Well, I’m back after a two day stay in lovely Las Vegas. I know what you’re thinking: “What’s a nice, frugal man like you doing visiting Las Vegas?” Unfortunately, I had no choice, as one of my important clients participates in a national convention that chose Las Vegas for this year’s venue, and I was all but required to attend. The bad news is that Las Vegas was as bad as I feared; the good news is that you can learn from my experience.
The most fundamental and simple lesson is to never visit this stinkhole of a city, period, end of story. If you are a frugal, or even moderately responsible, adult, there is truly no redeeming value to the place. Las Vegas is a haven for irresponsible, expensive, and pointless vice. Blow your money, as much and as rapidly as possible, on momentary pleasures devoid of lasting purpose – that is the entire theme and purpose of the place.
Now, I realize this is the place they call “Sin City,” and that’s fine, I suppose. If there are enough shortsighted people in the world to sustain an entire city that pedals in foolishness and indiscretion, so be it. But if you aspire to live a practical, frugal lifestyle that is free of debt, Las Vegas is not for you.
Even if you feel a need for the vices that the city offers, aren’t there more economical options? If gambling is your cup of tea, do it with your state government’s lottery. If you need strip-shows, I’m sure your local dancers will do just fine. If you need to go the next step to prostitution, I’m sure you can find local options there as well. Hopefully, though, when you practice my rule of thinking things through, you realize that none of the above are needs and that they are all extremely short-term pleasures with long-term pernicious effects. At the very least, we can all agree that these activities will ultimately put you that much further from financial well being, let alone financial independence.
Having said that, if you find yourself in my nightmarish position of having no choice but to go to Las Vegas, allow me to recount my experience and the financial defenses that I put up.
I started out by taking the airport shuttle to the Vdara, a Five Star Hotel (chosen only for its juxtaposition to the conference site), which I booked at a discounted rate via Priceline for a hundred bucks a night. By using the shuttle, I kept the night’s transportation cost down to eight bucks, tip included. The tradeoff was that I had to wait for the shuttle to largely fill with other hotel goers, but the total wait was no more than fifteen minutes, so I’ll take that tradeoff.
I knew the hotel would rape its guests on meals, but the menu was nothing short of appalling. Some examples: soft drinks: $5 each; a Grilled Chicken Sandwich was $16; a hamburger was $18; an oven roasted chicken breast entrée was $28; and a 12 ounce, bone-in pork chop entrée listed for $34. I recalled seeing on the main floor a Market Café, which gave me some hope, as it looked like a possible oasis for the budget-minded traveler. A quick gander at its overhead menu revealed soft drinks for the bargain price of three dollars and sandwiches priced at $10.50. This was a step in the right direction, but still too rich for my blood.
Fortunately, I had packed protein bars, which would spare me the similarly priced breakfast options, but I needed a dinner. And that took me to a foot tour of the famed Vega Strip. Return tomorrow for my review of that appalling experience and the lessons learned from this regrettable trip overall.