It never ceases to amaze me how much of an effect my various travels over the years have had on me. All it takes is an evening of reminiscing through Facebook photos, blog posts, emails home…and I’m right back there, remembering every conversation, every joke, every delicious meal and every breathtaking sight.
Tonight’s trip down memory lane took me back to Las Vegas last August. The trip was the result of a crazy idea we had to get a group of 10 of us (originally more) to go to Vegas together. There was a lot of talk, a lot of hype, and not surprisingly, a lot of happiness.
A trip with 10 people can be tricky sometimes. You want everyone to be happy, everyone has different ideas of what they want to do, and nobody wants to think about the drama that might occur. Luckily everyone there had someone to “buddy” up with so no one felt like they were left out at any time, and they could escape with a partner if they needed time away from the group. For the most part, minus a snafu or two, our wolfpack remained happy.
This is the first time I traveled with a group this large. There were more flights and connections than I can count. Kristin, Lauren and I were together; Jake was separate; Liana, Steve, Alicia and Josh were together, and picked up Sara on a layover; and Krissy joined us all a day later. But somehow, it all worked out.
A lot of the time we spent in Vegas was spent traveling in a pack:
- the first afternoon getting a grasp on the nearby casinos
- our meal at Nine Fine Irishmen in New York, New York
- the first night of trolling the Strip, bottles and cans in hand
- the Crepe Incident in Paris
- scheduling our sightseeing of the free shows such as the Bellagio fountains
- the Buffet of Buffets, which led to a breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, tortellini salad, meatballs, cotton candy and gelato
- scheming to steal food from said buffet for our beloved Teeny who was just arriving in the city and hadn’t eaten, and
- spending the day lounging at the Excalibur’s pool, complete with private cabana (an awesome investment).
But there were times when we split up too. Alicia and Josh went to a comedy show one night, while the rest of us went to dinner. After dinner, the boys gambled at Caesar’s while the girls went club hopping, including Cleopatra’s Barge, where we were the only people there dancing, and Pure, which I’m fairly certain is the most impure place I’ve ever been. The next day, the whole group split. Lauren and I decided to take the monorail down to a section of the strip we hadn’t walked and check out Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Kristin and Jake took a shuttle to Hoover Dam. And the rest of the crew rented a car to go to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.
Everyone had their own adventures, got to do what they wanted to do, and didn’t have to be on anyone else’s schedule. We reunited that night for one final fancy dinner out at Tao, which was pricy, but sooooo good, and one last night of adventures on the Strip. Including the ever-classy Sirens of TI show.
Everyone had their opinions about the trip – some loved it and some hated it. Some decided the best part was getting out of the city, while some felt that there was still so much more to see in Vegas. But I think overall, we all had fun. Some put a little more “sin” into Sin City than others, but we all laughed and we all came back with some great memories and inside jokes.
Some lessons learned about traveling with a big group to Vegas:
- Go in August – most people think it’s too hot, but it’s really tolerable.
- Share hotel rooms – four people to a room, if you’re comfortable with that, can cost you as little as $64 per person for the four-day trip.
- Take advantage of all the free shows – Bellagio fountains, Sirens of TI, shows at the Wynn.
- Do the Buffet of Buffets. You WILL get your money’s worth.
- Allow everyone some time to do what they want. Your wolfpack doesn’t have to be together nonstop.
- Get a cabana at the pool… $80 for all day access between 10 people? Totally worth it. Couch, flatscreen tv, snacks, water and juices, server, reserved poolside lounge chairs…and a much-needed escape from the sun.
- Spend money on the things you really want to do – a nice dinner out, a ride on the Big Shot, a trip to the wax museum to hang out with your fave celebs.
- Invest in a monorail daypass. It’s pretty cheap and saves you a ton of time, especially if you’re trying to beat that buffet closing time.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good pre-game…Miller Lite and Smirnoff Ice chilling in the hotel room sink? Why not? And bring some roadies.
- Don’t take the cards the people are handing out on the streets. Just…don’t.
- Be prepared to laugh, yell, cheer, blush, be appalled at the children in strollers out at 1 a.m., high five strangers, make new friends and become even closer with your traveling companions.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll see this:
To my dear wolfpack, I love you all and I’m so glad we took the trip together! Here’s hoping we can do the next big one soon!