Although uneventful, my flight is nevertheless almost 45 minutes late and Wednesday has now turned into early Thursday morning. But as we descend through the clouds on our way to land, we pass by Luxorâ€™s high beam beacon and I utter a small sigh of relief. The Stripâ€™s bright lights have turned night into day. Itâ€™s early yet. A well-seasoned traveler, I have everything I will need packed tightly into my carry-on. So by-passing baggage claim, I am shortly free of the airport and standing at the shuttle stop, when my phone starts to ring. Itâ€™s Bill. Iâ€™m lateâ€¦ and heâ€™s calling to make sure I got in ok. Amid the roar of arriving passengers and their awaiting transportation, combined with the aftereffects of altitude adjustment, I can barely hear him and the shuttle driver is waving me onboard. Iâ€™ll call you when I reach the hotel. I scream into the phoneâ€¦ hoping he hears me. As a business consultant to the tourist industry in a former life, I can still travel quite frequently at insanely low prices. The jacket I brought home from Cache in the Forum Shops was nearly double the cost of my entire trip. (Although as it turned out, the jacket ended up costing me nothing. That story a little later.) The key to unlocking the freedom of regular travel is all about LOCATION. I require some necessities, but anything beyond that is merely window dressing. Lovely? Yes. But never having much time to spend admiring such luxury, I prefer more sensible accommodationsâ€¦ with a view the requires no dressing up. I knew the top floors of the Island Tower at Tropicana would provide such a view, so I smiled broadly as I approached the night clerk and my few requests were easily granted. Making my way through the small casino a short time later, I feel the energy of Vegas surround meâ€¦ and I find my second wind. Picking up the pace, I stride down the long hallway over the pool and past the now-closed buffet to a bank of elevators.â€¦ and my phone rings. Itâ€™s Bill again. We are headed down the strip just a little wayâ€¦ Mix, the new club high atop Mandalay Bay. Heâ€™s never been there yet, but heard the patio has a fantastic view. Heâ€™ll pick me up in front of my hotel. Just tell him what time. The elevator doors swing open and a party of happy travelers stumble out destined for their own early morning entertainment. Give me twenty minutes to change. I reply. Entering the elevator, I press 15 and the jing-jing-jing of the nearby slot machines quietly fades. As I quickly ascend past the lower tower, I turn toward the open face windows overlooking the strip and the beacon of freedom to many a weary traveler slowly emerges, the smiling face of Lady Liberty. Ahhhh yes... Vegas.