By Andrew Wei

Recently some friends and I turned 21, and we decided a Las Vegas trip was appropriate. Walking into the idea, I had quite a bit of money, but leaving the Las Vegas Strip I had 68 cents and the lesson of the importance of understanding inflated local pricing.

Without quite thinking the whole plan through, we all agreed to go, booked the hotel, and within a few hours were in the car well on our way down. I knew Vegas was a little more expensive but nothing would prepare me for what I would find.

Had I done some research prior, I wouldn’t have agreed to go if I had known the cost of it all. It’s a curious thing with Las Vegas too that when money begins running low it becomes a very natural thought to want to hit the blackjack tables and see what I could make up for.

The weekend itself was phenomenal and the memories I made I know I won’t soon forget, but had I understood the gravity of the local spike in pricing then I know the weekend would’ve gone differently. We would’ve planned ahead and saved for the venture, and while I still probably would’ve lost my $20 in blackjack, at least I would’ve been able to afford it.

I was not the only one unprepared for the adventure ahead and while the adventure was one of the most fun weekends I’ve ever had, had we been prepared and saved a proper amount for Vegas – the weekend could’ve been something even better.

Fear of missing out is a real reason to send oneself on an ill-planned trip but real planning and understanding of the budget required would’ve improved the situation greatly, and still no experience would be missed out on. The trip probably would’ve just had to happen a few weeks later than it did and that is a price that may seem steep when faced with the “do or die” decision moment but what I learned is that it will always be worth the wait and worth the planning.

I plan on returning to Las Vegas but next time with more money than I had this time around. Taking a trip for the sake of the experience seems like a fun idea but properly planning the experience can ensure a better overall experience, and in the instance of Las Vegas – that boils down to being prepared to pay $10 for an 8 fluid ounce Red Bull Energy Drink.

Andrew Wei is a student at Arizona State University.