“Sorry, I’ll be in Vegas for business that weekend…”
Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? Like some highfalutin’, high-rollin’, big-world exec. HA!
Funny. But not quite.
As a speaker at the Type-A Vegas Bootcamp I have a room booked at the Paris Las Vegas, my hair looks good – for now – and by some airline miracle missing my flight is the only reason I land in Vegas before the conference is over.
Traveling for business can be fun but it’s far from glamorous, specially on your own dime. Whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure, or both here are my tips for traveling alone to Las Vegas – or anywhere else for that matter.
Tip # 1 – Bring DOUBLE the emergency cash you feel is reasonable.
My flight leaves at 7 am. Snow flurries turn into a blizzard, my cab driver is very late, and I get to the airport just before the checked bags cutoff time. Except I no longer have my wallet. Because it’s at home, in the snow. With my passport and credit cards.
$90 later I’ve been driven to the airport, home, and back again. I arrive in time to hear the boarding call and approach the ticket counter in tears.
I’m hoping to get on the 8 am flight ’cause if I don’t get on this one I’m not in Vegas before midnight. The flight I missed is on its way BACK to the airport for technical issues and I’m starting to feel relieved – that could have been me.
After much back and forth they’ve confirmed the solo missing passenger has not entered the building and 2 minutes before the doors shut the attendant & I are running down the ramp, shoes & bags in hands. Huffing and puffing I make my way to my seat, relieved that – at least for now – I’ll arrive by mid-afternoon.
I haven’t left the ground and already I’ve blown through a quarter of my ‘emergency money‘. You never know what can happen so being extra prepared is never a bad thing.
Tip #2 – Don’t make funny with Security
You’re travelling alone. You haven’t checked any bags. You’re flying back in a few days. You’re sporting stylishly comfortable clothes with no belt, you’ve got flip-flops on your feet, and you’ve left your bulky parka at home. You’ve yet to hear screaming banshees that belong to you so you’re in a rather perky mood on this fine, frigid, early morning.
One would think this screams ‘Seasoned Traveler’; you are, after all, scoring A+ on the efficiency scale. No messing around with shoe laces and belts while going through security. No waiting for luggage once you land and definitely no carrying around bulky winter gear you won’t need for days.
TSA staff are a breed of their own. Unnaturally friendly lone traveler with few belongings, no checked luggage, and a laptop-that’s-not-a-tablet-that’s-not-a-laptop like the Surface Pro 3 apparently screams ‘Terrorist’.
You may be in a good mood, you may be super efficient, but those TSA agents will not crack a smile. The more you try to be friendly, the more you’ll be grilled. Keep the commentary to nada and know where the hell you’re going & why – this is NOT the time to get mommy brain. Once – and only once – you’ve passed the normal citizen test you’re free to smile & wish them a great day – they don’t get much of that.
Tip #3 – Don’t be afraid to explore
Just because you’re travelling alone doesn’t mean you have to stay in the hotel! Go exploring, see the sights, just remember some basic security common-sense.
Always have a charged cell phone, some cash (as in bills & coins, not just a credit card), and stick to well populated areas. I’ve gone searching for steak with a friend at 11pm in Time Squares, explored the night lights in Vegas and toured San Francisco on my own.
Wear comfortable shoes you could run in if you had to, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid the ghetto. Oh – and have fun!!!! Who knows when you’ll be back?
Tip #4 – You don’t have to buy ALL the souvenirs
I know. Everything looks awesome. Your husband would appreciate the humour in a gag item so outrageous you have to buy. Those tutus & t-shirts would look great on your girls. Your best friend would love the statue of David replica.
Take pictures! The funny, the awful, the absurd – and share them with your loved ones. Let them appreciate the humour without making them feel like they have to wear the ‘Tower of Love’ boxers.
Buy a few meaningful pieces – I picked up a Venus De Milo replica at Caesar’s Palace and an Eiffel Tower wine glass at the Paris Las Vegas. I followed my tradition of buying a local Christmas ornament and picked up dice suckers and fuzzy pens for the girls. I kept it simple but took LOTS of pictures of the wonderful finds I really couldn’t bring home.
Tip #5 – Indulge a little
Visiting new cities you sometimes find one of a kind items. I found this Predire Paris mask in one of the shops. Though it sells for way more than I would pay for a full-on wardrobe makeover the lady sold it to me for $40. I need so little of this product it will last a very long time. I absolutely love it, and if it wasn’t for the price-point I’d tell you to go buy it. If you happen to be going to Vegas, would you mind picking me up some? Message me, we’ll talk 😉.
Google is your best friend. Want to make sure you’re really getting a ‘special deal’? Do a quick search on your phone and decide if it’s worth it or not.
As women, wives, moms… we rarely get time for ourselves. If you find yourself alone in a strange city for a few days, make the most of it.
Squeeze in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, go shopping, get pampered, and enjoy being in your own company.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll even remember what makes you so awesome.
Traveled alone? Want to? Let’s talk!