Travel: Las Vegas Roadtrip – Is It Really Worth Adding to Your Bucket List?

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Today’s blog post is about my Las Vegas trip in July to August of last year for 2 weeks for a family holiday. If you want to find out where we stayed and places that are worth visiting while in Vegas, continue reading on…

We flew with Thomas Cook directly from Manchester Airport in the UK to Vegas which was almost an 11-hour flight. We prefer flying with Thomas Cook because it is a family-friendly airline in our opinion and flights are easy to book with them. We didn’t book a package holiday with them, we booked for flights only.

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Flying over Iceland

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The Flight Route

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Flying over the Colorado River

We landed at the McCarran International Airport, LV, and we were greeted by a very hot 42°C when we landed and I was expecting to be hit with humidity as soon as I got off the plane like I do when I go to any hot country, but the heat was actually very pleasant and non-sticky. Although I would definitely recommend packing a dress or shorts in your hand luggage to change into when you land at the airport! We then made our way to collect our rental car, which was a Jeep Compass, so that we could drive to our villa. On our drive to the villa, you could see the Las Vegas Strip over the freeway.

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We chose to stay in a villa 20 minutes from the main Las Vegas Strip because it was quieter, more private and if you’re on a budget it is actually a better option. We booked through HomeAway.com, which is one of the sites we normally use to book our villas in various places around the world. It was a 3-bedroom villa with a double garage and a private swimming pool in a peaceful suburb.

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The first place we went to explore was obviously going to be the Las Vegas Strip, this is the centre of all the glitz and glam and where the city lights never sleep! We wanted to explore different parts of the Strip on different days as it wouldn’t be any fun to explore it all in one day! We started off at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, which is the site of the famous fountain that you always see in pictures of Las Vegas. We went to have a look at the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens inside the Bellagio’s Arcadia. They have different seasonal displays and we were lucky enough to see their ‘Under the Sea‘ display, which was so colourful and I absolutely loved seeing this display, because if you know me personally you will know I am the biggest fan of aquariums, I have made it a quest to visit every Sea Life in the UK, and I may extend this to across the world at some stage in my life! This hotel has a central location on the Las Vegas Strip because when you step out of the doors of the hotel you can see the massive Eiffel Tower, lots of luxury stores (one including Louis Vuitton) and other massive hotels including Caesar’s Palace.

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Night time shopping in Las Vegas is something that you NEED to do! For a shopaholic like myself, shopping is always a must no matter what country I’m in! If you’re always out for a bargain like me, I’d definitely check out the North Premium Outlets, which is near the Las Vegas Strip, and has a lot of your high-end designer brands, such as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, etc.

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Another adventure was to The Venetian Resort, Hotel & Casino, which is also located on the Las Vegas Strip. It is based on Venice in Italy, and actually has a man-made canal that runs through the resort, where you can have romantic gondola ride, whilst being sung to you by the gondolier and feel like you’re being whisked off to Italy. The shops in the Grand Canal Shoppes all have a Venetian design and if you look up, you’ll see a beautiful blue sky scenery painted on the ceiling. The whole building is a work of art!

The following day we went to explore the Egypt and New York side of the Las Vegas Strip. The Egypt side had the Luxor Hotel and Resort, which had a hotel designed like a pyramid and the interior looked as good as the outside! The walls were made up of hyroglifics and it was a very artsy hotel!

The Luxor was interconnected by a tram line with the New York New York and Excalibur side of the Strip, so we took the tram to the Excalibur, which is based on King Arthur and the legendary sword.

The New York New York Hotel & Casino has the rollercoaster that you can ride for $14 each or $60 for a family of 4, which I didn’t go on because I’m scared of heights! It has the famous Statue of Liberty on site as well. When you’re in Vegas you pretty much don’t have to go and see key monuments in the world, because they have replicas all in one place!

So, onto the road trips, we travelled to Lake Mead, which is on the Colorado River and is between the two states of Nevada and Arizona. It was about a 45-minute journey, but it was very worth it for the scenery! We stopped to have a picnic here and to fly the drone before we proceeded to our next road trip destination, which was definitely on my bucket list…

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From Lake Mead, we then travelled to the HOOVER DAM as the next location! It is about 15-20 minutes away from Lake Mead, but we did Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam on two different days. This was the second best place that I visited whilst on the trip because I am a massive geography nerd and spent some time studying this dam. It really is as spectacular as people say it is because you don’t understand the sheer size of the dam and why it is such an important part of the water systems in this part of America unless you stand and look down at the dam.

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So, the next trip was to a canyon that many people may or may not have heard of, but is definitely a gem that you must visit whilst in Vegas! It is the Red Rock Canyon, which is a 30-minute drive from the Strip. We took the 13-mile scenic loop all the way around the canyon and it was absolutely stunning! This place would have been a beautiful place to hike, but it was too hot to stay out in that heat too long without getting heat stroke, but if you go during a time where it isn’t the peak of summer it may be more bearable to hike.

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We also visited the Death Valley National Park, which is one of the hottest places on Earth alongside deserts in Africa and the Middle East. The national park is actually below sea level, which makes it one of the lowest lying national parks. This place demonstrates what extreme environments are like and it’s so interesting to see how the flora and fauna differ from a place where there is more water. People don’t tend to live in this area, as it is too hot to survive comfortably, and you will only tend to find extremophiles (organisms that are well-adapted to extreme conditions) living here permanently, as dehydration is a big problem for tourists who come unprepared, especially if you plan to walk around the park. We walked around the Furnace Creek area and we had to go back to the refuge of our car because the heat was too much to bear. It reached about 46°C whilst we were at the park.

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On the way back to Death Valley, we actually came across this Area 51 shop, where we went in and they told us that the area we were in isn’t too far from the supposed ‘Area 51’ that every paranormal and alien fanatic has tried to get close to but have never managed to get in and it all made sense as to why we saw so many helicopters and security cars driving across the plains.

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The penultimate road trip location was Los Angeles, California! We couldn’t leave Vegas, without stopping off at the next famous hotspot! We drove 4 hours and a half to reach LA, and as we got closer and closer it was getting more and more hectic to get into the city. You saw the classical smog that everyone went on about and it felt much more humid and cooler than what it was in Vegas. We stopped for food then walked around the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was too busy to stop here for too long, so we drove out towards the Hollywood Hills to see the famous Hollywood sign. We weren’t allowed to get too close to it due to it all being gated off, but it was definitely another thing to cross off my bucket list!

If you’ve managed to reach this point of the blog, you’ve now come to the best part of the blog! The one thing you definitely cannot miss out on when you got to Las Vegas is the Las Vegas sign! If you miss this sign, did you really even go to Vegas?

Saving the best for last, you can’t go to Vegas and not go to the GRAND CANYON! This is the number one thing on my bucket list and I can’t believe how lucky I was to be able to go. The journey was 4 hours and 30 minutes, as we went to the South Rim, which is further out than the West Rim, just because we were told that the South Rim is more scenic. However, the West Rim does have the famous glass skywalk! The North Rim is more remote and is open at seasonal points in the year. You don’t even comprehend how large the whole canyon is until you stand there and feel like the most insignificant thing compared to such a monstrous beauty. The Grand Canyon was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it was a trip I will remember for the rest of my life. When you are standing there and looking out at the canyon it really makes you think of how grateful you are to be able to see one of the world’s natural beauty spots and how each layer of rock has a different story.

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This holiday was one of the most amazing holidays that I will always remember for the rest of my life, if you’re thinking of going on a holiday to America anytime soon, I would definitely recommend going to Las Vegas. It isn’t all about going gambling in casinos, this place is so much more than that! It offers a central base to travel from to see the world’s natural and man-made wonders.

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I hope you enjoyed this blog and it has inspired some of you to go and see the world! Apologies for the long blog, there’s just so many activities to fit into one post that I don’t want you all to miss out on, but if you liked this blog, then feel free to press the follow button to receive future blog posts (you don’t have to be a WordPress member to follow the page, you can simply enter your E-mail and you will be sent notifications every time I post something new)!

Love,

confessionsofonlineshopaholic@gmail.com

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5 Comments

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  • Reply Honorary Pinoy (@HonoraryPinoy) June 16, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I’m glad you had such a great time! I flew from Heathrow for my 21st birthday and had a great time in Las Vegas! But when I went back last year I stayed at a Villa in Henderson rather than a hotel on the strip (the better choice in my opinion).

    Would you ever go again? I said that I would but the second time I visited the “shine” of the strip was lost on me … perhaps it was because I went back only a few years after my first visit but I definitely love Vegas!

    I also did the same with the road trip to Los Angeles, sadly I only went for 4 days. Definitely agree though, a LOT more to do than just Casinos. I think I only gambled once!

    Great post!

    Honorary Pinoy

    • Reply confessionsofonlineshopaholic@gmail.com June 16, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you! That sounds amazing, I hope you had a lovely time over there! Yes I definitely agree that staying in a villa is a much better option, because it tends to be much more affordable for a private home and your own pool to swim in! It’s also great to get away from the noise of Vegas in the evening.

      I don’t think I would visit again. I think Vegas is great for a day or two, but as I was there for 2 weeks I genuinely would have found it hard if I stayed in the centre for all 14 days. Vegas is a great base to travel from if you plan to go for road trips, but the glitz and glam likes you said, kind of wears off. It’s a stunning place, but you don’t need many days there to explore it!

      I think a road trip to LA definitely has to be done whilst being over there, but when I visited I didn’t really see the huge hype over LA, because it was such a busy place! I completely agree!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read it! 🙂

    Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts!