Good luck finding a clock in Las Vegas. Sin City tourism officials and hoteliers want visitors to put time aside and the real world behind them. As prices fall like a bad poker player's stack of chips, Las Vegas attracts hordes of travelers looking to do a lot more than play black jack or hit the giant hotel buffets. Now considered one of the finest food, shopping and golf destinations in the world, Vegas is a 24-hour carnival, a desert oasis that would make Aladdin crave for more than a magic carpet.
To enjoy the carnival for less money, Las Vegas Advisor (tel. 702/252-0655; www.lasvegasadvisor.com) has an annual coupon booklet for Vegas destinations promising 146 offers for over 50 various casinos, hotels, restaurants and car-rental companies. You can purchase the book at Las Vegas Advisor's site by paying a fee of $37 to become a member of Advisor's travel club. Some of the savings you can receive include two for the price of the one tickets to more than 15 hotel/casino buffets, beers and drinks at many hotel bars, entertainment at Bally's the Aladdin, rides on tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower at the Paris, money for slot machines, and room rates. Hotel coupons include $55 rooms at the Las Vegas Hilton. Dining coupons include two-for-one entrees at Mandalay Bay's House of Blues. You can also get 15-percent off your rental car from Budget or Enterprise. Membership to the Las Vegas Advisor travel club, founded and presided over by Vegas travel guru Anthony Curtis, also gets you a monthly newsletter, private online member forums, online daily deal e-coupons and discounts on Las Vegas-oriented products such as books and souvenirs.
Armed with your coupon books, let's examine the travel packages available to Sin City. Jet Blue Getaways (tel. 800/JETBLUE; www.jetblue.com/getaways) has two-night vacation getaways including airfare and accommodations at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino starting from $299.13 per person based on double occupancy for departures out of Oakland. From Boston, the trip costs $417 per person and also includes a $20 dining credit at the Kahunaville Restaurant and a book of coupons with up to $2,000 worth of savings at the Fashion Show Mall. From New York, for late-February trip, two-day land/air inclusive packages start at $411 per person with accommodations at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel and go up to around $523 for a stay at the Bellagio, one of Vegas's premiere luxury hotel and casino properties. A Jet Blue getaway to the Mirage from New York costs approximately $445 for a two-day package. Flights from New York include a stopover in Long Beach (and Jet Blue will allow you to extend your stay) in the Los Angeles area on the way back.
Southwest Vacations (tel. 800/243-8372; www.southwestvacations.com), Southwest Airline's vacation arm, has "Start in Style and Save" specials to Las Vegas that have to be booked by January 26, 2006. Travel is good through February 15, 2006 with trips including round-trip airfare, two-nights' accommodations, 24-hour travel assistance, and credit on air travel with Southwest's frequent flying program. Prices on these packages range from $94 for the two-day air-and-hotel special from Phoenix and $169 from Chicago with accommodations at Circus Circus, $299 from Nashville with lodging at the MGM Grand, and $304 from Kansas City with overnights at the Mirage. Call and book now to ensure availability on these low-priced deals.
For an in-depth look at the history of Las Vegas covering the origins of the gambling capital of the world to the desegregation of Las Vegas hotel hiring, the PBS documentary called Las Vegas: An Unconventional History from the American Experience series has a detailed website at www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/lasvegas.
What are your faves when you stay in Las Vegas (and why)? Head over to our Nevada Message Boards to join the conversation.