There are some places in the United States, even in different countries that I have always wanted to travel to. Las Vegas was one of those places. It wasn't even so much the gambling aspect of Vegas as it was just everything else there is to do and see there!
First off I must say that neither my husband nor I have been on an airplane before. So there's that. If it was up to me and we had infinity time, I would have loved to drive across country. Though, only having so much time, we didn't have time to waste, so we both took our first plane ride together. You ask people that have been on planes before what to expect. After everything they have said about take off, during flight and landing, I must say it wasn't as bad as I imagined it to be.
Being as we were on somewhat of a budget, we took the plane out of Cleveland, OH instead of our local airport in Pittsburgh, PA. It really felt like such a long trip to get there but we made it and then the nerves set in.
Our first ever flight was through Frontier Airlines. It was an airbus, but big enough for me as I have never been on a plane, it was a great start. It was really a relaxing flight as I was not expecting too much as I didn't have expectations from prior flights. It took approximately 5 hours to get to Vegas. My husband said there was at one point a time while we were in the air that he got a little scared, as there was another airline right out the window very close to our plane.
As we landed in Vegas, the adrenaline kicked in... we were here. We were ready to experience Vegas. Though, it was 11PM!
Now, I just want to advise you, I did have everything booked before we came here. Flights were booked about 3 weeks in advance, the hotel was booked around the same time, and the rental car (that we didn't even need til we left for Arizona) was booked about 2 months out. Our rental car was booked at a great price. We were paying less than 200$ for 1 week with a drop off in Phoenix. Great right? After calling twice to make sure everything was correct and what we needed upon pickup, everything was in order.
Until we got there.
We go up to the Hertz rental car counter in the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, after a 5 hour flight, 4 hour drive to Cleveland, OH, and it is 11PM. We had the worst time ever trying to pick up our car. They took my booking itinerary, looked at it really oddly, left and went to speak to someone else and then came back. They asked for my ID and card I booked with. Then demanded I had to have a credit card to pick up the car. When I was on the phone prior to our trip, they told me that a credit card was not needed, that my debit card I used to book with would be sufficient and a hold would be placed until return. That is exactly how I have booked with Hertz before. Without problem. They then left the counter again, after I explained what I was told, came back and demanded they ran a credit check. As my credit was already ran on the phone as well, some how they come back and say it doesn't meet their requirements. BS! By this time I was furious. I was ready to snap. Now remember I booked an entire week for less than 200$ with a different location drop off. Upon running a search before leaving for our trip to see if there may have been even a lessor option, they had sky-rocketed in price. They were now booking with the pick up location for drop off location at over 800$ a week. Wow what now?
Well, come to find out later during our trip, NASCAR was in town that coming weekend. Which makes complete sense now why these horrible people at Hertz were trying to take our cheaper reservation from us like the frauds that they are.
I was so furious, I never had such a bad experience with this company and I have rented several cars over the years. It is after 11PM at night after such a long day and now I have to deal with this. Great!
We end up going to a different company, and then a different company. We ended up booking with Alamo. After we explained our situation with Hertz to the manager, they were able to at least take off the drop off fee to Phoenix, though we were still spending almost 300$ more than our booking with Hertz. Obviously due to the last minute booking with the NASCAR event this coming weekend so they can jack up the pricing.
So upon leaving, we noticed that they put the drop off location back here at the McCarran Airport. Um NO. We had to go BACK inside and have this fixed before we left the lot. After they made the drop off change, which they were already aware of upon renting, it took the fee back up which is then when the manager was able to comp the drop off fee. Thank Goodness for her!
Sooooo... we are finally leaving the Airport at almost Midnight. Horrible start to our vacation and I was so ready to leave on the next flight home. It was absolutely horrible.
We get in the car that we chose, and left the lot and drove to the hotel in this horrendous traffic pattern on the strip of Vegas. What the heck is up with that? Our outcome of car rental while in Vegas is it is not needed. Do NOT waste your money on vehicle rental. If you have something else also planned, get it for that if necessary. We were going to Arizona after Vegas so we needed it, but I just wish I would have thought it book it later, now I know. Our car was literally parked at our hotel until we left for Arizona. That was a waste of money.
Like I have mentioned before, I like to shop around for the best price. At this time, not realizing why pricing is so ridiculous in March, (because of NASCAR weekend), our hotel was a little off the strip. We stayed at Serene Vegas. The hotel was nice, and about half the price of the cheapest hotel on the strip and just a short walk to the strip.
Upon walking by Planet Hollywood we were approached and ended up giving in to one of those seminars where they try to sell you stuff. In return we got "gifts" of what we picked. We picked the 100$ free play which was bad, they send you to this run down casino where you are playing on this old taped up 3-reel slot machine and the only way you can cash out anything you "win" is if you hit the jackpot. Worthless! We did however get several other nice "gifts" one including the Wax Museum. Very interesting and so life-like!
We also got a gondola ride at the Venetian. These were both great gifts because I wanted to do both and they were now both free for approximately an hour and a half of our time.
My husband's desire in Vegas was to go to the Golden Nugget to see the Nuggets. We took an Uber/Lyft. Fyi... they are everywhere in Vegas and the few times we took it would have saved us SOOOO much instead of paying for that dang rental car that is still sitting at our hotel. While at the Golden Nugget, we had "brunch". The buffet at the Golden Nugget was delicious and so were the Mimosas.
Later the evening of the second day (first full day), we went to see Jeff Dunham. AWESOME! He was at the Colosseum at the Caesars Palace. We had a great time laughing and seeing him! It was one of the best moments!
We also did the Eiffel Tower Experience during the day, seen the Bellagio fountains, Freemont Street (during the day), ate at a few buffets, gambled a little bit and overall did a lot of walking and exploring. We tried to go to all the casinos but there were so many we did not get to go to, next trip hopefully!
We even experienced the LV Denny's. They serve alcohol?! Crazy. Of course we are in Vegas!
Overall our experiences on our Vegas Vacation were great, except the total BS we had to deal with at the airport Hertz rental upon arrival. Ever since this incident, I must confess I stay clear of Hertz and anyone who needs a recommendation of where to rent from, I do tell them to stay away from Hertz. That experience has always left a sour taste in my mouth for that place.
Our hotel, Serene Vegas, was great. Alamo rental cars were great for helping us out. Overall great experience everywhere we visited.
Preview on Arizona part of this: Our flight back... not as good as on the way there. If it would have been my flight out to Vegas, I probably would have left a day early and started driving home. Thankfully experiencing 2 flights and one was wonderful, it just keeps me from booking flights with the airline we used to go home.... which was... (you will find out in the Arizona Blog!).... coming soon!