TRAVEL

Las Vegas is continually expanding. To enjoy what the city has to offer, you don’t need to spend a lot getting there.

A quick getaway to regain your sanity, especially with the winter months rapidly approaching. But, vacationing on a budget is even better.

And, you’re in luck — you won’t have to gamble on finding an airfare deal as there’s still time to take advantage of ultra-low fares, like the currently offered one-way fares with Swoop from Kelowna to Las Vegas starting at $99 all-in.

With twice-weekly flights on Thursdays and Sundays, you can be enjoying the seemingly endless entertainment and nightlife opportunities along The Strip before you know it. Nearly 1.6 million Canadians visited Las Vegas in 2018, making Canada No. 1 in foreign travelers to Las Vegas. Torontonians are the top visitors arriving by direct international flights, followed by Vancouver and Calgary.

With just over 149,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas, it might be a bit daunting to pick your ideal venue. The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod is a great choice that ticks all the boxes: contemporary rooms and suites with rates as low as US $26 per night, on-site gaming, a rooftop pool, restaurants and bars, as well as entertainment including an L.A. Comedy Club.

Its iconic 1,149-foot tower is home to a revolving restaurant, a hip cocktail lounge and an observation deck, as well as the exhilarating Sky Jump, Big Shot, Insanity and X-Scream thrill rides situated at the top of the tower.

Two bonuses offered by staying at The STRAT? Free parking, which is nearly unheard of along the Las Vegas Strip, and their new, streamlined True Rewards gaming program where you can earn points for restaurant and bar purchases, while being able to play and redeem points at more than 130 locations.

Plus, there’s always something new going on in Vegas, so even if you've visited recently, you should think about going again. 2020 is set to bring about the completion of the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and the opening of Allegiant Stadium, future home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. In 2021, the MSG Sphere, a futuristic multi-use theatre, will offer up 9 levels of seating with a capacity for 18,000 guests.

Near The Strat along the north end of The Strip, the 59-storey Resorts World Las Vegas is under construction where the Stardust Hotel once stood. Circus Circus is in the process of being sold where revitalizations could include the now vacant and adjacent festival grounds.

The non-gaming Majestic Las Vegas project is set to be completed in 2023, while the 67-storey Drew Las Vegas should be finished in 2022.

Handling over two million passengers annually, Kelowna International Airport has recently upgraded its airfield lighting, landscaping and retaining walls, as well as renovations to Tim Hortons and the addition of 600 long-term parking spaces. However, these current and future enhancements do come at a cost as the Kelowna International Airport improvement fee increases from $20 to $25 effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Currently, Swoop has seven aircraft in service with plans to induct its eighth and ninth aircraft in winter 2019, each with a passenger capacity of 189 travellers. As Canada’s only ultra-low cost carrier, Swoop is a completely unbundled airline, giving travellers the ability to purchase only the amenities they want, and skip those they don’t need.

Connie Motz is a freelance writer specializing in travel/destination articles. Visit her blog, Travel Writer at conniemotz.com, follow her on Facebook @1TravelWriter, or connect on LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/in/conniemotz