A version of Las Vegas exists in the imagination of most people. This version is wild, mind-bending, debaucherous, uncouth, and unforgettable. How close this popular fantasy is to reality? Closer than one thinks, at least judging based on the sheer number of "Don't do this in Vegas" comments on Reddit.
Visitors who prefer to err on the side of caution might find the following tips useful, lifesaving even. Visitors who don't take kindly to internet geeks telling them what to do are welcome to reinvent the wheel and find out for themselves.
What To Avoid While Visiting Las Vegas
Be wary of strangers trying to sell you something. Salesmen, especially informal salesmen on the street, can come across as a bit aggressive, so it's best to avoid engaging with them unless you can handle that sort of thing. Like u/rtaisoaa says, expect to be approached by hawkers outside of popular events. Try not to make eye contact with anyone you don't intend to engage with as it may attract unwarranted attention.
In Vegas, like most cities, some areas are better than others. u/Powneduare points out a number of places that visitors ought to avoid. If visitors prefer to avoid informal economies, Stratosphere and Circus Circus are a no-go. It's better to head to Cosmo, Wynn, Encore, Aria, Planet Hollywood, or Palazzo.
u/devon223 explains exactly how unwarranted interactions go down in Vegas. Visitors will find that, on and around the Strip, there are hawkers handing out "free" mixtape demos. Often, naive tourists will amiably accept a CD, only to be harassed and intimidated into giving out a hefty, exorbitant "tip". Of course, it's not all bad, at least victims get an amateur, cacophonous mixtape out of the exchange.
u/Sirtripennippie brings up an important rule -- Don't jaywalk on the strip. Most people realize this when they get there, as the level of policing is immediately striking. A great way to ruin a night is by getting hit by a car or receiving a rude court summons, so wait for the little green man before crossing the street and try to be polite to police officers and security guards.
Perhaps the most important rule in Vegas (and in life) is that visitors should not bet more money than they're willing to lose. The best weekend in Vegas could easily turn into the worst if a drunken gamble costs you your livelihood. u/Hoodafakizit gives practical, no-nonsense advice about recreational gambling: "Don't bet any money you're not willing to lose." It's a lenient rule because if you prefer raising the stakes to thrilling proportions and are willing to lose everything, you're well within your rights to risk it all.
While things might get hazy and bizarre in Vegas, don't lose any essential items. u/indigotechno, a resident of Las Vegas, shares how common it is for people to lose their shoes on a wild night out. Don't complicate a wholesome trip to Vegas by walking around barefoot and stepping on some broken glass. Maybe's it's a good idea to pack an extra pair of compact Sketchers just in case.
The list of Reddit "don'ts" is inexhaustible. Surely Las Vegas can't be so chaotic that visitors must avoid all the fun. u/slayez06 comments, once again, on the notorious informal economy in Vegas. There are hundreds of "small businesses" that thrive off of the vulnerability and naivety of first-timers in Vegas. Regulated and screened taxis are marked as official and uniform in appearance. Visitors often fall for a common trick by thugs in nice cars who offer cheap rides to the Strip, only to rob, assault, and shakedown their poor, trapped passengers.
u/chumprock makes a great point. Don't eat, consume, or entertain anything that seems too good to be true. Whether it's a $0.99 shrimp cocktail, $0.50 beer, or free entertainment, subject your lower passions to reason and turn away. Nothing is worse than waking up sick after gorging on rotten shellfish. Similarly, if the gambling machine promises in big letters that you could totally win $10 million by spending a small fortune on pulling a lever all day, go back to your hotel and take a cold shower.
Casinos make an enormous amount of passive income by partnering with ATM companies that charge exorbitant withdrawal fees. Since many things in Vegas require cash, especially the oh-so coveted goods and services offered by the informal economy. To capitalize on the desperate, bone-chilling demand for cash, ATMs can charge upward of $20 on every transaction -- a form of modern banditry no doubt.
The last and most infamous rule is to practice discretion. Visitors who come to Vegas, often come with a group of family, friends, or colleagues. Buzzing from alcohol and the thrill of easy money, people tend to go overboard in Las Vegas. At the end of the day, Vegas is the city where people go to do the things they would never do anywhere else, so if a colleague does something undignified or downright disgusting, learn to forget it ever happened once everyone is back in the workplace. A loose tongue can have dire consequences.