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Correction to This Article
The Going Our Way column, suggesting an itinerary for a trip for two to Las Vegas, incorrectly included Body English in the Hard Rock Hotel among the city's hottest dance clubs. Body English closed after New Year's Eve and will reopen after renovation under a different name.

Going Our Way: What happens in Vegas at $1,000 per person

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By K.C. Summers
Sunday, March 21, 2010

Who: Yana Lashkova, 22, of Arlington, and her friend Olga Fetisova, 23

This Story

Where: Las Vegas

Why: Looking for fun

When: Five days in late April

Budget: $1,000 per person

"We want to go Vegas for the fashion outlets, cool clubs and pools, shows, dancing, sky diving and so on. We also want to see the Grand Canyon. We just want to have as much fun as possible."

This week's Going Our Way participants are notable not only for their sense of fun, but also because they didn't once mention the word "casinos" when asking about Las Vegas. As someone whose Sin City highlights were, in this order, shooting an AK-47, visiting the Elvis museum, dining at Le Cirque and humiliating myself at an improv show, I'm all in favor of thinking outside the slots.

With a $1,000-per-person budget for five days, having fun will not be a problem. You'll be able to afford a decent hotel on the Strip -- the four-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard with the biggest, baddest hotels, casinos and resorts -- and have enough money left over for clubs, a show and sky diving. Maybe even food. But you'll probably have to pass on the Grand Canyon side trip.

First, airfare and lodging. The conventional advice when visiting Vegas is to buy a flight-hotel package for the best deal, but make sure you shop around. Using the Excalibur Hotel, a medieval-themed three-star on the Strip, as my control, I plugged your travel dates into half a dozen Web sites. For a package that bundles round-trip airfare from Washington in late April with four nights in a double-occupancy room at the Excalibur, including all taxes, Expedia was charging $427 per person; Travelocity, $434; Vegas.com, $442; Orbitz, $444; Southwest Vacations, $510; and Priceline Vacations, $516.

Booking the components separately yielded a room rate of $284 at Excalibur and $334 each for airfare (Continental out of BWI), for a total of $476 apiece. Kids, do try this at home, but know that airfares and Vegas hotel rates are extremely volatile and subject to change, so if you see a good deal, grab it. Also, as always, be sure to read the fine print.

None of the above sites included the hotel's mandatory resort fee of $10 per day in their price quotes, so add $40 to each package price when budgeting.

Also, note that you can lower these rates considerably if you time your visit to avoid the weekend. Vegas hotels are much cheaper from Sundays to Thursdays, and airfares are lower on certain weekdays as well. Use Kayak.com's flexible fare tool to find the most economical dates.

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