This beginners guide to Las Vegas will teach you everything you need to know about Sin City, afterall, it’s a place like no other.
We’ve been to Vegas multiple times over the years, and honestly, the city is always changing. There’s always something new to experience and something new to learn. Maybe that’s why we love it.
In the middle of the Mojave Desert, the gambling capital of the world isn’t often somewhere you’d think of as a budget destination, however, it definitely can be.
Many of the tips in this beginners guide to Las Vegas we didn’t know on our first trip – I wish we had.
So, I hope the lessons we’ve learnt you can implement on your own trip to Vegas to save you time, money and enhance your overall visit to this incredible city.
Table of Contents
- 1. Drinks (Inc Alcohol) Are Free When You’re Gambling In The Casino
- 2. You Can Get Free Hotel Stays, Buffets & Shows With MyVegas
- 3. The Grand Canyon & Hoover Dam Are Just A Day Trip Away!
- 4. The Bellagio Fountain Show Runs Everyday From 3pm Until Midnight
- 5. Ubers & Lyfts Are The Cheapest Way To Get Around
- 6. Save Big Bucks On Gambling, Shows & More With Players Clubs
- 7. ATMs Charge BIG Service Fees
- 8. There’s More To Vegas Than Just Gambling, It Has Some Quirky & Super Interesting Museums!
- 9. If You’ve Got Time & On A Budget, Take The Monorail
- 10. Make The Most Of Jetlag & Visit The ‘Welcome To Vegas’ Sign Early
1. Drinks (Inc Alcohol) Are Free When You’re Gambling In The Casino
When playing in the casino you’ll be approached by a cocktail waitress offering you drinks.
These drinks are free!
Sure you have to pay to play on the slots or at the tables, however, you’ll get the experience of gambling without the expense of drinks. This is a great way to save money in Las Vegas, or at least make your money go further!
Helen and I tend to play together on one machine at just 25 cents a go, in return, we’ll get an alcoholic drink each which would otherwise cost us around $5 each. Just don’t forget to tip the cocktail waitress!
2. You Can Get Free Hotel Stays, Buffets & Shows With MyVegas
MyVegas is a mobile and Facebook game operated by MGM Casinos. In return for playing games, you’ll be rewarded with points.
These points can then be converted into a whole host of rewards including free hotel stays, buffets, shows, rides on the monorail and even cruises!
Better still, it’s not actually as hard as you think.
We managed to exchange our coins for multiple stays at various MGM properties during our stay (including the Bellagio) and as these rewards also include the resort fee we had nothing to pay.
3. The Grand Canyon & Hoover Dam Are Just A Day Trip Away!
If there’s one day trip you take during your time in Vegas, make it a trip to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.
The West Rim and the Grand Canyon Skywalk is located 120 miles from Vegas. This journey takes around 2 and a half hours by car. Alternatively, the South Rim is around 250 miles from Vegas and takes around 4 hours, this is considered by many as the true Grand Canyon experience.
Pro Tip: The ultimate way to see the Grand Canyon is on a helicopter flight. This experience doesn’t come cheap, but it’s totally worth it!
We opted to take a bus tour to the Grand Canyon Skywalk which included a stop at the Hoover Dam as during this visit we were travelling with my elderly parents.
4. The Bellagio Fountain Show Runs Everyday From 3pm Until Midnight
The Bellagio Fountain show is one of the most Instagram-able spots in Las Vegas, and it’s easy to see why. This free performance is set in the 8.5-acre man-made lake and takes place daily from 3pm until midnight.
You’ll find that it’s much easier to get a front-row view of the fountains during the afternoon (at which point the fountains run every half hour) than it is on an evening (at which point the fountains run every 15 minutes).
However, there’s something much more magical about seeing the performance in the dark. To get the best view at this time arrive early and walk away from the main strip to either side of the hotel entrances where you’ll find there are less people.
For the ultimate experience book a table with a fountain view at one of the restaurants inside the Bellagio that look directly out onto the lake.
We upgraded to a one-bedroom suite during our stay at the Bellagio and while we had the view, we didn’t have the music (as the windows are so thick to block out excess noise) which really adds to the overall experience in my opinion.
5. Ubers & Lyfts Are The Cheapest Way To Get Around
Places are definitely further away than at first they may seem in Vegas. The strip, for example, is 4.5 miles long, which is somewhat impossible to walk in the blazing desert heat.
If you’re looking to easily travel from the airport to the strip or between hotels then ordering an Uber or a Lyft is definitly the way to go.
Personally, I’ve found Lyfts are more affordable and you can use our code CORA86601 for a discount on your first ride.
6. Save Big Bucks On Gambling, Shows & More With Players Clubs
Even if you don’t plan on doing much gambling during your time in Vegas, you should still sign up for all the casino players clubs and reward programmes.
Swipe your reward card everywhere you go within a property and with every purchase you make.
Even just having the reward card can often be seen as a benefit when applying for upgrades, and discounts. An while you might not get enough points to get any freebies on your first trip, you should by your second.
I know from personal experience we didn’t bother with this on our first trip, however, I quickly came to regret this decision after our second and third trip having missed out on some big savings.
7. ATMs Charge BIG Service Fees
It’s not hard to find an ATM in Vegas, there’s at least six on every casino floor. However, the cost of withdrawing cash from them comes at a price.
ATM service charge fees in Vegas run between $3 to $5 per transaction. Which of course, makes withdrawing $40 for dinner a waste.
Instead, try and pay by debit or credit card wherever possible and only use cash when gambling in the casino and for tips.
If you do have to withdraw from the ATM then plan your expenses so you can minimise the number of withdrawals you’ll have to make during your trip.
8. There’s More To Vegas Than Just Gambling, It Has Some Quirky & Super Interesting Museums!
If you’re a fan of quirky museums then you’re in luck because Vegas has some of the best!
Some of my favourites include;
The Neon Museum – One of the Instagram hot spots just outside of the city. This 2.62 acre site features signs from old casinos and other businesses.
The Mob Museum – An extensive display of items from law enforcements battle against the bad guys both in the US and worldwide.
The National Atomic Testing Museum – Home to a vast amount of documentation on the history of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site, in the desert north of Las Vegas.
If you’re wanting to make most of the Las Vegas attractions then you can save big bucks by investing in a Las Vegas Pass.
9. If You’ve Got Time & On A Budget, Take The Monorail
The Las Vegas Monorail runs 3.9 miles starting at the SAHARA hotel and finishing at MGM Grand Station on the strip.
With a 1-day pass costing just $13 per person, it’s an affordable way to get around – especially if your hotel is one of those with a Monorail station attached.
We personally took great advantage of the Monorail when staying north of the strip at The Westgate. I estimate that over our 3-night stay here we saved at least $50 compared to booking Lyfts.
10. Make The Most Of Jetlag & Visit The ‘Welcome To Vegas’ Sign Early
One of the major sights in Las Vegas is the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign which is located about one mile south of Mandalay Bay.
Queues here often run around 30 minutes during the day, however, if you happen to have jet lag come here as the sun rises to be first in line – and see one of the most awesome sunrises in the world.