After Kevin’s assignment in South Dakota, we decided that we needed a weekend getaway with the family unit. But because it was right after Christmas, our budget was VERY limited.
Cue internet research.
We selected our destination simply based off of the airfare prices from Portland, Oregon.
Here is the breakdown of how we did it:
After researching, comparing, and shopping for a few weeks, we ultimately went with Spirit Airlines. I was a little hesitant because Spirit gets very mixed reviews, but the price simply can’t be beat, and since we are frugal by nature, we will tolerate a lot to save a few hundred bucks.
(Plus, their copywriter is brilliant and I want to be that person when I grow up. I’m now on Spirit’s email list simply because I love reading their copy. Whoever he or she is, they deserve a raise.)
We found round trip tickets to Vegas from Portland for $44.36 each.
You read that right.
We decided to pay an extra $10 per ticket to pick our seats. We bought a large checked bag for $60. Add $86.49 for taxes and fees (Spirit does not have any control over this) and we got flights for all three of us to and from Vegas for a grand total of (drumroll, please)…
For more details about our experience with Spirit Airlines, check out my other blog post.
We stayed in Vegas for 4 nights, we decided to split our time between 2 hotels. Why? Because we were torn between wanting to stay at the Luxor (neither of us has stayed there and we both wanted to) and trying out Priceline’s Name Your Price tool. I’ve heard you can score amazing deals off of Priceline, but wasn’t sure if we’d get a great hotel or not, so we decided to take the gamble (we were going to Vegas, after all) and spend the first 2 nights in our Priceline win, and then we’d have the Luxor to look forward to for our last 2 nights if we hated our other hotel.
We’re gamblers, but only kind of.
The thing with the Priceline Name Your Price tool is that you specify the general area you want to stay, and how many stars you’d like the hotel to have, but you don’t get to know what hotels specifically you are bidding on. That’s the gamble. That’s also how they get away with offering rock-bottom, fill-the-leftover-rooms prices: without advertising how much you can get a room for. If you’re not picky about where you stay, this is a fantastic option.
Vegas is a pretty good place to try this out on because you can specifically bid on hotels on the strip.
We plugged in that we wanted to stay at a 5-start hotel (because why not?) for $85/night. One hotel accepted our bid: the Trump International Hotel- Las Vegas.
Okay, you guys, politics aside, this place was ah-maze-ing. Amazing. Amazing.
Love him or hate him, you cannot argue that Donald Trump and his team can build spectacular hotels.
We stayed there for 2 nights and in hindsight, I wish we had stayed there for all 4 nights. Or forever. Momma could use a maid and very affordable room service. Seriously, we ordered room service on our first night, because we were pretty wiped out from our trip. It was one of the least expensive meals we had in Vegas, and it was by far the best.
The last 2 nights we moved over to the Luxor. Since the Luxor is, I believe, a 3-star hotel, in Vegas, it’s already pretty inexpensive to stay there. Since we saved so much money on our airfare, we decided we could splurge and upgrade to a jacuzzi suite. After all, it was around $120/night for the jacuzzi suite, and after staying at the Trump International, we needed the upgrade to try to make up for the fact that we were moving from a 5-star hotel to a 3-star (or is it 2.5 stars?)
Cue sad music.
The Luxor was really dated. Our room didn’t even have a coffee maker. What hotel doesn’t supply at least a small, crappy coffee maker? Plus, I’m pretty sure the 2nd room (the “sitting” area) was haunted. The poorly executed Egyptian theme only helped solidify the feeling of being in a tomb.
Maybe we would have loved it if we didn’t stay at the Trump International first. We would have had zero frame of reference for how nice hotels can be (although, I’m pretty sure that the noticeable lack of a coffee pot is a giveaway… I really depend on my morning coffee to, you know, adult).
To be fair, as we walked past other standard rooms that were being cleaned, with their doors propped open, they looked significantly nicer than the jacuzzi suite. Maybe they only update their standard rooms. Maybe the suites were next on the list for a makeover. It doesn’t matter; I was scared I was going to get chlamydia if I sat on the couch in there.
Once we got out of the room, though, the Luxor was a very fun, very Vegas-y place to stay. And those 45-degree elevators… how do drunk people not just fall down in them?
Trump International: $85 x 2 nights + $96 taxes/fees = $277
Luxor: $120 x 2 nights + $76 taxes/fees = $296
Total spent on hotels for 4 nights:
We liked our Priceline hotel so much that we used Priceline to find a rental car. We didn’t bid, we just did a search. We saved a TON of money by choosing a rental car company that didn’t have a location at the airport, but instead ran a shuttle from the airport to the rental office.
You can save beaucoup bucks by being willing to take a shuttle to your rental car. We scored a midsize car for $21.17/day. We went with midsize because we had the toddler with his ginormous car seat, otherwise an economy car would have saved us even more.
Rental car: $84.68 + $35.41 taxes/fees
As you can see, there are a lot of fees and taxes that they don’t advertise, so keep that in mind when booking anything. An “$85” rental car will suddenly cost you $120, but as long as you take the advertised price with a grain of salt, you’ll be fine. We didn’t spend much money on food or entertainment, since we had a toddler with us, but honestly, he was pretty happy walking up and down the Strip, looking at lights, watching water fountain shows, and wandering through casinos like the Venetian:
Rental Car: $120.09
We could have saved even more money by going with a standard room at the Luxor instead of a suite, and probably would have been better off. Live and learn.
All in all, it was a great little getaway at a very do-able price. If you, too, want a Vegas getaway, it can be done on a budget!