Tag: "travelling"

Las Vegas – Top Tips for a Fabulous Stay

Las Vegas - top tips fpr a great stayThere is an incredible amount to see and do in Las Vegas, so make sure you make the most of your trip with these top tips.

Tipping is an essential part of the service staff’s pay check, and an equally essential way to ensure you get all the help, support and assistance you need, so don’t be stingy. A basic $1-2 tip is appropriate for doorman who gets you a cab, the shuttle or bus driver who helps with your bags, drinks waitress, and slot attendants. Service on food is usually about $3-5, depending on how attentive they are, ditto room service, while $5 would be a more appropriate for your chamber maid (daily, especially if you crave extra towels) and poker dealer (especially if you win).

Wear flat comfortable shoes and clothes that don’t over heat you. The hotels are so big you’re going to do a lot of walking.

Carry a water bottle and drink lots. Remember that Las Vegas is in a desert and that dehydration can be a risk.

Assume you will become disorientated, and plan accordingly, whether that’s having a central point to meet, always carrying a map and a phone, etc. Ne aware sometimes mobiles don’t work in some areas of the hotels.

Know how much you can comfortably spend (and lose) and STICK to it. Nothing like financial pain for ruining the memories of what should be the trip of a lifetime.

Do take advantage of hotel ‘comps’ if you plan on gambling.

If you don’t play, do take gaming lessons before you go so you at least understand what’s going on!

Do leave your valuables in the Hotel safe, not in your room, and keep your bag zipped closed and where you can see it.

Do grab a copy of ‘What’s On’, available in most hotels. Ask your concierge if you can’t find one, sometimes they go very quickly.

Do airfreight your extra purchases home if you get a little carried away with the shopping.

Do watch Robert DeNiro’s film, ‘Casino’, before you go, as well as ‘What Stays in Las Vegas’ and ‘The Hangover (No 1)’…

Don’t jay-walk. It carries a $95 fine and it’s also very dangerous. Always use the crossings.

Don’t plan on getting much sleep.

Don’t go when there’s a big conference planned.

Do get out of your hotel and plan in a trip to the Grand Canyon, it’s nature’s answer to Las Vegas!


Viva Las Vegas!

Viva Las VegasDedicated to “putting the Sin back into Casino” and dubbed ‘Disneyland for Grown Ups’, Las Vegas is quite simply the most outrageous, hedonistic and mind-blowing playground you will ever have the pleasure of visiting. Hopelessly addictive, it is currently the second most visited destination in the world after Paris, and once you’ve visited, it’s easy to see why.

Situated in the Nevada desert, and located miles from any other urban centre, Las Vegas is like an oasis mirage where reproductions of world iconic destinations, such as the Eiffel tower, Venice and ancient Egypt, sit comfortably side-by-side.

It’s totally artificial and a stunning testament to America’s ability to go completely over the top, and it seethes with so much life and excitement that a couple of days can seem like a week! So it shouldn’t surprise you that Las Vegas has been the fastest-growing city in the United States for ten years in a row, and that its growth is so rapid that it is unique in needing two editions of the Yellow Pages printed every year.

And it’s even more impressive when you consider the city itself is only just a century old.

The Las Vegas valley was first settled in the 19th century by Mormon settlers attracted by the green oasis (“Las Vegas” means ‘the meadows’), and the city itself was founded in 1905. Its incredible growth spurt was kicked started after World War II as tourism and gambling became increasing popular (and therefore lucrative), and then after some years in the doldrums during the 80s, it had a major revival in 1989 when magnate Steve Wynn opened The Mirage, Las Vegas’ first megahotel. The city has basically not looked back since and currently attracts over 37 million visitors a year.

There is a relatively high turnover of residents, with an almost equal number arriving and leaving each year. Despite its trade in unreality, Las Vegas is no city of dreams and it will stand you well to remember that at all times, from being realistic about your odds in the casinos to tipping the staff, who are far from luxuriously paid.

When to Visit

When planning your trip, bear in mind the temperatures vary a lot at different times of year, and from daytime to night time, because it is a city in a desert. So the average daytime temperature is 43°C in July and August, down to 20°C in the evening. During the daytime in November and December it averages 16°C, falling to 1°C at night. Las Vegas only has an average of 10cm of rainfall each year, so the heat is very dry. However, when it does rain it really can rain, with as much as 3cm sometimes falling in the space of an hour or two.

Another consideration is to try and avoid Las Vegas when there is a huge conference going on, which is most common in the spring, although they do happen all year round. When the conference circuses come to town, all the available 102,000+ rooms seem to disappear overnight, rates for everything go up like rockets, and fighting your way to anywhere, from the buffet to the Stratosphere, becomes a challenge and extremely time-consuming, which isn’t even remotely amusing if you are only visiting for a few days! Your travel agent should be able to check for you, or alternatively ask your hotel when you are booking. If your visit does coincide with a major conference, seriously think about rescheduling.

And if you are planning a romantic trip to Las Vegas to get married, as over 100,000 couples do every year, then be aware that Valentine’s Day is the most popular wedding day of the year in Las Vegas. Consequently you can queue for up to six hours to get hitched, which maybe isn’t the way you’d ideally choose to spend your wedding day.

Once you have chosen when to go, bear in mind that a direct flight (try BMI and Virgin) takes 11 hours, and that it is much more likely that you will be offered a flight that stops at Fort Worth, Dallas, Chicago or Los Angeles, and that these take 14-15 hours. Las Vegas is in the Pacific timezone, which is basically eight hours behind the UK, so do allow for some body clock adjustment at both ends of the journey. Given both these factors, and the sheer variety and spectacles available in Las Vegas, going for less than five days is probably not going to give you any time at all to enjoy the trip, and a week is a much more realistic option. Luckily there are many good deals available for a week in a top hotel, and with the pound being so strong against the dollar at the moment, anything state-side is incredibly good value. Expect to pay approximately £500 each for a return flight and a week in a top hotel, such as the Mirage, or about £300 for just the return flight.

When you are booking your flight, do try and get one that arrives in the evening – Las Vegas is at its most stunning when you first see it at night all lit up with neon… and its even better if you can organise to see it first by stretch limo from the airport! This isn’t as difficult or as expensive as you might imagine. Basically, if you have six people in your party, or can join up with others to make up a party of six who are staying in the same general area, then the cost of hiring a limo between you is on a par with you each taking the airbus shuttle – and a whole heap more luxurious and exciting! The limousine shuttles are run by Las Vegas Limousines under the name of Airline Limousine Corporation (ALC), just look on the airport diagrams for their location at each airports.

You can also book one to take you back at the end of the holiday (they have a reputation for being more reliable and time conscious than the shuttles), just ask the driver for the number and book it ahead of your departure date.