Being young, it can be quite easy to be swallowed up by the bright lights of Sin City. Learn to do Vegas like a pro and know what to expect. But also prepare to expect the unexpected.
Words: Tessa Ross, Subeditor: Eireann Beardon
1. You can gamble before you’re reunited with your suitcase
When you step off the plane it’s normal to want to get your holiday started straight away. But waiting at the luggage carousel is something that normally slows you down. Not in Vegas! Why not try your luck for the first time whilst waiting for your suitcase? Start as you mean to go on!
2. You will be in a casino before you reach the hotel check-in
Hotel entrances in Las Vegas are like magical doors to a gamblers paradise. Normal hotel lobbies just aren’t a thing. You can usually find the check-in desk by searching for other people loaded down with suitcases.
3. You CAN go if you’re under 21 and you WILL get in places, it just won’t be as fun for you
If you’re at that awkward age where all of your friends are 21 and you’re still a baby at 20, you should still go. Annoyingly you won’t be allowed everywhere and drinking alcohol (outside of your hotel room) will be an issue, but it’s better than missing out completely and staying at home! Vegas is such an amazing place, there is plenty to keep under 21s amused too.
4. You will never have experienced heat like it before
Vegas actually is in the middle of the desert in Nevada, bare that in mind if you struggle to cope with heat. If you go in the summer temperatures will soar to above 45°C. It’s HOT and the heat is very dry. On the flip side the hotels are very air conditioned. Bare that in mind if you get cold easily.
5. Do a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon
If you want to splash out on one thing when you’re in Vegas make it a helicopter Grand Canyon tour. You will get a lot more out of it than you will giving all your cash away to the casino. You get to see the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Colorado River before landing in the middle of the Grand Canyon for champagne and treats. Go on, treat yourself like a VIP.
6. Don’t pay for drinks in casinos, wait for the free ones!
People that are playing in the casinos will be well looked after. Bare this in mind and don’t go and buy your drinks from the bar beforehand. Even if you’re not planning on spending the night in the casino, it might be worth putting a few dollars in a slot machine when the waitress is around, just to get the drinks in.
7. Tip generously when you get your first ‘free’ drink and the waitress will be back
Free drinks in America are never actually free because you always feel obliged to tip. But this is still cheaper than going to the bar. And if you make your first tip a generous one the waitress is bound to keep an eye on you and be back when you’re ready for the next round.
8. Don’t expect to understand the slot machines
Slot machines are all about luck. There is no technique. Most machines in Vegas don’t even give the option to ‘hold’ or ‘nudge’, you’ve just got to spin and hope for the best. “I won $98 but I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I wanted to make it $100 but I didn’t want to risk it all and so I cashed out”, said Hugh Rose who went to Vegas for the first time last summer.
9. The one cent slot machines aren’t one cent. Most of them make you use 100 credits per shot… That’s a dollar slot machine then
For amateur gamblers a cheap game is always good. Unfortunately cheap games don’t seem to exist. If you’re lucky you might find a slot machine that uses 25 cents for one credit. This means $1 will give you four go’s. Unless luck is on your side, those four go’s will be over in around one minute. Still worth a shot though.
10. You can allow yourself to feel like a big shot
While you’re there, Vegas is yours, so own it. In Vegas you’re as good as anyone. It doesn’t matter if you have way less money, if it’s your first time or if you have no idea how you ended up there. Vegas is the place to live out your wildest dreams. Chances are, most people are very similar to you. They’re just probably bluffing as well.
11. Fremont Street is incredible
It’s definitely recommended to leave the main strip behind for a night and check out Downtown Las Vegas. Get yourself to Fremont Street, the founding place of Sin City. Home to some of the oldest casinos, like the Golden Nugget, Fremont Street is packed full of entertainment. Elvis performs on the outdoor stage, you can zip wire across the length of the street and witness the main attraction: the Viva Vision light show.
12. You can have an aqua massage aka human car wash
A unique massage experience. And don’t worry, you won’t get wet! The aqua massage uses water pressure to undo your knots. You are in total control of the settings, meaning your massage is exactly how you want it. It’s a great way to relax, whilst avoiding having a stranger rub your back with oils.
13. Find dollar water on the bridges
To cross the road on the main strip you take an escalator up to a bridge. “Get your water here, dollar water” is the sound track to the bridges in Vegas. This is great for when you leave your hotel and into the DESERT conditions; you will be gasping for water. If you didn’t know this before, finding the dollar water can break your heart after you’ve just spent $5 for a bottle in your hotel.
14. Go to Dicks Last Resort
With good food and drinks comes a healthy serving of rudeness and sarcasm in Dick’s Last Resort. Your waiter will be anything but polite. They will even shame you by making you sit in a chefs hat with a little ‘home truth’ written on display for everyone to see. It is certainly a different dining experience, but a great one at that. This restaurant is a good laugh, just not for those easily offended.
15. You will lose sense of day and time
The outside world can’t be seen from inside the main parts of the hotels so the themes are more realistic. You can feel like you’re ready to party the night away, just to step outside and realise it’s like 4pm. But who goes by time in Vegas? You can do what you want when you want. Nobody says that daytime is for the pool and night-time is for partying. You can even go to a pool party at night if you want. Anything goes.
16. Unfortunately it is expensive
We are used to London prices. But unfortunately unlike other places renowned for partying, Vegas doesn’t boast cheap drink deals quite like Magaluf or Malia. But it is like 10 times better and so the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ comes to mind.
17. Past the Stratosphere things start to get different
When you go past the Stratosphere, you leave the main strip and start to enter Downtown Las Vegas. From this point you leave the large extravagant hotels behind and start to see a more traditional looking Vegas. Streets are lined with Little White Chapels for classic Vegas weddings and small motels.
18. The shows really are incredible
Las Vegas is known for putting on some of the best shows in the world. This is true. Some of the biggest names in the world entertain in Vegas such as Britney Spears and Mariah Carey. Then there’s shows like Cirque Du Soleil known for just looking simply spectacular. Not forgetting the smaller shows like comedies and Elvis tributes, which again hold a special Vegas charm.
19. The hotels are like nothing you’ve seen before
The hotels on the main strip are truly amazing. Most are built to fit a theme inside and out. The Venetian has gondola rides throughout the hotel, where you can feel like you’re floating through Venice to the soundtrack of ‘Just One Cornetto’ sung by your personal gondolier. New York New York has a thrilling rollercoaster. And of course the Bellagio is home to the world famous fountains. In fact, most of the hotels are pretty special and just doing one thing in each of them would fill your whole holiday.