Visiting Las Vegas For The First Time

  • Updated
  • By Daryl Charman
visiting las vegas for the first time

Bright lights, no clocks and home to some of the craziest attractions you’ll ever come across. Las Vegas is a tourists paradise and an absolute must for those who like a flutter and want to experience something jaw-dropping.

However, it’s also one of the most overwhelming places in the world as well. When you first witness the Las Vegas strip, it’s extremely easy to get lured in by everything in your path.

From wacky restaurants and novelty bars to lavish hotels and bright casinos, there’s so much to enjoy in Sin City.

To help you cut through the noise and get the most out of your holiday in Las Vegas, here are some top tips.

Download the Uber app

If you’ve seen the Las Vegas strip in a movie, you may think the strip is relatively small. Don’t make this mistake.

Every hotel has a maze of casinos, restaurants, bars, clubs and attractions for you to navigate through. So before you’ve even left the car park you probably would have lost around 10-15 minutes.

Once you get on the Las Vegas strip, you’ll notice the pedestrian paths have been cleverly engineered to encourage tourist spending.

Every couple of blocks, you’ll have to cross a bridge to the other side to continue walking or go through a hotel or shopping mall. And not to mention the barrage of promoters trying to get you into their bar.

If you fancy a walk, make sure you know exactly where your end destination is and you wear comfortable shoes.

Our top tip is to download the Uber app and take a quick lift to your desired destination. It’s cheaper than a regular taxi and you can get some top insights from a local who knows the area.

Spend more for a hotel

One of the biggest temptations is to choose a cheaper option when you book a Vegas hotel. However, the majority of these will be off the strip and further away from the fun attractions.

In terms of practicalities, choosing a hotel in the middle of the strip is on the money. You won’t have to walk far (which eliminates point one) and it’s also home to some of the most famous hotels like MGM Grand and Caesars Palace.

If you’d prefer to be close to the hustle and bustle but avoid directly waking up amongst it, the Mirage is a great solution as it is further down on the strip.

It’s also home to great shows like Cirque du Soleil, a host of top casinos, a man-made volcano, wild animals and resident performances by puppeteer Terry Fator.

Paying above the odds on show tickets

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is paying more for show tickets than you need to. Before you travel, check out Vegas.com for discounted tickets and the option to upgrade to dinner and a full experience package.

Although the added initial cost may seem like a pain, it’ll give you more spending money while you’re there to play with or to save.

Don’t underestimate the heat

The weather is deceiving in Las Vegas. Unlike the UK, the heat goes relatively unnoticed to most, as a lot of people are distracted by the glitz and the glam of the strip. It also doesn’t have the same muggy feel us Brits often moan about in the summer.

If you’re walking or sunbathing next to the pool, always put protection on (factor 30+) and carry around fluids. Remember, Las Vegas is situated in the middle of a desert, plus with the added heat from constant road traffic, you’ll start to realise that you’re very exposed to the heat.

A top tip to remember is to bring lip balm, especially if you’re going to do a bit of drinking while you’re there. The desert heat has been known to crack your lips (ouch) and make a holiday that little bit less enjoyable. You can find lip balm in most convenient stores – not surprisingly, in novelty flavours!

Avoid casino bars

A big mistake a lot of tourists make is to head straight to a casino bar after losing a few dollars on the slots or tables. Paris hotel and New York New York are very cunning in the fact that their casino bars are centrally located.

As a result, you’re naturally drawn to it after you walk away from a slot machine or table.

Our top tip is to tip a waiter or waitress while gambling – providing you want to do the latter. By tipping them just a couple of dollars at a time, you’ll be given any single spirit, wine or beer you want for free. It’s always worth tipping slightly more the first time around as the waitress or waiter will keep coming over more frequently afterwards.

If you’re in a casino in a cheaper hotel or establishment, you might find that there aren’t as many waiters or waitresses around. This is either due to their cheap alcohol prices at the bar or the fact they simply don’t get enough business to warrant the service. So for the best value, go to the bigger hotels like Caesars Palace or The Bellagio.

If you don’t gamble but want to drink, you should check out the happy hours in Dick’s Last Resort in Excalibur Hotel and Casino. Or alternatively, you can buy alcohol to pre-drink in your hotel room and take a non-glass cup on the strip while you walk.

Go beyond the strip

There’s so much to do on the Las Vegas strip. However, there are a lot of other things away from the hustle and bustle you can’t afford to miss out on.

These include the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, downtown Vegas and Zion National Park.

We highly recommend the stunning views from the Stratosphere and the water slide sending you through a shark-infested aquarium in The Golden Nugget.

For more inspiration, take a look at our Top 10 things to do in Las Vegas guide.