It has been a minute since i’ve blogged! Happy new year to everyone and belated happy holidays! Can’t believe we’re already into 2017, time is flying! If you checked out my last post you would know that i was going to be taking my first travel of 2017 in January!
I was posting on my Instagram throughout my trip as well – so be sure to check it out for even more pictures from the trip!
This is going to be our family trip of the year or two, because most of my other trips this year are all going to be for the numerous cousins of mine getting married this year iA!
So as a family we wanted to travel somewhere early this year because both my sisters had winter break and i had some vacation days that i could rollover and use by March from work – so January ended up being the best time to go that worked for everyone!
When deciding where to travel to, was the hardest part. Originally we were thinking of travelling abroad/internationally but quickly realized just how expensive that would have been considering we have so many other travels this year to make for the weddings.
We ended up sticking to the USA for our trip which is fine, since there are definitely states within this country i haven’t seen! First my dad had suggested to go to Hawaii but we weren’t too keen on just chilling at the beaches. Ultimately we had the idea of going to Las Vegas because a couple of people had told my mom over the years that LV is a great place to go even with a family. None of us had been to LV prior to this besides my dad, for work though. What worked out even better was that The Grand Canyon is only a 4 hour drive from LV so we planned our trip with going to both places in 1 go.
So in this post i’ll recap the trip to the best of my memory + tips + things we did and all my recommendations! Sit back and enjoy 🙂
How we planned for the trip:
- We bought our tickets over thanksgiving weekend, which was about a month and half prior to our travel dates. We took a direct United Airlines flight to Las Vegas airport and spent 2 & 1/2 days there, then planned to drive the 3rd day down to Grand Canyon and spend the remaining 2 & 1/2 days there, and on the last day to drive back up to Vegas and fly home.
- We quickly realized that January is not the most popular month to visit the Grand Canyon so it worked perfectly because we wouldn’t have the extreme # of visitors while we went there + not so many kids since they would all be in school.
- It was tough to get/find a good hotel to stay at in Las Vegas. I couldn’t understand why because like the GC, LV is a popular summer destination. Given that we were going to travel in the thick of the winter, it was odd to see so many sold out hotels! Anyways, my mom ultimately found the hotel we stayed at in Vegas, known as South Point. It was not on the strip (famous street (s) of LV). I didn’t mind – we were nice and far away enough to not be disturbed by the noise and pollution of the Downtown, but also only a 8 min car ride from the strip so it was easy to travel to it.
- The Grand Canyon hotel we stayed at was on the south side of the canyon (one of the only two parts of the Canyon opened in this season + the most popular side) which was much easier and quicker to find and book The Grand Canyon Grand Hotel – it was only a couple of miles from the entrance to the Grand Canyon!
- Once our tickets + hotels were booked – we were basically all set to go in terms of travelling and accommodation. The only part left was for my sisters & i to plan out what we wanted to do – especially in LV.
- My sisters & I created a Google Doc amongst us to write down the things we definitely wanted to see and do on our trip! The doc started out pretty messy, but by the end we had it nicely laid out by day and all the activities / things to do/see.
- As with any trip, plans are changed last minute. We had a bit of that happen during the trip as expected, but we were overall happy with it since we got to do everything we basically wanted to do!
- I’d highly recommend creating a Google Doc or a shared area where you can save ideas, attractions, restaurants etc. that you want to check out! It’s so much quicker and easier than writing it down by pen and paper.
- We worked on the google doc over the month and half we had after booking the tickets. It wasn’t time consuming or tedious, and we’d go days or weeks without looking at it. But by the time we had to go – it was all ready!
- So we flew on 1/5/17 and since we were going from east coast to the west coast, we basically lost the whole day ( 5 & 1/2 hour plane ride) but since there is a 3 hour time difference, we got there around 8 pm local LV time.
- We checked into our South Point hotel which was quite lavish, as everything is in LV. The main floor had the hotel casino and there were about 22 floors of rooms! In addition, they had an indoor bowling alley, movie theater, arcade, and plenty of restaurants all within the hotel! I’d have never seen a hotel with a bowling alley or theater in it before, so it was quite crazy and over the top!
- Since we got there pretty late, we didn’t do anything really that first night besides just relax and ordered in food. We used Uber Eats to order in Halal food on the first night! Super convenient and pretty decent food!
- After a decent night’s sleep – we woke up on 1/6 to finally get out and about in LV! So a thing to note about LV is that their hotels on the strip – are their main attractions. They have them built to represent different parts of the world – so there’s basically a Paris hotel with a fake eiffel tower in the front of it, there’s a Caesar’s Palace, a Venetian hotel, the Mirage, Bellagio, a NYC based hotel with empire state building and an Egypt hotel shaped in a pyramid with a sphinx in the front. It’s super cool and crazy to see! Within the hotels, they also have their major attractions which are worth seeing as well!
- So we headed to Mandalay Bay which is a hotel with a shark reef/aquarium inside of it!
It was pretty cool, i liked the sharks and Jellyfish the best!
- After the Bay, we headed to the Venetian hotel which has the indoor and outdoor gondola rides as its main attraction! How awesome! Unfortunately, the outdoor was under construction and closed so we had to stick to the indoor ride. The whole hotel is built around Italy, so it has super high end fashion stores throughout the hotel and in the center of it, the ‘river’ runs with the gondola rides! Super pretty! This was one of my favorite parts of the Vegas trip.
- After this, we headed to the Palazzo hotel which was basically next door to the Venetian, to check out their giant LOVE sign and their waterfall. Chinese new year is also in January so a lot of the hotels were decorated for that as well. It’s nice to see that they are so culturally aware and actually redecorate for holidays!
- After this, we decided to get an early dinner! We were right on the main part of the strip so there were plenty of spots to really choose from to eat at. We ended up going to an italian place for dinner that night which was right by the Fashion Mall which was on one end of the strip. This mall was the only ‘normal’ mall around, with regular affordable stores, unlike all the high end stores we saw in the hotels !
- After dinner, we went to the famous Bellagio Hotel – where they have the water show in front of the hotel every 15 mins after 8 pm. Super pretty!
- After the fountain show, we walked over to the mirage hotel where they have another nightly show – but this time its a volcano show! Unfortunately, at this point of the night my phone had died and turned off so no pics of this!
- We ended up going back to the hotel at this point and called it a night!
- The second day was much more relaxed in comparison to the first day. The main highlight of this day was the observation deck. We wanted to see the LV skyline from up top and so we got tickets for the High Roller which is a giant ferris wheel observation deck to see the city view! It was pretty spectacular to see it and we went around sunset so it was perfect timing!
- We went to eat at a mexican place after this which was right on the street that the high roller is on as well. Pretty decent food!
- The next day was our last day in LV – we had to rent a car and drive to Arizona for the Grand Canyon that day but along the way we stopped by Red Rock Canyon which is half hour from LV as well as the Hoover dam, which is another hour or so away. Both awesome and definitely MUST – SEEs if you’re in the LV area!
- We stopped by here for maybe an hour or so and then continued our journey to the Grand Canyon and got there at night. So we checked into our hotel and slept and got ready for the next day!
- Here’s where plans went array…the following day it was raining and foggy and absolutely no visibility. So the whole day was a wash and wasted! The canyon was basically impossible to go to and see, so we had to spend our time in the little town/village our hotel was in. And let me tell you…the whole town was basically a road long. There was nothing to do there besides some restaurants, gift shops, a MCDonalds (of course, America), a Wendys, Pizza Hut, and other local things. So we ate at a local Mexican place for dinner and literally just chilled the day away.
- Luckily the next day was perfect weather for the canyon! Now The Grand Canyon was colder than i thought it would be, we had to wear our gloves and hats the whole time, because we were on such high elevation the wind was also crazy! It was beautiful sight though. The pictures definitely do not it any justice!!
- The next day was our chance to see the west side of the canyon, which is different for sure compared to the south. The south is definitely bigger and has a visitor’s center in the center where you can take free shuttle busses around to all the different view points to see the canyon.
- For the west side, we had to book a tour bus and get there. The west is still owned and run by the Native Americans of that land, so it is extremely different in how it looks and operates. The main attraction there is the horseshoe/skywalk where you legit walk onto this area that is manmade into a horseshoe shape and underneath is glass and all clear so you have a view above, straight ahead and below you of the canyon. They have strict security on this attraction so no phones are allowed. They have professional photographers though who take your photos so you can still document it.
- And that was our trip! We drove back to LV on the last day to return the car and get ready for our flight early the next morning back home.
It was definitely a fun and filled trip! One i definitely won’t forget. Grand Canyon is definitely a place to visit and i hope to visit it again someday maybe in some years. I’d definitely recommend this trip to anyone, especially families – it is definitely family friendly and safe to do with kids as well.
If you’ve ever been to either, would love to hear your thoughts on it as well! Comment below to let me know!
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Until next time, XOXO