Saturday, March 26, 2005

What's Posted Here, Stays Here.

There are few things I am comfortable with when talking about traveling. I'm not sure what type of money they use in Iran, I don't know if you need a visa to get into the Czech Republic, hell, even that "one Germany" thing still throws me.

I know Vegas. If you haven't been to Las Vegas before, what the hell is wrong with you? Also, you should go. Plan now - airfare is wicked cheap at the moment. Here's a list of my personal tips - things that aren't widely mentioned elsewhere.

1. There are plenty of cheap hotels in Vegas. However, don't subscribe to the idea that you will only be staying at the hotel - you will go out to gamble. You will spend the vast majority of your gambling dollars at the hotel you are staying in. Make sure it is someplace you are going to enjoy spending time in. Personal Favorite: TI

2. Only purchase tickets ahead of time to shows that you are sure will sell out. Check out discussion boards to see if the show you are interested is that popular. Tickets aren't refundable, and you don't want to be tied down to too many events.

3. "Free" drinks while you are gambling are a myth. At most casinos the drinks are "free," but you're going to get a watered down version of something while spending much more on gambling than you would on alcohol at a bar.

  • At shoddier casinos, order a beer - most of the time they will bring it to you in the bottle, and they can't water that down. Some will serve you beer in a plastic cup - why the hell are you there? You deserve better.

  • In upscale casinos, go for the mixed drinks. You can order better than rail and they won't water down the drinks. Southern Comfort on ice at Paris will actually be Southern Comfort on ice. Imagine that.

    4. If you're planning to see the Grand Canyon - schedule a full day. Also, check the weather at the canyon for the time you are visiting. It can be 70 degrees in Vegas and snowing at the canyon.

    5. Even if you're not planning on doing a lot of gambling, read up on the rules and smart ways to play. This book really helped me - who knew MENSA was meeting regularly in Vegas?

    6. You will do more gambling than you think you will. That being said - everyone is correct when they tell you to know how much you can spend a day and try to stick with it. Leave your ATM card in your hotel room if you have to. There is a crazy number of ATMs in Vegas, and they're almost as addictive as slots.

    7. Do yourself a favor and spring for one of the better buffets in the city. There's a great world buffet at Rio, and the dinner buffet at Bellagio is well worth the money. Avoid very cheap buffets that feature mostly fried foods - or you'll pay for it later.

    8. Spring for one nice sit-down dinner. Don't be a buffet slut.

    9. Devise a plan with your travelmate(s) about what to do, hotel room-wise, if you meet someone you want to get ... erm ... closer to. This is, after all, Las Vegas. Note: Do NOT try to devise this plan if you are traveling with your spouse. It's incredibly easy to file for divorce in Vegas.

    10. Find information on the internet that will give you the straight dope. Don't believe hotel websites or sites sponsored by hotels or airlines. Cheapo Vegas is a personal favorite - it carries advertising for travel sites, but it's informative and a fun read.

  • No matter what you feel like doing - if you're there for big production shows or happen to be a professional slot jockey, Vegas has what you want. Liberace Museum? Wilderness Hiking? Thrill Rides? Fine Art? You simply need to find it.

    11. Visit the Hoover Dam! Find some time - it only takes a few hours. It's freakin incredible and there's no video poker there to tempt you.

    12. Mix it up. Fancy hotel - total dive. Tourist trap - local hangout. $10 a hand blackjack [nearly anywhere on the strip] - penny slots. Crazy, wild lack of inhibition - erm... no, stick with crazy, wild lack of inhibition.

    At 3/27/2005 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I've been to Vegas several times and the simple advice you have given is right on target. I laughed out loud when I read #9.


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