A trip to Las Vegas is on most people’s ‘to do’ list at least once in their life (apart from the people who already live there, of course!). It’s the world’s capital of glitz and glamour. It doesn’t get the name ‘Sin City’ for nothing, and of course what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas, but it’s also a hotbed of eating and entertainment. There’s plenty of highbrow culture to be had and scenery to be enjoyed as well as the casinos and the strip clubs. Vegas has something to offer everybody, and it doesn’t all have to be about excess.
For a first time visitor, though, it can feel a little overwhelming. It never hurts to arm yourself with knowledge before visiting a new place for the first time, and so we’ve compiled this handy list of tips that everybody should know before they head to the Nevada desert!
1. Your Room May Not Be As Cheap As It Appears To Be
Vegas bends over backward to welcome visitors. Part of that offering is to make hotel rooms as cheap as possible. There are hundreds of hotel rooms in Las Vegas; the city has more hotel space than anywhere else in the whole of the United States. With all that competition, the hotels are continually trying to outdo each other by offering the lowest possible price to visitors.
The price you see may not be the price you pay, though. Many hotels also apply a ‘resort fee’ on top of the face value charge. Your room might be $50 per night, but there’s a further cost to cover access to the safe, water for the room, Wi-Fi and the usual accessories. Even if you don’t touch any of that, the fee isn’t optional, so it’s an additional cost. Add $30 to the daily price of your room for the duration of your stay during your planning. That will be enough to make sure you don’t get caught out.
2. People Drink Everywhere
Don’t be shocked if you stride out of your hotel at 9 am and see someone walking past you, absolutely loaded, with a beer or a cocktail in their hand. Las Vegas is a party city. That means street drinking is not only legal; in some places, it’s encouraged.
Even on the infamous Strip, you’ll be walking past crowds of people drinking, in various states of inebriation. The only difference on the Strip is that you have to drink out of a plastic container instead of a glass, for both your own safety and that of the people around you.
3. Gambling Is Everywhere, Too
This won’t surprise you; in fact, it’s probably part of the reason you intend to go. Whether you’re a cautious gambler or a high roller, Las Vegas is known the world over for its casinos and gambling attractions, and they’re literally everywhere. When we say ‘everywhere,’ we mean there are slot games available in the baggage handling area of McCarran International Airport. If you want to, you can start from the moment you step off the plane.
If you’re completely new to gambling, and slot games in particular, we recommend you get some practice in before you travel. You don’t want to walk into a Vegas casino as a complete rookie! There are plenty of great online slots out there, including Rose Slots which has been specially designed for female players, so sign up for one and get your head around how everything works first. You never know, you might find out that you’re a natural. Even if you don’t, you’ll be able to bluff in casinos more easily than if you hadn’t tried your hand!
4. People Still Smoke Indoors
This isn’t good news if you can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke; Las Vegas is one of the last places in America where it’s still legal to smoke indoors. The casinos aren’t keen to do anything to put off their players, and for some people smoking, drinking and gambling go hand in hand. There’s some controversy over this, but at the moment you can still smoke in many of the larger Vegas casinos.
There are signs that this is beginning to change; a few years ago it was the case that all of the casinos allowed smoking. Now, some of them have outlawed it in order to attract the clientele for whom smoking is a total turn off, and in the future, we’ll probably reach a point where it’s banned everywhere, but until then you should be aware of it just in case you don’t want to be around it. Alternatively, if you’re a smoker, this might be great news!
5. The Weather Varies Dramatically
Las Vegas is very famously in the middle of a vast desert. Because of that, you probably imagine that it’s baking hot all the time. When the sun is up in the middle of the day it really is; don’t expect to walk any amount of distance without breaking into a sweat. It’s usually better to take shortcuts through casinos and other buildings than trying to walk around them; they always have the air conditioning turned up to the max.
In winter though, temperatures can fall below freezing. It’s cold at night all year round. Don’t just pack the clothes you’d wear on a summer holiday; take a varied wardrobe with you, so you’re prepared for all conditions.
6. There’s More Than Just The Strip
One of the best things about Vegas is getting to see the scenery around it. You’ll never get bored on the Strip or in the center; even if you’ve had your fill of casinos, there’s always a show to go to or a restaurant to visit. Beyond that, there’s some incredible scenery right on the doorstep of the city.
We strongly recommend taking a day or two out of your schedule and seeing the Grand Canyon by helicopter. Go on a guided tour of Death Valley. Gaze in wonder at the Valley of Fires State Park. Pay a visit to the Hoover Dam and find out all about the phenomenal engineering achievements that went into creating it. The best thing about all of this is that you can do it inside the day, and be back in Vegas by night!
Most of all, enjoy your trip. Vegas is seedy but stunning. It’s flashy, but it’s fun. It’s a place on Earth like no other, and if you go with an open mind, you’ll have it filled with incredible experiences. Good luck!