sleeping time in the room and an hour to wash up morning and night – simple hotel folk we are. Don’t care about pools or gyms or room service etc. This is not the place for everyone, but it was completely satisfactory for us especially for the price and because we had wheels to get around. We asked for a quiet room so got room 1501. This is a standard room at the end of the hall with a balcony over the IP pool. No noise complaints at all. Two double beds. No pillowtops, but satisfactory. We slept dead to the world in the bed – now perhaps that’s from too much Vegas life and not a direct function of the bed’s quality. It’s a pretty basic setup. AC worked great. Small TV that played the Price is Right while we got showered and dressed. (Drew is working out!) The bathroom was in need of an update, but it was clean. The sink was definitely in need of replacement as the paint (do sinks have paint?) was starting to peel off. The toilet would at random run for 10 seconds – once I got used to it that was fine. Hated the toilet seat. It was a public washroom U-shaped thing with the front section cutout. I prefer a full seat with a lid for some reason, but hey, this is not a breaking point for me. The first night the hot water in the shower was barely tepid, but the rest of the week was fantastic and excellent water pressure. Maid service did not bug us – we only got the room cleaned every 3 days or so. We left her a $4 tip and a thank you note and have never seen so many towels and shampoos and soaps piled on a vanity before without asking! First night a fire alarm went off at 140am, we had just got back to our room, so it didn’t wake us, but I would be ticked if it had. I read this post http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/289078-how-survive-hotel-fire.html about surviving hotel fires before this trip which is very interesting – so when the fire alarm goes off and they tell you to stay put, I was a little hesitant. Was over within 15 minutes. There are no safes in room, so we had a lock box downstairs which was quite easy and not inconvenient at all. The parking garage is not very easy to find and I spent my time being paranoid about getting hit by another car, which thankfully never happened. The spots are really quite small (then again we have a small car!). We used the stairs frequently to avoid elevator delays for the parking garage which were nothing compared to the hotel. Definitely use the second set of elevators behind the first to get up and down from your room during regular hours. We really only left and returned from the hotel once per day, so we didn’t really struggle with the waits. I would say this is a bit of a pain in the a$$ is you are coming and going frequently. The casino floor is a bit smoky which I am sensitive to, so we didn’t spend copious amounts of time here. The dealertainers are hilarious. I couldn’t even guess who some of them were – but then again my music knowledge is scant. Everyone at the IP seems to have a good time, so the people vibe is quite good. Some of the other places tend to be a little stodgy. Food We are ACG and LVA fans, so we ate using many of these coupons. We are not foodies at all. We tended to have buffet at lunch and then eat a late meal or snack. We don’t feel the urge to stuff ourselves at the buffets since we pay such ridiculously low prices for our meals. Despite trying to make a breakfast meal at least once in our trip the earliest we ever ate was noon. Ate at Orleans and Gold Coast which were both good. Steak night at Orleans was about $15 for two. Never even ate steak. Gold Coast was $8 for two. Hard to complain when its so so cheap. We ate at Silverton numerous times as we both enjoy their buffet and vibe and the DH is a fisherman so Bass Pro Shops is a must see. Silverton has an excellent promotion through July 25th where at any eatery in Silverton show your Discovery Players Card and it is BOGO. We ate there numerous times 2 for $9.70. Fantastic and we get to save our coupons for next time. Used the BOGO from LVA for Carnival Buffet at Rio which was about $25 for two. Was impressed by the variety of food, but can say I would be a little disappointed in the quality for the price if we had paid full price. First thing I noticed was the carpeted floor was littered with debris which I would assume was from lunch as we were there at around 545pm. Not a great impression. Also the service was minimal as we returned to our table and each time had our dirty plates piled high from previous sittings. Also the tables were so close together we felt a part of other people’s dinner conversations. The room also got louder and extremely rowdy as our meal progressed. We are not party poopers, but this buffet was just not really what we expected. Had Main Street Station BOGO again thanks to the coupon we got from a link on one of the posts here. Was quite excellent and again very cheap. For the first time had Golden Nugget Buffet as had a BOGO from LVA. Was about $19 for two. Was not impressed. It was ok, but nothing amazing and slightly overpriced in my opinion. By far MSS is better than the GN buffet for all those that want to compare. There wasn’t a great selection at the GN. The server was polite, but I found most of the other staff rude. The cashier couldn’t even muster a hello and didn’t speak one word to us. We have never been there, so a little direction would have been appreciated. Also the turkey carver had control over the gravy and felt it his duty to comment on what was on customers’ plates and quantities etc whilst applying the gravy. Ticked me off as I asked for gravy on my potatoes and he proceeds to pour a gallon all over everything on my plate. MMM yams with gravy, asparagus salad with gravy…..nuhuh. I only take what I will eat and don’t like to see waste and here this guy is ruining my plate. A$$. Had a few things we had never had before. Heard about In ‘N Out Burger so gave that a shot. Was good and cheap. Didn’t care for the fries. Was a scammer in the parking lot asking for money since his daughter had a heart attack and the car was broken down and blah blah and can he have gas money. He goes for the softies – asking all the women. DH was around to stop me from reaching for a buck. He was still there smoking when we left. Also tried Jack in the Box. We are not fast food people at all, so two burgers in one week was a lot. Jack in the Box was good. The size of the drink container was absurd. I have never had so much soda/pop(for us Canadians) in one cup before. Have been meaning to have the deep fried Twinkie or Oreo every trip, but never made it there. Twice we went to get one from Mermaids downtown and once they were closed (at midnight!) and the other time it was 30 minutes before closing so they wouldn’t sell it to us. (?) I guess we weren’t meant to try them. Had the California Hotel CafÃ© late night special once. Had the $4 chicken strips which were excellent. The line up here is a little silly around the time the special starts so I wouldn’t go out of my way around midnight to eat there. Also tried to eat at the renovated El Cortez CafÃ© one night. The late night menu stinks. Very limited, so wouldn’t go out of the way to eat there again. Had Lanai Express from Fremont instead which was alright. The hot dogs there are super long! Tried out Arizona Charlie’s Decatur with a two for one coupon. Nothing special at all. Very simple buffet. Played slots for bit – seemed to have a better payout than Downtown or Strip. They gave us a bag each for signing up and they would cover your slot loss up to $100 for the first day with the card. We ended up leaving the bags in Vegas – no use for them plus we do carryon only and left up a few bucks. The one meal we paid full price for (almost) was at Todai Sushi in the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile. About $30 per person all you can eat sushi, seafood and some other Asian foods. Some limited American food. The sushi was actually very good. We both had a fantastic meal and tried many things we hadn’t had before. We were both disappointed in our buffet skills though – we both could only pack in a plate and a half. I had a $5 off coupon here for signing up to there club on their website. (It’s only good for 30 or so days after you sign up, so sign up close to your trip.) Overall we enjoyed this meal. Gambling We were both losers this time. NL Texas Hold’em Poker was not good to us at all. DH hit two high hands during the trip for a couple hundred. We both had a hard time getting and hitting cards, but we enjoy poker so it was still a fun time. Played all over. MGM, Hard Rock, Caesars, Venetian, Binions (who didn’t seem to dock our comp dollars for the things we bought at the gift shop last time so had a balance there still. Bonus!), Golden Nugget (where strangely a fire alarm went off as well), IP, Flamingo, Ballys, PH…….We went over to the Rio to see the $50k HORSE which was awesome. Played slots and VP but again, biggest hits never really covered the costs. Played some $3 BJ downtown. How are you supposed to win when blackjack pays 3-2 and the machine is constantly shuffling the cards? Played some PaiGow and roulette as well. Lost there. Did try Texas Hold’em Bonus table game, but didn’t last long. How come they pay 30 to 1 for getting pocket aces when the dealer has pocket aces and you only get aces 1 every 230 or so hands? I guess that’s how casinos make money! We left our $ in Vegas this time, so we will have to go back to get it….maybe November! Played most of our matchplays and slotplays from our coupon books. Hooters is not really worth it for the $200 slotplay IMO. We played $5 machines that lasted about 2 minutes flat. Put money on craps and doubled up our matchplay at the Plaza. Did BJ matchplay too. We have two ACG books so one of us would choose black and the other red and that way we are pretty close to assured we get our money back and freeroll the rest. The freeplays alone pay for the coupon books. One of the favourite places to play slots is the El Cortez as you can play forever on your $ there. We had $10 slotplay each that lasted for more than an hour on VP. It is very smoky there though which is a problem for me. We found a little alcove and played away without having people puffing away next to us. Miscellaneous Went to the Outlet Stores for the first time ever. We are not shoppers – I hate it, but it was good to see what was going on. I didn’t really spot any monster deals, then again, I am not a shopper, nor am I concerned with brands in particular. Is it me or does anyone else find PH filled with people who all look the same and act the same? Its like totally hot! Same hot hairdos and same outfits and fake boobs everywhere. Like. Totally! Very android-like and certainly no one going for a unique style or even individuality. I sat at the poker table said hello and I was basically ignored by all these “hot” people that seemed to think they were too cool for a 30 year old, average looking woman. Usually at the poker table I find a mix of people from different backgrounds – old and young, much more diverse - who all seem to have a common interest in cards and are usually welcoming or at least cordial. Didn’t get that at PH at all.:Ãž Does anyone in Vegas know what a Stop sign is? Despite half the city having reduced lanes due construction we found traffic to be good this time. What is with the rude waitresses? I am talking especially about the older lady working the Flamingo Poker Room. Without customers you have no job, so when I ask for a drink don’t curse me out under your breath thinking I can’t hear you….. I think she thought I couldn’t hear her as I was sitting with two poker players who were hearing impaired and had to write their orders down for her. This ticked me off. I spoke loud enough to ensure she heard me say that I don’t appreciate that crappy attitude and if she wants to be a bitch go somewhere else and don’t bother bringing me a drink. She kept walking away. Left shortly after and never saw her again. I am there to enjoy myself, not put up with that. Curse me out where I can’t hear you at the very least! Geez. Gives all those good service industry people a bad name. (PS playing with the hearing impaired was a great experience for me – puts the able back in disabled.) Why do you take kids to Vegas? We watched the Rio Show in the Sky. I don’t have kids, but I was surprised at the number of children at an overtly sexual show. Granted nowhere was there any advisory of adult content – only be careful of flying beads. The couple in the balloon was heavily groping 5 feet from us. I just don’t see where kids fit in other than wave pools and rollercoasters. We arrived in Vegas during a thunderstorm and got to see the city flood and come to a crawl! If you play poker always check who your chip runner is – read their name and look at them. At Ballys a guy gave his money to the man who seated him. Obviously when his chips didn’t arrive he asked where they were, but he couldn’t say which chip runner had taken his $300. After a while it was determined that his money had been given to a young man at another table who didn’t say anything and kept them. Luckily the guy who was given the chips erroneously didn’t get up and leave right away! I figure it would be the casinos fault, but you never know how that works! Loads of Europeans in Vegas for the WSOP and I suppose the great exchange on the US dollar. Had a great meal at Silverton for lunch but had the misfortune of being seated next to a Christian preacher (not sure if this is his profession, but he sure spoke like he knew). I have no bias against Christians nor is any offense intended at all – but this man went on and on to his tablemates in what seemed to be a loudish voice intended for all to hear for the duration of the meal about how Jesus exists and how he spreads his will and how people need to pray and how he (the man) knows how things happen before they happen because Jesus told him. He felt he needed to repeat it because a lady had apparently told him earlier to keep his voice down to a more appropriate level. Believe whatever you want, but please do you have to push it? And as a final thought…. Live in the moment and always be grateful for what you have! Even though I lost money in Vegas, I had a great time. I thought I was unlucky, but really I am lucky. I have had a very stressful couple of weeks of late as the week before our Vegas trip my father unexpectedly “died” and had to be resuscitated with CPR and electric shock and was in a coma for a while. He is now recovering thankfully. My mom insisted we go on our trip. The day after we left home for Vegas a tornado went through the field behind our house. It was an F2 – and we don’t live in a tornado alley! My coworkers live down the street and caught it on tape. That’s what you want to hear on vacation – your house was in the path of a tornado! Thankfully it passed by and we are unscathed. You can check it out at "www.youtube.com/watch?v=jshaNt278pI&feature=related" (Sorry. You will have to copy and paste that address into your browser. I couldn't get the link to work any other way.) All this considered I guess I am lucky after all. Enjoy that Vegas trip like it could be your last! Don’t wait to do something on the next trip – go for it!