Vegas on a Budget
After a long, cool summer spent in the mountains, I decided to make a quick trip down to Las Vegas. My friend, Ashley, jumped in the car, we cranked up the music, and hit the road toward Vegas with Hozier’s “Almost” playing in the background. The red rock of the Southern Utah desert transformed into the flat basin of Southern, Nevada, and Ashley watched the sage brush fly by and I watched the asphalt. With a $30 food and fun budget we set out for a relaxing one-night vacation.
The two-hour drive flew by and we soon gained back one hour of time as we checked into the Rio All-Suite hotel, our 2020 Convention hotel. The first thing on the agenda: sunscreen and sunshine. With the stress of the fall semester already appearing in the rear-view mirror I planned on soaking up the rays with our 2020 Common Reader: Terry Tempest Williams’ Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert. We dropped our bags off in the room, threw on our swimming suits, and headed to the pool. While relaxing in the hot Vegas rays I enjoyed the smell of chlorine, the chaos of kids running and jumping in the pool, and Williams’ beautiful writing. With a room key pool access was free, but provided the chance to lay like a lizard and relax. The first part of the day left us with $30 still in the pocket.
Our next target was the Strip and we took the free shuttle to reach it. This shuttle dropped us at the bottom of the Strip, which offered the perfect opportunity to walk through the casinos and experience the hanging chandelier in the Cosmopolitan, the cityscape in the New York, and the gardens in the Bellagio. After walking through a handful of casinos we decided to stop by M&M’s World. Grabbing a bag of pink M&M’s for $5.89 to hold us over till dinner, we walked back and saw the replica of Kyle Busch’s 18 M&M’s sponsored NASCAR. At the end of this part of the adventure I was left with $24.11.
The strip is filled with a constant hum of traffic and conversation, and this masked the grumble of our stomachs. Many restaurants called to us, their aromas alluring. When we came across the famous White Castle we looked no further. Nothing hits the spot like a greasy hamburger and french fries washed down with a cold drink. The dinner portion of the evening cost $12.53, taking our budget down to $11.58.
Before heading to our final destination on the Strip Ashley and I walked to the nearest Gelato stand and each got a small desert. I choose the triple berry cheese cake flavor and Ashley got pistachio. The dessert cost $4.50. The cool, creamy gelato melted on our tongues and we walked over to the Bellagio water show. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” pulsed through the speakers and the water jets rose from the pond beginning their flowing dance to the beat of the music. Once our gelato was gone and the last song finished over the speakers, we called an Uber for $8.30 and made our way back to the Rio. We were satisfied with the day and night in Vegas that didn’t break the bank.
Student Representative, Far Western Region, 2019-2020
Alpha Pi Epsilon Chapter, Chapter President
Dixie State University, Saint George, UT