How to Survive Your First Trip to Vegas

posted by Chris Valentine

Las Vegas is known as Sin City for a reason. The Strip can be a daunting place for a first-time visitor. With all of the people, the bright lights and the nonstop action, a Vegas vacation certainly requires a bit of mental and physical preparation. You’re going to have fun on your trip, but spending several days out in the middle of the sweltering desert isn’t necessarily for everyone.

The obvious first step is to plan your trip in advance. Some hotels will have favorable same-day rates, but booking your trip and making sure you have a hotel room reserved is the smartest way to go about things. This way, you don’t have to worry about having to go from hotel-to-hotel on the day of your arrival in desperate search of lodging.

What else should you know if you’re planning your first trip to Vegas? The following tips should help you survive your stay.

Pack Lightly

Packing isn’t a fun practice in the first place. I’d argue it’s more fun than unpacking after your trip is over, but that’s beside the point. Odds are that the weather will be favorable when you’re in Vegas. You’re not going to be seeing any snow, and rain only happens so often in the desert. You’re probably going to be seeing quite a bit of the sun. If you dare leave your hotel, that is.

So, pack lightly. Some restaurants in Vegas are fancier than others, but dress codes don’t really exist in town unless you’re hitting a trendy nightclub. That’s not to say that you should just dress like a complete slob, but don’t feel the need to pack everything in your closet in anticipation of your Vegas vacation. Most places have no issue with you wearing a bathing suit and a tank top.

Bring Your Own Booze

Las Vegas is fun, but it’s going to cost you. Frankly, nothing about Vegas is cheap. It’s one of the premier tourist destinations on the planet, and businesses know that people will pay up no matter what. Even a bottle of water in Vegas can run you as much as $8. So, you can only imagine how much a drink with punch is going to cost you.

One easy workaround is to just BYOB – bring your own booze. Before your trip, don’t hesitate to head to your local liquor store in order to stock up. It’s almost surely cheaper to do so where you live than it will be once you get to Las Vegas. You’re still likely going to have to splurge for some overpriced drinks based on which restaurants or bars you visit, but if you want to casually stroll around the Strip you can just imbibe with your own supply. There are no open container laws in the city, so grab a beer from your hotel fridge before setting out on the Strip. Your checking account will thank you later.

Check out the Buffets

Just about every hotel resort on the Strip offers plenty of dining options. There are 5-star chefs everywhere you look in this city, so the urge to check out the local fare is understandably hard to ignore. However, in between your Wolfgang Puck meals you should check out your hotel’s buffet. Most of the Vegas buffets have just about everything you could ever want to eat, and you can get an “all you can eat” type of a deal without breaking the bank.

Buying a plate at the buffet is going to be less expensive than hitting up some swanky restaurant. There’s also a good chance your buffet meal is going to leave you more full and satisfied than a sit-down meal at a restaurant. If you’re looking to keep some money in your wallet, buffets are the way to go.

Don’t Overdo It

With all that there is to see and do in Las Vegas, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are always shows and events going on just about everywhere you look. These casinos want your money. One key to enjoying your Vegas trip is to pace yourself and know your limits. This is true with gambling, sleeping, drinking and just about everything else you’ll be doing on your vacation.

Most of the fun stuff happens in Vegas at night, but there’s still no shortage of stuff to do during the day. Once the clock hits 3 a.m., though, you probably want to start thinking about getting to sleep. The last thing you want to do is waste an entire day sleeping because you stayed up all night the night before.

When gambling, set a limit. You have to be okay with potentially losing money, because, let’s face it, that’s what gambling is. So, pick a dollar amount you have no issue with potentially losing if your bet goes awry. Then, resist the urge to chase your losses by doubling down and betting even more. Chasing losses is the easiest way to see your bank account balance dwindle quickly.

Buy Tickets Early

Not every show in Vegas sells out, but seats to the best shows in town tend to go quickly. So, I’d recommend buying your show tickets months or weeks ahead of your trip. Read some reviews to find out which shows you want to see the most, and then you can simply purchase your tickets online. That way, you’re not left scrambling on the day of the show if you waited too long.

There is no right or wrong way to do Vegas, but taking heed of these tips can help you make sure you aren’t completely overwhelmed on your first visit to Sin City.

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