“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
We all know the taglines and the branding that have made Las Vegas one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Each year, millions of people visit the city, attempting to win it big at the casinos or see spectacular shows. But if you want to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch, there are some surefire tips you’ll need to follow.
First, make sure you’re going to Las Vegas for the right reasons. Most people are motivated by one or more of the following:
- Costs. Vegas is ridiculously cheap to visit; casinos are desperate to get people staying, so they offer deeply discounted rates on their hotels.
- Gambling. You should know already that Vegas is a gambler’s Mecca. The number and scale of the casinos here is staggering.
- Entertainment. There are dozens, if not hundreds of shows to choose from, every night of the week. There are also street performers, and plenty of things to do to stay occupied.
- Nightlife. Of course, Vegas is also known for its thriving nightlife, with every type of bar or nightclub you can imagine.
It’s not a perfect destination for everybody, but if you’re going to enjoy these perks, you’ll probably end up having a good time.
Making the Most of a Trip
So what can you do to make the most of a trip?
- Follow the rules. Yes, Las Vegas is known for its debauchery, and many of its rules (such as drinking alcohol in public) are much more lax than in other areas of the country. But that doesn’t mean it’s a place of lawlessness or anarchy. There are plenty of rules to follow, and if you ignore them, you’ll run the risk of being arrested, putting a quick and embarrassing end to your trip. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to stay on the right side of the law.
- Avoid the busy times. You might be looking forward to the hustle and bustle of the city, but there are times and days where the chaos simply isn’t worth it. If you can, plan your trip during the winter; it will still be busy, but not aggravatingly so.
- Stay in the center of the Strip. The “Strip” is a four-mile stretch of Las Vegas Blvd that’s most stereotypically associated with the city. It’s home to the most famous and sought-after casinos in the area, including Caesar’s Palace, Mandalay Bay, the Stratosphere, and the Wynn. If you can, choose a hotel toward the middle of the Strip; that way, you have the most travel flexibility during your stay.
- Get a rewards card. Most casinos offer some kind of reward or loyalty card you can use throughout your stay. Use it when gambling, or when purchasing things from each string of casinos. Eventually, you’ll earn awesome perks like free buffets, or even a free stay at the hotel.
- Don’t buy tickets ahead of time. It’s usually better to not buy tickets to shows ahead of time. Around Vegas, ticket sellers will attempt to sell deeply discounted tickets for shows the day of; you’ll discover some interesting entertainment you might not have considered, and get a crazy deal on the purchase, as well.
- Load up on buffet deals. Vegas is known for its stunning casino buffets. Make sure to take advantage of these for cheap, delicious eats.
- Know the odds. If you plan on gambling, make sure you know the odds of whichever game you plan to play. In general, the adage that the “house always wins” is true, but you can limit your losses by playing games that are most in your favor.
- Set your loss limit. Speaking of limiting losses, set a firm upper limit for how much you’re willing to lose at the casino. Don’t go beyond that amount.
- Go beyond the Strip. The Strip has lots to offer, but don’t restrict yourself to this one area. You’re a short drive away from the beautiful sights of Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, and even the Grand Canyon. Rent a car and scope out some of these places during the day, when the Strip isn’t as exciting or active.
- Keep an open schedule. It’s tempting to create a strict schedule and stick to it, to squeeze everything in, but try to keep your schedule as open as possible. Transportation isn’t always quick or dependable, so give yourself the luxury of not having to rush. Having open slots in your schedule also allows you to engage in things you might not have otherwise made time for.
If you follow these tips, you can make the most of your first visit to Vegas. Of course, there’s so much to do that one trip probably won’t be enough for you to see and do everything – so keep a log of all the things you missed, so you can have an even better time on your return journey.