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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Planning The Electric Flusher Carnival Las Vegas Trip

And so we commence the full write-up of May 2018's Electric Flusher Carnival trip. I posted some dispatches 'live' while in Las Vegas - everything from this point forward being posted after the fact, and contains the full details, shocks, revelations and surprise details of what happened on this fateful trip.

It started like this. The Quad Queen said to me with a chuckle, "I might have to send you back to Vegas, the Motherflusher-in-law wants to come for a long visit."

"Uh-huh," I said flatly, uninterested... and went back to watching my Words With Friends 2 ads. I don't play, I just love the ads - so entertaining. I'm really excited about cereal and cars again.

Approximately six seconds later, I was on the computer, looking for deals.

Be it Resolved...

...that Royal Flusher has the world's worst luck when it comes to flights to and from Vegas.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that this resolution holds true. My travel luck is so bad I almost feel like I am wasting your time writing about the details of flight delays, cancellations, and frustrations. I will try to sum up the trip planning in a concise but pleasing fashion...

I poked around the internets for a few hours looking for deals on airfare. On the Westjet site, there is a little checkbox I'd never noticed before - Member Exclusive Fares. So I checked it. Next thing I know, staring me in the face, is a one way flight coming back from Vegas to Toronto for $125 WestJet dollars plus $20 in cash. I had $300 WestJet dollars in my account from using the RBC Westjet Super Duper Elite Travel Plus Platinum card buying stuff at Costco.

Holy shit! I booked it, blind. It was the best deal I've ever seen. Twenty bucks to get back from Vegas? Yes! Then, I thought, maybe I can find a similar cheapo one way flight to get me to Vegas - and by the thin little hairs on Jimmy Poon's ears, I did! $125 WestJet dollars plus $80 cash. That's $100 return all in. I'm Going To Vegas!

Be it Resolved...

...that Royal Flusher, once a savvy planner of gambling excursions, completely fucked this one up.

Huh? Not possible, you say? Read on, or just take my word for it and look at the colorful pictures.

Airfare resolved, hotel reservations were next up. I would arrive on Saturday night, May 19th, so of course, I went first where I have juice and contacted my host at the California to get a room. The word came back that they were sold out, Main Street Station too. But my host could maybe book me the next weekend. Huh?

Maybe? Why maybe? What was up with the Maybe Weekend? Did all those $100 host tips count for nothing, or was the Cal really booked that solid?

I started to log in to every players card site I could find, looking at other offers, such as CET and the Tropicana. I gave them a call and they were booked solid for both weekends I'd be in town. I looked on the Boyd bConnected site for members' rates at the Fremont. Maybe I could pay for a room. It would be reasonable through the bConnected site, wouldn't it? They wanted $600 for Saturday night?! For the 76 square foot rooms at the Fremont! What the hell? Did the room now come with a built in coochie-mama masseuse? Hot and cold running blow? An additional 10 square feet???

I tried to quell the feelings of panic that were starting to rumble in my gut. Visions of Flusher spending Saturday night in a casino, roomless, taunted my imagination.

Hotwire showed that I could get a room for $90 on that Saturday night. Their fancy map system showed roughly where the room was located in a shaded area on the map labelled as "underneath the airport runways".

Man, I was sweating bullets. I'd booked these great fares and now I couldn't find a place to stay.

I looked at all kinds of options, all kinds of websites, all kinds of offers, and the price of everything was sky high.

Finally, I contacted Curt, a host at the Plaza.

"Hmm, we're pretty booked up for EDC," he said.

"EDC? What's that?"

"Electric Daisy Carnival," he replied.

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival for GCYs (Glitter Covered Youths). Approximately 140,000 of them. That explained why everything was booked solid that first weekend - that's when EDC would be happening.

With no play history, Curt made me a fairly generous offer - casino rate for the Saturday and Sunday nights, and Monday night comped. I was looking at $175 for Saturday and $109 for Sunday, plus resort fee and taxes of 13%.

I took it. I'd be playing anyway, and hoped I would be able to generate enough action to get the rooms covered, or at least partly covered - which could be problematic, because my budget for the entire eleven day trip was $1600 USD.

One way or another, I'd managed to get a room booked for EDC weekend. I sat back for a moment, then checked the news and saw this:

Saturday May 19th was the first day that WestJet pilots could strike. The very same day I'd just booked my flight to Las Vegas. FUCK!

And the following Maybe Weekend? Memorial Day! I always forget that!

Over the next day or two, I managed to cobble together a stay at the Tropicana, a stay at the Cal (thank you host!) and then for the last few nights another stay at the Tropicana. Yes, it pays to call back - space had magically opened up at the Trop for Maybe Weekend. So now I had both incredibly busy weekends taken care of, plus the other mid-week days.

But look at what I'd done:
  • booked a WestJet flight for the very day WestJet pilots could strike
  • booked my budget trip to arrive in Vegas on the busiest night of the week (Saturday) during one of the biggest festivals of the year
  • booked my trip over the long Maybe Weekend Holiday
  • and, as it turns out, also booked my trip while RECon The Global Retail Real Estate Convention was on. Vegas couldn't be more fun with 37,000 realtors on hand. The only issue I could see was that there wouldn't be enough bus stop benches for them all.
I had to take nine wrongs and make a right. The last thing I wanted to do was keep sweating bullets for weeks, wondering if I'd even be able to fly to Vegas, or be shut out at the airport due to the start of a pilot's strike.

So, I sucked it up and booked a back-up flight one way on Air FU Canada for the same evening as my WestJet flight. I booked using points, plus $70 in fees or so. I could cancel up to two hours ahead if it looked like WestJet would fly, and I would lose an additional $90 when I rebooked the Air FU Canada flight at some point in the future. Basically, it was $90 worth of strike insurance.

If ONLY someone SOMEWHERE had written a series of articles on how to properly plan a Las Vegas trip!!!!
Planning the Perfect Las Vegas Vacation Trip

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