We arrived in Las Vegas so full of excitement and hope but the problem was, we had no clue what to do and the things NOT to do in Las Vegas. To make sure YOU don’t make the same mistakes we did; here are our 12 things not to do in Vegas.
I remember sitting down in front of my laptop, using google maps to plan my itinerary.
“Oh, we will go here, then here, then walk up to this, then walk across to this and then pop over to this.”
Yeah, the hotels are massive so walking from one hotel to another can be a task; especially in the height of Summer. Be prepared for the distance – wear comfortable shoes and allow more time.
Remember to check the monorail option to help get between the hotels located on the strip. There are seven points on the monorail:
- MGM Grand
- Flamingo/Ceasars Palace
- Harrah’s/The LING Hotel
- Las Vegas Convention Center
- Saharah Las Vegas
If you are planning on travelling around a lot, get a day pass for $13 or look into a the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 day passes. We find the monorail worth using if you want to want to travel from one hotel to another, which are both on the monorail stops – for example, MGM to Harrah’s. However, if you want to travel from MGM to The Venetian, you are better off walking or getting a taxi.
Generally, these monorail stops are at the side or back of the hotels.
2. “Save money” by staying off the strip
As a general rule, I tend to stay in hotels slightly outside of the centre of cities in order to save money. DO NOT DO THIS IN VEGAS. You can find reasonably priced hotels on the strip that allow you to explore the hotels and casinos at your leisure without having to rely on buses and taxis.
Additionally, when browsing hotels on the strip, make sure you check their location on a map. The Stratosphere and Circus Circus are both decent hotels with low prices, however, they aren’t in the centre of the strip. Hotels like Treasure Island and Wynn mark the end of the row of luxury themed hotels and these are around a 30/40 minute walk from the Stratosphere.
Looking for a cheap hotel in Vegas? We wrote a whole blog about how expensive Vegas is, which lists some cheaper alternatives on the strip.
Cheap Las Vegas Strip Hotels:
- The Stratosphere
- Circus Circus
- New York, New York
3. Show you’re a newbie
A strange one that we learnt very quickly in Las Vegas. Taxi drivers will often as you if you have been to Las Vegas before – SAY YES! Vegas taxi drivers have a reputation for driving the long way around to boost fares. They are a lot less likely to do this if they think you know your way around.
Other scams to look out for include:
- “Free” VIP experiences – walking up and down the strip, you will often see ‘promoters’ trying to offer free experiences or upgrades for a local attraction. However, they will often ask for a tip (sometimes upwards of $20) for their help and the slip of paper is either heavily restricted or worth nothing anyway. Speak to your concierge instead if you are looking for VIP options in the city.
- Buying on the streets – Vegas has been known for street sellers who are selling water or soft drinks on the street, which can sometimes be bottles refilled with tap water. Check lids are not open or just purchase your drinks from the Walgreens or other convenience stores along the strip.
- Freebies – If someone is handing out free CD’s, posters or encourage photos with your favourite character in costume, it is best to just walk away. Often, you will be given free items and then shaken down for cash once you take the item.
4. Pay face value for show tickets
Like every major city with shows, Las Vegas has two prices; face value and market price. Get discounted tickets online before arriving in Vegas or browse available tickets at a nearby Tix4Tonight store on the strip.
Compare the prices of tickets using Ticketmaster then head to one of these stores to get discounted tickets (up to 50% off):
- Fashion Show Mall
- Showcase Mall
- Hawaiian Marketplace
- Bills Gamblin’ Hall
- Casino Royale
- Town Square Mall
- North Strip – near the Peppermill
- Downtown – Four Queens Hotel
Other tips for getting discounted Vegas Tickets:
- Book early to get the cheap seats
- Pick up last-minute tickets by arriving at the venue 2 hours before a show and seeing what tickets are available, these are often cheaper. It is not guaranteed that there will still be tickets left for your chosen show, so come with a few shows in mind.
- Headout offers cheaper tickets in advance but not for all shows.
- Use Vegas.com to get tickets and show packages for a good price.
- Book a weekday performance when possible.
- Stay with the hotel – If you’re just visiting Vegas for a show, consider staying at the hotel. You can get good ticket rates when staying in the same hotel or with the same company. For example, if you are staying at a Ceasar’s Entertainment INC hotel, you can get good prices for Absinthe, V, Vegas The Show, Master of Illusions and Zombie Burlesque.
- Try your hand at the Lucky Seat to get close to free tickets for certain shows in Vegas.
5. Presume everything is expensive
We have visited many places in America and we surprisingly found Las Vegas to be cheaper than so many of the other big cities. There are some great ways you can save money in Las Vegas; order the free drinks whilst you gamble, eat at chains or restaurants, not in hotels and stock up on snacks and drinks in the Walgreen supermarkets dotted along the strip.
We share tips on saving money in Las Vegas but to begin with, make sure you compare hotel prices, book flights, hotels, tickets and experiences independently; avoiding the travel agencies who often heighten prices.
6. Plan to see the Canyons in one day
There are a lot of Canyons but even just trying to see the whole of the Grand Canyon in one day is slightly impossible! If you want to really explore the National Parks, then set aside a week to do so.
It may even be worth spending a week on the strip then moving to a hotel further afield to visit the parks.
7. Gambling too much
Gambling is, of course, the reason so many people visit Vegas – but be sensible. Give yourself a limit and stick to it; no-one wants to ruin their holiday by going into debt!
Remember, there are other things to do in Las Vegas other than gambling!
Another option is to head to the low stake casinos:
On the strip:
- Excalibur ($5 craps table)
- Bally’s ($5 blackjack)
- Paris/Flamingo ($5 blackjack – on occasions)
- Casino Royale (low stakes and cheap drinks)
- Treasure Island ($5 blackjack and low stake table games)
Off the strip:
- Arizona Charlie’s ($5 blackjack)
- Texas Station ($3 card games available)
- Red Rock Casino ($2 poker)
- El Cortez ($3 Craps, $5 blackjack)
- Boulder Station (low stakes and good loyalty point system)
- Santa Fe Station (low stake table games)
- Joker’s Wild ($1 craps)
- Ellis Island ($5 BJ and craps)
Alternatively, try the electronic tables. We love these as newbie gamblers and stakes all depend on what you want to spend.
8. Not renting a car
This was the BIGGEST mistake we made! Now, to be fair, I had only just passed my driving test a few weeks before our American travels so I was a little too nervous to start driving abroad.
BUT I WISH I HAD!
There are so many things to see and do beyond the Las Vegas that renting a car makes sense; you save money and time by driving to the National Parks and ‘off-the-strip’ attractions yourself, plus you can plan your time so you arrive before the tour buses.
9. Avoiding the buffets
I remember once being told that all buffet food was bad.
I am sure many of you can agree, this can be the case in some places – but NOT VEGAS.
The buffets are amazing and offer such a great selection for all eaters. I even wrote a whole blog post >> 9 best buffets of Las Vegas << because they are so freaking awesome – our favourite was the Wicked Spoon Buffet in The Cosmopolitan!
- Browse your favourite and opt for lunch buffet times to get cheaper prices.
- The Luxor and Excalibur offer an all-day buffet wristband, so you can visit either of their buffets multiple times between 7 am and 10 pm.
- Cheaper buffets are available at Circus Circus, Palms Casino Resort, Mandalay Bay, Rio and The Mirage.
- Vegas Unzipped list some of the best coupons available for the buffets.
- You can also find great buffet and restaurant deals on Groupon
10. Missing free entertainment
Las Vegas is one of my favourite cities in the world; not just because it is pretty and fun and warm and sparkly (but this helps!) but also because it is a lot cheaper than I intentionally thought it would be.
There are so many free attractions in Las Vegas – you just have to walk down the strip and into a nearby hotel to find something pretty to explore.
Some of our favourite free things to do in Vegas are the Silverton Aquarium, the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat, the Bellagio Conservatory and gardens and the Bellagio fountains.
11. Underestimating the airport
There we were, the second destination of our 2 months in America. We arrive at the airport and are met with thousands of people. So the McCarran International Airport is one of the busiest airports in America and there will be queues.
Arrive with plenty of time – always 3 hours with those International flights!
Las Vegas McCarran Airport tips:
- Terminal 1 is used for domestic flights, terminal 3 is used for international flights. \
- Check your gate before going through security, there are different security sections for each gate area.
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport.
12. Try hailing a taxi on the strip
It is illegal for taxis to stop on the strip so don’t try flagging one down. Head to a taxi stand or ask your hotel to call one in for you.
To avoid drivers taking your the long way to your destination, use the Uber or Lyft apps to book a driver and know the cost before you travel.
So here are 12 things NOT to do in Las Vegas! Have an amazing time!
Tell us about your trip in the comments below!