So I just got back from Las Vegas, about a week ago, and I am DYING to go back. In saying that, however, it did end up being stressful (on top of that, I had gotten sick the night before I left). The stress came from only trying to shove “everything” into a mere 3 days. Even with the stress, I had a lot of fun.
They say hind sight is 20/20. I can confirm that to be true many times over. In looking back, I was thinking about what I would do differently, what I would do the same, and what I wish I had done/seen.
What I would have done differently
- Make a plan
I usually try to avoid making plans because I try to plan out every minute, which stresses me out. However, when you are going on as short of a trip as I did, you need some sort of plan. One thing I’ve learned (but keep forgetting) is that you don’t have to follow your plan EXACTLY. If you at least have a plan, you can be more aware of where you need to be and when. Therefore it shouldn’t stress you out.
My friend and I were pretty much winging it with an idea of what we want to do. We ended up staying too long in one place many times and missing out on other attractions. One example is we went to Fremont Street to meet another friend of mine who is living in Las Vegas. We had lunch and played some Black Jack. Sounds short and sweet right? Well it ended up taking us 4 hours. By then, we hadn’t seen Fremont Street at all and we had to leave to catch the las Hop-on-Hop-off bus. Unfortunately, we never made it back to Fremont Street.
- Got a monorail pass
During our trip, our form of transportation was our feet and the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. The bus was cool for a couple reasons: 1. It went all the way to Fremont 2. They had a person telling the history and information of all the landmarks we passed. However, we would have to wait for the bus and sometimes walk a distance for the stop. It also didn’t run past 6pm.
My friend and I took the Monorail the last night to our club hop tour at the SLS Hotel and Casino…sooooooooo much better. No, you don’t get to see the strip but it saves so much time that you can spend that you can designate plenty of time exploring on foot. The only bad part is it doesn’t go to Fremont. However, you could easily grab an Uber or a Taxi for that.
A lot of our time wasted was trying to walk place to place. I loved walking through the casinos and hotels, but when you are trying to get to a show or a specific destination quickly, Monorail is best. You can get a 3 day pass for really inexpensive.
- Stayed longer
There was just so much to do that we missed, partly because of our lack of planning, but mostly because there is just too much to fit into 3 days. Though, with a good plan, you can see a good portion of Vegas in that amount of time.
- Start your day early
We always got up at a good time, but we spent too much time taking our time getting ready. The first 2 days, it ended up almost being lunch by the time we left the hotel room. With how much stuff there was that we wanted to do, time is precious. Plus, it is less crowded in the mornings on the strip, which is nice when the rest of the day is packed with tourists and people trying to get you to buy stuff or take pictures.
- Take naps!
This should have been a given since I was sick. But, I was go go going all day long. That made the afternoons and evenings very tiring. The last night, I finally broke down and decided to take a power nap. Boy, did that make a difference! I felt like a new person. Made the club tour much more enjoyable. Though I was sick, I would still suggest taking, at least, one nap during one of the days. It will give you the boost you need to keep going.
What I would do again
- Gambled $$$
Gambling can be really fun in Vegas with the fun bonuses on the slot machines. However, you have to be a smart gambler and give yourself a strict budget. No you can’t always win but when you get greedy is when you lose. I think I probably won a total of $150 gambling. One of the days I lost $100 in one slot machine because I just wouldn’t leave. I had been winning but then the slots stopped paying out. Even so, I kept putting money in, thinking it was going to change…it didn’t. I was lucky and ended up winning back what I lost the following day.
I am far from a pro-gambler, but when I was winning I noticed some key things that I believe helped me to win/ not lose a ton of money. One thing I did is I would bet the minimum, over and over until I got comfortably over the amount I originally started with. When I got there, I would periodically do a max bet which sometimes paid out and sometimes didn’t. But the key was I didn’t keep pressing it thinking my luck would change. Playing the slots is about having fun. If you spend it in the first 5 minutes, it no longer is fun and you’re out $20 like that.
I loved the slots with the bonuses. I don’t know how the odds are, truly, with playing slots, but it felt like I was winning a lot more because of it. Plus, it lets you play games rather than just hitting the button over and over.
A good gage (which is very hard to gage) is to cash out while you’re ahead. Best way I can describe it is that it is a feeling. A voice in your head tells you to take what you won; listen to it! If you want to keep playing, I would suggest cashing out and putting in a $20. That way you aren’t tempted to spend all your winnings.
The biggest one is, don’t bet more than you’re willing to lose! Sure, you could get lucky and win a lot. But the odds of that are low.
- Explored the hotels & casinos
I would have had fun just exploring the casinos! They are so well decorated and all so different. My favorite was the shops in the Venetian/Palazzo. So beautiful! Each person is going to have their own preference of which hotel is better, but I guarantee you’re going to find at least one.
- Dressed up
I don’t get a whole lot of excuses to dress up real nice. Take advantage. You can dress to the nines in Vegas and no one will bat an eye. However, personally, I would wait till closer to the evening to dress up. That way you aren’t strolling around in 100 degree weather in a nice dress and heals.
- Take Virgin America
I have never flown Virgin before and I had a real positive experience. It seemed like there was more leg room, I had no delays, everyone was nice, free WiFi, and fairly inexpensive. I continue to find good deals on flights with Virgin.
- Club hop
If you like clubs and dancing, this was a really fun way to explore the Las Vegas clubs. The clubs vary, but we got to see the Foxtale at SLS, Light at Mandalay Bay, and The Chateau at Paris. So much fun. We got to skip the lines and we didn’t have to pay for cover. They also had a party bus that took us from club to club.
- Use cash
This helped me to watch how much I was spending, especially with gambling. When you can see that cash, it’s easier to spend less because you see it slowly dwindling.
- Ride the New York New York Roller Coaster
At least once. It was really fun. Because we stayed at the New York New York, we got a buy 2 for the price of one which made it about $7 each. It is a bit jerky but there is a really long steep hill at the beginning, building up the anticipation. Then it’s all downhill and upside down from there.
- Stay at the New York New York
Our room was pretty affordable and it’s practically at the beginning of the strip. The inside is neat and casual. The room was perfectly fine but we didn’t end up spending time in it anyways.
Definitely Plan to tip. It is kind of expected. You don’t have to but expect some rude looks and sub-par service. Why should they wait on you if someone else is going to give them a tip and you aren’t? I tipped almost everyone about $3 – $5. Everyone treats you much better if you give a tip. In some cases, you can get some perks (the $20 room upgrade, which I never tried but have heard from a reliable source that it works.). But why not tip? This is their job but imagine how busy things can get. I guarantee it is really hard dealing with some of the people that pass through, especially if you add alcohol.
What I wish I had done/seen
- Seen a “big” show
Vegas is all about the shows! When I was planning, it didn’t really matter to me what show we went to as long as it was a show of some sort. Due to certain factors, we didn’t end up going to a show. Looking back, I wish now that I had planned for one of the bigger show. You’re going to Vegas, might as well go all out, right?
The New York New York had a show by Cirque de Solei called Zumanity. I heard that was pretty good. The one that I really heard that I should go see was Absinthe. Not sure what it was about, but I heard it was a must see. Those would probably be the 2 I’d want to see. Maybe fit in a Chris Angel show somewhere in there…lol.
- Gone to a NICE dinner
My friend and I ended up not spending a ton for food. Mornings, we would grab a snack that we had brought, then worry about paying for food at lunch and dinner. I think we only really sat down once. It was for lunch the first day at a hamburger place in our hotel. The rest of the time, we accidentally ate pizza for dinner 2 nights in a row. I’m happy I saved money, but I would have like to splurge on one meal where I had to dress nice and ate swanky food lol.
- Coyote Ugly
We tried to do Coyote Ugly, but we ended up running out of time. We walked in at 6pm, not thinking that it was probably too early to see anything. It was empty, so we immediately left. It was our last night and we were doing the club tour, so we didn’t have any time to go back when it was hopping.
- Stayed in the Venetian/Palazzo
This is my personal preference. I loved the look and classy feel of these 2 hotels. They aren’t cheap but I would love to stay in either one.
- Set designated gambling cash
Again, this saves money. I didn’t really have a budget, so I spent a lot on gambling. It ended up panning out for me but I can’t promise that will happen.
- Neon Graveyard
I loved the idea of seeing these old neon signs once displayed on the Vegas Strip. That is history right there. Again, we just ran out of time.
- Fremont at night
Like I said before, we went to Fremont briefly and didn’t really see much. But looking at it during the day, I quickly realized we should have come at night. Mainly because of the light show, but they also have music and more.
- Played more table games
I had a lot of fun playing the slots, but if you have enough money and you know how to play, play the tables. I loved playing Black Jack. You have a bit more control of the outcome than you do with slots. Plus, dealers usually are pretty nice in helping you on how to play.
There is so much more that I could probably list. Simply put, I want to go back lol.