There’s something about Las Vegas; with its bright, shining lights, glamorous nightlife and casinos where you can almost cut the tension with a knife, there is no shortage of things to keep you busy whilst visiting the thriving city. In a city that is open 24 hours a day, you can often get swept off your feet due to the vast variety of things to see and do. However, although it is important for you to see some of the best Las Vegas attractions, nightlife hotspots and hidden gems, preparation makes this task a bit easier.
Think about transport ahead of time
The art of deception is something that many poker players have perfected. However, the layout of the city has too. The sheer size of the hotels and buildings that line the strip will be unlike anything that you’ve ever seen, meaning that although your next destination may only be located one building down, it could, in fact, be quite the trek! With this in mind, it is essential to take into consideration the journey times between places that you’re planning on going and, if you’re thinking about walking, pack comfortable shoes to take you from A to B.
We spoke to Vicki from Make Time to See the World, who offered her advice about getting around Vegas and what she would do differently if she were to visit the city again. “Because there is so much to see and do in and around Sin City it's easy to find yourself running from one attraction to the next. When I visit Las Vegas again, I will definitely have more of a plan - which will include pacing myself.”
With this in mind, you may want to think about how else you’re going to make your way around the city.
Aside from walking, there’s a number of other ways in which you can travel, as Maryrose and Reid from Wanderlustyle have informed us: “Renting a car is not needed during a visit in Las Vegas, so you will save a lot of money on hotel parking if you avoid this. Instead, use the monorail which runs between resorts on the strip. If you're planning on going beyond the resorts around Las Vegas, Uber is another option!”
Keep in mind
- Booking an Uber is great for planning ahead.
- Leave extra time if you’re hailing a taxi
- Car rental isn’t necessary but can come in useful if you’re travelling further afield.
- Monorails are an inexpensive way of getting from A to B.
Take photos of everything
Visiting Las Vegas is, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so taking photos is a fantastic way of capturing any special memories that you make while you’re away. A mobile phone is often the most popular choice for taking these snaps, so make sure that you keep a portable charger on-hand for when your battery begins to drain. The same can be said for any other equipment that you’d choose to use.
From the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign to the Bellagio fountains, there are a plethora of different locations around the city that are picture-perfect. However, near these tourist hotspots, as well as along the strip, you may stumble upon costumed characters dressed up. Although it may seem tempting to pose alongside one of your favourite cartoon characters, it could come at a price. A lot of these people will demand a small fee for each photo that is taken, so keep this in mind before you take to your Instagram.
Keep in mind
- Costumed characters may look the part, but photos could come at a price.
- Photos are the best memories!
Plan your accommodation ahead of time
It should come as no surprise that Las Vegas is an incredibly popular destination to visit. With larger than life hotels, it is an extremely popular place for conventions, often meaning that the rooms will fill up quickly. To avoid disappointment, book your trip ahead of time, looking online to see if there are any dates that coincide with your intended holiday. Annual holidays, such as the 4th of July, should also be looked at, as this could mean that there is an increase in prices.
As with most things, the further in advance you book, the cheaper prices tend to be. Additionally, if you’re flexible with your travel days, you may benefit from a midweek break, as rooms will be a fraction of the price that they would be at the weekend.
Keep in mind
- Conventions often visit the city, meaning rooms get booked up weeks in advance
- Flexible travel means that prices are often more affordable.
- Avoid holidays as accommodation will be busy at these times.
Pack light, but pack intuitively
With its desert location, you can expect hot, dry days while in Las Vegas. If you are walking along the strip and are feeling the sizzling sun beating down on your back, you might feel as though your best option is wearing little clothing; avoiding layers and wearing t-shirts. However, the moment that you step inside one of the many casinos that Las Vegas is famous for, you’ll come to realise just how strong the air conditioning is. Plus, if you’re travelling at typically cooler times of the year, then you can expect the evening temperatures to drop, meaning you might well need a light jacket to keep that warmth in!
Although you won’t want to pack heavy for your trip, it is important that you bring a few items of clothing that you can throw on top of your outfits to adapt to the changing temperatures. Thin jackets are your best option, but light jumpers and wraps also work well. These are also important in order to prevent you from sunburn, so make sure that you always have sun cream on hand, too.
As mentioned above, comfortable shoes are a must on the days that you’re planning on walking, but be mindful that some establishments will need you to be dressed smartly in order for you to enter. So, packing a couple of smarter outfits and nice shoes will save you the embarrassment of being turned away at a later date – always check the dress code online before visiting!
Keep in mind
- Casinos will have the air conditioning on high, and evenings can get a little bit cooler, so a jacket is essential.
- Comfortable shoes are a necessity for when you’re planning on walking large distances.
- As Las Vegas is typically hot, sun cream will prevent you from burning.
- Some places have a dress code, so check online in advance.
One of the biggest pieces of advice that Vicki offers is to get involved. “Wander through the hotels, see a show, embrace the craziness of the strip, ride the thrill rides at the top of the Stratosphere, lie on the floor to watch Viva Vision at the Fremont Street Experience, accept the free drinks, enjoy the people watching, take a day trip (there are loads) - and maybe have a little bit of a gamble. Next time I'll sit down and work out a rough plan of action - shows, food, attractions, chill out time etc. and pre-book a couple of the bigger things so they're locked in and I don't miss out.”
Although gambling is the most common activity that you will find people enjoying, Vegas is also home to some slightly more unique experiences, such as Dig This Vegas. Here, you will get the opportunity to play in their giant sandbox, complete with “with real, full-size heavy equipment: excavators, bulldozers, mini excavators, and skid steer loaders.” Plus, they have recently expanded to include a new activity. “The latest addition in our program line up is the Aggression Session where participants (minimum age is 14 years) crush a car with one of our 20-ton excavators."
With so much on offer, it really is important to make the most of your experience. Across the city, you’ll find a number of different activities and excursions available to you, so take a look at what’s on offer before travelling and book ahead to avoid disappointment. Despite this, it is important to not be too rigid with your schedule. Go with the flow and see what’s happening – you might be in for some surprises!
Keep in mind
- Plan ahead to avoid disappointment.
- Try something out of your comfort zone.
- Allow flexibility with your schedule.
Reap the Rewards with loyalty cards
A trip to Vegas wouldn’t be complete without visiting a casino, but regardless of how much you intend to splash your cash, signing up to loyalty schemes is something not to be missed! Many of the hotels and casinos along the strip will have their own loyalty schemes in which you can earn points for spending money and gambling. However, you often don’t have to spend any money before you begin to reap the rewards. Benefits can come in the form of room upgrades, special incentives, as well as discounted prices for return visits!
Keep in mind
- Loyalty schemes offer bonuses and incentives.
- You often don’t have to spend money, so they’re worth signing up to.
Try your hand at gambling
One of the most important things to keep in mind when gambling? “Be sure to set yourself a daily limit of what you're happy to put into the machines. It's all fun and games until someone gets carried away”, says Vicki. Withdrawing cash at the start of the day sets yourself an allowance and allows you to keep track of your finances, preventing you from splashing the cash too early on in your trip.
Casinos can be a confusing place, especially for a newbie. If you’re feeling a little bit unsure of how to play any of the games, check if the casino holds lessons throughout the week. These are often so you can practice your skill before playing for real. Also, bear in mind that, when asking for advice from people around the table, they’re looking to win, so don’t always trust their advice and speak to the professionals.
What’s more is that casinos don’t have clocks a lot of the time. This means that it is important for you to keep an eye on the time so that you don’t end up wasting hours trapped in the casino! However, if you are planning on spending a while trying your hand at gambling, avoid paying for drinks at the bars. Waitresses will sometimes man the floor, taking orders from players to tempt them into staying longer – and frequently these are free.
Keep in mind
- Many casinos will offer lessons during the week.
- If you’re unsure, ask the staff for guidance.
- Stay vigilant with your property.
- Drink while playing, the drinks will often be free.
- Give yourself a daily allowance to avoid splurging.
- Keep an eye on your watch.