The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast

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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.

 

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

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.

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.

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. 

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.

 

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.   

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.

 

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!

 

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

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

 

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

 

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!

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.

The Crossover Follow-Up - We THOUGHT We’d Done Vegas

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This week's episode is a nice little follow-up to last week's crossover with Faces And Aces: Las Vegas and the "So You Think You've Done Vegas" episode.

After we posted our episodes on-line, Chris and I got talking about some of the things we missed on our lists (including a couple of REALLY embarrassing ones...ha ha!).  Then after we Tweeted out about the show, our followers starting sending us messages with their suggestions for things to add to the list.

So, in no particular order, presented within this episode are a few "honourable mentions" for things you need to do in Vegas to officially say you've "done Vegas".

Thanks so much for listening!

 

The Faces & Aces LV Crossover - So You Think You’ve Done Vegas?

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There have been so many EPIC crossovers in history; The Flintstones & The Jetsons, Family Guy & The Simpsons, Power Rangers & TMNT, Full House & Family Matters...and now you can add ANOTHER one to the list:

The Faces And Aces Las Vegas Podcast & The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast!

After much brainstorming, Chris & I managed to get together via Skype and put together what I think is a pretty great episode for both of our podcasts!

We're both regular visitors to Las Vegas and in all those visits, we determined that there are certain things you have to do in order to say you've "done Vegas"...so in this crossover episode, we present our lists - but with a bit of a twist:

If you want to hear our discussion & thoughts on the COMPLETE lists, you need to listen to BOTH of our podcasts!  Numbers 10 through 6 are over at Faces And Aces Las Vegas & Number 5 through 1 are heard here in my podcast.

If you really can't wait to listen to both episodes of the podcasts, then here's my complete list of the Top 10 Things You Have To Do To Say You've "Done Vegas":

10) Get a photo with a showgirl or character on the street
9) Visit Fremont Street/Downtown Las Vegas
8) See a Cirque du Soleil Show
7) Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel
6) Ride the Linq High Roller
5) Do a Gondola Ride at the Venetian
4) Go to a strip club (or at the very least, a topless show)
3) Get bottle service/VIP table service at a night club
2) Take a helicopter ride over The Strip
1) Visit the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign

Thanks so much for listening and checking out The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast!

Don't forget to give us a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Your Vegas…Your Money

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To quote Puff Daddy, this episode of the podcast is "All About The Benjamins Baby".

Hopefully, this episode will be helpful for Vegas vets and virgins alike; One of the most popular questions I see posted about planning a Vegas vacation is "How much money should I bring with me?"  There are several different answers to this question, all dependent on the type of trip you're planning...so hopefully, I'll be able to help you with some guidance.

Thanks for listening and thanks for checking us out!

If you're after some great ways to save cash in Vegas, check out the following links:

- Sign up for Caesars Total Rewards and MLife Rewards programs

- Watch for discounted show tickets at Tix-4-Tonight, Tickets On Demand and Vegas.com

- And look for discounts on rooms, shows, restaurants, attractions and tours at SmarterVegas, TravelVegas and Vegas4Locals

The December Trip Report

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DECEMBER 24/2018 - Welcome to Episode #4 of The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast!

This episode is an in-depth trip report of my most recent getaway to Las Vegas from December 16-20, 2018 featuring:

- A review of my first ever stay at Caesars Palace

- My experience trying to take an Uber from Caesars to the Hard Rock Hotel

- Meals at Nine Fine Irishmen at New York New York, Mon Ami Gabi at Paris, Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock Hotel and Yardbird & Black Tap both at The Venetian

- A recap of the Mondays Dark 5th Anniversary Celebration

- And a review of Human Nature: Jukebox at the Venetian

 

So sit back, relax and enjoy this audio trip to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada!

The Shameless Plug - Mondays Dark’s 5th Anniversary Show

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DECEMBER 14/2018 - This episode is - admittedly - a shameless plug for a special event coming up on Monday, December 17th at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. My friend, Mark Shunock - who I've talked about on previous episodes - is celebrating the 5th Anniversary of his charity show, "Mondays Dark".

Tips & Tricks For Walking The Strip - Don’t Get Scammed!

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DECEMBER 7/2018 - Episode #2 of the Jeff Does Vegas podcast includes tips & tricks on things to avoid while walking the strip as well as a few must-do attractions both on and off the strip.

The Debut Episode - The November Trip Report

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DECEMBER 1/2018 - Welcome to the debut episode of The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast! For the debut show, it's a trip report from my most recent trip to Sin City from November 12-14, 2018. I recap my experience at The Flamingo Hotel, talk about some of the great restaurants I checked out and talk about a "hidden gem" off the strip - the National Atomic Testing Museum.

So sit back, relax and enjoy this audio trip to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada!