Believe it or not, I don’t ONLY travel to Disney – I like to explore other places as well!
One of my favorite quick getaways is Las Vegas. It’s often easy to find reasonable rates on the strip (or extremely close to it) and I always use my credit card miles to get cheap to free airfare. With eBates giving me cash back for my hotel stays, the bill is extremely low compared to my favorite destination, Walt Disney World!
Still, Vegas is known for taking your money in a blink of an eye. If you’re not careful, one bad hand of blackjack is all that stands between having spending money for your vacation and maxing out your credit card!
Here are some tips for Vegas newbies that allow you to enjoy what Vegas has to offer without breaking your bank, and some things you might not have thought of while preparing your Vegas trip.
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Cash for Tips
When you’re gambling at casinos, waitresses will often come around and offer you a drink. Yes, it’s true that these drinks are “free” but you’re expected to tip the waitress when they bring it to you. Remember, this is their livelihood, so be sure to tip for EVERY drink you receive! I recommend $1-2 per drink, so make sure you have cash on hand. Alternatively, if you have $1 chips you can give those to them as well.
Try not to order if you’re going to be leaving a table shortly. If you leave before your drink comes, you’ve just wasted a drink, AND your waitress’ time!
Don’t forget your hard working dealers! If you’re winning, it’s customary to tip your dealer as well. Even if I was losing, if I have money left I try to at least leave $1. If I’m doing well, I’ll leave at LEAST $5 if not more.
Appropriate Outfits for Shows or Restaurants
While some of the lower end casinos off the strip may not turn you away for wearing cargo shorts and flip flops, you should pack at least one or two “nicer” outfits. A nice outfit for girls would be a nice dress or skirt, whereas guys should have a button down shirt and slacks. Some restaurants have a more semi-formal dress code, especially in the nicer casinos like The Mirage. Nothing is more embarrassing than being turned away from a dinner reservation because you’re wearing open toed shoes!
Additionally, you should dress nicely for shows like Cirque du Soleil, or if you’re going to be going to a nightclub. Be sure to research if you have reservations already scheduled. That way as you’re packing you’ll know exactly what you need to bring!
I’ll admit it – I like gambling. Roulette is my game of choice, and it’s so exhilarating watching the ball and hoping it lands on your number! However, I know how fast that money can be GONE, so when it comes to Vegas, I budget accordingly. I take money out of the ATM, and that’s my gambling money – and nothing more. If I spend it all, too bad! I’ve never won big in Vegas but I managed to break even just about every time. I firmly believe this is because I hold myself accountable and keep track of my gambling budget. Keeping yourself to a set amount of cash keeps you from overspending. Resist the urge to visit the ATM and if you’re losing, just get up and walk away. I guarantee your money will last you longer that way!
Research Transportation Options
If you’re staying on The Strip, just about everything you might be looking to do is within walking distance. However, if you’re staying off The Strip, or looking to travel to Fremont Street, be sure you research all the different transportation options available in Vegas!
- Uber or Lyft – If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, Uber or Lyft may be your best bet. This was how we got from the airport to our hotel. The Las Vegas Airport has the ride share drop off and pick up areas organized extremely well, so we got to our hotel in no time at all after landing! If you’ve never checked out Lyft be sure to use my code “LISSYLOOKINGGLAS” (yes, with only one S) when you sign up! You’ll get $5 off your ride!
- Hotel Shuttles – Some hotels may offer shuttles to and from The Strip, or shuttle service to Fremont Street. These are often completely free to guests at the resort! If it works well in your schedule, I highly recommend these options if your hotel offers it!
- Las Vegas Monorail – Did you know Vegas has a monorail? Yes, just like at Disney! The monorail stops at numerous hotels along The Strip and other Vegas locations for a small fee. This is perfect if you’re staying all the way at one end of The Strip, but need to visit the other side.
Additionally, you can always walk (there’s escalators in the streets to take you over the busy streets) or take a traditional cab to your destination.
Drink Plenty of Water!
This may seem obvious, but it’s a mistake I made my first trip to Vegas! My friend from college and I were having a great time at the pool, drinking our “yardaritas” and living our best lives. We joked with the bartender that we would be back for a second one shortly, and he just shook his head and said “No you won’t!” Sure enough, we went to sit up…and nearly passed out. After all the drinking, we hadn’t had ANY water, and had been sitting in the beating hot sun for over an hour. We managed to crawl our way into the resort, grab a slice of pizza and water at the food court, and then promptly passed out in our room for 5 hours to recover.
Pictured: Not the SAME yardarita but close in size. I was much smarter this time around.
While having fun in Vegas, it’s hard to remember sometimes that you’re in the middle of the desert! I love Vegas, but let’s face it – humans are not supposed to live in the desert. Be sure you’re hydrating, and hydrating OFTEN. It’s easy to go overboard when the drinks are free and keep coming as you’re gambling. Pause and make sure you’re drinking water along the way. This will not only stop you from getting too sloppy drunk, but will keep you hydrated during the hot afternoons.
Visit Fremont Street for More Wins!
No article on Vegas would be complete without me repping my favorite part of Vegas – Fremont Street! All the older casinos, like 4 Queens and The Golden Nugget, are located in this part of town. Not only can you find the SlotZilla Ziplines, the Fremont Street Experience, and legendary street performers along this street, but it may save your wallet to head to the old town instead of The Strip!
Casinos on Fremont Street generally have tables with lower minimum bets. This means, for example, instead of gambling $10 per hand of Blackjack, you only have to gamble $5. This may not pay out as well, but it saves you money, and means you can gamble longer.
I hope these tips have helped you Vegas first timers prepare yourself for your upcoming trip! What happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas if you’re being responsible! These tips will help you get around fast, keep your hard earned money in your wallet (for the most part) and keep you from making a fool of yourself after a couple of drinks!
Any other tips for Vegas newbies? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to subscribe on the sidebar for more travel tips!