This may be old news for the Las Vegas veteran, but for the first-timer (or even second-timer), these are the Vegas tips we should have known before going. I was always told to learn from the mistakes made by those around me. So below we put a list together of the mistakes we have made and those that the internet have echoed again and again.
We know we probably missed a few, so please feel free to join the conversation and add any tips and suggestions of how to help first-time Vegas travelers enjoy their trip the best in the comments section below.
10. Not Using Coupons
If you’re not a spending money at the tables getting comps or if you’re visiting Las Vegas on a budget, coupons are a great way to add more to your itinerary without spending too much. There are lots of coupon books, Groupons, and deals that you can take advantage before you leave. We have gotten free show tickets, 2-for-1 Eiffel Tower tickets, and lots of food vouchers simply by utilizing coupons.
9. Not Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated is often overlooked in Vegas because of the fast-paced nature of the Strip. We suggest a water in-between drinks in the afternoons when the heat is at its peak. Also, instead of a cocktail next time the waitress comes around at your slot machine or table, ask for a bottle of water. You’ll be glad you did.
8. Not Getting Away From The Strip
If you’re staying on the Strip for more than a couple of days, consider getting off the Strip and into nature. The dessert is an incredible place with unique wildlife. Red Rock Mountain Canyon is not far from the Strip (and Red Rock Casino). Heading to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon can be a fun day excursion to get a breath of fresh air away from the smokey casinos.
7. Not Using the Proper Transportation
Las Vegas as an abundance of transportion options. It all depends on the experience your looking to create and how many people are traveling with you. For some a Limo from the airport to your casino may be cheaper than 2 or 3 taxis, a shuttle, or bus passes. For others, shuttle or buses may be right for you. Make sure you’re aware of all your options before you arrive at the airport so you know where to go as soon as you land.
Renting a car can be a cheaper option for those over 24 years old, for those younger, you probably want to stay away from them. Also make sure to know whether you and your party are planning on enjoying adult beverages before getting stuck at a casino. Other options include using buses, which are an affordable way to get from casino to casino and even downtown. They offer one-way, 24-hour, and multi-day passes, which will most likely be cheaper than using taxis, the downfall is they get crowded and can get delayed. For more on Taxis, click here.
6. Not Learning the Rules of the Game
One of the biggest mistakes made is playing casino games you are unfamiliar with. This is a big reason why the house always wins. If you’re unfamiliar with a game, the house odds are greatly increased on your ability. Lessons are taught at various casinos for the more popular table games, but I would suggest reading online and watching videos on YouTube to get a feel for a game before you leave. If you feel you know the rules, but want to practice, try the low-limit tables at Circus Circus or downtown.
5. Staying Off-Strip
One very common mistake is not staying on the Strip or Downtown (unless you have a rental car). Often times visitors are scared away by high resort fees or lured in with lower rates. These all become a wash once you factor in the transportation of bus and taxi fares. If you’re budget for accommodations is low, try Harrah’s, Excalibur, Luxor, the Flamingo, or even Circus Circus. These are less-sexy resorts, but can put you near the action without breaking the bank.
4. Missing Out on the Free Stuff
Yes, Vegas is a lot more expensive than it once was. However, there are still plenty of free attractions and entertainment to be had in Las Vegas. The Mirage Volcano, Bellagio Fountains, Flamingo Wildlife Habitat are all great starters. Pick up a coupon book to find free show tickets (or tickets with a one-drink minimum). If you’re like me, just sightseeing/visiting each casino will occupy a good chunk of your time.
3. Not Sticking to Your Budget
This may not apply to all, but for those who visit Las Vegas with less than $1000, listen up. Before you step foot towards the airport, plan your money. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, having a budget for your food, gaming, transportation, entertainment, and pleasure is a really good idea.
For example, if I’m heading to Las Vegas with $500 in my pocket (flight/hotel paid in advance) for two nights, I’m going to plan on spending $30-40 on transportation, $60-$120 on entertainment, $100-$160 on food, and $200 or so to gamble. Before leaving, I generally have a good idea of what shows I am planning on seeing and plan accordingly. This will really help you have a firm budget when you arrive.
Obviously those numbers fluctuate more or less depending on how much you are willing to spend.
2. Booking It All Wrong
As mentioned above in #5, where to stay in Las Vegas is a common mistake. Another common mistake is overlooking resort fees. Resort fees have become more and more obnoxious as the big players have hiked their fees to an unearthly number. Nothing is worse than checking in and having to spend $100 extra on your hotel than you anticipated because those pesky resort fees weren’t included the “total price” given to you when you booked the price. A general rule is to assume the hotel is going to charge you $25 – $35 per room, per night for resort fees.
Another common mistake is not booking enough in advance to take advantage of sales or discounts. This isn’t always true, I have booked rooms at the Flamingo at $7/night just days before my stay because it was an off-week in the calendar. It’s also good to look up any Las Vegas conventions or major events that could be happening while you’re in town, this may hike up your rates depending on the size.
1. Paying Full Price for Shows
One of the most disappointing things I hear about is people paying full price for their shows and then being disappointed that the show didn’t meet expectations. My guess is that it is not that the shows aren’t spectacular, but more because the price of the ticket was $125, $175, $250, or more. There are ways to attend great shows for cheap (even free).
I’m attending The Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show for free via points on MyVegas, MGM Resorts Facebook casino game. Sure, it took time to play the game and collect the points, but I wanted to practice my blackjack anyway. As mentioned previously, coupon books often offer afternoon show tickets for free or with a drink purchase, these are a great way to break up the afternoon and get you off your feet. Another tip is finding a discount ticket stand for day-of shows. I have heard of some incredible deals from these authorized ticket outlets, but have not tried one myself.
What are your tips for Vegas travelers that you’ve learned from experience? Let us know in the comment section below, but please, we don’t need all of the gory details. Some things are better left learned from and forgotten.