Plan Your Trip to Las Vegas
When to go
Hotel occupancy is typically more than 90 percent on weekends, so those seeking low rates or wishing to avoid crowds should not book stays on weekends or holidays or during major conventions. Expect warm days and cool nights most of the year, and virtually no rain. Daily highs average about 60 degrees in winter and a scorching 100 or more in summer.
Ways to save: Consult the convention calendar to avoid high-priced convention periods. Vegas hotel websites typically show the lowest daily rates for each month, making it easy to plan a trip when the price is right.
Where to stay
With more than 150,000 hotel rooms — more than any other U.S. city — Vegas will leave you spoiled for choice. Depending on timing and promotions, you could pay less than $50 a night (minus dreaded resort fees) for decent budget Strip casino resorts such as Excalibur, Flamingo and Luxor. More upscale lodgings, such as Caesars Palace, start closer to $100, while rates vary at the city’s newest resorts, including the Strip’s Resorts World and Circa Resort & Casino downtown. Luxe favorites include Wynn Las Vegas and its sister resort, Encore. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s site lets you search hotels by location and type.
Be prepared for resort fees that can add as much as $45 daily, or book a hotel without fees like the Best Western Plus Casino Royale on the Strip.
Checking in to a 4,000-room resort at peak times can mean an hour standing in line, unless you’re a high roller or hold an elite players club card, available for free at every casino. Many resorts, including all MGM Resorts properties, offer mobile phone check-in or a room-key kiosk. If you’re desperate, visit the VIP check-in area with a big smile or a $20 bill for the clerk. Or choose a smaller hotel, such as the 188-room Cromwell.
In addition to wheelchair-accessible rooms with roll-in showers, most major resorts have in-room strobe lights to alert hearing-impaired guests to emergencies. Hotels are cutting back on smoking in rooms, but often you must walk through smoky casinos to access guest floors. If fumes bother you, consider nonsmoking properties without gaming, such as Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas or the all-suites Vdara. Park MGM is the first smoke-free gaming property on the Strip. Newer hotels typically have the best air filtration systems.
Ways to save: Seek air-hotel packages. Sleep downtown (it’s spiffing up) or off-Strip for lower rates. Four Queens Hotel and Casino (no resort fee), El Cortez Hotel & Casino and Downtown Grand are among the many value options. Off-Strip, M Resort Spa Casino and Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa cater to those who seek luxury for less, plus a free airport shuttle. Booking accommodations with a kitchen or kitchenette at properties like the Platinum Hotel or Signature at MGM Grand will save you a small fortune on meals; there are several grocery stores close to the Strip. Players club cards sometimes win room discounts.
How to get there
In 2021, nearly 40 million travelers passed through Harry Reid International Airport (LAS), a dice throw from the Strip. Be prepared for backups at security checkpoints during busy times: Sundays, after big events and when a large convention ends. Hotel concierges advise getting to the airport at least two hours before flights — sooner if you’re checking a bag or require assistance or it’s a crazy travel day. If you’re early, slot machines by the boarding gates give you one last crack at a win.
With the introduction of parking fees at most Vegas resorts, you can pay $10 or more an hour for self-parking. Unless you want to take a day trip or explore around town, forget about a car. If you do drive, however, it’s much easier to find a parking space on the higher levels or on the roof of resort parking garages.
Ways to save: If your hotel doesn’t offer a free shuttle, book a SuperShuttle in advance or take public buses. All can carry wheelchair users. Buses offer those 60 and over reduced fares. Lines for taxis can be long; avoid them by summoning a lower-cost ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft. Taxis accommodating wheelchairs are available via dispatchers. The local transportation commission offers $3 shared-ride paratransit service.
Activities to arrange before you go
Foodies determined to dine at a celebrated chef’s restaurant should book when making their travel plans. Same goes for those wanting private cabanas during pool season or spa-goers seeking specific services. To secure stellar seats at popular shows, reserve weeks or months ahead. Avoid waiting in line at attractions (such as the High Roller Observation Wheel and Eiffel Tower) by buying tickets in advance.
Ways to save: Scores of websites offer discounts for shows and attractions, so comparison shop. Try Vegas.com, LasVegas.com and each show’s box office. Last-minute buyers can score deals via Tix4tonight or by visiting one of its booths in resorts or on the Strip. Being a Las Vegas Advisor member (starting at $37 a year) gets you special offers and a coupon book for hotels, shows, bars and restaurants. Also, take note: ATM fees at resorts on the Strip are as high as $9.99. If you must get cash on the Strip, go to a Walgreens, a CVS or Casino Royale. Their ATMs have the lowest fees ($3 to $3.25).
What to pack
Racking up your 10,000 daily steps in Vegas is as easy as watching bills vanish into a slot machine. Our advice: Wear comfy shoes. You’ll easily log three miles or more each day walking on the Strip or traversing the vast premises of 4,000- to 6,000-room casino hotels. Fashionistas who won’t ditch their stilettos go barefoot and carry them from place to place, or they pop a crisp $20 into a Rollasole shoe vending machine — located in Strip malls like the Grand Canal Shoppes and Fashion Show Mall — to get a flexible pair of flats.
Otherwise, check your inhibitions at your closet door. You’ll see many visitors flaunting it in tight dresses, sequined tops and other flashy duds. But casual wear, such as T-shirts and shorts, works almost everywhere except fancy restaurants and clubs. Men don’t need a blazer or tie — just a long-sleeved shirt and nice pants for formal places. Wear layers and bring a jacket in winter; it gets chilly, especially at night. Pack sunscreen if you’ll be strolling the Strip or lolling poolside in the strong sun.
If you drink, stay tethered to a responsible companion and don’t forget to stay hydrated. This is the desert, after all. Tourist areas are well patrolled; even in the wee hours, you’ll likely feel comfortable on the Strip or in crowded areas downtown. Watch your wallet or purse, and don’t be tempted by sidewalk hustlers.