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Go Beyond the Weekend Road Trip

Weekend road trips are a summer staple – jump in the car and head a few hours away for a few days’ change of pace. But if you’re itching to get away for longer, there are plenty of options for extended road trips from Los Angeles. If you have a week or more, consider planning your next road trip to Yellowstone National Park.

The first National Park in the world and home of the famous Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone is comprised of 3,468.4 square miles of  lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges that stretch from Wyoming into Montana and Idaho. Driving is one of the best ways to visit Yellowstone National Park on a budget – particularly if you’re comfortable camping in a tent or in a small popup trailer.  But you don’t have to make the 2300 mile, 36+ hour drive in one stretch; that would take all the fun out of it!

Instead, take your time. You could stop in Las Vegas or spend a day or two hiking around the Grand Canyon and then make your way through Zion National Park to Salt Lake City, Utah. From there, swing by Jackson Hole, Wyoming or head straight to the park for camping, hiking, fishing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. The drive around Yellowstone is one of the best road trips for nature lovers, with the park home to Grizzly Bears, wolves,  bison, elk and hundreds more species of animals that roam freely.

You’ll want to devote at least a few days to Yellowstone as the park is massive and there is so much to see and explore. If you’re short on time, you can return your rental car at the airport and fly home, or take the meandering drive back, stopping at places you missed on the way out. The drive from California to Yellowstone, through Nevada, Utah and Idaho, is a classic summer road trip you won’t soon forget.

Photo by Jim Dollar

Las Vegas Los Angeles Things to Do

Vegas Road Trip for Memorial Day

As soon as you flip the calendar from April to May in the U.S., you’re charmed by the sight of a three-day weekend on the horizon. It may not seem like much, but sometimes all it takes is a weekend travel deal to make everything right with the world again.

If you’re looking for a nearby spot to spend a few days outside L.A., don’t overlook Las Vegas. Even if you’ve got plenty of sun in your neck of the woods, Vegas offers all kinds of fun stuff to fill a three-day weekend and it’s actually do-able as a road trip from L.A., too.

For those who aren’t familiar with the geography of the region, it’s easy to make the mistake that driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas wouldn’t be the best way to get from city to city. It’s also easy to assume that since Reno and Vegas are both in Nevada that it would take longer to get from L.A. to Vegas than it would to get from Reno to Las Vegas. Both of these assumptions, however, are wrong.

Reno-Vegas is more than 450 miles one-way, whereas L.A.-Vegas is only 270 miles. Yes, there are plenty of flights connecting Angelinos to Sin City, but if you like to drive and you’ve got a good road trip crew then that’s an excellent option – when everyone chips in on gas money, it’s much cheaper than paying for several plane tickets.

And speaking of saving money, one great way to do that is to stay in off Strip hotels in Vegas. The flashing lights and spectacular outdoor shows at the big casino hotels on the Strip are enticing, but there’s no reason to pay the high prices for rooms in those hotels if you can stay nearby in an off-Strip hotel for a fraction of the cost. Spend all your time in the fancy hotel casinos, restaurants, lounges, theatres, and bars if you like – but sleep cheap off the Strip.

Road trips don’t take nearly as much planning as a trip involving flights, so you’ve still got a little time to figure out a trip to Vegas for Memorial Day. Remember, however, that you aren’t the only one planning a Memorial Day trip, so don’t wait too long or all the Memorial Day travel deals will be gone.

photo by jdnx

Las Vegas Los Angeles Things to Do

Valentine’s Day Getaway to Vegas

For anyone who’s already in LA in mid-February, the idea of needing to plan a warm-weather getaway over Valentine’s Day is probably a bit silly. There’s plenty of sunshine blanketing Los Angeles and much of southern California during February, so you could easily enjoy a romantic walk on the beach with your sweetheart with just a short drive – but if you want to plan Valentine’s Day travel anyway, why not go play in Vegas?

There are all kinds of reasons to love Vegas for a getaway destination from Los Angeles, especially around Valentine’s Day. It’s not overly hot in Sin City in February, and yet it’s generally warm enough to enjoy the outdoor pools. That may not sound so different from February weather in LA, but Vegas certainly offers plenty of activities and attractions that LA doesn’t.

Getting from LA to Las Vegas is easy – there are lots of flights every day from LA’s many airports, and if you fancy a road trip it’s not even that far to drive. Hotel rooms in Vegas may go up in price over Valentine’s Day, but for a romantic splurge it can be worth it to get a room that’s a little more deluxe than you might otherwise. There are a few things you can do to get an upgrade on a Vegas hotel room – the best options usually involve being a frequent visitor to one particular hotel or getting that hotel casino’s “player’s card,” but it’s worth considering if you go to Las Vegas often.

Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year, so if you’re taking a long weekend trip to Sin City you might have to get a little work done on the holiday itself. If you do, you may be pleased to know that there are a few places where you can get free WiFi in Las Vegas – including McCarran Airport. Of course, unless you’re planning on relocating and finding a job in Las Vegas after your significant other dumps you for spending too much time online during your weekend trip, you might want to make sure you’ve booked a table at one of the most romantic restaurants in Vegas as a just-in-case peace offering.

photo by SimonDoggett

Las Vegas Things to Do

Go to Las Vegas for Nature, Not Just City

Last month we brought up the idea of summer trip to Las Vegas as a good option for a quick getaway. But what if you’re looking for a break from city life? What if you’d rather spend your quick getaway away from concrete and cars? If you know anything about Las Vegas, you’ll know it can still fit the bill – because there’s far more on offer in Sin City than just the Sin (or the City).

One of the things that makes Vegas so popular is that it’s usually pretty cheap to get there and (unless you’re coveting a suite at the Paris) cheap to stay. From Los Angeles, it’s even worth considering making it a road trip – but with so many cheap flights to Las Vegas it’s also an easy plane ride away. And if you’ve ever flown into Vegas, you know that it’s a very short trip from even the busiest and neon-iest part of the city center to the many outdoor pursuits that surround the city.

While there’s many a Las Vegas travel guide that scarcely mentions anything beyond the casinos and clubs, there are so many outdoor activities in Las Vegas that you could spend a week in the city with a packed itinerary and never even venture onto the Strip. The desert that stretches out in all directions from the city is full of adventures. Whether you’re in the mood for a hike through Red Rock Canyon, an ATV ride through the El Dorado Canyon, or a rafting trip down the Colorado River, Las Vegas has you covered. You can combine your outdoor-centric trip with a bit of city glam by staying in downtown Las Vegas and going to a show or a fancy dinner after a day of hiking, or you can stay at an off-Strip hotel and avoid it altogether.

In other words, just because you want to get away from L.A. this summer, don’t overlook Las Vegas as a vacation destination – there’s plenty of un-city stuff to keep you entertained.

photo by Exothermic

Las Vegas Things to Do

Las Vegas Getaway This Summer

Las Vegas is one of those cities which draw tourists like a magnet. Whether you like to party, relax, have fun or just enjoy some days out of your routine, then Las Vegas is an excellent choice. Or if you want to tour Europe but you don’t have the money, Las Vegas comprises enough interesting replicas of important European buildings to offer at least a glimpse of what the Old Continent is about.

When planning a summer getaway in Las Vegas it’s only natural to start the search with the Las Vegas deals . You can find excellent deals on flights and hotels. Plan your vacation in advance, or wait for the perfect moment when the rates are lower.

But if you don’t want to spend the vacation in the hustle and bustle of the Strip, you can always look for off-Strip hotels . Typically the nightly rates are lower but you’ll have to find means of transport to get to the casinos and spas, for example. If you really don’t want to do any of the activities available on the Strip but you’d rather just do a bit of sightseeing and then explore the sights outside the town, an off the Strip hotel is an awesome choice.

Renting a car in Las Vegas is an excellent idea. After a quick glance at the Las Vegas travel guide you’ll soon realize that there are plenty of things to do outside the city as well. For those who enjoy hiking, several days exploring the Grand Canyon are an amazing way to see the area. Or you can plan a day trip to Hoover Dam.

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It’s now as cheap to go to Las Vegas as it is to stay home

mgmgrandfrontLately we’ve been discussing various side trips that people often make in conjunction with a trip to Los Angeles, and things over in Las Vegas continue to get weirder so now it’s even harder to pass up. The first 3 weeks in Sin City are always the least crowded of the whole year and of course this year will be no different. Cheap flights are easy to find and hotel rooms are practically free.

The thing about travel to Las Vegas is that if you play your cards right, pun intended, you can often get drinks for free or almost free, and nearly everything else is available at great discounts if you know where to look. This isn’t to say that these super-cheap alternatives are always the best choice, but more that they are there if you look, especially during this time of year.

Getting there for a song

The fact that it’s nearly empty doesn’t mean that flights are at their lowest rates of the year, but it’s pretty close. Cheap flights to Las Vegas are just a few clicks away no matter where you are, it seems. In early December you can get a roundtrip from LAX to Vegas for around $125, and you can fly from Long Beach or Burbank or Orange County for just a bit more. These flights have been around $99 in the past, but that was years ago and this is pretty much rock-bottom these days unless you run into a great promotion on Southwest Airlines.

Where to stay

This is where things really get good. Cheap hotels in Las Vegas get even cheaper in early December, and right now several of them are advertising rooms under $20 per night. You can actually book yourself into the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino in the Downtown area for $11 per night including all taxes. It’s obviously not one of the more luxurious hotels in the city, but the location is pretty decent and the rooms are clean. This city’s loss is your gain and it’s a buyer’s market.

If you prefer to be on the Strip you can book the Riviera or the Imperial Palace for only $25 per night. Those are both nice places with great locations, and you could pay for the whole night by just getting a bit lucky with a $10 roll of quarters, or at least that was true back when the machines actually accepted coins.

What to do

The list of things to do in Las Vegas is a long one, but most people are interested in gambling, eating, drinking, and maybe a bit of shopping. There are great opportunities for all of those things pretty much everywhere you turn, but there is also the Red Rock Canyon just a few miles east of the city if you want to see one of the most scenic drives in the US.

There’s also golf and tennis and other outdoor activities, though it’s worth noting that in early December it’s actually colder in Vegas than it is in Los Angeles, so it’s best to plan one of the many indoor activities.

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Popular Deals for Las Vegas

If you are living or visiting Los Angeles and looking for something do one weekend, Las Vegas makes for an awesome weekend getaway adventure. Obviously if you are visiting Los Angeles, you probably want to stick to seeing the sights there. But if you are simply visiting family in the LA area for the hundredth time, maybe you and the rest of the family could hop over the Vegas strip for a night or two. There are always plenty of great deals going on that make it super cheap to visit, even if just for the weekend.

For more information about Las Vegas, check out our Las Vegas blog.

Getting Cheap Hotel Rooms
Finding a cheap flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is enough to do. Finding a cheap hotel room in Las Vegas can be a little more tricky. There are just so many sites and deals out there that it can be hard to find the best ones. If you are looking for some Vegas hotel discounts and think that they are only limited to the smaller and less popular hotels off the strip, you are sadly mistaken. In fact, it is many of the bigger and more popular hotels right on the strip that have some of the best deals.

If you think that the bigger hotels like the Excalibur and Bellagio are out your budget, you should think again. These hotels have some many rooms at so many different price ranges that you are sure to be able to fond something fits within your budget. Whats great about staying at thee larger hotels on the strip is that they have so much to offer right in the hotel. While many of the have shoes and other form of paid entertainment, they usually have a wide variety of free things to see and do as well. Granted they might not be as exciting as the Blue Man Group, but its hard to beat free in Vegas.

If you have ever thought of planning a weekend getaway to Las Vegas, but thought it was out of your budget, I suggest you do a little research. The above links will show you just how cheap a weekend in Vegas can actually be. You might be surprised. I know I was that first time I looked up the cost of going to Vegas for a weekend. The best to plan one of these weekend getaway is either well in advance or at the very last minute. It is these times that allow you to find the best deals on hotels and airfare.