I'm 33 & This Is How Much I Spent On A Birthday Blowout Weekend In Las Vegas

Welcome to Travel Diaries, a Refinery29 series where we tag along as real women embark on trips around the world and track their travel expenses down to the last cent. Here, we offer a detailed, intimate account of when, where, and how our peers spend their vacation days and disposable income: all the meals, adventures, indulgences, setbacks, and surprises.
This week's travel diary: A 33-year old freelance DJ spends a weekend with her girls in Las Vegas.
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Age: 33
Occupation: DJ/Marketing Professional (Actively seeking full time work)
Salary: currently freelancing, but my at last job I made about $50,000 a year
Annual Number Of Vacation Days: N/A
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Trip Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Trip Length: 3 days
Travel Companions: Best Friend, A
Costs: Driving in personal car. Self parking at the hotel cost $18.00 per day. Stayed there for 3 days.
Total: $36
Costs: Vdara Hotel $436.53 total for 2 nights. Cost split between myself and another person. So I just paid for my half.
Total: $218.27
Pre-vacation spending:
- bikini wax: $15
- hair appointment - $60
- swimsuit - $12
Total: $87
Do you have credit card debt as a result of booking this vacation? If so, how much?No, but I did use my credit card for purchases during the trip and will pay the minimum due.

Day One

10:15 a.m. – It’s the first day of the trip and I’m very excited! We are celebrating my BFF’s birthday and having a mini reunion in Vegas with a few more friends because we all went to University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I stop at the 7-Eleven gas station to fill up my tank ($35) and grab some snacks ($4.20) before heading to pick up my best friend. $39.20
10:45 a.m. – Pick up my best friend A at her grandma’s house for us to start our road trip to Las Vegas. My best friend and I decided to stay with family in San Bernardino on Thursday night to make the ride shorter than driving from LA on Friday morning. She is leaving her car parked there for the weekend and I go inside to greet her grandma. As we begin the commute, we notice it’s full of traffic. The drive to Las Vegas from San Bernardino is typically 2.5-3 hours.
2:30 p.m. – We arrive to Vegas and decide to get lunch at one of our favorite spots, Farm Basket. Cheap and delicious fried chicken foods. I order my favorite, the Finger Meal Deal which consists of four chicken strips, fries, and a drink. Definitely not something I usually eat anymore so I actually order bottled water instead of soda and only finish one chicken strip. They’ve also changed the recipe so it wasn’t as appealing as it used to be. $8.65
3:30 p.m. – We make a pit stop at Wal-Mart to get toiletries, alcohol, and lots of water so that we can buy in bulk and spend less on these types of items on the strip/hotel. My friend bought the bulk of the stuff. I only got water, deodorant, bananas, and Kind granola bars. $14.47
4:30 p.m. – Arrive to the hotel to meet another friend, T, at the check-in desk. We’re staying at Vdara Hotel and she and I are actually sharing the room together. We are splitting the cost but I’m using my credit card to hold the charges.
6 p.m. – We take a nap before heading to the nightclub, Jewel inside Aria Hotel, but first we stop to the café inside the hotel and I order a pressed juice. I feel like I need some greens in my system after eating Farm Basket. $10.58
8:30 p.m. – We start getting dressed and pregaming for our evening at the Jewel nightclub. The outfit I initially wanted to wear doesn't look so flattering as I imagined. But the alternative works out just fine.
11 p.m. – We arrive to Jewel nightclub, there are a total of seven girls now. Five of the girls decided to purchase a VIP table for seating which cost about $1,000. Myself and another friend opted out. I have a college friend, C, who works for the corporate side of the club so he was able to get me and my other friend inside for free admission with two drink tickets. Myself and this friend mostly stayed at the bar and went to the table occasionally. We had a great time and made some friends from London who bought a round of drinks to celebrate my BFF’s birthday! I purchased one drink: Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey and ginger ale. $18.40
3:30 a.m. - 4:30 a.m. – Three of us decide to get food before bed. We go to Grand Lux Café, which is always a treat for me because they closed all the California locations down. There are two in Vegas. I book the taxi ($7.80) for the first leg of the trip and order a chicken pasta ($30) for late night dinner. $37.80
Daily Total: $129.10

Day Two

11 a.m. - 2 p.m. – Moving very slow this morning considering our late night. But we are getting up and prepared to head to Wet Republic – a pool party at the MGM Hotel. Some friends leave at 12:30pm to retrieve their table. C’s company owns Wet Republic so he will make some calls to get me in for free again. Very thankful for that!
3:30 p.m. – T orders me a Lyft ride, which I didn’t expect. I arrive to the day-party and meet the girls. I was able to get in free, thanks to C (admission can be anywhere from $40 and up so that was a huge saving). The party is a LOT of fun. Lil Jon is the guest DJ, he’s amazing and full of high energy, he really knows how to keep the crowd engaged! The girls have a bit of money left to spend at the table, which was $1000, so I was able to order tacos. I decide to skip out on alcohol for the day-party in order to pace myself for the rest of the night.
6:30 p.m. – We stay at the day-party until it closes around 6:30pm and I cover the taxi for us on the way back to the hotel. $14
10 p.m. – We want to have a fancy dinner and so we’re going to Javier’s, a high-end Mexican cuisine spot. The ambiance is very dark, with little to no lighting. Dark restaurants make me sleepy, but the music selection is really good and is keeping me awake. I order the chopped salad with shrimp which is DELICIOUS. The service is extremely slow, we wait over an hour to be served and everyone that came after us left before us. This makes us very late for the guestlist at Drai’s. We were supposed to be there before midnight. We also wonder if we were stereotyped as black women but that’s another story. $35
12 a.m. – We’re going to Alibi, a chill hip-hop bar inside the Aria hotel. I notice my college and buddy T inside, who so happens to works there. I haven’t seen him in ten years! We’re catching up for a minute and talking about how adulting is treating us. T asks me what I’d like to drink and if I am drinking, then hands me a few drink tickets. I order two glasses of Chardonnay, complimentary of my good friend T. What a nice surprise.
2 a.m. – Walk over to Taco Bell Cantina on the strip so that the girls can eat. I don't order anything because I am still full from dinner but run into some more college buddies. Talk about a whole college reunion!!
Daily Total: $49

Day Three

8:00 a.m. – Today is check-out day and I am completely struggling to get out of bed because I didn’t go to sleep until 4:00 a.m. I slowly pull myself together to pack up and request for a bellhop to load our luggage from the hotel to the car. The bellhop’s customer service is exceptional, he is very friendly and patient so I give him a tip. $5
9:00 a.m. – My best friend and I stop at the gas station to fill up the tank before we head back to California. There’s a McDonald’s in the same parking lot and we’re craving Sausage Egg McMuffins. McDonald’s is running a 2 for $4 deal so my BFF purchases them for us. I am so tired and I don’t know how I am going to do this drive because we only had about 3 hours of sleep, but it’s Easter Sunday and we’re determined to get back home to see our families. $35
Daily Total: $40
How did you prepare for this trip?
Las Vegas has changed a lot since I’ve lived there so to prepare for this trip, I reached out to a few of my friends that still live in the city to get updates from them on places to go, hotels, dining, etc.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
I really enjoyed the day party at Wet Republic. The weather was great, the energy was high, and the music was really good. I got a good tan!
What was the best meal or food you ate while you were there?
I got a chopped shrimp salad from Javier’s and I LOVED it.
What advice would you give someone who is traveling to the same location?
The hotels now charge for self-parking. Don’t drive if you don’t plan on using your car during the stay.
Would you stay at your hotel/Airbnb again?
Location wise, I would stay at the hotel. But the rooms felt more suitable for a business stay.
Where were you located in Las Vegas and would you recommend staying in that part of town?
I was located on the Las Vegas Strip and I would recommend staying there because it was centrally located and we didn’t need much transportation.
Is there anything you wished you had time to do, but didn’t?
Yes, I wish I had time to see a show and go to Drai’s nightclub.
Do you feel like you were there for the right length of time? Would you have come home sooner or stayed longer given the chance?
Yes, I think I stayed the right amount of time. Vegas is a 3 day max trip for me.
Travel Diaries is meant to reflect individual women's experiences and does not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.

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