09 May 5 Things You Should Never Do in Vegas
If you’re visiting Vegas for the first time, you’ll doubtless be arriving full of hope, expectation and disposable income. Fast forward seven days and it’s a broken shell of a human being that crawls onto the plane to catch the redeye home. It’s not that you failed to anticipate the potential for finishing with less than you started out with; unless you’re a serious bettor or are seriously deluded, no one plots a course for Nevada with the intention of cleaning out The Bellagio and making off with the biggest haul since the Ocean’s 11 crew came to town.
You need to acknowledge though that Las Vegas is a place where dreams are made… and broken. It’s a place where fortunes are made… and then promptly lost again. And it’s a place where expectations can be wildly exceeded… or not as the case may be.
Make no mistake, Las Vegas is a beautiful, glimmering place where you can have the time of your life – and will have the time of your life if you follow our guide to what not to do. If you’re a Vegas virgin though, you’ll likely be approaching your trip to America’s casino heartland with a mixture of fevered anticipation and, well, fevered anticipation.
And that’s a good thing. We’re certainly not about to burst your bubble. The fact that grown adults can get as excited over a forthcoming trip as a kid headed to Disneyland is a wonderful thing. At the risk of being the voice of reason however, don’t be like your mate Crazy Dave.
Everyone knows a Crazy Dave who went to Vegas with the boys and was found, on their first night, wandering The Strip in just their socks, with zero recollection of losing their threads, their phone and their dignity, or of winning that $1,000 chip which turned up, of all places, stashed inside their…anyway, don’t be like Mad Dave. He didn’t read our guide to Vegas and look where it got him. Save yourself some regret and the cost of a replacement iPhone, outfit and spouse by committing the following must-nots to heart.
Straying too far off the beaten track
The Las Vegas strip and its ancillary streets are a glittering world of fantasy where the rich, the famous and the wannabe rich and famous hang out. Venture too far off the beaten track however and you’ll wind up somewhere off Balzar Avenue, aka the third most dangerous district in the US, where tramps and hookers joust it out for street space and life is cheaper than a dollar chip. Stray into the wrong part of town and you’re gonna have a bad time.
Failing to learn the rules
In addition to learning the rules of life – you know, the ones that tell you not to accompany strangers promising various vices down dark alleyways – you should learn the rules of the game. Which game? All of them, or at least whichever ones you intend to play. Otherwise, after busting out at the poker tables, you’ll find yourself drunkenly playing baccarat for the first – and last – time and before you know it you’ve lost the house, the kids, the dog and your right kidney to an Asian gentleman who offered to bankroll you and was extremely polite…at first.
Learning the rules won’t save you from losing spectacularly, but it will save you from looking like the newbiest newb in Newbville after over betting the pot in hold ‘em.
It’s worth noting that a number of casinos offer beginners’ lessons, such as Circus Circus and the Excalibur, and there are also low limit casinos where you can get a feel for things before venturing into Vegas’ flagship casinos. If you’re wondering just which casinos to hit up for these ‘lessons of a lifetime’ then we found the interactive map of all things Vegas at Casinopedia a useful tool
Exceeding your budget
If you’ve budgeted for it and have had a whale of a time in the process, losing a few bucks – or even more than a few bucks – in Vegas can still be a hugely enjoyable experience. It’s not like you’d banked on coming home with that money anyway. If you hadn’t budgeted on it however, the pounding headache you’ll wake up with in the morning is nothing compared to the pain you’ll feel after checking your bank balance. If you think you won’t be able to trust yourself after a few drinks and a few hands of your chosen game then don’t trust yourself: set maximum daily withdrawal limits before you leave home, don’t take your credit card with you or hand it to your spouse for the duration of the trip – assuming they’re more sensible than you are.
Speaking of budgets, saving money in Vegas consists of more than simply avoiding the temptation to put everything on black. You don’t have to stay in a resort hotel and you don’t have to eat in a famous restaurant every single night; by all means incorporate this into your trip – you’re there to have fun after all – but the rest of the time it’s possible to save some serious bucks without impacting upon your enjoyment of the Vegas experience. Odds are you aren’t gonna be doing a whole lot of sleeping while you’re there, so what’s the point of paying over the odds for a hotel you’re hardly gonna see the inside of?
Paying too much for taxis
If a taxi driver asks if it’s your first time in Vegas (as they inevitably will), the short answer is “No”. The slightly longer answer is “No so don’t even dream of taking me on the scenic route to the hotel, I am mapping this on my phone and if you deviate to avoid anything other than a pothole in the road, I will notice and I will let you know I’ve noticed and then we’ll get into a shouting match and then things will just get awkward”. Not all cab drivers are on a mission to short you it should be noted, but with $15 million a year claimed in “long hauling” – taking longer routes than necessary – it’s a practice that’s all too prevalent. Long hauling is for planes. Short hauling is for Vegas veterans who know the score.
We’ve encouraged you to avoid the darker side of Las Vegas, but Nevada has a whole lot to pleasures to offer away from the strip – and what’s more they don’t involve risking life and life savings at the mercy of ne’er-do-wells in the seedy side of town. From the Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon, all kinds of world-class attractions can be enjoyed once you’ve made Nevada your base for a few days. So go on: step outside the realms of the resort for a day and get some sunlight on your pasty face. It’ll do you a power of good.
So now you know what not to do in Vegas, all that’s left is to focus on what you should do: have a whale of a time, experience more excitement than ought to be humanly possible for any mortal over the age of eight and to return home with enough hell-raising stories to make Crazy Dave seem like the Dalai Lama.