Day 3097 – Survival Tips For A Long Las Vegas Airport Layover

If you’ve read my blog a while, you know we travel through the Las Vegas airport….a lot. I’ve shared my unfavorable feelings absolute hatred of this airport before. There are a few reasons for this that I realized after our recent trip – Vegas holds negative memories of drinking, and I just wasn’t using my layovers properly.

On our way to California this year, we had a very short layover. I don’t normally like having one that short (about an hour and a half), but Southwest is typically really great at arriving on time (or early). Our Allegiant flight was a little later, but not too much (unlike previous trips).

On our way back, due to flight prices and timings, we had to fly into Vegas on New Years Eve in the afternoon and fly to Baltimore early in the morning on New Years Day. All told, it was about a 14 hour layover, I think our longest to date, and honestly, our absolute best.

After we arrived, we found some food and chowed down. We then found a table to set up our computers and do some work. Unfortunately, the electric wasn’t working on the one we happened to find, so I opted out of working to do some reading. I’m making my way through Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferris and it has been quite a journey so far. I love reading advice from such a varied group of successful people. We could have ventured out of the airport and found something to do, but the more we thought about it, the more we thought….why not spend this gift of time working on our businesses and brains. I probably read about 25-30% of an almost 600 page book. So. Much. Fun.

A few people came and went at our table. Most notably was a family with two small children. Bret had chatted with the dad a little bit and they went on their way. After they left, we started to pack up to move (we were by a Starbucks and they closed, and turning out the lights above us). That was when we noticed – one of the kids left their lightsaber. I stayed at the table in case someone came back and Bret took off to find them. He thankfully saw where they headed and brought the mom back with him. It was a little NYE miracle to reunited this kid with his red light saber, even if he was on the dark side.

Around 9, after wishing Bret a happy east coast new year, I thought, hmmm, we need more food after all this coffee and a spot to watch the fireworks. We made our way around the airport finding a good spot. We set up shop and I left to find some food. I’ve done lots of research on the airport, since we’ve spent so much time there. I truly thought that everything closed overnight…and sometimes early, especially on a holiday. It always struck me as odd that there wasn’t a place to get food 24 hours, because Vegas itself is 24/7. I thought, well, I’ll walk around to see what the options are. I also was getting restless. I left Bret in the A Gate and made my way through B and C. On my long trek, I passed a lady doing yoga (you go lady!). I also felt so light without my bag. Since we are carry-on only travelers, our bags are quite full. How often do we try to trek through life with so much baggage when the journey could be so much better if we just put down the bag?

I also noticed that if you ride the moving sidewalks and look down, it feels like you aren’t going anywhere, but if you look up, you can see movement. Another life lesson – look up. I found myself so inspired by the things around me. Even though it was getting late, everything was closed or closing, there was still life in the airport. I realized I loved this time in the airport. I felt a part of something bigger than myself and that I was almost in a secret club.

As I made my way through C, I thought I found one spot open, but sadly no. Oh but friends, as I walked passed C24, I found my mecca – Jersey Mike’s Subs and Nathan’s Famous, located between gates C22 and C23 – you will find the only 24 hour food options. Thankfully, it’s not too terribly unhealthy – especially if you get a sub in a tub, which I did. I also got bacon ranch fries with a side of cheese – ok, so not terribly healthy. So, if you find yourself looking for food in the middle of the night, head over to C. I can’t believe I didn’t know this until now. But I am SO thankful!

We chowed down and continued our reading and learning. As it got closer to midnight, we realize we found the perfect spot because a few employees started to come by and even the outdoor crew started pulling up. If you’re at the airport at midnight on New Years Eve, gate A7 is the best spot to watch. Some ladies told us it was their tradition to jump 3 times at midnight, so I did! Then we all pressed our faces up to the window to watch. It was such a fun thing to do! We got to see the fireworks and didn’t have to deal with crowds.

At this point, we decided to make our way to our gate for the morning flight. They hadn’t updated the arrival/departure monitors for the morning yet, but the individual gates had been updated. In my long journey to get food, I found where we would be leaving from in the morning. Bret decided to sleep and I continued to read. It’s crazy how quickly a place can go from no one around besides workers to a whole lot of people in such a short amount of time. We went from no one around to a whole lot in just a span of an hour.

As I reflect on this layover, I find myself looking at McCarran in a different light. I don’t hate this airport anymore. If anything, I might have a growing love for it. Which is a good thing because for our California visits, it makes the most sense to fly in and out of there. So take a lesson from me, even if you truly hate a place, you could one day grow to love it and look forward to the next trip. I’m incredibly grateful to say that was the best layover I’ve ever had, and given that it was a 14 hour layover, that’s good news.

And flying into the sunrise wasn’t a terrible way to start a flight.


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