One of my favorite places to visit is Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m not a big gambler, but Vegas is like an adult amusement park that runs like a well-oiled machine. There is something for everyone–shows, great food, outdoor adventures and art exhibits–you name it. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from my Vegas excursions.
The first thing I would recommend is to book your vacation online. There are so many Vegas vacation packages available through online travel sites such as Travelocity.com, Orbitz.com, Expedia.com and Vegas.com. Check the rates at different times because the rates change based on the time and day of the week. Be sure to clear your browser cookies after each rate quote so that you will not keep getting the same rate.
Also, resist the temptation to book ground transportation from the airport to the hotel with your package. I had the unfortunate experience of the shuttle not showing up for the return trip because they already had my money.
Choosing a Hotel
Once you have narrowed down the best vacation packages, before choosing a hotel, visit the hotel’s website. These websites will give you information about the hotel’s amenities, shops, restaurants, shows and surrounding attractions. I know someone who stayed at a hotel that was so far away from the Strip that there was absolutely nothing to do in the area.
Location on the Strip
Personally, I prefer to stay on the Strip in the area of New York New York, MGM Grand, Excalibur, Luxor, Caesars, Imperial Palace, Paris and the Venetian. These hotels are in walking distance of each other so when you bore of your hotel, you can walk over to another hotel.
Things to Do in Las Vegas
Decide what you want to do on your Vegas vacation and strategize at home. By doing all the heavy legwork from the comfort of your own home, you can save a lot of time and money on your trip. The key is to do your research and develop a game plan. Read “Top 10 Tips: Ten Things to Do in Las Vegas” for ideas.
For show tickets, compare the price you would pay if you booked directly versus using a ticket broker such as Ticketmaster, Vegas.com or Tix4tonight.com. Next, call the hotel where the show is playing and ask how much you would be charged if you purchase the ticket in person. Generally, you will pay more when you book through a hotel concierge; however, you may receive a discount if you are a guest at that hotel. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Another important tip is to make sure you know the seating chart and the type of show. I made the mistake buying orchestra seats for a show where almost all seats are good seats. I would have saved over $100 per ticket if I sat further back, and I still would have been able to see. This is especially true for acrobatic shows because the action typically takes place all around you.
Getting Around the Vegas Strip
For transportation around the strip, board the Deuce Strip and Downtown Express bus (visit RTCSouthernNevada.com for more information). Allow yourself plenty of time because the Deuce bus makes frequent stops and quickly becomes overcrowded. Also, try to combine nearby attractions into one trip. For example, you can combine a trip to see the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign with a trip to Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium.
There are so many great reasons to visit Las Vegas. Besides the gambling, attractions and its close proximity to several natural wonders, Vegas offers great food, museums and children’s activities. For more information about Vegas, be sure to read “Visit Las Vegas on a Budget” and “More Tips to Save Money on Your Las Vegas Vacation.”