Let me be honest with you guys. I have the WORST vacation hangover ever this week. We had SO much fun and got to experience so many things at the NFR that we had overlooked in the past, and it was an absolute blast! I’m lucky I even got to go, but now that I’m home, all I can think about is my FOMO (fear of missing out) on all the fun of the last five rounds.
If you have been thinking about planning a trip to the NFR, let me tell you it is worth every penny to hop a plane to Vegas for a week to experience it. But, we all know Vegas is a pricey place to hang out, so here are my top tips to making your dollar stretch a little further and while still taking in as much as possible.
Let the NFR 2017 planning begin!
- Book your hotel early and ask for deals.
Obviously, the longer you wait to get your digs tied down, the more expensive it will be, so once you decide to go, book as soon as you can. You can always go the modern route and book on Trivago or Travelocity, but I suggest calling the hotels directly instead of bypassing them.
They want to get your business, especially with so many great places to stay on the Strip. Ask them what they have for room deals and don’t be afraid to haggle a little. If you mention you are coming specifically for NFR, some of the hotels will have packages that include crazy cheap rooms, gambling credit or even buffet & drink vouchers that will cancel out your initial room fees. Check MGM, Mirage and The South Point out first for NFR packages!
2. Buy a monorail pass.
Cab fares are the WORST. Our first time out in Vegas, we stayed less than a mile off the strip and thought we would be able to walk everywhere…wrong. We shelled out more than 300 dollars on taxis over the course of four days! Bypass this expense and buy a pass for the Las Vegas monorail.
The monorail runs from MGM, through the strip, out past the Las Vegas Convention Center all the way to where the Stratosphere is located. Long story short, you can get to almost ANYWHERE taking the monorail with only short walks to and from the stations. Most of the hotels hook up to a monorail station, making it easy to jump on and off when you need to. A four day pass costs 35 dollars, which will pay for itself in less than a day. Plus, you get to meet all sorts of people and strike up conversations with other NFR goers!
3. Check out the NFR experience website and plan your activities.
Don’t get hung up on just watching the rodeo and seeing Cowboy Christmas. There are SO many things to do that are going on throughout the ten days of NFR. You can watch team roping invitationals, clinics by NFR qualifiers, live music by huge performers, bull fighting championships, go round buckle presentations, go to the numerous viewing parties throughout the city…the possibilities are endless!
During our time this year, we watched the live feed at MGM, Mirage and the South Point. We saw Randy Rogers Band, Sam Riggs, Aaron Watson, Casey Donahew and Lonestar live in concert at all different venues, saw multiple NFR shopping venues and went to many of the special events. You can see what’s happening every night at every place on the website and plan what you want to do. And the best part? Most of it is FREE admission!
4. Book a Hotel that is Centrally Located
If it is your first time out in Vegas for NFR, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many activities that are spread out all along the Strip and even off the Strip in different parts of town. Booking at MGM or South Point definitely has the bonus of being where the action is (which is also a great option) but I would recommend staying somewhere centrally located on the Strip.
You will be guaranteed to be close to all the action and it will almost always be an easy trip back to your hotel if plans change or you went the wrong way (which happens, by the way). We stayed at the Paris which is literally the central stop on the Monorail and is only a short walk to many of the main hotels and music venues we visited. We took the monorail to get to most places but could have easily taken a ten minute walk to almost anywhere. The Strip is only four miles long but there is so much going on that it can be daunting!
5. Take Advantage of Coupons and Explore Your Food Options
Usually when you check into your hotel room on the Strip, they will give you a little book full of coupons to use around town. Some of them may not be relevant to what you want to do but make sure you take a look at them! There are usually offers for 2/1 drinks or meals, cheap buffets or great deals for restaurants off the Strip that want your business.
Also, as a rule of thumb, the more convenient the restaurant, the more expensive! The cafe that is sitting right in the lobby outside the elevator of your hotel is placed there for a reason – there are lots of great places to eat for cheap when you venture into the depths of the casinos and hotels that are friendlier in price. Exploring the town is not only fun but can save you a lot of money verses stay in the safe spots of the main lobby and directly off the main Strip.
I hope these tips help you guys plan a successful NFR trip in 2017! It is such a privilege to attend such an iconic event and be apart of the sport that we are all passionate about. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for stretching your dollar on a trip to the NFR.
Stay Unique, Sisters!