A lot of people that I know have been going to Las Vegas lately. I mean a lot of them, and they’re going quite frequently too. One person in particular has been to Las Vegas 4 times in the past 18 months. From single people in their early twenties to divorced dad’s in their late thirties, it seems like everybody’s going to Vegas lately. So what gives?
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I’ve asked a few of them why they go down to Vegas and how they can afford to go so often. The response is always the same, “It’s just so cheap” they tell me. I’ve never been to Las Vegas before so I decided to investigate this further and see what all the fuss is about.
Fly From a U.S. Airport
Since Lethbridge doesn’t have a major airport, we would either have to drive 2 hours north in order to fly out of Calgary or else drive 3 hours south to fly from Great Falls, MT. As Canadian Capitalist pointed out a few weeks ago, many Canadians are enjoying the cost savings of flying out of the closest U.S. airport.
For us, the closest American airport is in Great Falls, MT. There is a discount airline that flies out of Great Falls called Allegiant Air.
I took a quick look at their website and was pretty impressed. It’s basically a one-stop shop where you can book a complete package of flights, hotels, car rentals and entertainment.
And the flights are definitely cheap, so this must be where everyone is flying from. But just to get an idea of the total cost for a trip down to Las Vegas I created a fake booking on their website and here’s what I found:
Dates: Sunday March 20th – Thursday March 24th
- Gas from Lethbridge to Great Falls round trip (300 KM x 2) = $120
- Flight from Great Falls to Las Vegas (2 people, round trip) = $260
- Hotel room for 4 nights (Imperial Palace) = $330
- Entertainment (2 tickets to one show) = $240
- Meals for two (4 x Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) = $400
- Fees and taxes = $125
Total cost of trip = $1,475
Can We Really Afford This?
As I mentioned earlier, people from all walks of life are making this trip on a regular basis. In fact, most of them don’t really have that much in common. But I can probably guess the one trait that they likely share. They probably can’t afford to be doing this, certainly not as frequently as I’ve seen in some cases.
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I don’t want to condemn these people, and I don’t disapprove of those who list travel as a high priority in their lives. Some people can do this in a responsible manner by saving in advance rather than racking up credit card debt.
I do know that blowing $1,500 on an extended weekend in Vegas is not at the top of my bucket list. That’s not my idea of cheap entertainment. And doing this 4 times in 18 months is just going overboard in my view.
Live Now, Pay Later?
Maybe it’s just a clash of different values. Live now and pay later vs. save now and live later. Am I the only one who cringes when I hear that Mazda commercial state, “I will never sacrifice joy in the name of practicality”? You need to find a balance between enjoying life and being a miserly old scrooge, but that’s going too far.
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That’s the consumer culture we’re living in now, and it’s a bit frightening to see sometimes. Perhaps I’m wrong about these people and they have saved up their pennies before every trip. Or maybe I just need to loosen up a bit and take a trip down to Vegas myself to see what I’ve been missing.
Is Vegas worth it? Do you have a favorite vacation spot?