Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to Survive Vegas

Vegas is a beast. Between the opportunities there (clubs, parties, restaurants, designer stores), the different standards (it's legal to carry an open container of alcohol on the street and not unusual for people to stay up all night), and the mindset that comes along with it (I heard, "I'm not going to sleep tonight" and, "I wanna get crunk!" on the plane over to Vegas), it's a miracle anyone makes it out unscathed.

We made it through - no problem!

But I'm here to tell you it's possible. And I suppose this post could also apply to other "party cities" like Miami, New Orleans, or Hollywood. But I'm most familiar with Vegas, so let's start there.

Oh boy, here we go...

First things first, Vegas--and partying in general--isn't my thing. I would much rather have a few friends over for game night than go to a club. In fact, the first club I went to was in 2010, and it was for a different bachelorette party. So obviously I'm mostly a homebody, which is why this post is titled "How to Survive Vegas" and not "How to Conquer Vegas." 

When I was invited to Ashley's bachelorette party, I was torn. I didn't know many of her friends and wasn't sure about three nights in Sin City. I've been to Vegas--more times than I can count--but I was always with lots of people, so heading back to the hotel early and not drinking too much was perfectly acceptable. This time, I would be with a smaller group of girls and would kinda have to go with the flow, regardless of how tired I felt. (Luckily, the girls were awesome and the activities were tame, so I needn't have worried!) So here are my tips for getting through a few days in Vegas without a Hangover.

1. Try to mimic your normal routine. I know, it seems impossible. But a party weekend--just like any vacation--is usually a quadruple threat: no exercise, heavy/unhealthy foods, little sleep, and too much alcohol. So this weekend I made sure to tackle each of those issues. If we stayed out late, I did my best to get a nap or sleep in. I paced myself on the alcohol (see below). I stuck with lighter meals during the beginning of the day. And I went to the gym twice (the first day was just 30 minutes of puttering around, but I ran 5 miles the second day, and you'd better believe I was dying!). Keeping up my normal routine helped me feel energetic and healthier.

Four of us tackling the rowing machines
Saved room for Sushi Samba

2. Hydrate. I cannot emphasize the importance of water. Maybe it's tough to get in that exercise or a few more hours of sleep, but there's no excuse for skipping water. I drank a TON in Vegas. If you can buy a bulk pack of water bottles for the room, that's awesome. But I also just grabbed ice from the ice machine and drank tap water in the room. I ordered water (and lots of refills!) anytime I ordered a drink. I skipped soda and coffee (granted, I don't drink those anyway, but they won't help hydrate). And at the pool, I made sure to have several glasses of water before anything else. It's the easiest way to keep my body feeling nourished and to beat the heat.

Pool party = lots of sun!

3. Go easy on the adult beverages. I know--it's Vegas. You're on vacation. If you're there for a bachelor/bachelorette party, birthday, wedding, or Labor Day, you're celebrating. You want to drink. And we all know I'm a fan of adult beverages, but let's be honest here: We're much more likely to regret drinking too much than to regret not drinking enough. So here's my strategy:

  • Decide on a number of drinks before the day even starts. If I go in knowing I'm sticking to two or three cocktails, I'm more likely to pace myself.
  • Avoid "power hour." Yikes, this one was tough in Vegas. There were specific times for free drinks--who knew? The natural inclination is to chug as many as possible in that hour so you don't have to pay, right? Well, in my experience, the free drinks weren't as tasty as the ones I paid for, which made it easy for me to turn them down. I'd rather buy an expensive, delicious cocktail and sip it for 30 minutes, enjoying the taste and social aspect of drinking.
  • Balance it all out. Going back to number 2 on my list, I drank water before, during, and after any drinks. Instead of rushing to the bar, I had two or three glasses of water first. Another bonus: Many of my friends got their drinks before I did, so I was able to hear which drinks were tastiest! 
  • Once I've had my water and made my selection, I go slow drinking it, too. I got made fun of a lot in college for "nursing" my drinks, but what's the rush? Just like eating, I enjoy the experience of sipping and tasting a drink, so I don't care to gulp it all down at once. I have no problem taking my time with a drink.
Lots of water on our table!
Enjoying a $15 mojito

4. Don't be afraid to say no. I was nervous about this one, but it turns out peer pressure is a thing of high school and college and not of twenty-somethings in Vegas. If I didn't feel like drinking, no one made me feel guilty. If I wasn't hungry or in the mood for the cuisine everyone else chose, I didn't have to join. If I didn't want to gamble, that was fine. The power of making decisions based purely on what I wanted and felt comfortable with was extremely liberating. I definitely felt very much a part of the group and enjoyed my time in Vegas, but I also had no problem saying no when I had had enough. Note: This is new for me. I used to be very susceptible to peer pressure and wanted to please everyone. But a few lessons learned taught me that when I respect myself, others respect my decisions. I don't leave room for negotiations or persuasion, and everyone was totally cool with my decisions to only have one drink or to head back to the room when I was done being out. I am very grateful to the girls I went with and very proud of myself for knowing my limits.

Good group of ladies!
The bachelorette trying her hand at gambling

5. Have fun. It's good to set limits and stick to healthy routines, but it is vacation, and it is a celebration. I certainly ate more than usual, had an extra cocktail here and there, and stayed up later than I normally would, but it was fun. I loved getting to know the other girls and felt that I was able to relax. Most importantly, our bachelorette had fun! 

Congratulations to the beautiful bride to be!

What's the wildest vacation you've been on?

How do you avoid drinking/eating too much or not sleeping enough?

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness! Thank you SO much for posting this. Honestly I am NOT a partier and the longest I've been in Vegas was driving through it on my move to SoCal. I've always been afraid of going and being forced into staying out later or drinking more than I want or should have. I don't think I'll be going any day soon, but at least I can rest assured, I'm probably not the only one who doesn't want to stay out ALL night and that whoever I would go with will probably (hopefully!) respect that.

    Glad you had a good trip! :)