Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Way I'm Running Has Sure Got Me Down On My Knees Next Stop Vegas Please

I have a dilemma. It's not a bad dilemma. I'm definitely not complaining. It's just something that has been circling around in my head, distracting me from my (stupid!) (almost complete!) (but not quite!) accounting course. I need guidance so I can stop thinking (fretting) about it.

Shawn and I are going to Vegas in September for my lovely friend Cat's wedding. We booked our hotel (MGM) a few months ago because we wanted to take advantage of a promotional rate they were offering. So we booked the hotel but then our schedule changed a bit and it was significantly cheaper to fly into Vegas a few days earlier than planned, which has resulted in my dilemma. We are going to be in Vegas for a week, from Saturday to Saturday. We have a hotel room booked from Monday to Saturday. The Saturday and Sunday for which we do not have accommodation booked? Are the Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend. Meaning all the rooms in Vegas are stupid expensive for those two days. As in, it will cost us more to stay in Vegas for those 2 days than it is costing us to stay for the following 5 days. And we got a suite for those 5 days! A suite that is 24 square feet larger than our condo! So do we bite the bullet and curse the long weekend and just stay in an expensive hotel room? Or do we stay off-strip in a dodgy hotel (keeping in mind that I have an active imagination and I watch CSI and I do not want to get murdered.) Or do we rent a car the minute we land in Vegas and spend 2 days driving to the Grand Canyon? Renting a car and driving to the Grand Canyon really appeals to me (I've always wanted to go there and so has Shawn) but realistically, it will end up costing more than the 2 nights in a hotel in Vegas. Though it will provide more of an experience, right? Road trip! Grand Canyon! Route 66! Has anyone done the drive from Vegas to the Grand Canyon? Has anyone been to the Grand Canyon and been disappointed? Before this dilemma arose, our plan was to take a full-day bus tour from Vegas to the Grand Canyon - has anyone done a bus tour to the Grand Canyon from Vegas? I need stories, people. I need stories and experiences and informed advice.


  1. 5 days in Vegas is plenty. I say rent the car and go to the Grand Canyon. Sure, it'll be more $$, but otherwise you're just paying a lot of extra $ to stay in the same city for 2 more days that you already will be there for. Grand Canyon is something you don't get to see/do every day. (I'm DYING to go!)

  2. One of my friends lives in Vegas and has done the drive to the GC. She says it's awesome. I'm not sure how much time she set aside for the whole thing (probably a little more than 2 days) but she says it's beautiful. Although, keep in mind that depending on when (which season) you go, it could be a hot wet mess in the canyon because it gets insanely hot.

  3. I don't have specific experience with the drive, or the bus tours, but I say the Grand Canyon! For sure--even if it's more money, the experience is one that you CANNOT miss. And 5 days in Vegas is more than enough.

  4. When we lived in Sedona, AZ we used to make the drive to Las Vegas fairly regularly. It would be an easy drive from LV to the Grand Canyon.

    That being said, when people visited us in AZ they ALWAYS wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. I found that unless you have at least two days, or an entire day (morning to night) to spend there it can be a bit disappointing. The Grand Canyon is, well, grand in size and many of the awesome sites are not close to each other, or are hikes that take hours to do. It will be very hot, and the hair is thinner there due to high elevation, so you need to be prepared to do any hiking (packs, water, etc). If you just want to SEE the Grand Canyon (it really is awesome) then you can do it from Vegas.
    5 days in Vegas is more than enough time IN Vegas. There are a number of resorts that are on Lake Las Vegas that can be less expensive because people want to stay on the strip - they are quite fancy! fancy! and are better than a dodgy hotel, and we could sometimes stay there for less than $70/night (depending on the priceline rates, etc)

    Email me if you want more information or have questions.

  5. Grand Canyon! If we had stayed any longer, that's what we would have done.

    7 days in Vegas would melt my brain.

  6. We've always talked about doing the Grand Canyon on our Vegas trips, but it's REALLY far (about 8 hours). I wouldn't want to do 16 hours in a car in 2 days, but that's just me. On our trip there in May we went out to Red Rocks for a day, and it was lovely. It was only about 45 minutes, and it was nice to get out of the strip chaos. The nice part is almost all hotels have free parking if you get a rental car.

    If you just stay in Vegas, I'd stay those first days in downtown. We love it there for the much lower-key vibe, and it's MUCH cheaper. The Golden Nugget has one of the top 10 pools in the world because it goes through a shark tank!

  7. Grand Canyon for sure, if you can afford it. If you can't, then stay off-strip I guess! But you sound way more excited about the road trip than you do about spending those two days at a ridiculous rate in Vegas when you'll already be there for 5 more days. And dude, you'll be sick of Vegas before a week is out. It's fun for about 3 or 4 days, then you'll want to come home. So yeah... road trip!

  8. I have no informed opinions! But...go with what's cheapeast! If renting and driving to Grand Canyon is not cheaper than staying in an expensive hotel - what about that GC day trip expense? Add that in since you won't be taking that anymore.

    And...GC road trip sounds fun. Be adventurous!

  9. Grand Canyon. I did it on a Vegas trip, and it was so worth it - one of the most amazing "side trips" of my life.

    My thoughts:
    1. More than a few days in Vegas, and it starts to feel (to me) like you're experiencing the decline of civilization. Everything is expensive (food, gambling, shows, taxis). It is fun (SO FUN!) at first, but for me, at a certain point it suddenly gets really old really fast, and gives me a weird sense of anxiety.

    2. The Grand Canyon is amazing. Try to fit in other side trips/stops to your road trip if you can, because yeah, it can be a little bit of a drive. But it's a kooky drive, and if you're a road trip-py kind of couple (and not a "we must be within 200 feet of a Starbucks at all times" kind of couple) it's totally manageable and fun.

    3. As an alternative, you could stay somewhere downtown (Fremont St) in Vegas - those areas are still really touristy and not too murder-y. But then you'd still (if you're like me) run into the "Vegas feels sort of icky after 7 days" thing.

    4. I hope you have fun!!

  10. Lacey: I'm dying to go too! I'm just worried that we're trying to push too much into one trip (I'm in the wedding party so even though we've got the other 5 days in Vegas, I've got wedding responsibilities to take care of.)

    J: I do not love insanely hot and Shawn cannot function in the heat. Something we definitely need to factor into our decision!

    Ginger: I totally agree that 5 days in Vegas is enough - I'm just worried about doing too much and burning out before the wedding.

    Kate: I've never even heard of Lake Las Vegas! Definitely something to look into - thanks :)

    Angella: 7 days in Vegas would melt my brain (and liver!) too but we will have a bunch of wedding stuff to break up (or add to?!) the crazy. I really want to see the Grand Canyon, I'm just also really looking forward to relaxing (and 2 days in a hot car with Shawn is not relaxing. Trust me on this. He cannot even handle the Okanagan heat without tantrums.)

    Tia: The Golden Nugget is actually on our list of possible fixes. I'm just worried that it won't keep us occupied for 2 days, you know?

    Laura: I've only been to Vegas once before and I was so ready to leave after 3 days. This time around we'll have a lot of wedding stuff to keep us occupied so I don't think we'll get sick of it but I do want to do something different for the 2 days. The road trip just seems like a lot of work, you know? I'm pretty lazy.

    Jessica: My only concern with the road trip is that we'll be stressed for time - we have to be back in Vegas no later than 4pm on Monday for bachelorette party shenanigans. I'm just worried that we'll never get to the Grand Canyon if we don't make it this trip.

  11. Jane: I am worried about getting anxious. I feel like 7 days in Vegas could be bad for my soul for the exact reason you described. If the extra days were at the end of the trip - after the wedding - I'd definitely plan some sort of road trip. Because we only have 2 days, I'm worried that we'll have to drive straight to the Grand Canyon, spend the day and drive right back to Vegas. We land at 1pm on Saturday and have to be back in Vegas, in our hotel, ready for the bachelorette party at 4pm on Monday. Does that seem plausible?

  12. There is plenty to do for 2 days outside of Vegas, even if you don't go down to the GC. I think that you should rent a car for those 2 days and do something outside the city.

  13. Hmmmm This is quite a dilemma!

    I would say do the Grand Canyon -- because, like others have said, you will probably go crazy being in Vegas for more than five days... and you might regret not going if you never get the chance to go back. BUT -- 16 hours in a car in 2 days in the HEAT doesn't sound like fun. ACK! Maybe it's more like 12 hours .... six hours at a time sounds better than eight hours!

    Maybe the car won't be *too* hot because you'll be running the A/C ... and you'll have a chance to relax afterward during the five days in Vegas. Although you have wedding duties, I think you'll probably still have lots of time to relax. You would just have to go into it determined to have tons of fun & a great attitude during the crazy road trip!

    Here's a link that might be useful

    The link points out that if you go to the less popular North Rim as opposed to the South Rim, you can drive through Zion National Park! I love Zion! I reallly wanna go back one day!

    Good luck with your decision!

  14. Oh! Or southern Utah! You could drive to St. George, which is a cute little town and an affordable place to stay, as I recall, in a couple hours. I can't remember how far it is to Zion and Bryce from there, but holy cow are those amazing places. I suppose the Grand Canyon is, uh, grander, though.

  15. In my experience, money spent on traveling/experiences is money WELL spent! I vote rent a car and drive to the Grand Canyon - you're probably going to be sick of Vegas after 5 days anyways ;)

  16. I vote for the Grand Canyon trip, but please don't be one of the morons my father-in-law watched as they almost slipped off the cliff. I OX you too much. OX.

  17. oh definitely get out of vegas for those days! i've never been to the GC and it's a HUGE regret of mine. go for me! :) or i hear the hoover dam or lake mead are also nice day trips from the strip..

  18. Hmm, on second thought -- maybe you should just drive to Zion!

    You could stay here!

    Looks like Zion is only a three hour drive from Vegas.

  19. An extra two days in Vegas will burn you out. Maybe it's just cause I'm not a huge fan, but that doesn't even sound all that fun! Lake Las Vegas is supposed to be nice, though - I was almost sent to a conference there and a few of the hotels even have shuttles to the strip so you don't need a car.

    I would do the Grand Canyon, or ever just Sedona! Sedona is lovely, and very manageable in 2 days. AND it's only about 4 hours from Vegas. (I think the Grand Canyon is too, though, not sure why it took someone 8 hours...)

    SO yeah. If it were me, I'd do Sedona for the Sat/Sun (there's a really great Super 8 Hotel - sounds crappy, but it's actually quite nice), then go back to Vegas for your nice (cheap) suite!

  20. I don't have much advice to give except this: Vegas gets boring and depressing FAST. An entire 7 days in Vegas, especially during a long, touristy weekend, will make you sick of Vegas really, really fast.

    I'd say take the roadtrip (which sounds more fun to me, too), then come back to Vegas on Monday, when you'll have the town to yourselves and will appreciate a nice suite all the more after a sweaty two days in a car.

    Oh also? Hang out downtown. It's more fun than the strip.

    Good luck and have fun!

  21. My boyfriend lives in Las Vegas and my best friend, her husband and I are going out to visit him at the beginning of September. We are planning on driving to the Grand Canyon and he has told us it is a 4 hour drive.

    So of course, I say go for it!

  22. My boyfriend is from Vegas and my best friend, her husband and I will be visiting in early September. We plan to drive to the Grand Canyon which he said is a 4 hour drive.

    So naturally, I say go for it!