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We are off on another little spring adventure. As I may have mentioned before, we like to visit new places as the world is a big place. We don't often go back to the same places when travelling. Back in 2012, we did visit Utah for a few days at the end of our Arizona vacation. We ended our trip with a few days in Zion National Park. It was just a little taste of Utah that was just awe inspiring. We have been wanting to go back for a while to re-explore Zion but also to visit the other National Parks such as Bryce, Glen and the Arches. Last time we were there, it was February and some of the hiking trail were ice covered which forced us to turn back. The Angels Landing trail in Zion was amazing but we couldn't get to the top because of ice. I am not sure if we will try it again this time around because there are so many other trails in this park.
One of the reasons, we are going to Utah this April is that we have another trip planned for late May. We want to shorten the winter in April by going south because we may be back in winter in May when we visit Iceland for 14 days. There will be another blog set up for that trip which looks like it will be a great trip.
Although this trip is mainly centered around Utah, we are flying to Las Vegas as it is the easiest airport to get to from Montreal. We used Aeroplan points for the flight and it cost only $158 in taxes. It's a good price along with 48,000 points but of course they will slam us with baggage fees for another $150. We book the flight at the end of January just after the U.S. government shutdown. We are a little worried about travelling to U.S. National Parks in case another shutdown happens.
Travel Tip - Car Rental - Once again, I will include various travel tips when we experience something that could help you in future trips. This one will talk about car rental. I often use Costco to rent cars because, in the past, I have had some good rates. They usually offer a discount and the rental 'usually; includes an additional driver. We don't usually used this feature but it's good in case of emergency. This time, I booked an intermediate car and the price that was quoted including all taxes was $523USD for 13 days with Budget which translates to about $644 in January. Strangely, there was also a geographic restriction of only travelling in Utah, Nevada, California and Arizona. That's not really a problem except that if the weather is really good, we may head into Wyoming or western Colorado. After confirming the rental with Costco, I tried booking a car through Expedia for comparison. To my surprise, I could get a full-size car with Thrifty for $427CAD. That's $221 less for a bigger car. The price difference is mainly because (by mistake) I chose the 'Pay Now' option on Expedia. I can still cancel the reservation but they charged my card immediately and will refund me as I have up to 6 hours before rental to get a full refund. I normally don't like to pay in advance as it usually not refundable but in the case it is and we are saving over $200.
A note on Expedia customer support. I contacted them to ask them why I was charged. Instead of calling them and being on hold, you go on their website and have them call you. They say it can take up to 5 minutes but when I pushed the button, my phone rang within seconds. The good thing is they already knew which reservation I was calling about so it took less than a minute to find out that I had accidentally used the Pay Now price but he reassured me that it was fully refundable.
Since we will be using Las Vegas airport as our starting point, we have no choice but to stay in Vegas for a few nights. The question was whether we would stay at the beginning or the end. That was easily answered when I went to reserve our room at the Wynn. I received a letter from the Wynn with a special offer that seemed too good to be true. At $129 a night with the 3rd night free, it seemed like a real bargain in a 5 star resort. Of course, it was a little too good to be true as there was no availability on the first nights we arrive. After talking to Elda at the Wynn, we found availability on the last 3 days of our trip. The problem is that it was at weekend rates. We still get the 3rd night free but the price is double and they add a resort fee of $50 a day. But seeing it was at the end of our vacation, and our last day happens to be Myrna's birthday, we decided to splurge and relax for our last days of this vacation in a deluxe room on top of this hotel. There is a caveat about our 3rd night free. We won't really use it since our flight is the red-eye that leaves Vegas at 00:15 in the morning. This means that we can have a very late checkout (10pm) and not worry about changing in the car. Our last experience of taking a late flight on the last day of vacation was in Hawaii. We had to change our clothes in the pouring rain in a Costco parking lot. It was a nightmare, especially the part that Myrna's wallet had fallen into the rental car and we went into the airport without it. In the end, the guy cleaning the car had returned it to the check-in desk and Myrna had to take the shuttle back to get it. We were lucky and never want to experience that feeling again.
Update on our Wynn
hotel reservation. This is a funny (not really) story. The day that I
called for my Wynn reservation, after the call I went downstairs and
turned on CNN. There was a story about Steve Wynn (owner of the hotel)
but I didn't really pay much attention. A few hours later, the story was
progressing and Steve Wynn had resigned as the finance chairman for the
Republican National Committee due to sexual allegations. First of all, I
hadn't done enough research on Wynn's background. I knew that Myrna
would not have wanted to stay in the Trump hotel in Vegas but I didn't
realize that Wynn and the Don were friends. All this to say, that we
didn't change our reservations since we are getting a good deal although
we thought about it. By April, we should find out whether these
allegations are real (which I believe they must be). Regardless, we will
be staying there unless it closes down.