Alien Invasion: How to 'Storm Area 51' on a Budget
Are you one of the 1.2 million who plan on storming Area 51 this September? While there are numerous logistical hurdles in raiding one of the most secured military installations in the world, it turns out just getting to Area 51 is the first.
Located over 120 miles deep into the Nevadan desert, traveling to Area 51 is neither easy nor cheap. Here's how to 'Storm Area 51' this without breaking the bank.
First of All: Why Are We Even Talking About Storming Area 51?
Because of a viral meme, or course. What started as a joke on social media has amassed a rather large following. The mission? "To break into the highly secretive and secure military compound [Area 51]," according to Vox, banking on a strength-in-numbers strategy to get through security to where the aliens are kept (don't shoot the messenger, folks).
On September 20 from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., more than a million Facebook users have indicated that they're planning to embark on this mission. (TBD how many of those who have RSVP'd actually plan on following through.)
Viral stunt aside, the area surrounding Area 51 is a gold mine for off-the-beaten-path activities and sight-seeing. So, even if committing a federal offense by trespassing is not on your agenda, you can still find quite a bit to do in the region.
If you're a UFO enthusiast (no judgment), the town of Roswell is ground-zero for all things extraterrestrial. Even if you're not a Believer, the Nevadan desert features plenty of western-themed hotels and restaurants, outdoor excursions and challenging hiking trails that will keep you entertained.
Here are four nearby activities and points of interest to check out during a trip to Area 51:
Which Airport Should I Fly Into to Get to Area 51?
The state of Nevada is home to three airports that offer regularly scheduled commercial flights: Elko Regional Airport (EKO), Las Vegas International Airport (LAS), and Reno-Tahoe Airport (RNO). But which airport offers the quickest and most direct access to Area 51?
The closest airport to the super-secretive military installation is LAS. At 124 miles away, the drive from the airport to Groom Lake, the home of Area 51, is around 2.5 hours.
How Much Can I Expect to Spend on Flights to Las Vegas?
If you're a budget conscious UFO enthusiast hoping to catch a glimpse of the aliens allegedly held at Area 51, you're in luck. Las Vegas is notorious for featuring some of the cheapest flights in the United States. The airport was recently ranked as the cheapest airport in the US. So regardless of your departure city, you should be able to find a cheap flight to Las Vegas. Here are a few examples of fares from popular US cities:
- Los Angeles to Las Vegas: $77+ round-trip on Frontier - 9/17 thru 9/24
- New York to Las Vegas: $132+ round-trip on Spirit - 9/17 thru 9/24
- Chicago to Las Vegas: $129+ round-trip on Frontier - 9/17 thru 9/24
- Washington D.C. to Las Vegas: $207+ round-trip on Frontier - 9/17 thru 9/24
- Denver to Las Vegas: $83+ round-trip on Frontier - 9/17 thru 9/24
- Phoenix to Las Vegas: $67+ round-trip on Frontier - 9/17 thru 9/24
Keep in mind that if you're planning to bring your alien/UFO hunting gear, both Frontier and Spirit charge for carry-on and checked bags. Additionally, seat assignments will cost you extra should you want to pick your seat in advance.
Are There Direct Flights to Area 51?
Unfortunately, unless you're an authorized government employee, you won't be able to fly nonstop to Area 51. However, if you happen to get the proper credentials, JANET, a top-secret government airline, operates numerous nonstop flights to Homey Airport at Area 51. Here is a list of major airports with nonstop flights to Area 51 on JANET Airlines:
- Las Vegas (LAS) - multiple daily flights - Boeing 737-600, Beech 200C
- Santa Barbara (SBA) - varies - Boeing 737-600, Beech 1900C
- Salt Lake City (SLC) - varies - aircraft varies
Unfortunately, even if you get the proper credentials to fly aboard JANET Airlines, we are not aware of any partners allowing passengers to redeem points or miles on flights operated by the airline. And to add insult to injury, it appears all JANET aircraft are configured in a standard 3-3 economy class layout.
What Hotels Are Near Area 51?
While there aren't any hotels on-site at Area 51, there are dozens of options ranging from quaint bnb's to larger chain hotels in towns nearby. Here are a few to consider:
- Little A'Le'Inn – Rachel, NV (~38 miles from Area 51) – starting at $45/night
- Mizpah Hotel – Tonopah, NV (~136 miles from Area 51) – starting at $114/night
- MGM Grand – Las Vegas, NV (~120 miles from Area 51 – starting at $164/night
- Marriott Grand Chateau – Las Vegas, NV (~120 miles from Area 51) - starting at $190/night
- ARIA Hotel and Resort – Las Vegas, NV (~120 miles from Area 51) – starting at $209/night
Keep in mind that most (if not all) hotels on the Las Vegas Strip will charge resort fees. Also, if you're renting a car, you'll need to pay for parking. Parking at major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip is also quite pricey.
The good news is that hotels are one thing you can redeem points or miles on during your trip to storm Area 51. Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and IHG all have multiple properties in the Las Vegas area.
How Can I Get to Area 51?
Your best bet for getting to Area 51 is to rent a car. Car rentals during the Area 51 raid start around $30 per day. Another option is one of the many Area 51 tours departing from the Las Vegas area. Tours start around $199 and last the entire day.
Extraterrestrial Highway Sign (Highway 375) near Area 51 near Rachel, Nevada (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
We do not condone nor recommend storming a highly secured military installation, however, should you decide to visit Area 51 in September or any time of year, there are numerous ways to get there without breaking the bank (save your money for bail!). More so, the Nevadan desert boasts some of the most bizarre tourist attractions in North America as well as some of the most beautiful terrain. Whether or not you believe the truth is out there, we highly recommend considering a trip to one of America's best-kept secrets.
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