Our first trip to Las Vegas is in the books and it was an adventure! Las Vegas was never really on my radar for a trip before, but when my husband's company sent him there for a rewards program I was excited to experience all the new sights and sounds of this infamous city.
I didn't know a whole lot about Las Vegas going into it. I mean, I've seen Oceans 11 (and 12) and know about the Rat Pack and mobsters and all that jazz, but I hadn't really thought about how I wanted to experience Las Vegas. We were offered some good advice from our friends not to plan too much while we were there because, "you can spend days just walking through all the hotels and resorts on the strip." And they were right! For a first timer, taking in all the exhibitions on Las Vegas Blvd is enough to fill your time.
Here are five other fun tips, pearls of wisdom I can now bestow on you, really, that would be good to know for your trip to the strip.
1. Know how to get around:
There are 3 main ways to get around the strip and the downtown area of Las Vegas: taxi, monorail, and bus. Unless you are going to rent a car during your stay in Vegas, you'll need to plan how to get around using public transportation. We took taxis to and from the airport and from the Smith Center for the Preforming Arts. Taxis are expensive, yeesh! It's $3 just to get in one, then $0.20 per every 1/13 of a mile, and add on taxes and fuel charges, etc. It cost us $20 to go two miles! A more affordable route would be to make use of the monorail system that runs the length of the strip. We got a three day pass and were able to hop on and off at different hotels along the four mile route. If we had known about the bus route option we definitely would have used that during our stay. The public buses run the length of the Las Vegas strip and to Fremont St. downtown. You can purchase bus tickets when you get on the bus at any stop.
2. Looks can be deceiving:
"Oh, the MGM Grand is only three hotels down from Mandalay Bay. No big deal." "The strip is only four miles long." No, no, no. Do not be fooled by these minimizing thoughts as you embark on conquering this behemoth they call Las Vegas Blvd. Everything is farther away than it seems and you could be walking for a long time. So wear comfortable shoes!!! Let me give you some perspective, because I feel like you still might be thinking about wearing those cute high heeled sandals to the dinner just a hop, skip, and a jump up the strip. The MGM Grand hotel and resort covers 114 acres of land. Granted you may not walk every part of that hotel, but the casino alone is 171,500 square feet (that's bigger than Yankee Stadium!), and just for kicks, add 23 shops you might want to visit, a food court, and five lounges and bars. We had to walk through the hotel to get to the monorail, and let me just tell you, wearing those high heels was a mistake! Next time, I will walk in my tennis shoes or slipper flats and don my heels when I get to the restaurant!
3. It's a desert out there:
It was a clear day all across the country apparently when I flew out to Las Vegas from Chattanooga, TN, via Charlotte, NC. It was amazing to look out the window and see perfect little squares and circles of farmland across the plains, a few hours later the snow capped mountains of the Rockies, and finally the red-orange barrenness of the desert. The reality of how dry it is in Las Vegas hit me shortly after we arrived; my lips were starting to get chapped! Growing up in Florida and living most of my life in the deep Southeast, I take for granted that I basically have lived in a semiaquatic state, what with the humidity and all. Make sure you apply lotion and sunscreen before you set out to explore the strip. Keep ChapStick in your bag, and drink plenty of water. The vending machines at the hotel wanted $2 for a bottle of water! Don't waste your money there. Stop in at a gas station, grocery store, or pharmacy (there are several Walgreens and CVS stores on the strip) to buy water at a more reasonable price.
4. Don't pay full price:
Good food and exceptional entertainment cost a pretty penny and everything can add up real quick. Take advantage of the coupons the hotels give you at check in. If you're going to be buying stuff from the shops (like we did: my husband found a sock store in the Mandalay shops and bought a pair of Ninja Turtle socks!) you might as well get a discount (15% off at the sock store). We had a $20 food and beverage credit coupon from the Luxor, which bought us each a drink before a late evening dinner. We also took advantage of the discount vendor Tix4tonight. They have listings of shows and restaurants that they discount daily. We used their service for almost every meal and attraction we experienced, and these were the places we were going to go see and eat at anyways, so why not save some money. Tix4tonight.com has all the up to date information, they will make dinner reservations for you, and you can pick up the vouchers at numerous kiosks along the strip.
5. You can't expect to do it all:
Well, I guess you could if money and time were not an issue, but I'm speaking to the average Joe or Jane who has a set budget and only so many vacation days. The hubs and I were there for four days, we saw one show, and walked the strip for two days and didn't even get to finish. I would have loved to take a day trip to Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon, or taken a hot air balloon ride, but c'est la vie. That just leaves room for another roving romp! Go to Las Vegas ready to experience so much and more, and leave the door open for a 'next time' trip.
Hello there! We are the travelers of the Rogers Clan. Pat, Kyleen and Kara welcome you to follow us on our travel adventures, experiences with family, and good times with friends. The next adventure is just around the bend. Come join our roving romp and let us help you experience your own unique wandering!