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The "Fun can be had with coupons" trip report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by timbre, Dec 9, 2013.

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  1. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Just got back from a weekend in Vegas. Haven't really ever posted a trip report so thought it might be fun. I’m not a big gambler. In fact I probably in my life put less money in a slot machine or at a table game than some people tip a single dealer. I come to Vegas for the food, shows, atmosphere, and people watching. I will use every coupon available, every discount I can find. For me that is the fun in the trip. I used Priceline for my hotel (that might have been a mistake) and searched for weeks for cheap airfare. Finally found two one way fares that when combined were way cheaper than any roundtrip I could find.
    Day One:
    Trip started off great. Got to girlfriends house at 4am on Thursday to pick her up and head to the airport. Found out she had been up all night packing. (what a way to start a vacation) Get to the airport with a bit of time to spare. Virgin America to LAX then on to Vegas. Flight was fairly uneventful other than our landing in LAX where I think the pilot forgot how fast he was going as he came in for landing.

    For anyone flying I really recommend Virgin. I just like how they fly. What they provide and all that jazz.

    Got into Vegas at noon. Got off the plane and wondered why I came to vegas... I left sub 30 degree weather to come to somewhere warmer. Headed over to the car rental counter. Now I work for one of the companies that rents cars... Employee rates are great. Reserved a economy car and walked out the door with a bright orange Challenger.

    Forgot to mention this is the girlfriends 1st trip to vegas.

    Leaving the airport we had to head over to pick up our LVA coupon book. Got it on sale the day before we left. GPS is wonderful until you think you know where you are going and don't listen to it. Left there and decided to go up towards the Stratosphere and drive down the entire strip. I'm heading south down the strip pointing out all the places along the way. Her eyes are getting bigger and bigger as more and more comes into view. As we pass PH I almost hit the car in front of me because I am now staring at 13 Nascar Sprint Cup Series cars sitting on the side of the road. I should have know something from the Sprint Cup car sitting in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Now this has my attention. I'm a average fan of NASCAR. I don't watch every race but I keep up on it.

    Hurried to the Tropicana to check in and find out what was going on in town. Now as I mentioned earlier I had booked my hotel from Priceline. The gf is a HHonors member so we thought that might help out. Again forgot that by booking with Priceline one screws oneself out of most upgrades and discounts. Figured the $20 trick might be worth a shot so handed it over to the cashier with my ID and CC. His eyes lit up and he started typing. He finally settled on a room on the 18th floor in the main tower. Room wasn’t ready but he promised to call when it became available for us. We found out that NASCAR was going to be on the streets and burnouts/doughnuts in the two intersections. Since there was no room for us we grabbed out cameras and coats and headed down to PH. We got some really good spots on the edge of the overpass looking across at Aria. Waited for what felt like forever but it was well worth it. Just to hear those cars start and drive up and down the street was amazing.

    By now it’s close to 5pm and we have still not heard from out hotel. Time to head back and sort out that mess. Took a long shortcut and walked through part of the Miracle Mile shops. GF is completely blown away by the shops. Didn’t stop in many but there were a few that she has never been able to go into on the west coast. On our way back the gf stops at the Tickets 4 Tonight booth and buys us Blue Man Group. I have wanted to see this show for over seven years so this was special for me. Time to go figure out our room and dinner before the show.

    So for me here’s where my Vegas fun starts… How much can I save as I vacation. BMG tickets normally $137, picked them up for $74 each…

    Savings here $126

    Back to Tropicana, they forgot to call me about the room being ready.. for the hassle of not being able to check in on time and the forgotten phone call they waive all the resort fees for the stay. (another $76 in savings)
    Finally in the room and change. Start considering options for dinner and decide that there is just not enough time for a full meal. Take the Challenger (did I mention I love driving this car) and run over to In-n-Out for dinner. Burger and fries later time to head to the show.

    Show was amazing. All that I had hoped for and more. After the show we were still hungry so decided it was time to break out the LVA coupon book. Decided on Ellis Island as we could use both a 2/1 food coupon and a $10 free play. Had dinner (really really good fish and chips) and got a players card. Also got a $10 free play off a spin after playin $1 in the slots. Walked away with about $10 cash after the two free plays. Plus won the original $1 back.

    Slot Winning: $11 in pocket. Cash outlay $0 (not a bad start). Savings on dinner $10

    Back to hotel about 1am and time for bed. It’s been a long first day. I think the gf is in shock over everything in Vegas already. Thus ends day one………

    Total savings for day one $212 plus $11 slot winnings.
     
  2. gambler

    gambler VIP Whale

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    Good start timbre! I like playing the savings game too, I consider it a game unto itself when in Vegas. I rely more on comps than coupons but get the same rush as you when scoring a deal.

    Looking forward to the rest of the story!
     
  3. hillwood24

    hillwood24 High-Roller

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    Great start! I love couponing also! On my last trip, I purchased show tickets and restaurant gift cards and coupons on eBay and saved a small fortune over the course of my trip.

    Also, I'm super jealous that you got to see the NASCARs burnout. I'm a huge fan and would have loved to be there during NASCAR week.

    Can't wait to read the rest of your report!
     
  4. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Good first day, Timbre ... always the toughest, with the travel, rental car, and hotel arrangements. Nice that the Trop waived the resort fee after forgetting about you.

    Coupons ??? I LOVE coupons ... just read my November report !!

    Looking forward to more of your report .....

    "Buddha"
     
  5. LV2GAMBLE

    LV2GAMBLE Low-Roller

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    Love to hear more about your trip. We were in LV last week and DH watched the race down the strip. We thought about going DT to fan fest but glad we didn't as they expected 10K people and a guy on the plane on the way home said he had to walk through the back alley way to get form hotel to hotel....no thanks!

    We love saving $$ on our trips and we either had a coupon, groupon, or myvegas for all meals except one last week....and we were there for a week!!! Talk about savings...

    Just to rub it in...our next trip will be in March for the NASCAR race....our tickets came in the mail last week while we were in Vegas seeing NASCAR championship week...wonder if LVMS planned it that way.

    Keep up the good work
     
    Always seems so far away............
  6. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    Day Two

    Rolled out of the room by 11am. We had only found the MyVegas game about a month before the trip. Not knowing what the gf would like when we got there I held off on redeeming any of the LP until we got to Vegas. Decided that lunch at a buffet would be a good start to the day. (A side note, my gf is pescitarian so menu choices are sometimes limited. This will come into play later) After reading reviews and looking at our LP rewards we decided to try The Buffet at Aria. I personally had not been inside Aria as my last trip to Vegas was during the time they were still building it. We drove over to Aria (we both have back issues so as much as I love walking the strip I figured to that saving the back for when we had to walk as a good thing.)

    I can’t say enough good things about The Buffet. The food was excellent, many of the items are gluten free. I was happy for a good buffet. The gf was happy that there were a ton of things that she could eat. I could keep on going on about the buffet but we all know food is good. The must have items from this one… the Naan was incredible. The mac n cheese… was like eating a block of melted Velveeta with some noodles tossed in for good measure. And make sure if you like peanut butter to get the chocolate peanut butter cake pop.

    2 for 1 buffet coupon (19,500lp) for a savings of just shy of $30

    Now that we are almost uncomfortably stuffed it’s time to show the gf Vegas. Drive over to Bellagio and head inside. I was wanting to show her the conservatory since the Christmas display the last time I was in Vegas at Christmas was amazing. Well they are still installing it so I guess it’s on to another casino. As we made our way out front the fountains were going. We were able to make it down to the front for the last half of Con te Par (can’t remember how to spell it) It’s one of my favorite fountain songs. Immediately after there was another song that I don’t remember. We hung around the front of the fountain watching a few street performers. Gf got cold so we walked back into Bellagio for a few minutes then came back out and watched another fountain show. I guess because of the rodeo in town they were playing country music. After the fountain show we headed down the steet for the Forum Shops. Headed into Caesar’s and of course the gf has to comment about the rather large pearl necklace on the statue in the lobby. We also heard about 4 other people commenting about the same thing. (sorry… my one raunchy thing for the report)

    Forum shops as always are fun to browse. The gf was in awe I think of some of the stores that she had only heard about but never had seen. I was headed towards the Atlantis show, yet the gf kept pulling me into galleries and shops. We made it to the Atlantis end with about 3 minutes of the show remaining… Oh well she got to see fire inside a mall (you will notice as the report goes on how I seem to miss everything by 5 minutes). While standing here I remember the escalators on the other end of the mall. Now I’m on a trek to show her something new. Her back was starting to hurt so we had to take a few stops along the way. But when we got to the other end it was like two kids in a candy store. She wanted to go up and down those spiral escalators. I think we did the full three floors about 4 times.

    Next up was the Venetian. For me the outdoor ice rink and the performers was a new thing. In some ways I felt it took away from the magic of how this casino is set up. Not sure if in Venice there would be laser light projections and a electronica dance beat and violins. Wandered in and around for a bit then surprised the gf with a gondola ride. Bought two tickets and lucked out into a boat of our own.

    Venetian gondola ride $36. Own boat normally $75. Savings even though it wasn’t requested $39

    By this time it was close to 7pm. We were finally both a bit hungry and I decided it was time to head to Fremont St. So back through as many casinos as possible to stay warm since the car was still parked at Aria. Decided to stop back in the Bellagio to see the Christmas display. All was going well until we got under the little water fountains. (the ones that arc over the walkway) Some 12-13 y/o girl behind us decides to put her hand in one to see what happens. Just as it happens I hear what I later figured out was her mom egging her on to do it. Now both myself and the gf carry full frame pro cameras… at any given time we are usually carrying about 5-7k of camera gear each. Both cameras can run in full on rainstorms but we usually run different lens’ on them and are careful how they are used. So this was an unexpected shower as the arc of water fell apart when she stuck her hand in it. Both cameras got direct hits of water. We were both upset. I went over and tried to talk to the dad who was standing there laughing… he just turned away and walked off. Sure it’s fun to put your hands in fountains…. But do it where others aren’t affected. Took about 20 minutes to get the lens and body dried out to my satisfaction.

    Got up to Fremont and parked. Decided that since we were there and hungry we would use a coupon for the 4 queens. Didn’t fare to well with the $5 free play but still walked out with $2 cash.

    Dinner 2 for 1 coupon… savings $10. $5 slot freeplay $2 cash.

    Had a few more freeplay coupons but forgot that most players clubs close at midnight. Guess we stuffed enough into one day. Back to the hotel to shower and rest our aching backs.

    Total savings for day two $69 plus $2 slot winnings.

    Next up Day Three and the worst food experience I have had in Vegas ever.
     
  7. IWannaBeInVegas

    IWannaBeInVegas VIP Whale

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    Nice report so far. Curious waft your age ranges are
     
    Tentative Arrival
  8. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    Dayum! But I had to laugh...as it IS only water...:evillaugh
    Ohh and since you had those cameras...pics is a must!
     
    Palace Tower Suite!
  9. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    I'm 40 and the girlfriend is 37
     
  10. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    I normally would have been laughing... but with a $1k lens that wasn't designed to be anywhere near water...... that part sucked. :)

    Oh, pictures will come. Have to have time to sit down and edit
     
  11. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    Day Three

    Started off pretty much the same. Lazy morning in the room. Looked around for a few more deals and settled on a Groupon for 2 for 1 at the Spice Market Buffet. Saturday morning brunch sounded good and I had always had good food at the Spice Market. Drove over, parked way the heck in the back, had to walk through most of the Miracle Mile. I posted a review elsewhere about the Spice Market. Let’s just say I will never set food in that buffet again. Not to mention it made both of us rather sick.

    2 for 1 Groupon $43.00 included all you can drink so total would have been $60 + $24 so a $45 savings.

    Made it back to the car with a few bathroom stops. The buffet did not treat us well at all. Not at all. After sitting in the car for a while we went back to the room to freshen up.

    The night before we didn’t take our cameras to Fremont so figured we would do that and use up the remaining free play coupons we had. Upon arriving we first stopped at the Tickets for Tonight booth to see what we could find. The gf really wanted to see a topless review. I’ve seen a few of them in the past so we decided on Crazy Girls.

    2 Crazy Girls tickets $64 normally $106 savings $42

    And now the pressure was on. Time to hit 4 casinos in less than 2 hours to get in all of our free play and make it back to the Riv. For the show. First up was Binions. $10 free play here. Came away with $10. Next up the street to Las Vegas Club. $5 here netted $6, Up to the end to the Plaza for another $5 free play. Not so good here and walked with only $1.83. Hoofed it down to the east end of Fremont to El Cortez for our last $10 in free play. Came out with just under $20. We had talked to a guy in one of the shaving stores in the Venetian and he had recommended to go see what was called Container Park. We took a couple pictures from across the street including the fire shooting grasshopper. We wanted to go look but time was running out to get to the Riv for the show. Will come back to container park in a bit.

    Slot winnings… $37.83

    Made it back to the Riv in time for the show. Gf was still having issues more than likely related to brunch earlier. Show was good but nothing stupendous. In my opinion the girls were just a tad bit on the thin side… Very small audience but a good performance. I was surprised to see such a low budget and so outdated of a show. I guess you get what you pay for.

    On the way out of the casino the gf spotted a bank of slot machines surrounding a Camaro. She wanted to just try. We put in a $5 (I’m not that much of a gambler. I have done 5 vegas trips totaling close to 30 days and in total I think I have put less than $100 into slot machines or table games) After about 15 minutes of up and down we are up $25… Well no car but a few bucks in our pockets.

    Slot winnings $25

    I have to admit something here. I’m 40; yup the big dark four zero….. and have never in my life set foot in a strip club. The gf and I had talked about this a few times and decided why not. Go big or go home while in Vegas. Our plans after the Crazy Girls show was to head for Saphire. We were both finally starting to get hungry. Well at least I was, the gf was still a bit sick. We looked up and found a Raising Cain’s that was still open (I love their chicken) and headed over there. After eating we headed back to the room so she could change into more appropriate evening wear. Started talking and thinking, both of us were still a little worse for wear after the brunch buffet disaster. After looking at all of the strip clubs in the area and going back and forth for a while we decided that it was just possibly not the best idea. Next trip no bad buffets and a better plan to maximize a strip club visit. We decided just to head down to the casino floor and hit a couple of machines and get a drink or two. This would be my one and only loosing moment on the strip. $5 each into our favorite machines…. A few ups and downs but in the end came out with nothing. Oh well I guess that is a sign of why I don’t usually put money into a slot machine. G’night world. Tomorrow is the last day and still way to many things to accomplish.

    Slot Losses -$10

    Total savings for Day 3 $87 in discounts. Slot winnings on free play coupons $37.83. Slot winnings on hard cash $15

    Next up Day 4. The mad rush to see a few final things. The push to make a plane on time and delayed flights.
     
  12. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    Fantastic. I'm enjoying this report.
     
  13. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    Day 4 Final rush and airplaine jet wash.

    After the rather late night having to wake up earlier than normal was a bit hard. So much to do on the last day yet so little time.

    We headed back to Fremont to go look at the Container Park. For anyone who is scratching their heads this is an area just past El Cortez that is brand new. It opened about a week ago. The head guy at Zappos wanted to build this and I will say that it is incredible. Talk about a neat concept. All the buildings and walkways are made from shipping containers. Each store is inside a container. There is a really cool treehouse for the kids to play on. Again all made from containers. They have food, art, and looks like the have the ability for outdoor concerts. Both the gf and I were impressed with the sustainability that was built into the park and the concept and execution. If only I have a few million laying around I would quickly start one of these somewhere in the Seattle area.

    After wandering the shops for a while we decided to head back to the strip to get our last lunch and head for the plane. We were thinking of doing Cravings at the Mirage but we also had 2/1 tickets to the Shark Reef. After some deliberation and u-turns we settled on heading straight to the Shark Reef to get that in then we could grab lunch on the way to the airport.

    Shark Reef Companion Ticket from MyVegas $18 savings


    If you haven’t been before you owe it to yourself to make the trek and see this. I had heard mixed reviews about it from people hating it to people saying it takes about 15 minutes to go through. It is one of the best kept aquariums that I have been to. If a fish could look happy I would say they all do here. We could have spent most of the day just watching the fish. However we still had lunch to find and a plane to catch. We only spent about 2 hours here.

    After the shark reef it was a mad dash. We had spent more time than we thought we would. Punch up El Pollo Loco on the GPS and head there. Line took forever but we got some food and ran for the plane. Made it just in time to board. LAS to LAX was an ok flight only had to sit on the tarmac for about 15 minutes in Vegas then another 15 in LA waiting for our gate to clear. Then a mad dash across the airport to make the next flight which was then delayed. The flight from LA to Seattle was ok, except for when we flew into the jet wash of another plane and had a really bumpy ride.

    Well that about does it for this trip. Final tallies:

    Savings via coupons, My Vegas, etc $347

    Slot Winnings via free play $75.83

    Slot Winnings with hard cash $15
     
  14. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

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    Enjoyed your report! I know you said you don't gamble much, but you seem like a prime candidate for using Slot Play Coupons (dot com) on your next trip. With your discipline and if you choose the right game (JOB VP, for instance), there's almost no way you wouldn't make money on the endeavor.
     
  15. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Sounds like you had a great time!

    Hopefully you have a 'rider' on your homeowners or renters insurance for your cameras & lenses (?). Both my son & I have a rider on our policies for our $$ cameras. And he also has for his golf clubs after one set was stolen from his garage (a rider pays a lot better than just a claim on the regular policy).
     
  16. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    Oh they do have their own insurance policy. That is a must have.
     
  17. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    ok now to look stupid.... Whats JOB VP? I know it's some sort of video poker
     
  18. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

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    "Jacks or Better" video poker, a game with low variance, which makes it an attractive option for "playing through" your $50 in slot credit (which only cost you $25 – or even slightly less, if you find a promo code). BTW, the only Vegas casino that offers SlotPlayCoupons is the Palms.
     
  19. timbre

    timbre Tourist

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    Here are a couple of pictures from the Nascar event on day one. I have more but only had time this morning to throw a few up on SkyDrive.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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