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Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

MD, United States
Level Contributor
35 posts
Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

I normally do Vegas trips on a budget—not something you see too often on this thread, so here it is. Flew in from BWI on Saturday on Spirit airlines. The direct/non-stop flight was on time with no issues. I bought a 3 day bus pass and just missed the CX bus so I got on the 109 to the Southstrip station and transferred to the Deuce. Ended up grabbing lunch at Ocean One grill in the Miracle mile shops—which is a favorite lunch spot on a budget, I would end up eating here 1 more time on the trip. I was solo and got bar seating immediately. For this trip, I had 3 nights comped at Excalibur, but I was on my own for Saturday night and the hotels were super pricey (Iheart radio and Life is Beautiful festival going on). I ended up getting a night at the Longhorn Hotel and casino—across the street from Sam’s Town. I took the bus down Flamingo to get over there. The hotel was definitely dated, but was clean and the staff was nice. I hung around Sam’s Town for Saturday night and went to bed early due to east coast/west coast time difference.

Sunday, I had a good breakfast at the Longhorn restaurant and got on the bus to head back to the strip. Made my way down to the Excalibur, stopping along the way to visit the Bellagio conservatory and then took the tram to Park MGM. I checked in Excalibur a little early but they didn’t have a King room, so took a 2 Queen instead. Furniture in the room is worn, but again everything was clean and had no problems with noise or weed smell that some have mentioned. I do always ask for a room at the end of the hallway to eliminate noise from people walking by. After getting settled, visited the pool for a little bit and then went down to Fremont Street for the evening. The CX bus stops right on the side of NYNY and takes about 15 minutes to get to Fremont because it uses the highway. Bus was super empty. Ate dinner at Nacho Daddy and played my favorite game –Sigma Derby at the D for 2 hours. I love cheering on the little mechanical ponies and drinking beer, having a good time with whoever is at the table. I also caught a couple of light shows and took the CX bus back to the strip. This was such an efficient way to get downtown that I did it again on Monday night.

Daytime Monday included the MGM Buffet breakfast (not as good as it used to be). While waiting in a small line for the buffet to open I was approached by a strange man—well dressed (ie not a vagrant) but strange and I guess my body language conveyed that his presence was unwelcome. I don’t know if they already had an eye on him, but kudos to the MGM security who were there in 30 seconds and escorted him away (yes this was 8AM on Monday folks.) After the buffet, I visited the Mandalay Bay aquarium, the Pinball Hall of fame, and more pool time. I enjoyed the aquarium for free, but really only spent 30 minutes there, so $27 or $29 admission seemed steep. I always loved the Pinball Hall of Fame and this was my first time visiting them since they relocated next to the Welcome to Vegas sign. It is a much better location and so much bigger. Definitely recommend checking it out. I had dinner at Best Friend restaurant in Park MGM, it was very good—then back to the Sigma Derby machine!

Tuesday: I always like to do something in nature—like Valley of Fire or Red Rocks, when in Vegas but didn’t rent a car due to the high prices. I found the “Emerald Cave Kayaking Tour” offered by the Las Vegas SUP Kayaking club. I arranged for a Tuesday trip and grabbed a bagel sandwich at Einstein Bagel in the Excal food court and headed down to the Mandalay bay where the van picked up the group at 9AM. There were 7 of us in the van, it was an hour drive to Willow Beach which is just below the Hoover Dam. 6 others met us at the boat launch and we kayaked for about 5 hours. Our guide was excellent and the weather was perfect. I highly recommend this trip, it was a wonderful change of pace from the gambling. Being from the East coast, I always enjoy the beauty of the desert. Van ride back to Mandalay Bay got me back at around 4 PM. I then had Dinner at Public House in Luxor and saw Carrot Top at 8PM. For pub/bar food, I really like Public House. I had wanted to see a show and a recent TA topic was about how much people enjoyed the Carrot Top show--- and I really enjoyed it too. He is definitely not for all with the crude humor, but I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.

Wednesday I packed up my stuff and checked out of the Excal; leaving my bag at the Bell station until time to leave (my flight was at 10PM). I bought a 1 day bus pass and took the bus up to check out Resorts World, as I hadn’t been there before. It was very beautiful, but even though I’m probably in the minority here I definitely prefer a themed casino. Themes provide interest to me, fancy décor is nice but just more of the same. I did take the Deuce to get to/from Resorts world and it was not enjoyable; very overcrowded and a threat from one patron to another to “knock your teeth out”. I got off at the Bellagio, played some slots, watched some fountain shows and managed to get on an uncrowded Deuce to take me back south. Played at the Mandalay bay where I won a nice $250 playing the Heidi/Hannah beer game, which was my only slot win worth mentioning. I did play slots every day, but broke even pretty much every other day. I grabbed a slice of pizza and beer at NYNY and grabbed by bags from Excal. I took the CX bus to the airport which was very efficient. Spirit flight back to BWI was on time and uneventful.

22 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
1,138 posts
14 reviews
16 helpful votes
1. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

Great trip and great trip report! Your "budget" trip is very similar to my Bellagio stay trips (except Deuce - I'd rather just walk). Unless the pricing at Bellagio is absurdly high (like on my trip in 2 weeks), I prefer to stay there at about $100/nt (MLife comps aren't hard to come by for part of the stay). Next trip I'm staying at Park MGM (3 nights comped) and Mandalay Bay (2 nights comped to my traveling partner); first time for me at both!

Always loved Pinball Museum - does the new place have air conditioning?

May need to try Best Friend - tell me more!

Last question - can you reasonably walk to Resort World from Wynn?

New Jersey
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136 reviews
56 helpful votes
2. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

Great TR...thanks for sharing!

Level Contributor
5,958 posts
117 reviews
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3. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

Sounds like you had a great time!

I think it's smart to have a budget and stick within it. Of course, what is a small budget vs large budget is subjective and varies from person to person. You can have a great time in Vegas without throwing around money like you own the joint (thinking Max here lol)

We used to always take the bus down to Fremont, but with Covid the thought of it kind of grosses me out -- which is kind of funny because it really should have grossed me out prior, because as you said they can be packed and full of some not so great customers.

Thank you for sharing.

Level Contributor
52 posts
4. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

Nice report. I appreciate the budget theme.

So happy to hear the Sigma derby was running. It was closed for repair the last two times we visited. I thoroughly agree with what you said -”I love cheering on the little mechanical ponies and drinking beer, having a good time with whoever is at the table.” It is such a nice social game where everyone whoops it up and enjoys cocktails all while cheering on your favorite 25 cent pony. So much fun. It will be a sad, sad day when this last lone mechanical game leaves for good.

We discovered the CX downtown express bus one of our trips - very efficient and quick to get downtown as long as you are near the one south strip pick up spot.

The new location pinball hall of fame is on the list for our October visit.

To answer Post 1 - “ can you reasonably walk to Resort World from Wynn?” YES, it is basically kitty corner across the street. Well, it is for Encore just north of Wynn. We did that walk a few times on our last trip while staying at Encore.

Vancouver Island...
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2,596 posts
1 review
5. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

Sounds like a great trip, thanks for sharing!

Binghamton, New York
Level Contributor
27 posts
6. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

Where do you get the CX bus at the airport ? We always used Bell Trans but they are not running. Would like a cheap ride to downtown as we stay at the D Hotel. Hate paying the taxi prices ! Thanks

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Laughlin
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7. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

Great TR. Thanks for sharing.

Level Contributor
606 posts
52 reviews
84 helpful votes
8. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

Thanks for your trip report which showed what a great time you can have in Vegas without spending an arm and a leg

Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
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50,865 posts
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
9. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

I haven't been to the new Pinball HOF either. Glad you think it's an improvement.

Thanks for the report.

MD, United States
Level Contributor
35 posts
10. Re: Solo trip 9/18-9/22 on a budget

RE #1-- I did get 2 nights comped at the Bellagio in January and loved it, but that seemed to be a fluke in the slow COVID times. Normally only get offers for 3 nights comp at Excal or 2 at luxor. The resorts world to Wynn walk is doable, but I did get kind of turned around when I left RW and ended up leaving near the lobby/valet and walked further than I needed to. The new PBHOF building felt comfortable temperature-wise I did note the ceiling fans were industrial size --like 20 feet diameter so maybe that was it and not A/C? Best Friend is korean food with a twist. Some other items like street corn not normally associated with Korean. It has a 90's vibe. Regarding Post #6: The CX bus at the airport, the stop is at Terminal 1, Level 0. I understand they also have a stop at Terminal 3, but never used that. It would be perfect to go to the D, as it stops right next to it. Bad part is it only comes about once an hour. Schedule on RTC website. One time ride is $2.

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