Las Vegas is the top forward-thinking travel destination in the United States. Not only does Vegas have three amazing new boutique hotels that were just opened in the last year, but equally amazing restaurants, attractions and a little something called GeoVegas, which allows you to virtually plan your trip over the internet. Travel expert Lee Abbamonte, who also happens to be the youngest American to visit every country, joined me for an interview this morning to dish on the hottest travel trends, Las Vegas and Google Maps virtual reality travel tool called GeoVegas, the top travel attractions and what it was like being snowed-in in Antarctica with Prince Harry!
Candace Rose: What are some of the biggest travel trends at the moment?
Lee Abbamonte: “I think the biggest trend at the moment is virtual reality, and a great example of this is GeoVegas, which is a joint venture between Google maps and Las Vegas, which basically allows you to virtually see everything here in Vegas. For instance you can see inside the hotels and restaurants and shows and spas and every points of interest here in town. It allows you to basically see what you like and create your own Vegas itinerary based upon what you see in the 360 degree business view that Google Maps offers you. It’s pretty awesome and a great way to plan your trip to Las Vegas.”
Candace Rose: How can it help travelers optimize their trip before they leave home?
Lee Abbamonte: “It helps travelers because it allows them to see for themselves what they’re getting themselves into, so they can basically go into different parts of GeoVegas and see – if there was something they were thinking about doing, they can see what it looks like versus something else and then they can make an informed opinion based upon what they saw. It’s a great tool especially for people who are first timers here to Vegas, or to people who haven’t been here in a while. It’s really helpful in choosing new restaurants and hotels and shows, even things like golf courses. It’s great”
Candace Rose: What are some of the country’s top forward-thinking travel destinations?
Lee Abbamonte: “Without a doubt, Las Vegas is the country’s top forward-thinking travel destination because they’re at the forefront of pretty much everything, literally. They have the best nightclubs, they have the best restaurants, they have the best celebrity chefs, they have the top hotels in the country, and in terms of virtual reality and this GeoVegas, it allows people to feel like they’re in Las Vegas before they’ve actually gotten there. GeoVegas.LasVegas.com is seamlessly connected to LasVegas.com so people can basically book stuff after they’ve seen it, so it’s a seamless integration and makes travel here a lot easier.”
Candace Rose: I have to mention that the nachos you posted on your Twitter page last night makes me want to go to Vegas now!
Lee Abbamonte: “The nachos at Cafe Rio are absolutely killer. I’m telling you, Vegas has the best food in the country. It has the best of all the big cities in America, but places like Cafe Rio and In-N-Out Burger where you can only get on the west coast – I love it.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else about Vegas that we need to know about?
Lee Abbamonte: “Well, Vegas just had three great big hotel openings. They just had the SLS, the Delano, and the Cromwell Hotel – which is a really cool hotel. All three of them are kind of changing the landscape of the Vegas strip to a more boutique luxury kind of feel as opposed to some of the colossal hotels in the last 10, 15, 20 years which are still great and a lot of them are undergoing renovations. But if you haven’t seen CityCenter which opened in the last five years, that’s pretty awesome to see. That’s the thing about Vegas, you can come back here every year and it’s almost always new.
They just had the High Roller open up, which is the world’s largest observation wheel which is pretty cool. They redid that entire area and they call it the Linq and basically took out some of the less desirable hotels in the part of the strip and turned it into a really nice place to walk around and to check out. I highly recommend checking out the Linq and the High Roller when you’re in town.”
Candace Rose: What have been some of your top travel moments?
Lee Abbamonte: “I’ve had so many top travel moments, it’s very difficult to say. They generally revolve around meeting amazing people. A place like Armenia where I was able to spend a 30th anniversary with a family that I just met that day. Stuff like that really sticks out in my mind. Summoning Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa with one of my best friends in minus 40 degree temperatures, that was pretty wild; or last year I got snowed-in in Antarctica with Prince Harry, the Prince of England for four days, that was pretty cool. It’s amazing what you can get yourself into when you put yourself out there anywhere around the world.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Lee Abbamonte: “My tip would be basically to go to GeoVegas.LasVegas.com and get started virtually planning your next trip to Vegas because it’s awesome here.”