Las Vegas is one of those places that is on everyone’s bucket lists - famous for the bright lights, the parties, the money, and everything else that will make visitors feel like they are living the high life (no matter what their real life is like).
It’s a playground for grownups, and one where tourists can indulge all kinds of whims on a grand scale… but that often leads to making some bad decisions along the way! It can be all too easy to get caught up in the glamor and the rush, and come to your senses on the way home wondering why on Earth you thought you should spend that much money… or make any of these other thirteen bad Vegas choices! However, there are definitely ways to visit Sin City without worrying that you’ll regret it later, and we’ve got the best of them right here.
From saving money to saving face, these are the ways that you can get the most out of a weekend trip to the Strip - and still have the kind of fun that will make all your IG followers green with envy…
25 Don’t: Get A Tattoo
Vegas is definitely a rock’n’roll kinda city, but it’s not the best idea to start thinking that you are a rock star and should get a little holiday ink. For one thing, healing a fresh tattoo means no hot tubs, no pool parties (no swimming at all, in fact), and no sunbathing with it exposed.
On top of that, you may not have time to properly research shops and artists if you are doing it on a whim, and if you need touch ups once it’s healed, you won’t be able to return to the same artist, unless you want to take another vacation.
24 Do: Visit The Mob Museum
Most of Vegas feels very new, with huge and shiny hotels and brand new clubs, bars and restaurants, but don’t forget about the history of Sin City while you are there.
Take a trip to the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas, and learn about the roots of the city and how it became the massive destination that it is today. Make sure to stay safe off the Strip, though - there are some amazing things to see outside of the Strip, but tone down anything touristy while out and about (and remember that those slushy drinks can’t legally be carried off the Strip, so leave your foot long plastic cup at the hotel).
23 Don’t: Book A Hotel Off The Strip To Save Money
With a couple of well-known exceptions (like the Hard Rock Hotel), it’s not worth the savings to get a hotel off the strip - and it’s definitely not worth it to stay somewhere far from the action. The money you save may well end up being spent on taking taxis several times a day, not to mention the hassle of finding taxis whenever you need one (especially late at night, when all you want is to go home). There are some great deals to be had at the big name casinos, and it’s just not worth it to save a few bucks.
22 Don’t: Forget To Tip The Casino Waitress
When you are enjoying yourself at a casino, one of the famous perks is the free drinks! Cocktail waitresses are everywhere, and they are more than happy to bring you free cocktails to your seat - but just because the drinks are free, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get your wallet out. Don’t forget to show a little respect to the people working, not playing, in Vegas, and tip at least dollar a drink, or more if you want to make sure that your glass is never empty… less might mean searching out someone to serve you next time.
21 Do: Check Trade Shows Before You Go
As well as being known for its nightlife, Vegas is a huge center for events and trade shows, and it’s a good idea to know what you are walking into before you get there. Sometimes, you might want to know about a show so you don’t kick yourself for missing it, but at other times, you may want to be able to avoid the crowds.
If a trade show takes place in a specific hotel, it’s good to have a heads up - for example, the AVN Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel may be a bucket list event for some… and the worst nightmare for others.
20 Do: Plan A Water-Only Day (Or Three)
Vegas may be known as a party city, and there are a plethora of bars and clubs to choose from that are definitely worth heading to for a great night out. It’s also a great place to recover, with soft hotel beds and sympathetic poolside service, but don’t forget that Vegas is just as much fun in the daytime - and plan ahead so that you have lots of energy and enthusiasm to take yourself out during the day as well. And of course, with all the amazing food and cheap (or free) libations, your body will thank you for a few days off.
19 Don’t: Totally Ignore Your Credit Limit
There are plenty of high rollers who hang out in Vegas, but unless you are part of the black credit card club, it’s not a good idea to try and join them! Make sure you know what your budget is before a night out at the casino, and play smart - take cash to use, don’t sign up for new credit cards, and budget so that you don’t blow it all on the first night out. Vegas is a whole lot of fun, but it’s not known for being cheap, so stick to the things you know you can afford!
18 Do: Take Advantage Of New Member Perks
Most casinos have perks for two types of people - the ones with a whole lot of money, and the brand new arrivals. Head to Guest Services at many hotels and casinos to become a member (it’s free), and you’ll be rewarded with a few dollars worth of free plays. It’s the easiest way to experience multiple casinos without breaking the bank… and if you do decide to come back for more and visit time and time again, membership perks are just an added bonus!
17 Don’t: Attempt To Recreate The Hangover
Yes, The Hangover is a hilarious movie, and yes, it all works out pretty well in the end for these characters. But trying to recreate it yourself is a recipe for disaster.
For one thing, it means heading into some of the less safe areas of the city after a few (dozen) too many, and for another, it means someone is going to have to get a face tattoo… and a tiger.
It’s also definitely not original, and won’t lead to a particularly good time. Just enjoy your own, all-original adventures instead.
16 Do: Go Hiking At Red Rock Canyon
Believe it or not, there is more to Vegas than just the Strip… and while it may be a city in the middle of a desert, a large amount of that desert is pretty spectacular to look at. Take a day away from casinos, clubs, and shows, and head out to Red Rock Canyon to go for a hike. Enjoy some fresh air and exercise, and don’t forget to take lots of water and sunscreen, and arrive back at your hotel feeling refreshed and smug about how wholesome your day was… then go hit the casinos again.
15 Don’t: Take A Cab To Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is definitely a must-do in Vegas - and getting out of the city is a great way to see the landscape and get some fresh air. But whatever you do, don’t get a taxi out here, unless you want to be eating ramen noodles in your room for the rest of your trip!
Rent a car yourself (it may be cheaper, and means total control, a/c, and somewhere to leave your things), or look into one of the specialized tour companies. Some hotels will offer deals on these, and your wallet will definitely thank you for a little forward planning in this case.
14 Do: Take The Train
The Strip can surprise visitors with how long it is - this is no minor city street! At over four miles long, it would take most people between one and two hours to walk the length of the Strip… and that’s without actually stopping anywhere. Instead of wasting time on the walk, take advantage of the monorail that runs most of this distance.
It’s cheap and easy to navigate, and means more time to enjoy shows and restaurants, and less time pounding the hot pavement. Many tourists don’t even realize it’s an option, but once you do, you’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t use it.
13 Don’t: Overdo It On Adult Slushies
These tall drinks are delicious, there’s no doubt about it… and for visitors coming from cities without open-carry laws for alcohol, it may be tempting to carry one wherever you go, and top it up every time you run out. But these are cheap because of bottom-shelf ingredients and a boatload of sugar in each one… combine that with the strength of them, the hot Nevada sun, and staying up too late, and you have a recipe for a terrible headache the next morning (and that’s if you manage to keep it all down).
Treat yourself to one, at most.
12 Do: Take Advantage Of The Food
It’s not just for lining your stomach… Vegas has some incredible dining experiences, and you don’t want to miss out on enjoying as many as you can. Buffets can be great value, and there’s something particularly decadent about room service, but make sure you check out some famous restaurants (from famous names), like Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, or one of Gordon Ramsey’s many projects in the city. Book ahead, too - especially if you want to go during peak hours. Most of the hottest restaurants can book well in advance, and walk-ins are often impossible.
11 Don’t: Forget That Laws Still Apply Here
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… unless you get arrested, that is. It’s easy to let the motto of this crazy city go to your head and make you feel like you can do anything - and top that off with non-stop parties, casino lights, and free drinks around every corner, and suddenly tourists start acting as though it’s the Wild West!
Vegas is definitely all about having fun, but make sure that the kind of fun you are having isn’t going to get you in trouble with the law.
10 Do: Visit Chinatown
Not for Hangover-style adventures, of course, but for the kind of cuisine that just can’t be matched on the Strip - amazing Asian food of all different varieties. Start off in the original center of Chinatown at Chinatown Plaza, and then head in basically any direction to find some of the best food in the city (most of it at very reasonable prices). It may take a cab ride to get away from the Strip itself, but it’s definitely worth it, and means a whole other kind of dining experience that isn’t about celebrity chefs and white linens.
9 Don’t: Put Your Head Underwater At The Hard Rock Pools
Really, this goes for every pool in Vegas - keep your head out of the water, and save swimming laps for when you are back home! Visitors come here from all over the world to party, and a lot of the time that means in the pools themselves… chlorine can only do so much, though, and these pools are definitely not the cleanest.
The Hard Rock Hotel even closes their pools once a week for a thorough cleaning after their legendary pool parties - a whole lot of fun to come party the night away in the water, but unless you want to visit the doctor when you get home, keep the water out of your mouth and eyes.
8 Do: Ride The Zipline
Even within the confines of the Strip, there are plenty of things to do that aren’t all about hitting the jackpot - and it’s a whole lot of fun to see Vegas from a different vantage point. Check out Old Vegas with the SlotZilla Zip Line over Fremont Street (at the Rio), or wait until November (2018) for the new zipline to open on the Strip itself: FlyLinq at the Linq Promenade.
Or check out the rides, observation deck, and SkyJump at the Stratosphere for a new perspective on Vegas.
7 Don’t: Spend All Your Time In The Casinos
They may be the thing that draws people to Vegas the most, but that doesn’t mean that you should spend all your time in the casinos! There is so much more to Vegas than just the tables, and it’s important to get outside and do some fun things that don’t revolve around piles of chips and making money… especially when you are much more likely to just lose money, unless you happen to be particularly skilled and in Vegas specifically to play. Which, let’s face it, isn’t most people.
6 Do: Go For An ATV Ride At El Dorado Canyon
If hiking at Red Rock Canyon just doesn’t sound quite exciting enough for you, try an ATV ride in the desert at El Dorado Canyon. Forty-five minutes outside the city, El Dorado ATV tours include some history, with a tour of a gold mine and a ride across some stunning landscapes with cactus gardens and views of the Colorado River. It’s definitely something to do during the day that will make for a better story than another afternoon of lying by the poolside at your hotel… but doesn’t involve having to hike.