Author: James Ruhle
While The Strip is what brings people to Vegas, to begin with, the older part of the city off the glitzy tourist path is well worth a visit
Vegas is one of the top vacation destinations in the world. If a bunch of overstressed and overworked Americans are going to build a place to blow off steam, you can bet they are going to make it over the top amazing. And that they did, in the best most wonderful way possible. Before you book your flight and rooms, there are some things that you should be prepared for before arriving in this grown-up playground.
The US is much further south than Europe. You may already know this, but there is a difference between knowing something and experiencing something. Las Vegas is hot and dry and averages around 40° C in the summer. The city rests at the same latitude as North Africa, but without any cooling effect of the Mediterranean. Dehydration is the biggest danger. Just walking between casinos during the day can cause it to set in. Drink plenty of water, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
America has a well-deserved reputation for being a little gun happy, to put it mildly. Some places embrace this love of firearms more than others, and Nevada is one of those locations. It isn’t incredibly common in the more touristy areas, but visitors to Vegas who venture out into the downtown or other parts of the state could encounter regular citizens carrying guns. Nevada is what is called an Open Carry state. Don’t let the fact that they take the cowboy thing a little too seriously scare you. They’re harmless and aren’t going to start shooting because someone looked at them funny. Besides, think of the cool pics of the crazy “redneck” to show your friends back home.
Ride: Don’t Walk
In Europe, we are used to being within walking distance of most anything we need. Americans however, decided to ensure that the sprawling part of their sprawling cities was spot on accurate. Some “nearby” attractions can be more than six kilometers away. So, either hire a cab or use the Uber or Lyft app to get a ride. Even if those six kilometers sound like a nice hike in your mind, remember the weather part you just read.
Don’t Forget to Visit Old Vegas
While The Strip is what brings people to Vegas, to begin with, the older part of the city off the glitzy tourist path is well worth a visit. It has a much more relaxed feel, and shopping can be a great deal cheaper. Plus, it’s where the locals go to gamble. While the house always wins, things like the slots in downtown pay out more often than the one on the strip
Watch Out for Hidden Fees
Every tourist destination tries to stick it to visitors, and Las Vegas is no different. Everything the casinos do is designed to get you to spend more money than you planned. Going in with a strict budget is a good idea, but the adrenaline rush of being at the tables can easily override common sense and make you hit the ATM for some extra cash. The fees on these machines can be unusually high. Ask around and see if there are any cheaper alternatives.
The strip and tourist areas in Las Vegas are some of the safest places in the world. Security is tight, friendly, and ready to help. The biggest problem is pickpockets and thieves looking to snatch unattended purses, wallets, or bags. Keep an eye on all possessions and make sure important documents like your passport are locked up and secure.
- The US uses different electrical plugs than we do, so bring adapters.
- Comfortable shoes are a must. You’ll be on your feet more than you might expect.
- Bring the cute clothes. Many of the best shows and attractions in Vegas may require formal wear. Pack some along just in case.
- Remember your sunglasses.
- Don’t forget a bathing suit. For a desert, there are a surprising number of places to swim.
- Casinos aren’t fond of people bringing electronic devices and using them on the gaming floor.