We’ve officially been on our own and without a “home” (a lease, an apartment, rooming with family, etc.) and it’s time to do a little reflecting on what worked and what did not.
First off, how did finances measure up? This is probably the area that I am most excited to see go down in the future. For the amount of traveling we did, however, I’m quite pleased with the results. During the month we spread our time between six hotels and spent about 30% more than we would have back home in our last apartment. Having to do it all over again, I could have saved about ½, putting us at less than a permanent location. Not bad considering these factors:
When heading to a town known for its conventions, it’s wise to check the calendar before giving up your room. An ill-timed change in location – due to a poorly kept motel – cost us at least a few hundred dollars & nearly a full day of work. We discovered this when we left a Motel 6 in search of a better place during the week of the Consumer Electronics Show. Ooops. Apparently, one of – if not the – largest convention Las Vegas hosts. Plus side – We ended up in a great resort about an hour or so Northeast of here in Mesquite, Nevada. This also enabled us to visit Utah and Arizona both, including the town of St. George and the Valley of Fire. It was wonderful!
Traveling With Pets!
I love my dog, and I will never leave her behind or “board” her for the sake of a nice hotel room (which more than one proprietor has suggested!) Unfortunately, having her in tow does costs us some additional fees & phone calls. Without her we’d be in a condo overlooking the Strip for far less than we paid this past month, but then it wouldn’t be a family trip, now would it? My advice – put your investigative skills to work when looking for a room with your furry friend. Fees vary widely. Some hotels charge per stay, some per night. Most will cap the fee at some point. Extended Stay of America, where we are currently staying, charges a hefty $25 per night (although they call it nomial), but their fee maxes out at $150, no matter how long your stay is. Marriott’s Residence Inn charges around $75 per stay, which works well if you are staying a week, saving you about ½ of the Extended Stay’s fee, but could quickly deplete your budget if you were staying just a night or two.
Don’t Be Afraid To Check The Goods FirstOne of the best lodging experiences we’ve had thus far has to be a night at the Veer Towers. We were given the opportunity to stay in a half-million dollar corner condo on the 19th floor, located in MGM’s newly developed City Center Las Vegas and it was amazing! I could watch the Bellagio fountains from the living room, and gaze over the fiery red mountains to the West from the bedroom. I was never leaving. Infinity pool on the rooftop, fully equipped gym, 24 hour concierge, everything within walking distance – all for the same price as a lower budget motel – what more could you ask for?!? Turns out, internet access! Although the owner assured us it was there, we have now learned that you should definitely check before getting into an arrangement with a private party. While we could have canceled in a big chain hotel and received a full refund, in this case the owner charged us her single night price for the time spent, a hefty 3 times what we were set to pay per night at our monthly agreement with her – ouch!
Was It Worth It?
Without a doubt – absolutely!! We have seen more in the past month than in years before…we’ve experienced things that we never thought we would (half-mill condo included!), and had the best times. Our entertainment budget has stayed relatively low – Groupon, free attractions and visiting places during “off-peak” times have all helped. You cannot put a price on some of the experiences we’ve had, including an impromptu night with visiting relatives, pulling off the road to watch rock climbers, stumbling across the Valley of Fire, and many evenings spent in front of the Fountains at Bellagio. In the past 30 days we’ve gained an invaluable amount of knowledge as well, including how to ensure February tops this past month!
Now the big question – where do we go next? That’s probably the toughest decision of all