What You Need to Know Before Visiting Las Vegas, Nevada

Visiting Las Vegas can be a blast, but you also want to make the most of your stay. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy everything that Vegas has to offer while minimizing the amount of money you spend. 

If it’s your first trip, get ready for a wild ride or try an online casino if you don’t have the time to travel.

Choosing a Hotel

Choosing a hotel is undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions you’ll make, but it probably won’t make or break your experience. Most people consider location to be of utmost importance, but it’s relatively easy to get to a lot of the different hotels throughout the area. For your first time, it’s a good idea to select a hotel that’s in the middle of The Strip, such as the Bellagio, the Flamingo, Caesars Palace or Paris. These hotels allow you to feel like you’re in the middle of it all, and by visiting other hotels for gambling, food or sightseeing, you’ll get a taste of what they’re like, which makes it easier to plan your next trip. Hotels that are off The Strip or in Downtown Vegas are less convenient, but usually more affordable. It’s up to you to decide what’s important.

For some people, it’s not as much about location as it is about the benefits that staying at a hotel has to offer. For instance, if you’re visiting in the summertime, you might want to take a look at the pool areas of the different hotels, especially the one at Mandalay Bay. Circus Circus has an atmosphere that will appeal to those bringing children, while the Cosmopolitan offers excellent views. Plus, once you stay in a hotel, you start to become eligible for bonuses like free stays, so it can pay to choose a hotel that you want to stay at again.


Everyone pictures themselves going into the casino and instantly winning the jackpot. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. Gambling can be a fun activity, but expecting to win is just not realistic. The smart thing to do is to go in with a budget and stick to it. If you run out of “gambling money” for the day, it’s time to stop.

The slot machines are the easiest to play, but they also don’t always have great odds. Some machines may pay out as much as 98 percent, but those machines are few and far between. The best strategy for slots is to understand how the game works. In many cases, you aren’t eligible for the top prizes unless you are making the maximum bet. This means that a “penny slot” ends up requiring $2.00 or more for each spin.

Playing at the tables can have somewhat better odds, but you also need to know the right strategy, and fumbling over the moves or making bad choices might upset other players at the table. If you’re a total newbie, try playing during times when there aren’t a lot of people at the tables. Some casinos offer training periods, where the dealers will tell you the rules and give you hints.


Vegas is also well-known for having spectacular shows, from big-name headliners to stunning acts like the Cirque du Soleil. It’s fun to attend at least one of these shows while you’re there. Research your choices before you go, but resist the urge to purchase your tickets directly from the venue. Once you’re in Vegas, you’ll often find that there are a lot of ways to get discounts on whatever show you’re interested in. Tix4Tonight.com can get you a great deal on last-minute tickets. If you’re going on a weekday, you can probably get tickets at a steep discount.

Dressing Right

Packing the right clothes can make a big difference when it comes to how happy you are with your trip. Vegas is in the middle of the desert, so it can be very hot in the daytime, especially during the summers, while still getting quite chilly at night. You’ll also find that people dress in everything from shorts and T-shirts to fancy evening gowns and tuxedos. How are you supposed to decide what to wear?

First and foremost, you need to think about wearing comfortable shoes. Even within a single hotel, you will probably be walking a lot more than you usually do, and if you plan to sightsee around the different hotels, you’ll clock some serious miles. Pack sneakers or comfortable dress shoes. As for clothes, pack a few casual outfits that will be good for sightseeing or the breakfast buffet and one or two dressier outfits if you plan on going out at night. Some places in Vegas have a dress code and won’t allow you in if you’re wearing jeans or a shirt without a collar.

Staying Healthy

It’s easy to over-indulge in a city like Vegas. The alcohol is flowing, the tables at the buffet are filled with delicious foods and smoke is everywhere. When you pair this with the dry atmosphere of the desert, you’ve got a recipe for the biggest hangover of your life. If you want to have fun the entire time you’re in Vegas, you need to think carefully about your health.

Don’t forget to drink water. Staying hydrated is so important, especially in the summer. Even if you haven’t spent the day drinking beer or mixed drinks, you could get a serious headache if you haven’t been drinking your water. Take a water bottle with you wherever you go and fill it up at water fountains.

Vegas is also home to many restaurants offering a wide range of healthy food choices. It might be tempting to stop for a quick treat, but you’re probably better off saving your appetite for a meal that will fuel you right. If you’re eating at any of the buffets, make sure to take a quick walk around to see what they’re serving before you start loading up your plate. You’ll then be able to select only the things that you think look best. Remember, you don’t have to clean your plate.

Getting Around

A lot of the hotels on The Strip are within walking distance to each other, but they’re also a lot farther away than they look. Make use of any free shuttles you can find to save yourself the pain of blisters. It’s smart to stick to a single area each day.

Taxis are a good way to get from place to place as well. Pick one up at the hotel’s taxi stand. Taxi drivers aren’t allowed to stop on The Strip if you try to flag them down, so the hotel stands are the best way to find them. Don’t let the driver know that it’s your first time to Vegas or he might take a “shortcut” than ends up costing you a lot more money.


Tipping is essential when you’re in Vegas, so you’ll want to keep cash handy. While you’re gambling, waitresses will come around with “free” drinks, but you should always give her a tip. This will also ensure that she’ll come around your chair more often. The hotel staff also deserves some tips, especially when they go out of their way to help you. For instance, if the front desk clerk offers you a room upgrade, give her a tip in thanks; if the concierge helps you snag tickets to a hot performance, tip him too. Don’t forget to leave a tip for the cleaning staff too.

Money Advice

From giving out tips to paying cab fare to gambling, you need a lot of cash when you’re in Vegas. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll also face a lot of high ATM fees every time you try to get more money. Before you leave, check to see if your bank has any ATMs in Vegas and bring plenty of cash with you. If you’re nervous about carrying a lot of money with you, use a safe in the hotel room or purchase a hidden container to store your money. These are everyday items like deodorant that have a secret compartment.

You’ll also want to create a budget and stick to it. This applies not only to gambling but to eating out and paying for entertainment as well. It might be OK to spend some gambling winnings on something special if you’re lucky enough to be able to do so, but you don’t want to spend all of your money your first day. Remember that while there are great deals to be found in Vegas, prices can be high too. It’s better to over-budget and go home with a few extra dollars in your wallet than it is to not be able to do everything you wanted to do.

From the thrill of gambling to the glamour of the surroundings, there’s a little something for everyone who goes to Vegas. The best way to get the most out of your Vegas experience is to do your research ahead of time and plan the trip the way you want it. This is true whether it’s your first time making the trips or your tenth time.