The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast

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EP#32: Lights, Camera…VEGAS!!!

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I don't know about you, but one of my favourite ways to pass the time between trips to Las Vegas is to watch movies featuring Las Vegas - and the list of possibilities is pretty much endless!  From classics like the original "Oceans 11" & "Viva Las Vegas" to critically acclaimed films like "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" & "Rain Man" to blockbuster hits like "Honeymoon in Vegas" and "The Hangover".

My guest for this episode of the show is David Rosen, the host of Piecing It Together, a movie podcast with a bit of a twist (which David explains in our conversation).  I asked David to join me on my podcast to talk about Vegas movies; we discussed the best & worst of Vegas-related movies and shared some of our own personal favourites.

Be sure to follow David & Piecing It Together on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

 

EP#31: The August Trip Report

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I'm back from another Las Vegas trip - my fifth of 2019 - it's time for another World Famous Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report!

This time around, I've got a review of my newly renovated Flamingo Room at - you guessed it - The Flamingo as well as meals at Bootlegger Italian Bistro, Flights at Planet Hollywood, Trustworthy Brewing Co & BBQ at the Palazzo and Crack Shack at Park MGM.  I've also got a heads-up for anyone planning on taking sneaky Showgirl photos and some fashion "suggestions" for the guys.

 

EP#30: AirBNB vs Hotels

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With visitors to Las Vegas getting hit with what seems like a never-ending parade of fees, it's no surprise that people are trying to find new ways to avoid getting beaten up in the pocketbook.  And with the recent increase to Resort Fees at several strip-properties, one of the methods being used to save a few bucks is to head off the strip and book with AirBNB.

I personally have never used AirBNB in Las Vegas but I know someone who has: Chris Kim, the host of the Faces And Aces Las Vegas Podcast.

Chris is a frequent Vegas-visitor who's been podcasting about Las Vegas for several years now & he was willing to jump on my podcast talk about the pros & cons of using AirBNB rather than a hotel.  He also shared a few stories of the good, the bad & the ugly of staying in a complete stranger's home.

Take a listen to the Faces and Aces Las Vegas Podcast and be sure to follow Chris on Twitter & Instagram.

And big thanks to Vegas Podtoons for animating Chris & I into our very own episode - Check it out on the Vegas Podtoons YouTube Channel!

 

 

EP#29: Kids In Las Vegas 2 - The Sequel

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My guest for this episode of the show is my very good friend & fellow frequent Vegas visitor, Adam West.  Adam is the Midday Host & Program Director for Hot 100.5 FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  Adam & I have been friends for over 20 years now; we worked together - and against each other - in the world of radio, we were temporary roommates at one time and we've even travelled to Las Vegas together.

Adam also has the distinct honour of being the first "repeat guest" on the podcast; he was one of the people I talked to back on Episode #8 of the show where we discussed the topic of bringing kids to Vegas.

Since appearing on the podcast, Adam and his wife took their kids to Las Vegas and I asked him to share the experience with me.  We talked about the decision to do Las Vegas as a family vacation, the planning process involved in organizing the trip and he shared some great tips & tricks for attractions, accommodations and budget-friendly meals. 

EP#28: Unpopular Vegas Opinions

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"Opinions are like a**holes...everyone has one."

For this episode of the podcast, I'm playing a little game called Unpopular Vegas Opinions, where I'll share some of my own personal opinions about Las Vegas that other people - LOTS of other people - don't seem to share.  The genesis of this episode came from me sharing my thoughts on a well-known restaurant on a Vegas-related Facebook page and getting absolutely crucified for it.

While licking my wounds, I thought to myself, "Hey...this might make a fun podcast episode!"  So, here we are!

Hash House A Go Go, tipping, Secret Pizza and resort fees are all targets of my Unpopular Vegas Opinions...enjoy!  Plus, I share some of YOUR Unpopular Vegas Opinions as posted on Twitter!

 

EP#27: My Special Guest - Christina Ellis

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My special guest for this episode of the podcast is Christina Ellis, the Director of Marketing for Ellis Island Casino & Brewery in Las Vegas.

Ellis Island is one of the coolest spots in Las Vegas & a favourite for both locals and tourists alike.  Located a block east of the strip on Koval Lane, it's been a landmark in Las Vegas for just over 50 years.  Ellis Island is unique in that it's a family-owned & family-run and in being so, they've been able to keep it "all about the customer".

Christina & I talked about the history of Ellis Island, the challenges of working with family, how Ellis Island has survived the ups & downs Las Vegas has faced in the last several years and plans for the future of Ellis Island.  And of course, we also talked about the amazing food & drinks they serve including their famous Prime Rib, the $6.99 Steak & Eggs special and the $2.50 beers.

EP#26: The Truth Is Out There - Las Vegas & Area 51

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Area 51...

We've all heard the stories and seen it depicted in movies & television.  If pop culture & rumours are to be believed, it's a top secret installation in the Nevada desert where the United States military conducts classified activities - including research on alien spacecraft & technology as well as extraterrestrial beings.

What's the Las Vegas connection to Area 51?  It's two-fold:

First, it's well known that many Las Vegas residents work at Area 51, making the commute via Janet Airlines (they're the non-descript white planes with a red stripe that you've probably seen taking off & landing at McCarran International Airport).

Secondly, due to Area 51's proximity to Las Vegas (it's only a 2-3 hour drive away), thousands of people each year make the drive out to see the gates and maybe get a glimpse of something...bizarre.

Friend of the show & fellow Vegas Podcaster, Chris Kim, the host of Faces and Aces Las Vegas had the opportunity to talk to Braden & Dan who are the hosts of the Alien Theorists Theorizing Podcast about their journey to Area 51...as well as some of the "weirdness" they experienced on their trek to the gates.

Chris was gracious enough to allow me to share the interview on my podcast...enjoy!

Be sure to follow Alien Theorists Theorizing on Twitter & Instagram and take a listen to their show.

For even more Vegas-related content, follow Faces And Aces Las Vegas on Twitter & Instagram and be sure to listen to the podcast.

If you want to plan your own trek out to the fabled Area 51, check out this great article that outlines the best way to get to & from the back gate...and what to see along the way.

 

EP#25: My Special Guest - Steve Cyr

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My special guest for this episode of the podcast is Steve Cyr.  

Steve is a Casino Host in Las Vegas, but he's not just any Casino Host.  Steve Cyr is a member of a very elite group of Casino Hosts who deal exclusively with "Whales".

For the uninitiated, "Whales" are the people who come to Sin City to gamble massive sums of money; it's not uncommon for them to drop upwards of a million dollars over the course of a weekend in Vegas.  To get them to come to town - along with their giant bank accounts - Casino Hosts will hook them up with lavish comps...like flights on private jets, limo service to & from the casino, high-end suites & villas, ringside seats to UFC fights and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

Steve Cyr is the guy makes all of that happen - and so much more.

Steve was gracious enough to invite me into his home for our conversation.  We talked about everything from his start in the casino business to how he re-invented the way hosting was being done to some of the more bizarre requests he's gotten from his Whales.

If you want to know more about Steve Cyr, check out his website and be sure to follow him on Twitter & Instagram.  Also, be sure to pick up a copy of the book, "Whale Hunting In The Desert: Secrets of a Vegas Superhost" by Deke Castleman, which chronicles Steve's rise to become one of the top hosts in Las Vegas.

 

EP#24: The June Trip Report

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I've freshly returned from trip #4 of 2019 and it's time for another world famous Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report!

This episode features reviews of my stay at Bally's as well as meals at Village Cafe at Ellis Island, PizzaRev, Yard House at Linq Promenade, The Still at The Mirage and Ri-Ra at Mandalay Bay.  I also managed to (finally) check out Don't Tell Mama on Fremont Street and - of course - I took in another awesome Mondays Dark at The Space.

 

EP#23: A Cut Above The Rest

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If you're not drooling by the end of this episode, you should probably check your pulse to see if you're still alive.  This time around, we're talking about a Las Vegas staple: PRIME RIB!

My guest for this episode of the show is Kristen DeSilva.  By day, she's a content producer for a Las Vegas TV station...but off the clock, she's a Prime Rib aficionado who's made it her goal to eat as many different Prime Rib dinners around Las Vegas as possible.  If you follow Kristen on Twitter or Instagram, you can track her progress with photos of her amazing meals.

If you want to share in Kristen's experience, here's her list of Prime Rib picks:

Primarily Prime Rib at South Point Hotel & Casino, Lawry's Las Vegas, Village Pub & Cafe at Ellis Island, Bob Taylor's Original Ranch House, Siegel's 1941 at El Cortez Hotel & Casino, Marilyn's Cafe at Tuscany Suites & Casino, Golden Steer Steakhouse and Jerry's Famous Coffeeshop at Jerry's Nugget Casino

EP#22: Mob Rules

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It's no secret that Las Vegas has a somewhat shady past...and that can pretty much 100% be attributed to the Mob's history in Las Vegas.

There are a lot of myths & legends surrounding Vegas' association with the world of organized crime and I wanted to get to the bottom of it all, so I turned to the experts.

The Mob Museum is one of my favorite Las Vegas attractions.  It's the definitive authority on Mob history, not just in Las Vegas but all across the US & around the world.  The Mob Museum is always on my to-do list when I'm in town and it's always one of my top recommendations for people travelling to Las Vegas.

My guest on this episode of the podcast is Geoff Schumacher, the Senior Director of Content for The Mob Museum.  We talked about Las Vegas' humble history as a stop on the railway line, the growth of gambling & the connection to organized crime and Geoff helped to separate fact from fiction when it comes to some of those legendary stories of the mob's involvement in the building of Las Vegas.

Keep up with the Mob Museum by following them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.  Get your tickets to visit the Mob Museum here.

 

EP#21: Kill Resort Fees!

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The topic of discussion for this episode of the podcast is one that affects pretty much anyone who visits Las Vegas: RESORT FEES!

For those unfamiliar with the concept, "Resort Fees" are extra fees that most Vegas hotels will charge guests in addition to the actual room rate.  Depending on the hotel you're staying at, those fees range anywhere from an additional $25-$45 per night and for lower-end hotels, the resort fee is actually HIGHER than the published room rate.

And what do you get for that extra cash?  The hotels try to claim they're giving you access to the pool, resort wi-fi, the fitness center, free local calls and other goodies.  In fact, what they're actually giving you is nothing.

Joining me for this episode of the podcast is Lauren Wolfe, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who, like a lot of other who travel to Las Vegas - and elsewhere in the US where the Resort Fee Plague is spreading - got tired of paying this so-called mandatory fee in exchange for, essentially, nothing.  So, she decided to do something about it.

Lauren is the founder & creator of Kill Resort Fees, a website not only devoted to eliminating resort fees entirely, but educating people on how to avoid resort fees, how to get their resort fees refunded and how to force the government to take action against this illegal practice.

In addition to checking out the website, you can follow Kill Resort Fees on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

EP#20: My Special Guest - Lisa Marie Smith

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My special guest for this episode is Lisa Marie Smith.  Lisa is a Las Vegas-based singer, dancer & model.  She's appeared as a headliner in shows on the Vegas strip at the Stratosphere and the Palazzo.  In late-2017, she signed her first record deal with Fervor Records and in November 2018, she released her debut self-titled EP featuring her single, "Get Closer To Me".  Lisa is currently in the process of launching her new band project, LMS.

Lisa is also one of my closest friends.  In the time we've known each other, she's become like a sister to me.  I've introduced her to Canadian delicacies like All-Dressed & Ketchup Chips, Buttertarts and Nanaimo Bars and she's taken me and my wife out to some awesome Vegas restaurants, bars and shows.  Lisa has been there for me during some very tough times and I've been fortunate enough to be able to do the same for her.

During our podcast conversation we talked about growing up in Las Vegas, touring around the world performing on cruise ships, her charity work, her vocal teaching and we also talked about some of her recent personal physical struggles.

Follow Lisa on FacebookTwitter & Instagram.  Stream her EP on Apple Music and Spotify or download from iTunes

EP#19: Here’s the (Time Share) Pitch!

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Here's the scenario:  You're walking down the strip with your significant other enjoying the scenery, taking in the sights and sounds just minding your own business when a total stranger approaches you and says, "What a lovely couple!  How'd you like free tickets to a show?"

The first-timers and newbies are thinking, "Sure...I'd LOVE free tickets to a show!" meanwhile the Vegas veterans are thinking, "RUN!  RUN AS FAST YOU CAN!  DON'T ENGAGE!  DON'T TALK!  JUST RUN!"  Nothing in Vegas is free...and the price for those "free tickets" is sitting through the dreaded TIME SHARE PRESENTATION!

To navigate the murky waters of Time Shares, I've enlisted the help of an expert: Lisa Ann Schreier - aka The Time Share Crusader - is a consumer advocate who's been involved in the time share community for over 20 years.  She's an author & blogger who works to keep people up to date on the time share industry as well as the questionable companies and practices out there.

EP#18: My Special Guest - John Di Domenico

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My special guest for this episode of the podcast is John Di Domenico.  John is a Las Vegas-based actor & performer who specializes in character impersonation.  John does this on stage all over the world, on TV, in movies and at corporate events all over the world.  

He has an impressive roster of about 30 different characters he portrays but one particular character has been keeping him very VERY busy as of late...

John is recognized as the best Donald Trump impersonator in the world (or as Donald himself might say, "Tremendous").  You've likely seen him as Trump in one of his multiple appearances on Fox News, late night talk shows (including Conan O'Brien) or in his Facebook Watch series, "The Trump Show."  John also landed his first Vegas headlining gig in "Esther Goldberg's Totally Outrageous Brunch" at the SLS and recently released an Amazon Prime special, "Fake News: A Trump Story" which is now streaming.

John was kind enough to invite me into his home where we talked about his start in acting & character work, the changing landscape of comedy and his charity work.  And of course, when you're talking to the number one Trump impersonator in the world, you're going to talk a bit of politics too.

EP#17: The April Trip Report

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Back home from trip #3 of 2019, I've got another Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report all ready to go!

(Don't adjust your podcast player...the nasally sound of my voice on this episode is the result of a massive head cold that decided to hit me right before recording, so I do apologize!)

This trip report features reviews of my stay at Luxor, meals at Tilted Kilt, Dick's Last Resort at the Excalibur and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at the Flamingo as well my horrible experience with Robert Irvine's Public House at the Tropicana.

I share my thoughts on attending conventions in Las Vegas (I was in town for NABShow 2019) and I also happened to be in town for a Mondays Dark, so I was able to take in that show and spend time with my Vegas family. 

EP#16: Classic Vegas Mistakes

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Las Vegas attracts over 42 million visitors every year from all over the world with a good number of those people making their first ever trip to Sin City.  Las Vegas is one of those places that can be very overwhelming for a first-timer.  But don't worry...your friends will help with suggestions on places to stay, where to eat, what shows to see and what attractions to go to.  

What your friends probably won't tell you about are all the things they did WRONG on their trips to Las Vegas; mistakes that can literally make or break your vacation.  To do that, I've enlisted the help of an expert who - quite literally - wrote the book on "Classic Vegas Mistakes."

This episode, I chat with David Demontmollin, a 20-year casino industry veteran who's worked for both Strip and Off-Strip properties in Las Vegas.  He starred in Discovery Channel's smash hit, "American Casino" and has appeared on multiple TV & radio shows, talking about casino travel.  David has also channeled his expertise into several books including "Las Vegas' Little Black Book: A Guys Guide To The Perfect Vegas Weekend" and "Classic Vegas Mistakes" - both of which are available on Amazon.

David and I talked about his experience in the industry, recent changes in the casino & gaming business - including those dreaded Resort Fees - and those Classic Vegas Mistakes.  If you want more Classic Vegas Mistakes, head over and follow David on Twitter.

 

EP#15: The March Trip Report

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Freshly back from Vegas Trip #2 of 2019, it's time for another Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report!

And I'm trying something a little different for the trip report this time around; rather than a blow-by-blow, day-by-day report, I'm going to hit the high spots of the trip, share some reviews and share my experiences with you.  You know that feeling of dread you get when your friends drag out the photo album and make you look at every single vacation photo?  Yeah...that's what I'm trying to avoid.

This Trip Report features reviews of The Park MGM, Tom's Urban at New York New York, The Henry at The Cosmopolitan and Marilyn's Cafe at The Tuscany.  My wife and I also had the pleasure of hanging out at the Piazza Lounge in The Tuscany for Kenny Davidsen's Celebrity Piano Bar and we took in some NHL Hockey action at T-Mobile Arena as the Vegas Golden Knights played host to the Winnipeg Jets.   

EP#14: Viva Las Value!

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Money is always a tricky topic when it comes to planning for a Las Vegas trip or when giving advice to Vegas visitors.  As I've talked about in previous episodes, Vegas is one of those rare vacation destinations where you can literally make it whatever you want it to be; whether you want to play "high roller" and drop stacks of cash wherever you go or you want to play it sensible and actually take some of your money home with you, both are viable options.

Viva Las Value is a new website designed to help you do Vegas like a high roller...without breaking the bank.  The site is jammed full of amazing tips & tricks for the Vegas visitor including everything from how to score free drinks while playing slots to how to NOT be overwhelmed on your first trip to the casino to how to earn comps just for playing "pretend" slots on Facebook.  I tracked down Sergio Portesan, the founder and creator of Viva Las Value to get his story & find out the inspiration behind creating the site.

Be sure to give Viva Las Value a follow on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to interact.

 

EP#13: Leaving It All On The Table

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I have a confession to make: I'm approaching my 27th trip to Las Vegas in the last 5 years and in all of that time, not once have I ever played a table game.  I've never played a hand of Blackjack or Poker, I've never tossed the dice in a game of Craps and I've never placed a bet at a Roulette table.

Why is that?  There's a few reasons - some of which include anxiety, intimidation, a past negative experience with a "casino troll" and the fact that I simply don't know how to play a lot of the table games.  To help me out with these issues, I decided to talk to an expert and bring her on the show!

This episode, I'll be joined by Heather Ferris, the CEO and Founder of Vegas Aces, the world's first FREE online dealing trade school where regular folks like me can learn how to deal AND play casino table games!  For more info on Vegas Aces and what Heather has to offer, check out their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

 

EP#12: Vegas’ Most Overrated & Underrated

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Las Vegas is the official city of HYPE!  Everything in Sin City is EXCITING AND AMAZING...or is it?

There's nothing worse than being amped up for an experience only to end up being horribly disappointed.  But at the same time, it's always fun to come across those "hidden gems" that nobody else knows about.

That's what this episode is all about - Vegas' Most Overrated and Underrated!  

Are those celebrity chef restaurants worth the hype?  Should you stay at one of the big-name mega-resorts...or pick a smaller off-strip spot?  How many Cirque shows is TOO MANY Cirque Shows?  This episode will answer those questions - and more!

Thanks to this week's guest contributors:

 - Sam Novak from "Vegas Unfiltered", the Las Vegas blog that's just that - unfiltered!  Sam is never afraid to speak his mind on the goings-on in Sin City...and he gives us his picks for Vegas' Most Overrated & Underrated.  Be sure to follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter.

 - Jenna Nye from "Off The Strip", where the motto is "There's More To Vegas".  Jenna joins us live from Las Vegas and shares some of her favourite underrated hidden gems away from the insanity of the Vegas strip.  Find Off The Strip on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

EP#11: The Solo Trip

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The inspiration for this episode came from a post on one of my favourite Vegas-related Facebook pages, "Talk Las Vegas", where a gentleman named Michael was asking about whether or not he should do a solo trip to Las Vegas after his travel partner cancelled on him.

I myself have done numerous solo trips and have a blast every single time.  So, I thought I'd share my thoughts on travelling alone to Vegas as well as a few tips & tricks on things to do, where to eat and - most importantly - how to stay safe when travelling solo!

If you're planning on a solo trip to Vegas, check out these links:

- The Vegas Solo...The definitive website for solo travellers headed to Vegas

- Vegas Bright's guide for female solo travellers headed to Vegas - including some great safety tips

- Frontdesk Tip's complete guide to visiting Vegas as a solo traveller

 

EP#10: The February Trip Report

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This episode features an in-depth trip report of my most recent getaway to Las Vegas, from February 3rd-6th, 2019 featuring:

- Meal reviews including Wahlburger's at Bally's Grand Bazaar, Virgil's Real BBQ at Linq Promenade, Gordon Ramsay Burger at Planet Hollywood, Sake Rok at The Park and Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian

- Off-strip visits to dive bars The Hard Hat Lounge & Dino's Lounge, drinks and pizza at Corduroy & Evel Pie on Fremont Street and an EPIC Prime Rib Dinner from Ellis Island Casino & Brewery

- The pros and cons of landing in Las Vegas during the Super Bowl (aka "The Big Game")

- Thoughts on the current state of the GO Rooms at The Flamingo

- And a safety tip/PSA on how to correctly cross the street in Las Vegas

 

EP#9: Staying On The Strip vs Staying Off The Strip

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The topic for this episode comes from one of our listeners: Brandon dropped me a note on Facebook wondering about my thoughts on staying on at a hotel/resort ON The Strip vs staying at a hotel/resort OFF The Strip.  I thought that was a great idea...so here we go!

EP#8: Bringing Kids To Vegas

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This week's episode is about a topic that always manages to get people going online - whether it's on Facebook, TripAdvisor or any of the thousands of other Vegas-related blogs or websites out there:

BRINGING KIDS TO VEGAS 

Big thanks to my guests who joined me to talk about this very polarizing topic:

- Jessica aka "Vegas Princess Bella" - She's a long-time Las Vegas visitor who runs Las Vegas Pics and Tricks on Facebook and a mom, who recently took her 8 & 10 year-old children to Vegas.

- My good friend Adam West, Midday Host & Program Director at Hot 100.5 FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - He's a frequent Vegas visitor and a dad of 3 who has some strong yet valid opinions about the PARENTS who bring their kids to Las Vegas.  Find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

- And Maria-Leena Kerr - She's the owner of DanishTourGuide.com, an online concierge platform and sightseeing company.  Maria also provides tour services in Las Vegas and helps families organize their trips to Vegas.  Reach out to her on Twitter and Instagram

Listen in for great insight on bringing children to Las Vegas.