March 2018 Trip to Vegas

Mrs. TWM and I went to Las Vegas for some business on a timeshare we bought last year. We have not had a chance to use the timeshare yet. In many cases, timeshares are a bad idea for most travelers; but, that's a topic for another blog post. We have not used this timeshare because I am hesitant to cash in an entire week for a vacation as I have been traveling much for work. Every time I return from a trip, there is a great deal of catching up. This year, I will have to use my vacation time in a series of three day weekends. We have definite plans to take advantage of the timeshare purchase in the coming years. I expect my work travel to die down soon. 

On this trip, we stayed at the Jockey Club, which is right in the middle of the Las Vegas strip, nestled between the Bellagio and the Cosmopolitan. Our lodging only cost $79, courtesy of the timeshare company. On this trip, we used a combination of American Express Membership Rewards points and a couple of Allegiant airline vouchers to pay for our airfare. Other than the $79, we would pay for our own meals and other personal expenses. We did score a free buffet at the Wicked Spoon if that counts. Although, this would average out with the meal Mrs. TWM and I had at the Cabo Wabo, which was breathtaking when the bill arrived. 

Going into this, I suspected the Owner’s Education was an opportunity for the timeshare company to upsell us on a higher package. It turned out to be the case. The presentation was not a hard sell. I was receptive to the upgrade. Mrs. TWM and I have some long-term travel plans that require a bit more flexibility like we would get from the higher package. So, we agreed to the bump up.

The Jockey Club
This trip was just a quick stay and return. We arrived late on Wednesday and left early on Friday. We did not have of time for sightseeing. This is almost the same as the last time we went to Las Vegas, which is when we initially bought the timeshare. Las Vegas itself holds little attraction for either of us. I will explain in another post why we decided to buy a timeshare in Las Vegas despite it not being our destination of choice. Even though it was a brief trip, we did have some time to talk about our travel plans. 

It was colder in Vegas than expected
One thing did become clear to us. We need to have a plan when we go on vacation. Our plan on this trip consisted mainly of the business transaction and a quick family visit with our daughter. Having become more familiar with the place, Mrs. TWM thinks that our younger children might enjoy a trip to Las Vegas for the sheer spectacle and glamour. We are researching what attractions there are in Las Vegas for families. That blog post should be coming up soon. Having an agenda of places to visit and things to see prior to going would make the experience enjoyable for our children and less stressful for us.  

On an entirely different trip with my brother this year, the Delta SkyClub charge on the AMEX Platinum received 5X points because it was an airline charge. So this opened my eyes that other charges, such as incidentals, count as airline charges, thus qualifying for 5X. It is obvious, in retrospect. However, I thought the 5X only applied to the flight itself. So, we used the Platinum card for our flight incidentals, which discount airlines have plenty of.

We had intended to visit the American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS when we arrived. However, it was already 10 pm and the wayfinding at LAS was lousy about getting us from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 where the Centurion Lounge is located. Rather than backtrack and find the right way, we decided to forge on to check in to our lodging instead. On the return trip, however, we did make a point to arrive at the airport early to check out the lounge. The Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas opens at 5 am and closes at 11 pm. This meant that we could arrive early for a breakfast before departing. After our visit, we did manage to find a way from T3 to T1 from the airside. 

Besides business reasons, this trip for me was about learning more about how to get around Las Vegas. I find satisfaction in knowing how to find places and how to get there. This is why finding airport lounges is so much fun for me. There is a big difference between seeing how to get from one gate to another on a map and actually having to make the trek. On a map, you see a bunch of boxes neatly lined up in the shape of the airport. From traveler's perspective, it is much different. The maps leave out the series of escalators, trains, and deceptive wayfinding. It is hard to look like a traveling pro when you are always bewildered trying to figure out where you are and how to get anywhere. 

The same pleasure awaited me at the Jockey Club, which consists of two towers. Getting from the front desk to our room was a series of elevators, stairs, and hallways as well. I think I might have been a lab rat in another life. I really enjoy finding my way through mazes. On a grander scale, that is what travel is to me, a giant global maze with ways to get from here to there. Mrs. TWM and I chatted about how I enjoy knowing the locations more than I enjoy the attractions themselves. 

The flight home was shorter than expected. We had tailwinds to help us along. Rough landing. More significantly, Mrs. TWM and I are wiped out from the trip even though we did not do too much drinking or staying up late. Yes, what happened in Vegas was pretty lame by most story standards. This brings to light that we should get ourselves in better shape. Travel surprisingly takes a lot out of you. We need better stamina for our future travels. 

This trip inspired a lot of ideas related to Travel.Write.Money and how to make it a viable business. It also sparked a lot of insight into who I am as a traveler. Ultimately, travel is a great educator on so many levels. Even this brief whirlwind trip had a lot to offer in this regard. So, there are some blog post ideas queued up for development in the pipeline. 

That reminds me, I created an Instagram account and a Facebook Page for Travel.Write.Money readers to follow. 

Take care.