Las Vegas, March 2015 – Spring break on a budget

I really want to share our 2015 trip to Vegas, as that one was a bit different from our other trips.

Backstory: It was 2015, we were in Tacoma for my semester abroad, and we wanted to go to Vegas for spring break. In fall 2014, economy got worse thanks to changes in oil prices and such. What had been a very comfortable budget for the entire four months abroad was suddenly a lot tighter, so we had to make a lot of adjustments. Of course, an awesome spring break trip is a luxury, and not a real necessity. So we had to be smart about it.  So here’s how we did Vegas on a budget. Two people, three nights/four days, $450 budget. It was a very relaxed trip, which was what we were going for. We booked the flight early, got a good deal with Southwest airlines (not included in the mentioned budget).

Day 1:

We left from SeaTac at about noon, so we arrived at 2 -2:30 p.m.

window seat
View from the plane

For the first night, we had a suite at Hard Rock Hotel. We paid for it with some airline miles we had from our 2012 trip + $10. The suite wasn’t ready yet when we arrived, so we had some time to kill. We started by taking a walk through the casino, before going to Pink Taco for lunch. Great start!

pink taco

After we finished lunch, we could finally check in. We had high expectations for the suite, and I can say one thing: they were all exceeded. It was absolutely fantastic . The only downside was that the music system didn’t work properly. However, the front desk staff was very nice and waived the resort fee because of that – so no hard feelings there. (Check out my video of the suite on youtube)

After freshening up, we went to Fremont St. to have some fun without spending too much. We started in one end, and worked our way up to the other end, stopping by almost every casino to play a little and sign up for player’s clubs to see what kind of freebies we could get. We got a couple of card decks, some freeplay and some coupons for food and drinks. We did have fun, no doubt. We ended the night with an evening snack, before taking a taxi back to Hard Rock where we just spent the last of our gambling budget for the night and then went to sleep.

Fremont street

Day 2:

We were switching hotels as we only had enough miles for one night in the suite. We got up in time for check-out, and as we were traveling light we could take the free shuttle bus from Hard Rock to The Strip. The bus stopped outside Fashion Show Mall, so we decided to just walk from there to The Mirage, where we would be staying the next two nights. We got the room for free by playing MyVegas, a Facebook game where you can play virtual slot machines for free, and earn points that can be redeemed for real rewards. Personally, I was very glad that there were available rooms at The Mirage for those two days, as I’d always really wanted to stay there. After all, that’s where the Griswolds stayed…

The Mirage

We walked through the mall, over to Treasure Island, and realized there’s a free monorail going between Treasure Island and The Mirage – so we could just use that instead of walking. It’s not that far, but it was a hot day and we had our luggage.

By the time we got to The Mirage, it was only noon. We had to wait for up to four hours before we could check in. We explored the casino floor for a while, before going to the buffet for lunch – with passes that we got through the MyVegas game. That’s when I got to know this piece of heaven:

Red Velvet

Seriously. There’s a great selection of tasty food and dessert items in that buffet, but this one takes the cake….! And I’m not even a “cake person”.

Well, cheesy puns aside… the time passed by, and we could finally check in. There was a minor issue, though. The room wasn’t actually ready, and so we were given a different room that was. This resulted in the resort fee being waived there too, and they actually gave us some credit that we could use for food on the property. Is that great service or what?!? 

After getting settled in our new room, we headed out almost right away. We had buffet passes at the Bellagio buffet (once again, MyVegas) for dinner, and we took our time walking there. We stopped by the Linq promenade for the first time (it wasn’t ready the time before), and of course we had to stop to watch the Bellagio fountains for the umpteenth time.

Bellagio fountains

It took us some time to find the buffet, but we eventually got there. It was good. Selection was decent, and quality was nice. Nothing to complain about.

We walked back to The Mirage, and arrived just in time for the volcano show. We watched it, and then went inside and spent the rest of the evening in the casino.


Day 3:

This was a slow day. Hubby felt like just relaxing in our room for a while after breakfast got up – I, on the other hand, had no such plans. Not that I did anything extremely exciting. I just played some slots, checked out the stores in the resort, and sat outside right next to the pool area for a little bit.

Eventually, hubby was ready to go out. We went for a drink at Rhumbar, where we discussed what to do for the day as we had no specific plans.


I mentioned that the pool looked really nice, and I wouldn’t mind hanging out there for a while. The only thing getting in my way was that I didn’t pack any swimwear. So we decided to try to find something, and went to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. Wrong choice. Nothing there was affordable enough, and by the time we got back it was already late afternoon. In other words, pool time did not happen.

The rest of the day was uneventful, but nice. One more buffet dinner, and some casino time.

Day 4:

Check-out time. We decided to spend our resort credit for brunch at California Pizza Kitchen, which was nice. As we had more than enough time before we had to be at the airport, we went over to Venetian/Palazzo as soon as we left our bags with the bell desk. We walked through the whole thing, like we always do.

Somewhere inside the venetian

After that, we just went back, picked up our bags and got a taxi to the airport.

taxi line
Last minute photo from the taxi line


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