Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors hit Las Vegas for the first time. Given the city’s fast-moving, dynamic nature, Vegas can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned traveller. With that in mind, here are five tips for first time visitors to Las Vegas.
Don’t get ‘long-hauled’ by taxis from the airport
In recent years, a disturbing trend has developed among airport cabs taking passengers on a longer route than necessary – a scam known as ‘long-hauling’. First-time visitors are easy targets. Instead of going directly from the airport to their resort, travelers are taken north and west of the airport, through a tunnel, onto I-15, and then to their destination.
This process can cost a passenger around $25 more than the standard fare. Don’t fall victim to the scam. Act like it’s all familiar. Even if you’ve never set foot in Vegas, never appear to be a first-timer awed by your surroundings.
Many drivers will mutter something about ‘construction’, ‘road repairs’, or a ‘backup’ near the Strip. Ignore this and insist on the most direct route. Chances are there’s no ‘backup’. If your driver persists, simply tell them ‘don’t take the tunnel.’ That should be enough to let them know you know what they’re up to. At that point, they’ll likely back off.
Uber is of course always an option, but if surge pricing and long wait times are in effect, it may be quicker to simply take a cab.
Always try to upgrade at check-in
Las Vegas is as fast-moving and as cash-driven an economy as you’ll ever find. You can often upgrade your room and amenities in most Vegas resorts at very little cost, simply by offering a tip to your check-in attendant.
Known as ‘the sandwich’, a crisp $20 or $50 between your driver’s license and credit card at check-in goes a long way, and could mean the difference between an ordinary room or a king-sized suite and hundreds in comped food throughout your stay. See an earlier article for details.
Don’t wait in taxi lines
Everyone’s in a good mood. You walk out the door of your hotel and… BAM! You’re faced with a 30 minute cab line.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Few people are aware, but you can get a limo – stretch, Escalade, Hummer, etc, for only a few dollars more per person, right out front of your hotel. Just ask any valet.
Riding in a luxury vehicle is nice, but the main perk is skipping the line. Most people don’t even consider it, assuming a limo will cost hundreds. Here that’s not the case. Depending on the driver and your negotiating skills, you can even talk a fare down to a lower price than originally quoted.
Always contact a host before going to clubs
Lines for major clubs can be HOURS. Unless you know the staff, you’ve booked a table or you’re a large group of girls, don’t expect to walk straight in.
This can go A LOT smoother simply by going through a host. Hosts can easily be found at major Vegas forums online or by going to the club ahead of time, introducing yourself and explaining your group would like to attend and avoid the general admission process.
Your host WILL expect to be taken care of. So tell them you will. That means tipping, probably at least $100. Again, Vegas is cash driven. Like it or leave it, that isn’t changing anytime soon.
Finally – arrive early. Many hosts can’t devote as much attention to you at 1am when it’s hectic as they can at 11pm. There’s too much going on, so save yourself the hassle.
Don’t shop at drugstores on the Strip
You’ll need to stock your room with supplies – liquor, beer, wine, mixers, snacks, and most important… bottled water.
It’s vital to stay hydrated in Vegas. And local tap water, while safe, has an off-putting taste to be polite. Bottled water is your lifesaver. Make sure there’s plenty.
Location-wise, your closest options will likely be CVS near Aria/Monte Carlo or Walgreens at Planet Hollywood. However, these are best avoided – odds are you’ll have a long walk back with a ton of supplies in 100 degree heat, having to return multiple times.
Take care of it first thing. Hit the CVS on the corner of Paradise & Harmon on the way from the airport. Your cab will keep the meter running, but it’s worth the extra $10 to avoid all the future trips of lugging back supplies.
Knowing what’s important and how to steer clear of pitfalls can enhance any vacation, but these tips will guarantee your next Vegas trip is bound to have much less hassle and a lot more fun.