Travel Diaries: Why you should go to Vegas at least ONCE in your twenties

BY MAHI K

I’m here to talk about Las Vegas baby. This was the BIGGEST fever dream of my life.

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5 September 2022

After being locked down in NZ for two years amidst the covid saga, I was ready to head overseas and have a crazy adventure.

Does anyone else just feel like they THRIVE when they’re on holiday? Like, in general, I’m an optimistic person and I think life is always pretty fucking good. But when I’m on holiday…? The natural chaotic energy I exude just multiplies. I am getting my MAXIMUM return on investment on my trip and being the most spontaneous, fun loving, confident, version of myself and living with no regrets.

After being caged in NZ for two whole years during covid, you could say my wanderlust was at its absolute peak.

One of my best friends had recently moved to California, and with the borders suddenly being open again in March of 2022, I impulsively decided that I was going to go to the US in May 2022 and that we were going to Las Vegas for her birthday. We also wanted to go to Electric Daisy Carnival festival (known as EDC). Mind you tickets had been sold out for a hot minute, so planning this 2 months before the fact was a bit hard! Joined by a friend from NZ and some American gals joining on my friend’s side, we had a squad ahead and a jam packed trip planned by girls who are the exact perfect mix of organised and analytical yet spontaneous and ready to back it up both all day and all night.

My trip consisted of LA, Vegas, New York and San Francisco. Every spot was crazy lit and had its own wild stories and messy nights to go with it. You could say I was on 2-3 hours of sleep MAXIMUM.

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But I’m here to talk about Vegas. This was the BIGGEST fever dream of my life. I honestly don’t know if I would go back unless it was for a hens do or very big occasion. It was such a wild ride that I not only don’t know if I’d be willing to put my body through that again, but also don’t know whether I’d have the capacity to do that again. In Vegas, if you are hot, and a girl, anything you want happens. Vegas is the EPITOME of “ladies leave your man at home…”. We’re on the back burner in so many aspects of life, but Vegas is where we hit the uno reverse and reap all the benefits of being a female.

We got to Vegas late on a Wednesday night and headed straight to Marquee which is located in the Cosmopolitan hotel. Vegas tip - these hotels need a map. It takes a hot minute to walk through and find your location. It’s all a fucking labyrinth of restaurants and casinos and accom and clubs within the same hotel building. We got to the Marquee line (which was obnoxiously long), and ended up getting added on to this group’s table by the bouncer which meant we got to have their free table service booze which was of course 818 tequila (Ok Kendall Jenner I see you…). We met some absolute characters (I’m self censoring instead of delving into why they were absolute characters) and danced the night away.

We were wandering the streets of the strip, walking back to the hotel at 6am, in my heels, and I’m just stumbling along, being confused at how time blipped but how I was still wide awake? We sleep for 3 hours, wake up and it's time for a pool party. At this point I think my body composition is 95% alcohol. All I taste is the tequila burn down my stomach.

I honestly couldn’t even tell you what happened that day. Suddenly it was night time and we were heading to Beauty and Essex for a pre-club dinner, the Vanderpump garden bar for some cocktails, then Omnia located in Caesars palace, which is the most insane club ever, where Illenium and Dillon Francis were playing. If you are strapped for time and have to just go to one club, go to Omnia. It is insane.

We got added on to this table for bottle service filled with these italian-american men from New York (shout out to my boy Gino!) and again were on the free booze buzz all night. Dancing the night away, till 6am.

Money will come and go, but the memories you make are forever.

I don’t remember this walk home as vividly but I do remember it involving several parking garages and restricted access areas and locked doors but suddenly ending up in our room.

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We get, I’m going to say, 3 hours of sleep yet again before it’s time to be up and at Tao Beach club in the Venetian hotel for Fisher’s DJ set. I feel deceased. I have backed it up with minimum 5am nights for at least 6 days in a row at this stage. I slip on a brown bikini and decide that make up is a chore with which I do not wish to engage so I chuck on some sunscreen (because do you even skincare if you don’t sunscreen every day?) and some lazy sunnies. We head to Tao. It is fucking SCORCHING (like I think it was 38 degrees celsius?) and we get these weird mango slushy drinks which are 100% alcohol and instantly give us a head rush.

We’re in the mosh for what feels like 2 minutes before a bouncer goes “you two”, to me and one of my friend’s and then yells “VIP, get behind the DJ stage”. He puts these black wrist bands on us, and we’re like hey alright let’s just go with it. We get behind the stage and holy shit it’s just hot babes in bikinis and heels and a full face of makeup literally just up there to look good. There is also a shit load of free booze, but more importantly, free WATER (do you know how hard it is to get water in Vegas? Like they will shove tequila shots down your throat before providing access to a water bottle), and food. I’m talking pizza, fries, nachos, sushi, sashimi, spiced edamame. Your girl has not EATEN properly in days. I went in on the food, to the point where I thought I may very well be kicked out of VIP for single handedly demolishing the food that I clearly hadn’t paid for. Time yet again blipped, it was 7pm by this point and after taking several shots (and my friend drinking vodka like it was straight up water) we met Fisher! Then we drunkenly strolled home.

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It was time to change and head out to XS, which was a really nice club at the Wynn Hotel to see the Chainsmokers play. This night was probably one of the most insane nights of my life.

When you’re in Vegas there’s literally so many drinks flowing to you and bought for you that you’re double to triple parked at all times. I was standing at the bar, three drinks in hand, and I was at my limit. I passed a drink to a random group of boys, and said “please take this, I can’t.” This sparked up a convo and they seemed sweet but one of the boys really caught my eye. We had that instant eye contact chemistry, and I have to say, this man was one of the most handsome men I had ever laid my eyes on (I know he’s going to read this and this will go straight to his head…relax…). I could tell the feeling was mutual and that he was interested. We got to talking and the group were saying they were going to EDC the next day. I was explaining how we really wanted to go but were yet to source tickets as they were sold out. My friend who lived in the US had the expectation that we would easily be able to source them once in Vegas but it was so hard to find people selling tickets and an abundance of scammers. What’s even worse is that the location, the speedway, isn’t that close from the main strip meaning you need a shuttle pass or a ride sussed in some form. The boys said they would look out for any tickets for us, we all exchanged socials, the Chainsmokers played a dope set, and we ended up getting home at around 6am.

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We wake up the next morning, and this hangover hits especially hard. It is the day that we wanted to go to EDC, and we still have no tickets but I'm manifesting hard because if there’s one thing I've learned, it’s that Vegas is the land of opportunity. Shit really has its own way of just happening. I check my DM’s and I have a DM from handsome boy from the night before saying “Hey, if you guys want to catch a ride with us to EDC, meet us at our hotel. We may have found you guys a way in”. At this point, I’m like yeah fuck it, this is the sign we’ve been waiting for. We get dressed up in our rave outfits (I felt so bloody naked in a blue fit with so many cut outs and blue eyeshadow to match but I ended up actually being one of the most conservatively dressed gals there)!

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We meet up with the boys, and they are literally the most lovely, down to earth guys ever. They’re all pro athletes, and just genuine all around good guys around whom you felt instant warmth. The ride was filled with fun chats, drinking alcohol and getting to know each other. We got to the festival venue and long story short, one of the guys knew a guy who ended up sneaking us in with staff wristbands which we just gave back after we got in. We SNUCK into a 400,000 person music festival.

It was fucking INSANE and the adrenaline rush was indescribable. I’d made a comment to handsome boy about being stoked that we snuck into EDC but being kinda gutted that I wouldn’t have a wristband to remember it by. Coming off the high of being there though, it was fucking surreal to be in there because it looked like a whole different universe out there. There were mary-go-rounds, roller coasters, so many bright lights that it was an absolute sensory overload. Everything was so big, there was so much going on, music from all directions. The buzz and the hype of getting in was already enough to push up the adrenaline but seeing so many crazy acts like David Guetta and DJ Snake just to name a few really hyped it up. It was somehow 6:00am before we had to leave.

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I was meant to catch a bus to the Grand Canyon at 7am. It was safe to say that I did not make the bus lol. Not all of the girls had come to EDC, so this meant that others had made it to the grand canyon and checked out of our hotel in the process. We were also leaving Vegas that night for NYC, so at this point me in a very skimpy outfit, blue eyeshadow on, lashes falling off, low key looking a bit homeless, wondering wtf i’m doing for a day now since we make it back to the Vegas strip around 8:30am. Handsome boy tells me it is all good and that we can nap at his hotel, packs up all my stuff with me and we have a pretty epic day together (after a pretty epic night at EDC!) until the grand canyoners are back.

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At this point, it was time for me to say goodbye to handsome boy and head to the airport, thinking I’d never see him again (I was wrong, because clearly what happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas and he came to visit me… but hey that’s a story for another day!). He’d remembered my comment regarding the wrist band and when we said our goodbyes had slipped his wristband on me (ok sentimental…it’s the little things right!). But it was also time to say goodbye to Vegas.

Coming in, I’d had weird expectations of it. I knew it was a party city for fun and drinking and gambling but I also thought I’d find it quite artificial and contrived. The glitz and glam and bright lights usually aren’t my niche when travelling. I like to travel for the culture and food (both of which I’d had minimal of here) but I found myself pleasantly surprised by Vegas. Yes it was manufactured to be a certain way and definitely had a sinister underbelly to it (like… watching people lose track of time on the slotties made me feel pretty shit to be honest…), but it was a place where time is literally nothing but a concept and a place to fucking let loose and have fun. As a young person in your twenties, this is time you NEVER get back. Money will come and go, but the memories you make are forever. It had given me the most chaotic 5 days ever, but a 5 days filled with epic memories, laughter and love that I will absolutely never forget.

20/10 would recommend to a friend.

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