If you still have a lingering perception of Las Vegas as the land of dated crooners and dirty slot machines, times have changed. One by one, the old casino resorts are being bulldozed to make way for the new trend in Vegas, where the emphasis is on style rather than thematic pomp.
Hotel ballrooms are now headlined by cool ensembles like the Blue Man Group and special theatres have been built just for Cirque du Soleil and its seven surreal performances. Roller coasters and thrill rides add some juice to the Strip, and the hotels now feature world-class spas, fitness centres and shops selling Prada and Tiffany.
Choosing a travel package to Las Vegas is a great way to save time and money, especially if you are planning a quick getaway. Most Las Vegas packages are for three or five-night stays and include airfare. You can choose your accommodation from a healthy selection of top resort casinos along the Strip, with the total package price reflecting the calibre of the hotel.
As with most travel packages, there are a few restrictions involved, but none of them are particularly draconian. Las Vegas holiday packages tend to be based on double occupancy in a standard room and occasionally require a weekend flight. This limits your ability to pick the type of room, but most travellers are happy with a standard room anyway.
On the plus side, nearly every Vegas travel package includes a bunch of freebies and discounts to amenities and attractions. The freebies are something to carefully consider when choosing a package because they vary from hotel to hotel and are usually only good for the shows and attractions within that particular resort. Common specials include discounts on spa services, free admission to the fitness centre or free tickets to in-house shows, rides or attractions.
The mid-range resorts like Luxor, the Stratosphere and Circus Circus tend to offer more freebies than the luxury resorts like the Bellagio and the Cosmopolitan, where the packages are just for room and flight. Occasionally, a room upgrade will be included in the package, subject to availability of course.
Naturally, the main holiday periods throughout the year are blacked out for travel so these Las Vegas holiday packages are best suited for people who have the flexibility to travel during the slower months. Virgin Holidays and British Airways both have a decent selection of packages that have the added benefit of the only non-stop flights from London to Las Vegas.
The only real disadvantage of booking a package is the flight. The best package deals rarely use non-stop flights so you need to prepare for between 18 and 24 hours of travel time between the UK and Las Vegas, with at least one connection in the US.
There is almost always some kind of restriction on the specific flight offered as part of the package. This could be as minor as holiday blackout dates or as tedious as a requirement to depart on a Friday and return on a Monday. Again, flexibility is the key to finding a great deal at the best price among the trove of Las Vegas travel packages on the market.
You can also go online to check out the current specials. There is almost always a deal for staying three nights that gives you low room rates and freebies like tickets to shows. Another popular Vegas travel package centres around golf or spa treatments. Most resorts offer a deal with big discounts on golf course fees and individual spa treatments along with short stays of one or two nights.