The vacation guide gig started and today we left Las Vegas to drive to Utah where we will be spending most of this trip. On our way out, I suggested we make a stop at Valley of Fire state park (Nevada) which is someplace I think that anyone visiting the Las Vegas area should take a day to visit.
We also passed through Zion National Park on our way to our destination in Kanab, Utah. We didn’t have a whole lot of time with the previous stop at Valley of Fire, but one of my favorite short hikes there made sense since it was on our route and was only a couple of miles round trip. We decided to do the Canyon Overlook trail:
Some proof that I was actually there.
I also took a very short video of a section of the trail where a bridge needed to be constructed due to the steep cliff walls:
As we left the park, we also came across a herd of buffalo:
Overall it was a great first day even with all the driving and we went to a couple of places that I think that most people miss when visiting the Las Vegas area and in Zion national park.
So what did this cost me? As mentioned in my last post, I am a vacation guide on this trip so my hotels, travel and meals are being covered. That didn’t mean that the day was no-cost, and one of the costs might be a bit controversial as I am assuming it’s one that most people wouldn’t have paid. I know that there’s a possibility that I’m going to get some flack for this, especially while trying to live on a minimum wage since this is money that I didn’t have to spend. I will try to explain my reasoning and then anyone who wants to chime in to challenge me on it is free to do so.
I tip. I tip fairly well compared to most people I know. This is something that has evolved over time and it’s simply the way I feel on the subject. Truth be told, I hate tipping. Having lived 10+ years in Japan where tipping isn’t customary and service is usually superb, I could very easily rationalize that tipping is absolutely not necessary. I have come to believe, however, it’s the people who do the manual labor that work far harder physically than the vast majority of people for what ends up being the bare minimum of wages. I have always felt that no matter what your job, it’s vitally important and those who work hard should be rewarded for their work no matter what that work might be. Over the years for this reason, there are certain jobs that I tip. One of those are hotel maids.
I always tip $5 per night to the maids who clean up my room. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the cheapest hotel or a five-star hotel. I don’t do this because I’m messy (in fact, I would guess that I leave my room neater than 99% of people), but because the maids are probably one of the hardest working employees at any hotel and as explained above, don’t get paid a whole lot for their work. I’ve also seen how some people leave rooms, and no person deserves to have to clean up messes like that. By leaving my room as clean as possible and leaving a tip, I try to show that their job is appreciated by me.
I’ve had a lot of internal debates how I was going to handle this when it came to this challenge. Thus far, I have only stayed at hotels a couple of times so it really hasn’t been an issue, but with this week-long trip, it will be more of one. Not leaving a tip would be an easy way to save money as it isn’t a required payment, but in good consciousness I don’t feel right not paying it as I have come to regard the tip as a part of the bill when staying at a hotel. While I might change this stance if it looks like I may not succeed with the challenge, for now I am keeping this in place since that is what I usually do. Do you tip each day for maid service when staying at a hotel?
My spending for the day was $5.00 for the tip at the Las Vegas hotel and then another $4.27 for 4 two-little bottles of soda. I will be doing a lot of driving on this trip and although I have cut out soda in my everyday life, I do still drink it when I’m driving long distances. It made sense for me to buy the 4 two-liter bottles which were on sale for $0.99 each (but had to be purchased in a group of four) since these should last me the entire trip (if not longer). if I were to buy cups of soda at gas stations along the way, the cost would end up being much more. Since one two-liter bottle gets me 4 to 6 cups depending on size, and each cup at a gas station (or other convenience stop) costs over $1, I end up getting 12 – 16 free cups buying it this way. Yes, it would be better if I didn’t spend it at all, but since I know I will be doing so, it made sense to get the best value that I could.
Lastly, I purchased 3 postcards for my nieces, something that I refuse to stop doing even with this challenge. The cost of the postcards was $1.50 plus $0.99 in stamps to send them for a total cost of $2.49. That made my spending for the day come to $11.76.