Love to vacation?  Me too!

Staycations, Daycations, Last minute Getaways, planned Vacations…  I love them all!

But how do you find really great deals when you’re working within a budget?

Me, I list out priorities:
* Location,   * Weather,   * Events,   * Budget
and I work within those priorities with the goal of checking off at least 3 out of 4 goals.

 

Incredible views from Bellagio! You should see it from inside the clubs!

It’s no secret that one of my favorite places to visit is Las Vegas.  I have no shame in admitting I love the dirty, sparkly city at night!  And during the day I love to trek up and down the streets of the strip and Fremont.  My husband and I love the food, and the slots, and the energy of Vegas.

Going on an extended stay (for Vegas, I consider anything more than 3 nights there to be an extended stay) can be quite expensive.  I’ve mastered the art of Vegas travel though by utilizing a few great programs.  At the end of this post I will show the difference between two trips – one using my method and one where we didn’t.

Amazing salad at Bellagio!

mlife is my best friend and seriously, you need to check out the facebook games myVEGASslots  and myVEGASblackjack.
A couple years ago I started playing a game on facebook (yes, gaming is usually a waste of time) called myVEGASslots.  A young cousin of mine commented about having earned free items in Vegas and my first trip was coming up and I wanted to earn free things too!  Spin, spin, spin and the next thing I knew I had my husband playing and also our besties who were going to vacation with us as well.
With myVEGAS games, you can redeem up to 3 rewards (prizes) every 30 days per person using my loyalty points.  3 rewards X 4 people = 12 rewards.  I was up for the challenge!
The rewards are redeemed through mlife which is a program through MGM Resorts International.  You sign up for the free mlife account either online or in person at a MGM Resort (Luxor, Excalibur, The Mirage, Aria, Bellagio, DelanoLV, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand,  New York New York, and Vdara are the Las Vegas locations!).  You will be issued a program card and I strongly encourage you present it whenever you purchase ANYTHING in an MGM resort – you may very well earn tier credits for your purchases! Definitely use the card in all slot machines you play as again, those tier points are important for earning freeplay and other great comps.

NOTE about free drinks in Vegas while I’m thinking of it.  Just sitting at a slot machine will not get you noticed. You gotta play to get those free drinks.  Please tip your cocktail waitress!

 

 

Fantastic salad at Luxor!

mlife will send you offers and I always look for my free stay offers and other promos.  I will book a 2-night stay for “free” (you will almost always still have to pay resort fees and occupancy taxes) and enjoy a promo perk like $50 Resort Credit.  The $50 can be used for their restaurants or entertainment – poolside cocktails are and excellent way to muddle food and entertainment. 😉

I will then select myVEGAS Rewards such as $25 in freeplay (56,250 points) when you stay 2 nights.  Or I might add a 3rd night to my reservation at a low rate like $30 so I can get a $50 in freeplay Reward.  I will also select 2 free buffet Rewards (lunch 10k points and dinner 17k points).  That uses up my 3 Rewards.  But WAIT!  Let’s plan for my husband’s Rewards!  Whiskey tasting at Monte Carlo (22,500 points), $50 beverage credit at Dueling Pianos Bar at New York New York (50k points), BOGO-free monorail 48-hour pass (11k points).

So let’s add up my out of pocket expensive and comps/rewards  values!

Resort fees and taxes = $109.98
Food/entertainment credits = ~ $140.00
Freeplay credits = $25.00
Monorail BOGO tickets = $22.00 ($22.00 savings)

That’s a smart vacation!!!

I’m not going to talk about airfare as I really haven’t mastered any tricks there.  However sign up for a mileage rewards program so you can save up points to redeem for future big trips!  Alaska Airlines is a great option.

What happens when you have inflexible travel dates or destinations? A recent 4-night trip I took with a group had me spending over $700 on hotel rooms and I don’t even want to know what I spent on meals.  It pays to plan!

That’s “it” for this week’s post!

What are your favorite vacation planning tips?

Comment below!

Carlie