Living in New York City in your 30’s means saying goodbye to a lot of close friends. People burn out, people have kids and can no longer fit in their tiny 1 bedroom apartment, people want to be closer to family, people want to save money (which is nearly impossible to do there) and sometimes people just decide they hate the pace of life. Although two remain diehard NYC girls, my other “NYC friends” are now in Boston, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa, and Orlando.
Luckily, every year since we started to trickle out of the city we’ve met for a weekend away together. It’s a time to catch up, reminisce, laugh, bond and keep our friendships strong. A lot of planning goes into each year’s trip and they’ve all been pretty amazing. We’ve also learned a lot of what we love (adult only pools) and what we don’t (lazy rivers which we learned the hard way means lots of kids and not floating peacefully with an umbrella drink in hand).
This past year we went to Vegas. Since we are past the days of wanting to party all night (ok, maybe we do, but these days we also really love drinking wine in bed), we took a lot of care to plan a relaxing trip while still being in the center of chaos.
Here’s the lowdown on how to do Vegas right:
Stay at a nice hotel!
We stayed at the Four Seasons which is the top 5 floors of the Mandalay Bay and at the very end of the strip. It has its own pool (i.e. quiet with amazing service) but you also have access to the Mandalay Bay’s pools which is where all the action is. It also has a tram that brings you right to the middle of the strip so getting around was very easy. Being on the strip in Vegas can be quite overwhelming (especially if you don’t love smoke and crop tops) so being able to head back to the Four Seasons each day made it feel like a little piece of heaven.
Make dinner reservations.
Vegas can be chaotic so having a plan for dinner set out before you order that 10am Bloody Mary is sort of a good idea. The beauty of dinner reservations is they are easy to cancel. So say the topless pool (#toptional) was way more fun than you anticipated and you decide to party right through dinner, you can totally do that! In fact, its encouraged (you are in Vegas after all). We made reservations at Beauty and Essex (which we never made it to), Lotus of Siam (a local recommendation which was absolutely amazing thai food) and Giada De Laurentiis’ chic new restaurant at the Cromwell, Giada.
Get a cabana
The price is steep but it’s worth every penny. You get good service (which isn’t necessarily the case elsewhere), guaranteed shade (we’re preventing wrinkles people!), a place to put your stuff, a fan and best of all, a tv with full service cable. I may or may not have watched House Hunters while sipping on margaritas for most of the day in Vegas.
Fly out before noon on Sunday
The Vegas airport is basically a sea of hungover, smelly people on Sunday afternoon so get the hell outta dodge early! We flew out at 10am and honestly, it wasn’t that bad. After a weekend in Vegas, you are going to be tired and feel like poo anyway so you might as well get your ass home to your own couch.
Other tips to keep in mind:
Bring your own cash! ATMs in Vegas charge ridiculous fees.
Do not order wine in a casino. There’s only 2 options – red or white and I guarantee the entire bottle is $1.99. If that doesn’t scream hangover, I’m not sure what does.
You can still smoke inside in Vegas. Circa 2001, be ready for your clothes and hair to reek the next day.
Food and drinks in Vegas are off the charts expensive. Even us NYCers thought the prices were steep and that says a lot!
If you want to feel good about yourself – go to Vegas! People will hit on you, there will always be someone drunker than you, there will always be someone who has made poorer life choices than you and you can wear whatever you want and not look out of place. Embrace the glory of Vegas!
Lastly, no matter your age or purpose of your trip, never forget the golden rule:
What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas!
If you do it right, you’ll be running away yelling VEGAS BABY!!!