I can’t believe it’s already more than a month since we returned from our amazing Las Vegas holiday – where does the time go? Ok, admittedly I’ve not stopped on the home renovation front since we’ve been back but it’s amazing how quickly holidays can feel like such a distant memory. I’ve already published one of my planned articles from our time away, about the best things to do in Las Vegas if like me you don’t gamble.
Now though, I’m turning my attention to a bit of advice to get the most from your holiday, a combination of some things I learned whilst we were away plus questions that people asked on Instagram during our stay. I thought I’d pop them into a handy little reference document in case anyone can make use of them so here goes.
The alternative cab service is alive and well in the city and is a great way to get from the Strip to Downtown – we used it a couple of times and it costs around $13 from the top end down to Container Park as a ballpark. However, how you use it is a little different from in the UK. In order to keep traffic moving, you have to go to designated pick up points rather than just booking it to whichever street corner you happen to be on. All the hotels will have a dedicated Uber area and they’re normally well signposted but keep in mind that you need to be a little bit more flexible than you would be here.
Yes, as with most places in America, tipping is hugely important and 20% is a good benchmark. Even the person you buy your drinks from at the bar if you go to a see a show should be tipped. Some people see it as a downside to holidays in the US but that’s just the way things are. Service is generally amazing I’ve always found but service staff are poorly paid so if you can afford to go all the way to Las Vegas you can afford to tip properly. You should also tip any guides to experiences you may have, for example we tipped our driver who took us to the Grand Canyon and the team from our horse-riding experience. No-one likes a scrooge.
It WILL be in the small print somewhere when you book, that on checking out a daily resort fee will be added to your bill. Yes, it’s annoying because we’d all just rather pay up front. For our time at the MGM I think it was around $40 a day and it feels like a bit of a sneaky extra charge but any of the major hotels will charge this so just make sure you familiarise yourself with what it is before you go so you can budget accordingly and aren’t hit with any nasty surprises on check out.
I had a few people asking about this which tickled me because the beauty of Las Vegas is there IS no dress code. You can be at a roulette table in between a guy in shorts and flipflops and a woman in an evening dress and stilettoes. Walk through any hotel and you’ll find absolutely anyone from any background, any age, any size, any shape dressed in anything. If you want to spend your entire dolled up to the nines no-one will bat an eyelid and if you want to spend it in a swimsuit and flipflops that’s fine too. The only thing I would suggest is that air conditioning is FIERCE and you’ll quickly get cold indoors if you’re anything like me. Plus, if you’re heading on an excursion for example to Grand Canyon, you’re much higher up so may find it a bit chilly.
I won’t like, I struggled to find much that was suitable for vegetarians and vegans was even harder. Perhaps I should have done more research but it’s definitely a meat-lovers paradise. Also, food in the resorts is EXPENSIVE – not necessarily in the restaurants which you would expect but if you just wanted to grab a sandwich and crisps at one of the resort kiosks you’ll be paying around $10 for a sandwich. There are a couple of Walgreens and CVS Pharmacys dotted around the place so definitely stock up on fruit and snacks here instead of wasting your money in the resorts.
Don’t be shocked when you get to Las Vegas. Recycling is almost non-existent and plastic is EVERYWHERE. Plastic bottles, plastic cups, plastic straws. I kept looking for places to refill but there simply are none. You have to let it go and make a mental note to try and do more when you get home to counter-balance it.
Downtown vs The Strip
Whilst Vegas is predominantly famous for it’s gargantuan hotels aligning both sides of what is known as ‘The Strip’, don’t dismiss the Downtown area. This where you get a sense of history of what Vegas was like before all the commercialism and it’s super fascinating. Plus it has a super chilled out arty vibe developing which is a brilliant antidote when you need a break from all the chaos.
Like most cities, there is always development going on in Vegas. When we were there they were working on a footbridge across The Strip because honestly, waiting to cross at the junctions can feel like you’re waiting forever. It does mean that sometimes the city can have a bit of a dirty feel to it and you have to just try not to notice it. Although to be honest there are so many large structures what’s a few cranes thrown into the mix?
Shows & Excursions
Unless it’s something very specific, you don’t really need to book that much in advance. We booked to see Aerosmith months ago, but the Grand Canyon, horse-riding, Gwen Stefani and Cirque du Soleil were all things we booked to do once we get there. Use trip advisor and make sure you do some research especially for the excursions because you’ll find that some are better than others even if they cost a little more it can be hugely worthwhile.
In addition to Uber, there is a bus which stops off at various points along The Strip and goes Downtown too, called The Deuce. It runs 24 hours approximately every 12-15 minutes and then a little less in the early hours. If you’re not a fan of walking this could be the answer for you, we did use it once on our last trip but not this time around just because Uber was so reasonable and convenient. Other than that, pop your walking shoes on which is always the best way to see any city!
I hope this has helped but if you have any questions at all, just pop a comment or drop me an email and I’ll be only too happy to help.