“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” (Khalil Gibran)
Research shows that taking trips with your girlfriends is good for your health, and I couldn’t agree with the hypothesis more. I spent the past few days with Valery and Sevi in Las Vegas and feel completely renewed. I’ve been fortunate to travel fairly often over the past few years with family, my husband, even by myself, but was long overdue for a girls getaway. When Valery told us she would be in Vegas for a convention during the week of her 30th birthday, the conclusion was a no-brainer!
I know the saying is “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but I never want to forget these memories and the precious time spent with the best of friends. And maybe sharing some travel tips we learned from our getaway will inspire someone else to plan their own trip…
Pick the earliest flight out and sit next to your bestie(s)
Sevi and I flew out of Dallas on Southwest to meet Valery, who drove to Vegas from Colorado. Our sweet husbands dropped us off at the airport for a 6am flight, and we found each other right after going through security. After a quick stop at the Benefit vending machine because Sevi and I forgot to pack eyeliner and mascara, respectively, we had a chance to catch up after a busy week before boarding. Sevi got to board first and saved me a spot with her carry-on bag/mean mug towards anyone who tried to sit next to her. We took a quick selfie before I fell asleep. (Plane naps are my jam!) By the time I woke up, we were landing in Vegas!
Check into the Hotel, Grab Some Provisions from Walgreens, and Take an Obligatory Casino Photo
We stayed at the Tropicana Resort, and Valery had checked-in a few days earlier. We quickly dropped our bags off in the room and got breakfast in one of the hotel’s restaurants. When discussing some of the things we wanted to do during our trip (DANCE), we realized we needed some insoles for our shoes, so Walgreens was our next stop. In addition to that, we picked up a couple bottles of Tito’s Vodka and Sprite for pre-gaming purposes. Sevi had been to Vegas a couple times before and suggested taking a #Vegas Instagram photo in the hopes that nightclub promoters would reach out to add us to their guestlists. We found an empty row of slot machines and posed for a quick ‘gram.
Explore the Strip, Relax by the Pool, and Nap (if needed)
We spent most of the afternoon walking down Las Vegas Blvd to get our bearings and then resting at the Tropicana pool. Tropicana was in a great location and right by a tram station to Mandalay Bay.
Get Ready for a Night on the Town (or in Bed Watching Reality TV)
We had every intention of going out dancing our first night in Vegas. JEWEL Nightclub was apparently the place to be on Mondays. We got dressed in our dancing attire, grabbed dinner and then a Lyft to the Aria. The club was supposed to open at 10:30, so we went a little early to check out the hotel. At some point, we all looked at each other with a silent understanding. Someone threw out the idea of going back to the hotel, getting a good night’s sleep, and trying again tomorrow. The decision was unanimous, and we spent the evening watching “90 Day Fiancé” on TLC.
Eat Breakfast at Tom’s Urban and split an order of Crispy Chicken & Cornbread Pancakes
Food in Vegas is expensive. When we found Tom’s Urban, an affordable restaurant in the New York, New York hotel with huge portions, we ended up going there for three separate meals. Their specialty breakfast item is Crispy Chicken & Cornbread Pancakes (a spin-off of Chicken & Waffles), and it was incredible. It was also way too much food for one person, and could easily be split between 2-3 people.
Get ink together
Tuesday afternoon was rainy, which ruled out any outdoor activities. It seemed like the perfect time to get tattoos. Valery did some research and found Golden Skull Tattoo. We were able to walk-in without problems, and the staff was super friendly. All of us have multiple tattoos, but it felt special to get one in Vegas together commemorating the trip. Valery even entrusted me with the honor of handwriting her tattoo design!
Dress to Impress
Las Vegas fashion is something else. After browsing a lot of “What to Wear in Las Vegas” Google results, I ended up packing a lot of form-fitting bodysuits, skirts, and dresses. Types of clothing that aren’t in my everyday wardrobe or comfort zone. It was how I used to dress in college several years (and lbs.) ago, but these days I’m all about the flowy dress and tunic life. As nervous as I was to show a little more skin and curves, there is no better time to play dress up than with your best friends around to be personal cheerleaders and hype girls. It was fun seeing how everyone’s personal style influenced their nightlife wardrobe while celebrating each others’ individuality.
Experience Las Vegas Nightlife and Dance Like No One is Watching
Thanks to Sevi’s sleuthing and social networking skills, we got on a guestlist for OMNIA Nightclub at Caesars Palace on Tuesday night. Little did we know, even the guestlist would have a line outside the building to get inside. Nevertheless, we were determined to dance, and eventually made our way inside. The main room of OMNIA is dedicated to techno music, but we found a smaller room with a hip hop DJ. Although it was a rude awakening when he played the Macarena and no one else in the club seemed to recognize it, that didn’t stop us from going full on 90’s with our dance moves.
Go Back to the Pool and Soak Up Some Sunshine
Wednesday morning was beautiful weather. We grabbed a quick bite for breakfast and spent the rest of the afternoon lounging outside. The idea of going to a crowded pool party after a night of dancing didn’t appeal to us. Instead, we opted to enjoy the quiet, relaxing atmosphere at Tropicana.
Take Full Advantage of Golden Hour With a Quick Photoshoot
The lighting in Vegas on a sunny evening is perfect for photos. One of the things Valery wanted to do for her 30th bday was a Vegas photoshoot, and I happily obliged. We found a spot outside of our hotel with great palm-tree lined backgrounds that wasn’t too crowded with tourists.
Splurge on Tickets to a Fun Las Vegas Residency like the Backstreet Boys
We were excited to score tickets to one of BSB’s final Vegas shows. The last time I had seen them perform was back in middle school. It was a blast to relive my teenage years and hear some of my favorite songs from adolescence. The venue was Zappos Theater, so we ate a delicious pre-concert dinner at Lombardi’s in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile shopping center. The show was a wonderfully nostalgic blast from the past and the perfect way to commemorate Valery’s last night as a twentysomething.
Book the Last Flight Home and Ride the High Roller Wheel Before You Head to the Airport
Sevi and I didn’t have to be at the airport until later in the afternoon on Thursday. After spending the rest of our cash on the penny slot machines, we went on one last adventure for our final day. We walked to the other end of the strip and hopped on the High Roller ferris wheel (at the Linq hotel). It was the perfect end to the trip, because we could see everywhere we had gone from a completely different perspective. I’d love to go again at nighttime to see all the lights.
Hug Your Friends Tightly and Don’t Be Ashamed to Cry All the Ugly Tears When Saying Goodbye
Even though we did have an incredible trip to Vegas, I don’t think there’s really a right or wrong way to visit the city. The most important thing for me was being with my people– girlfriends who are just as happy watching TV in a hotel room together as we are at a fancy nightclub. Having uninterrupted time to talk about what’s going on in our lives and the world was priceless. Saying goodbye to Valery as she headed back to Colorado left me and Sevi in tears. The few days we had together in Vegas made me long for our Diversity Chic days. In the end, this post was not so much of a travel guide as it is a love letter to two women in my life who make everything infinitely better by their presence. Life is short. Best friends are a rare treasure. Cherish your time while you’re here with the ones who bring out the best in you. And if you can have fun and dance the night away while doing it–that’s icing on the cake!
Want to see more memories from our epic girls getaway? Check out the highlights on my Instagram stories.