Jeannie loves to visit Las Vegas and share her best tips and tricks with first-time visitors to the strip.
Planning Your Las Vegas Trip
So you've been planning your trip to Vegas for a while. Your plane just landed and you are ready to get to your hotel. Now what? You can plan to rent a car, but the traffic is not fun on the Vegas strip. So now what?
I am here to help! You will be a pro at traveling around Vegas in no time!
Cabs are a very obvious mode of transportation in Vegas. You will find cabs everywhere in Las Vegas. Many of the cab companies have been around for a long time and it seems like the hotels favor them. You'll find plenty of cabs lined up at the airport, as well as any hotel in the area.
Should you take a cab? Some travelers will tell you "yes" and some "no." If it's your first time and you are trying not to complicate matters, you could take a cab to your hotel. The cabbies in Vegas know their way around. They also usually have interesting stories to tell and they know information about the best local spots. For this reason, you may want to opt for a cab. It's probably the easiest way to get around, but it can be expensive.
Some cab drivers love taking advantage of tourists. It should not take very long to get from the airport to your hotel if you are on the strip, so if your drive seems long and winding, your cab driver is just trying to milk you for more money. This is why using an Uber or Lyft may be your best bet in Vegas if you are on a budget.
Lyft or Uber
So let's talk about the pros and cons of using Lyft or Uber while in Vegas.
- Less expensive than cabs
- Driver usually takes you the fastest route
- Longer wait than a cab
- You need to find the "rideshare" pick up spot
- Apps don't always know where to direct your driver in Vegas
Yes, this is a topic that needs to be addressed: the apps don't always work right in Las Vegas! Hopefully both Uber and Lyft are working on this issue, but because there are so many tourist spots in Vegas, the apps often get confused and place your location at the wrong hotel.
I am a big fan of Lyft and Uber and I used them numerous times the last time I traveled to Vegas. If I was getting picked up at a tourist spot that was not surrounded by a lot of other popular pick up spots, then everything went fine. An example of this is the Rio, which is located off the strip. However, when trying to get picked up at the Venetian, the app kept sending the driver to the wrong hotel. I even texted the driver and attempted to direct him, but it did not work out.
What I found is that you have to stand in certain areas designated only for Lyft or Uber, but even then the app will sometimes direct the driver to the wrong place. If you use Lyft, you can often pick another spot from a drop down list, so that helps. Sometimes texting the driver your exact location will work, too.
The bottom line is, Lyft and Uber are relatively new to the Vegas scene, but the cabs have been there for decades. If you are in a hurry, you may want to use a cab if you are at a hotel with cabs waiting in the front. If you are visiting an area off the strip, you are better off getting a Lyft or Uber because their apps are easier to use than calling a cab.
If you are up for an adventure, walking could be your cup of tea. Fun fact about Vegas: The hotels look way closer on Google maps than they actually are in person. If you've got your walking shoes on, by all means, walk all over the place in Las Vegas. In some situations, it is really your only mode of transportation.
Please keep in mind, there are many walkways in Vegas to get from one hotel to another. Look for them and use them! There are walkways across streets so you don't have to walk out in traffic. They are there for a reason and perfect for getting around quickly. If you want to really see the sights, it is a great way to travel.
My only warning to anyone going to Vegas in the summer is the heat. It gets hot. When I say it gets hot, I don't mean it gets a little hot. I am talking about triple digits, scorching hot. However, it is a dry heat. I've experienced 115 degrees in Las Vegas and then 90 degrees in the humid heat on the east coast, and I would honestly take 115 degrees in Vegas any day. So if you don't mind the dry heat, walking in Vegas during the summer may not be so bad.
One of my favorite ways to get around in Las Vegas is the monorail that runs along one side of the strip. It starts at MGM Grand and ends at SLS. It makes many stops in between, like at the Flamingo in the middle of the strip. If you are staying on that side of the strip, it is an excellent way to get from one end of the strip to the other.
You can buy daily passes or get a multi-day pass. When I am staying in Vegas, I typically get a 4- or 5-day pass. I also recommend downloading the game MyVegas because you can earn points by playing it each day. They often offer a "buy one get one free" deal for the monorail and that really cuts down on costs.
The monorail is great because it starts running at 7 AM and doesn't stop until very late at night (midnight to 3 AM depending on the night). It runs about every 4 to 8 minutes, and it's air conditioned. It's also fun to ride because you get to see the sights of Las Vegas zip by. I highly recommend the monorail because it's so convenient and easy to use.
Oh boy, are we really going to talk about the bus? Yes, we are. I took the bus one time in Las Vegas. It was hot, crowded, and a little expensive as far as buses go. I had a non-alcoholic slush with me and the driver insisted I dump it before I could board the bus. It was not the happiest of public transportation experiences and I personally would not recommend it.
I can say you at least get to hang out with some locals while riding the bus. You can also see Vegas from a very different angle. This is when you get to really experience the terrible Vegas traffic and how horrifically slow it can be trying to travel down the main strip.
The bottom line is, I would have to be really desperate to ride the bus again in Las Vegas. Would I take a cab again? Sure, especially if I am leaving from a hotel on the strip. Would I use Uber or Lyft again in Vegas? Yes, this is especially the case if I am leaving from a restaurant or tourist spot off the strip without any cabs available. And most definitely, I always take the monorail to get back and forth on the strip. I've even been known just to ride it for fun. In the end, fun is what Las Vegas is all about anyway.
© 2019 Jeannie Marie
Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 26, 2019:
Linda, thanks for dropping by. You definitely don't need to gamble to enjoy Vegas. The weather is usually sunny, the pools are great, the shopping is fun, there's so many places to eat, and if you enjoy people watching, it's the place to be.
Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 26, 2019:
Thank you, Liz!
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 23, 2019:
I used to have no interest in Las Vegas because I don't gamble, but a friend who also doesn't gamble has been there several times and loves it. Thanks for sharing this transportation guide. I may need it one day.
Liz Westwood from UK on August 23, 2019:
This article contains helpful advice and useful information for anyone planning a trip to Las Vegas.
Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 23, 2019:
There's something for everyone! I know plenty of people that don't gamble or even drink, but they still enjoy Vegas.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 22, 2019:
Although I’ve never wanted to go to Vegas ever you are now kinda talking me into it.