Do you remember turning 21? For me it was a party in the dorms, followed shortly after by an evening on Expedia planning a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas just days later. Nothing quite like the optimism infused, debt ignoring student life.
My birthday is on March 31, which just happens to land a couple weeks before the end of the school semester. In early April 2005, my friend and fellow travel companion, Andrea and I got to chatting about how cool it would be to go to Las Vegas. Her birthday is just 4 days before mine, so she had just turned 21 also.
On a whim, I started searching out Las Vegas trip packages only to happily discover that we could go on a pretty sweet vacation for $500 each. We chose one of the cheapest big hotels on the strip, Circus Circus, and planned a 5 day 4 night trip. And what did we do? Gamble, wander, and take advantage of all the free things there was to see.
It was the first time I tried roulette, I bought myself a pressed Lucky Penny, and I ate more Denny's than one man should eat. We walked the entire Las Vegas strip from the Stratosphere down to the Luxor - take a look at the map and see how far that is. And purely by luck, we were there the weekend that the Wynn opened their doors for the very first time. They've already built a second tower/hotel called Encore now. That place changes so fast.
While we did Vegas on the cheap, there was nothing like being there right after turning 21. Nothing like ending the semester only to wake up in Vegas a couple weeks later, on a continuous high that we even talked ourselves into going.
I'll never forget this trip. The edits I made instantly make me nostalgic, and the loss of hotels like the Stardust and New Frontier already date the footage. It was rush, and the primer for our ultimate Vegas experience that followed in 2008. See the four Las Vegas edits from 2005 below.
Las Vegas Strip
Fremont Street Experience
Sirens of Treasure Island