Planning a family vacation is always challenging, but planning a family vacation for 5 for a non-conventional Las Vegas family vacation is really ambitious. My husband was brave enough to suggest the idea, and I was nutty enough to evangelize that I can make it work. Off course I can, I am the queen of travel concierge and a resourceful mom.
I led by the following premise: fun, educational, fab (for mom)
1. Choose a very kid friendly hotel:
We chose to stay at the Four Seasons Las Vegas, for our Las Vegas family vacation as we wanted to make sure that the kids were not distracted by “the crazy life” that is often referred to vacation in Las Vegas. The hotel is situated above the Mandalay Bay Hotel, and boasts of its own fabulous entrance as well as an express elevator to the 35th to 39th floors. Our one bedroom suite was on the 37th floor with stunning views, where sunsets were magical. The hotel has its own private pool, great restaurants, spa among many other amenities. The Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas also conveniently offers babysitting for a fee, so you and your partner can let your hair down while your concierge-vetted babysitter entertain your children for a minimum of 4 hours (rates are $45 per hour). By the way, the warm chocolate chips cookies they offer to the kids upon check-in make for a great beginning to a lovely vacation.
2. Rent a car:
In order to take in as many activities on your own schedule, it is highly recommended to rent a car. Not only will it save you hundreds of dollars in transportation on your Las Vegas Family vacation, but it also allows you to do things on your own time. We know how stressful it is to travel with children, it is even more stressful to travel with children on someone else’s time, especially if your children are much younger, and would require frequent restroom stops, “are we there yet” dialogues, or not getting ready on time for pickup. Renting your own car lessens the pressure of these situations. We rented a vehicle for 8 days via Priceline.com’s name your own price, and were able nab a mid-size SUV for $250 from Las Vegas airport.
3. Visit the Grand Canyon on your Las Vegas family vacation:
Las Vegas is not very far from the Grand Canyon. So if you are going to be in Las Vegas, why not take the 4 hour drive to the Grand Canyon? We did just that! Adding on the 2 nights stay at the Grand Canyon was an experience that just cannot be described, but enjoyed. Fortunately, we were able to secure the Mary Jane Coulter suite at the El Tovar Hotel, overlooking the South Rim. To get this room, you have to book a year ahead, or call many times daily checking availability. The later we did and we considered ourselves very lucky. Our room came with a great view, ample space for 5 people and our very own private balcony. We did two fantastic tours, visited the museum, the Tower and other landmarks within the Grand Canyon, most designed by famed architect, Mary Jane Coulter.
4. Why not stop in Sedona?
Instead of stoping at the suggested Williams or Flagstaff, why not stop in Sedona? Sedona is a quaint beautiful town overflowing with fantastic hotels and spas. The city is saturated with amazing red rocks, and known for its spiritual healing abilities, possesses a scenery that makes your heart beat. The geological wonderlands that surround Sedona are multi-hued stone formations that jut upwards from the high desert floor creating a vivid, mesmerizing setting that changes hourly with the light. There are also trails for hiking and biking, along with bouncy jeep tracks. It is a great stop after a long ride. We settled at Enchantment Resort and Spa, where my son and husband had a round of golf and I basked in the prickly pear butter wrap treatment, at the world renowned Mii amo Spa which is part of the resort.
5. Buy discounted tickets from reputable companies for your Las Vegas family vacation:
Most great events usually sell out quickly, and if you are like me and you want to find the best seats, at the best price, on the right days, that match your itinerary, then I suggest buying your events and shows tickets ahead of your travels to Las Vegas. Weeks before our travel, I scanned the internet relentlessly for discounted tickets. It is was a bit of a challenge, since some of these online companies could very well be dishonest in some of their practices. However, reputable sites like Goldstar.com, Livingsocial.com, Treasure Island Hotel for Cirque de Soliel Mystere, VT Theatre Box Office, Grayline.com, for trips to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, all offered discounted rates that we skillfully took advantage of. I was also able to use the hotels’ generated Las Vegas 3 for $57 deal for kid friendly activities that helped me stay below budget.
6. Kid friendly activities:
There are quite a few kid friendly activities to choose from for your Las Vegas Family vacation. We decided on the 3 for $57 package and took the kids to the Adventure Dome at Circus Circus for a day filled with amusement park fun. They were particularly fascinated by the Go Cart rides, and scariest roller coaster ride, El Loco. We were also treated to a surprise encounter by Roy from the duo Siegfried and Roy at the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. He was there for an occasional visit and we were pleased that the five of us had a photo opportunity with him. To make the trip a bit more focused on them we also visited Shark Reef at The Mandalay Bay, which was a wonderful experience. We acquired VIP front row seats to the Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theatre show. This show is very entertaining for all ages and a popular one in Las Vegas.
7. Visit Hoover Dam and Lake Mead:
A vacation to Las Vegas seems incomplete without a trip to the Hoover Dam and a cruise along Lake Mead. These trips are often booked together, and prices vary. We consider our family of 5 lucky as we were able to get a great deal on our package, by booking directly with Grayline.com. We booked the $85 Experience the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead with 90 Minutes at the Hoover Dam and 90 Minutes on the Desert Princess a Mississippi Style Paddle Wheeler Boat package, where we got a birds eye view of this magnificent man made wonder. We learnt about hydro power, got a thorough tour of the facility, including the huge generators, learned how the Hoover Dam was created as well as spent a few hours cruising Lake Mead, where we were treated to catered lunch and an incredible view and history of the Dam.
8. Parents night out on the town:
Our family vacation coincided with our 14 wedding anniversary as well as my birthday, and so what better place to go out on the town than in Las Vegas. For the evening of our anniversary, we had reserved a table for two at the world famous, Michelin star restaurant, L’Atelier Joel Robuchon restaurant at the MGM Grand. The Prix Fixe menu with wine pairing worked great for us, and we were definitely not disappointed. The food was as delicious and the presentation was beautiful. Later, we ventured to the Mirage to see the original Cirque Du Soleil show, Mystere. It was quite spectacular and we were also fascinated by the audience engagement. On the last night of our stay in Las Vegas we managed to go clubbing, and we were able to use a special ticket from Livingsocial.com, which offered us 50% off of the cover charge to Paris Night Club, as well as unlimited drinks . What a deal! Please note that the higher end hotels offer courtesy cars to take you to areas that are within a five mile radius from your hotel. If you want to be driven without having to pay, then this will be a great option especially if you are drinking.
9. Dress light:
The temperature in the dessert is very hot and can rise up to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, during the summer, so make sure to pack lots of whites, and light fabric clothing to offset the heat. I packed lots of shorts, light tops and swimming attire for all of us. For evenings, when it gets much cooler, I opted for darker colors for my husband and I. We also recommend hats, sunglasses and lots of sunscreen.
Above all things just take it all in and enjoy your time. It is like a fantasy land filled with replica buildings and cityscapes, your kids will enjoy a drive down Las Vegas Boulevard, in your rented car or a taxi, or hotel provided courtesy car. This Las Vegas family vacation will be like no other and it will leave a lasting impression on the entire family.