How to survive Las Vegas

A compressed guide to Sin City!

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

Las VegasYou’ve heard all the stories, perhaps first-hand from someone you know personally. You’ve seen the films depicting raucous scenes of debauchery and excess. And you’ve probably taken on board the warnings to give it a wide berth for your own good.

Chances are, though, all of these factors have conspired to whet your appetite even further. Such is the indisputable lure of Las Vegas.

First of all, think of everything you’ve ever been told about Sin City. You have images in your mind of gleefully blowing your life savings at a blackjack table. Marrying a perfect stranger hours after leeringly saying hello at the bar. Waking up with Mike Tyson’s pet tiger locked in your hotel bathroom. It’s fair to say that these are all stereotypes of a city seemingly uninhibited by conventions held dear throughout the rest of the world. Astoundingly, though, they are also true.

Well, apart from the tiger thing. Probably.



Surviving Las Vegas: Tips for Sin City virgins


Welcome to Las Vegas Welcome to Las Vegas

The impression one has, wandering through the miasma of disorienting bright lights from the Strip, hopping from one casino to the next, is of being cocooned in an elaborate Hollywood set. You will see the high rollers, the down-on-their-luck losers, and those who’ve had few too many Bloody Marys fruitlessly trying to fight their way through the labyrinth of slot machines and craps tables to the casino exit. The next time somebody tells you knowingly that this is the city where anything goes, believe them.

Reading the above will have presaged the following scenarios. You are either:

a)      No longer reading this, as you are already booking your flight
b)      Telling yourself that Vegas really isn’t the place for you

Presumably, if you’re still on this page, you fall into the latter category. Fear not. The honest truth is that there is no reason why your trip can’t be exactly as you want it to be, so long as you know how to avoid the pitfalls and play it safe. If frittering away your hard-earned cash and boozing until you pass out sounds far from appealing, you can still experience Vegas at its finest in your own way. And here at HomeAway we are sure to help you find the perfect rental property to save you the elaborate cost of one of the Strip’s big name hotels.


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Stick to the budget Stick to the budget

The most important thing to remember when you jet off to Nevada is your budget. There are no words to aptly convey the gravity or importance of setting yourself a spending limit before you leave - and sticking steadfastly to it. Naturally, this rule is in place to save you from yourself; or, more accurately, from the infinitude of casinos clogging the city centre, all of which specialise in suckering in even the most frugal visitor. Clocks don’t exist in casinos; they wish you to lose track of time, to become disconnected from the reality of hours spent plundering your wallet. For as long as you remain gambling, waitresses will supply you with free beverages, failing to mention that, in the 15 minutes it takes them to fetch said refreshment, you could easily have lost another $100 if lady luck has deserted you. Not to mention the oh-so-enticing air conditioning that provides sweet salvation from the searing heat of the scorched desert.

In the alcohol department, moderation is key. For one thing, a round of drinks that would barely register back home could almost break the bank in one of the city’s more extravagant nightclubs. For another, Vegas is bewildering enough without the added component of a tonic-addled mind to deal with! 


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Remain unmarried Remain unmarried

Staying of sound mind is also the best way to avoid a good old Vegas wedding. There’s a well-known saying - we’ve all heard it - that goes “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. This does not apply to a spouse. A marriage in Vegas is a marriage on an international basis. And do you really want the happiest day of your life to consist of a minister in full Elvis garb consigning you to a lifetime of marital bliss? And to someone whom you’ve known for 45 minutes? Probably not. Or maybe - it depends how impulsive and, well, nuts you are.

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Don't be a sucker Don't be a sucker

If you do intend to hit up one of the many nightspots speckled around the various casinos, you might encounter the PR forces that patrol the floors throughout the day. They will promise you as many free passes as you require for the evening ahead, but be warned: this almost invariably applies only to those of the female persuasion. Any young gentleman who has played the hero card amongst their group - by suavely assuring them of VIP status, for instance - is not made aware of this until asked to part with an entrance fee in the region of $40 at the velvet rope.

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Ground rules Ground rules

As with any large city there are, of course, a few guidelines that go without saying: Don’t get separated from your friends. Always ensure you get from A to B in a licensed taxi. And if there is but one pearl of wisdom you take to Vegas with you, let it be this: waking up in the blistering desert heat, with a crippling hangover and an empty wallet, is a memory that you will not cherish for all time. You have been warned.

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