Independence Day is one of the biggest US celebrations, with firework displays and parties all over the country, so if you happen to be on holiday in the States during the 4th of July festivities, you're in for a real treat. Whether you want to visit Mickey and Co in Walt Disney World, get close to nature in the Rocky Mountains, or road trip the Pacific Coast Highway, there's a dream holiday for everyone in this big country.
Valerie Nicholas and her husband, Robin, have been RCI members for over 30 years and have travelled extensively the world over, using their RCI membership, but Las Vegas tops their list of the best holidays they've had. Earlier this year, Valerie celebrated her 70th birthday in Las Vegas - they took some friends with them to make the holiday extra special.
As part of Valerie's birthday, she and Robin went on the High Roller as a treat. It's not for the faint-hearted; the 167-metre-tall big wheel boasts incredible views across Las Vegas - what better way to celebrate a milestone birthday!
"For my husband and I, our holiday of a lifetime was when we took our children to New York, Washington and then onto Florida - where we visited Walt Disney World. While we were there we went on a timeshare presentation at the Sheraton Vistana Resort (0450) in Orlando. We loved the apartments and resort but we couldn’t afford to buy into it at that time.
"However, some time later, both of my parents sadly passed away and I was left some money. At the same time, a letter came through the post offering 50 per cent off the original price of a timeshare in Spain, so I bought a two-bedroom apartment which also included a one-year RCI membership.
"We took advantage of an RCI Member offer at the time - two-for-one weeks offered for resorts in the US, which was a great deal that we used many times.
"Our home resort is Crown Resorts at Club Calahonda (2404), in Spain. We have visited our home resort only once as we prefer to exchange it to go to other places. The flexibility of holidays is one of the great things about RCI. If we didn't have our RCI membership, we would have to return to Spain each year and we wouldn't have been able to travel to some of the amazing places we've been lucky enough to visit.
"For the price we paid for our timeshare we have had our money back many times in the holidays we have had over the last 30 years. We have exchanged into resorts in San Francisco, Oceanside near Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Germany and the UK.
"We book our holidays through the website now, except for our most recent Las Vegas holiday when we needed a combination of apartments for two weeks, as friends came with us. I found it a little difficult for me online, so I rang the call centre who were very helpful and booked it all for me.
"Our most recent visit to Las Vegas, was our second visit to Sin City, but there was a ten-year gap between the two trips. The first time we went in the April we found it was a little too hot for Robin and I, so this time we went in February. It was like a cool summer’s day in England, which was so much better for getting around and much more comfortable.
"We stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club At The Flamingo (3186) which was perfect for us. It was right in the middle of The Strip, close to The Deuce bus stop and next to the Monorail, so everything was right on our doorstep. The apartments were very large and luxurious and there was a small heated swimming pool and whirlpool, which is open during high season.
"There is so much to do in Las Vegas, even if you're not interested in gambling and the casinos. The shows are spectacular and we got tickets to a couple while we were there. We had front row seats to the Penn & Teller show at the Rio Hotel and Casino, and after the show, Penn & Teller posed with us to get photographs which was great.
"Another show I saw was KA by Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand, which was amazing. If you want to see the shows, tickets are very expensive, so be prepared for that! A big tip is go to a 'Tix4Tonight' booth to get reductions on your tickets rather than buying the tickets directly through the show, as it will save you a lot of money. We used this frequently to get cheaper attraction tickets as well.
"As for other things to do, we were spoilt for choice. My husband went with his friend on a night time helicopter ride which included a limousine ride with champagne, and was a special treat. There are so many excursions to choose from to different places if you want to explore further. A visit to the Grand Canyon is a must see - we have visited both the South Rim and the West Rim now, it is spectacular.
"Back on The Strip, visiting the hotels, such as the Venetian, the Bellagio, MGM and the Excalibur is also a must - there are no hotels like it anywhere else. We also went to the Titanic exhibition at the Luxor Hotel, which was very interesting.
"We also took our friends to the top of the Stratosphere which gives you an excellent view of Las Vegas, and we even saw the snow on top of the nearby mountains! We went on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour for a day, getting off at different spots along The Strip. This is an ideal way to explore, if mobility is a problem but you still want to see all the sights.
"We visited Fremont Street in the day and at night. There is even an interesting shopping and food area made out of storage containers, so is well worth a visit. There is also the SlotZilla Zipline which looks like fun, if you're very brave!
"Las Vegas was a fantastic holiday and we wouldn't have been able to do it without our RCI membership. We have already booked our next RCI holiday with two weeks at Christmas at the Hotel Tropical Park (2403), in Tenerife and we can’t wait."
With the bright lights of the casinos, world-class shows, fabulous shopping and endless experiences you won't get anywhere else, Las Vegas should be on everyone's travel bucket list. If you would like to make Sin City your next holiday destination, click on the RCI Resort Directory and select your home-from-home accommodation.
If you own timeshare, and have yet to get the real value out of your purchase by swapping your owned week for others around the world in different destinations, then you should take a look at joining RCI. RCI is the world's leading holiday exchange membership company and if you want to learn more about how you could be holidaying with timeshare, click on the Join RCI button below and sign up in just a few simple steps.