Summer Tales 2022 Day 8 | Las Vegas, NV 

On Tuesday morning (7/5), we flew to Las Vegas to start our road trip through some of the National Parks in Utah. 

As you might recall, my Dad’s backpack got stolen in San Francisco and his passport with it. You might wonder what happened with the situation. Since the incident happened just before a (holiday) weekend, the German embassy in San Francisco was closed and even the German consulate’s emergency hotline, which I tried to call several times, went straight to the mailbox. So much for the EMERGENCY hotline! What if someone REALLY needed immediate help? “Sorry, just not on a holiday weekend”? I was a little bit disconcerted, to say the least.

Our biggest worry was that they wouldn’t let my Dad fly on a domestic flight without his passport. I had done some googling and had also called the airline (Southwest) and they assured me that my dad would be able to fly if he had another form of ID. Fortunately, he had his German ID card, his German driver’s license, and a credit card. I was still a little worried that there would be an issue when we got to the airport, but in the end, the TSA pulled him out at the security checkpoint for some questioning (he had to explain what happened) and then checked his carry-on (it seemed a little bit like showing off, but okay, I get it). In the end, the whole thing went smoothly (which we were really relieved about).

It’s only a 1.5-hour flight from Sacramento to Las Vegas and we arrived mid-afternoon.  We first had to pick up our luggage and look for the car rental shuttle. Then there was another hiccup: my Dad had reserved two rental cars through a German travel website. But the rental car company refused to rent the cars to him because he couldn’t present a passport. They wanted two other people with passports and credit cards.

Ok, so my brother-in-law and I said we would rent the cars, but his card was declined because of the credit limit (German credit cards work a little differently than American credit cards and are most often associated with your bank.) The rental company lady suggested that he call his bank to increase the limit, but that was easier said than done, because it was the middle of the night in Germany.

It was also not possible to put both cars on my credit card, because allegedly one and the same person cannot rent two cars. 

Long story short, the rental company lady took pity on us at some point, realizing that we simply had no solution, and eventually accepted my Dad’s credit card to pay for the booking that had been transferred to my brother-in-law. I thanked her profusely and then we were finally on our way. We had booked two SUVs, but I was asked if I would like to get a minivan, a Toyota Sienna, instead. The minivan actually suited us better because it fits 7 people and that meant that we could occasionally leave one car at the hotel and take shorter excursions in one car.  So we said yes.

Of course, the whole ordeal took much longer than anticipated and by the time we made it to our hotel – the Paris, Paris on the Las Vegas Strip – it was already 6 pm.
We had planned to check out the Premium Outlets Las Vegas South in the afternoon. They are right next to the car rental place at the airport and it would have made sense to stop there first, but after the experience in San Francisco, we were not keen on leaving the cars in the parking lot with all our luggage. So we drove to the hotel first.

Anyone who has ever been to Las Vegas knows that checking into the hotels on the Strip is always a huge hassle. There are long walks through half the casino, a thousand people, long queues… and although we only wanted to quickly unload our luggage there, it took a long time and it was after 6 p.m. before we were finally in our rooms.

The outlets closed at 8 pm so we decided to take one car, drive back over,  “speed shop” for an hour (which meant we split up and everyone went to the stores they were interested in), and then met back at the car at 8 pm. 

It had been a long day already, we all hadn’t eaten lunch, we were hungry, tired, and thirsty, and not really in the mood to make decisions anymore, but we needed to eat.

(As previously mentioned, we didn’t plan this out in advance, but had to come up with dinner plans each night, which was always a bit stressful, especially when it was getting late and everyone was tired and hungry.)

Luckily, my Dad had done some research on restaurants in Las Vegas beforehand and unfortunately found that the Double Barrel Roadhouse, where we went the last time they were here, had closed down during the pandemic. Instead, he suggested that we try the Yard House, a sports bar with more than 100 draft beers on tap. That sounded like a good solution considering the restaurant was nearby and open late. Win-win!

The restaurant was big and we had no problem getting a table for a party of 7. We were really impressed by the atmosphere, food and drinks. A real highlight at the end of a long day!

On a side note, I found out that the Yard House is a chain restaurant and we have a (fairly new) location here in Sacramento. Who knew?

We made it back to the hotel around 9:30 p.m. and decided to at least take a quick stroll on the strip. None of us were really keen on walking or pushing our way through the crowds (although it has to be said that it was bearable at that time of the evening).


We looked at Paris, Paris from the outside, and admired the water feature at the Bellagio across the street, but the kids teens were tired and ready for bed (or at least one of them was).


My parents ended up taking the kids upstairs while my sister, brother-in-law, and I walked two short blocks to the nearest Walgreens to buy some water and snacks, and then also made our way back to the hotel rooms as well. It had been a long day.

  1. I haven’t been to Vegas in so long. It looks about the same which is good. Your smiles are great. I’m glad your dad was able to fly in spite of not having his passport. That is a trying situation.

    1. I was really glad it all worked out.

  2. I have never been to Las Vegas so this is all a revelation to me! Oh my goodness, the missing passport combined with the rental car bureaucracy sounds so frustrating! I’m glad they finally figured things out. My experience with rental car companies is that they can’t seem to adapt beyond the specific rules/regulations. So what a relief that you dealt with someone who could come up with a solution!

    1. I am sure glad I was there to handle some of the stress with the passport and rental car bureaucracy. My family’s English skills are decent but handling these kind of things is a lot if you’re not completely fluent. It was definitely a hassle but I am glad we had a nice lady that came up with a solution.

  3. Woof, what an ordeal with the car rental. At least you found a solution but ugh. I hope your dad’s backpack was recovered? Did he have to get a temporary passport? That kind of thing is my nightmare.
    I have been to Vegas in January and in June, and I think if I was to go again I would go somewhere in between. Maybe April? I think Vegas is very fun but I have about a three-night limit before it gets to be too much.

    1. I’ll fill you in the whole passport debacle as I go, but no, we didn’t recover the backpack (or passport or ipad) and he did have to get a temporary passport to fly home (but that was its own ordeal – haha).

      I am totally with you on Vegas: I have a three-night limit before it gets too much. It’s not a place I’d seek out for a vacation.

  4. I’ve never been to Vegas but traveling to any city seems overwhelming at the best of time let alone after all the hassle with passports (and the lingering stress from the situation). Sounds like you really made the most of the day and people stayed in good spirits.

    Looking forward to hearing about what came next :)

    1. Vegas is a strange place for sure. I always say “you gotta see it once”, but it’s not a place I’d repeatedly travel to.

  5. I am so glad your dad could fly and the car rental place took pity on you all and let you get the two cars. That is so stressful!

    I didn’t know that about going to a hotel on the Strip! I have never been to Vegas but am talking to some friends about going next year.

    1. Thank you, we were so relived the not having a passport didn’t cause any trouble – it would have completely ruined our vacation plans! I’d be curious to hear back if you go to Vegas… it’s a … strange place. Fun, but strange.

  6. I seemed mohave missed the passport story. Loosing a passport is such a scary thing. I always keep a copy at a different place and a scan saved in the cloud for emergencies. If that really helps, probably not. But it makes me feel safer.

    The dinner issue on vacations is always the mood killer for the day. I hate it. And we are just two people finding common ground.

    1. I also have a paper copy and a digital copy of my passport(s). It does give me peace of mind when I travel.

  7. I’ve never been to Vegas! I don’t think I ever will except maybe as a way to get to the Grand Canyon as I think it’s a shorter drive from there v flying into phoenix. I know people who love it, but I am the least Vegas person ever. ;) I can’t wait to read about your Utah NP experience! That’s on my short list of places to go and another reason we’d likely have to fly into Vegas.

    The car rental situation sounded so stressful! Yikes!

    1. I always say: you gotta see Vegas once, but yeah, I also knew before I went for the first time that it wouldn’t be my favorite place to visit ;) You’re not missing much.

  8. I’m stressed out about the passport and the stolen bag, and I know that your dad got home safely! I cannot imagine going through this in one day on “vacation”! I am so glad he could fly, that the rental car lady finally saw the light, and that you FINALLY got dinner.
    I have no desire, ever, to go back to Vegas. I’ve been once, and then stayed overnight en route to the Grand Canyon. More than enough for me, thanks! :)

    1. The passport and car rental situation was stressful, but I think it could have been a lot worse if I hadn’t been there to do the “talking”… it’s fairly challenging for people who are not fluent in English to navigate these kind of situations and I think my dad was very thankful.

  9. I actually like Vegas!! I mean I wouldn’t want to go all the time, but I’m itching to go back now. I’ve been there several times, but the last time was over 10 years ago now. We actually had considered going there this summer with the boys- I think they’d get a kick out of seeing all the lights, walking through all the themed hotels (I find it very fun to walk all through Paris, then Venice, then Ceasar’s, etc.) Also, Hoover Dam is cool and nearby, and the hot weather means great swimming weather and the hotels all have such nice pool areas. It would be fun to take them to a Vegas show, too, and they are old enough now that they could stay behind while we did a little gambling from time to time (not that we are big gamblers anyway, but when there, you have to try a little!). I think we could have a fun trip there sometimes as a family. :)

    1. I can see how this could be a fun trip with the boys! I think it really depends what you plan to do there. If you go to a show and check out the hotels, but also plan pool time, it can be fun… but for a one-night stay, it was a lot of hassle.

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