Planning a trip to Las Vegas? Congratulations! There’s only one thing more exciting than looking forward to a weekend in Vegas, and that’s actually being on a weekend in Vegas.

It’s just about impossible to have a bad time in Sin City unless you’re actually a character in The Hangover (or watching The Hangover). And you might think you know your way around just from the huge number movies and TV shows set there. But it’s a city of surprises, and to get the best out of your trip you’ll need to be prepared.

There’s a good reason why so many visitors come back to Vegas year after year: the more you know, the more you’ll get out of the experience.  Insiders and regular visitors will all have their own tips, tricks and favorite places to make each trip better than the last.

But for your first visit, you can benefit from our experience. Read on for our tips and tricks to make your virgin Vegas voyage a weekend to remember.

Where To Stay

You might be tempted to save your spending money by going for the cheapest hotel you can find – but many a seasoned Las Vegas holidaymaker will tell you this is a bad idea, and liable to end in disappointment.

For an alternative way to save money when booking hotels, look online for sites offering great deals. This is a particularly good option if you’re traveling with friends and want to make a group booking.

Also, keep an eye out for resort fees when you book. Just about every hotel in Las Vegas will charge a resort fee, but some of these fees are higher than others and can add a hidden cost to your bill.

So if you shouldn’t base your hotel choice simply on sorting a list by ‘price: lowest to highest’ and picking the top one, how do you choose from all the hotels out there? It makes sense to consider location: a hotel in the middle of the Strip will give you a good base to get around.

A lot of the typical Vegas experience involves going from one hotel-casino to another, so you’ll get to experience the amenities of many hotels. So when you’re choosing where to stay, think about the facilities that will make a difference where you’re actually staying. Is there a good pool? Does the hotel offer their guests discount coupons for their buffet or entertainment?

What To See And Do (Besides Gambling Every Hour Of The Day And Night)

Las Vegas shows are legendary. From big-name singers to magicians and Cirque du Soleil – every night of the week you can see a once-in-a-lifetime performance in Vegas. Make it even more of a night to remember by opting for a dinner show package.

It’s easy to find great discounts if you know where to look: visit Vegas.com for exclusive deals and many offers you won’t find elsewhere.

If you make a killing in the casino – or just want to bring home some incredible souvenirs – why not treat yourself with a trip to one of LV’s fabulous shopping malls? The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, the Shoppes at the Palazzo and the Fashion Show Mall all have some of the most exclusive, high-end shopping you’ll find anywhere on the planet – but also tons of on-site entertainment and fun stuff to do.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to experience some fabulous Las Vegas sights without spending a lot of money, don’t forget to:

  • Pick up one of the guidebooks they hand out at every casino. They’re full of money-off vouchers for great Las Vegas experiences.
  • Head to the Bellagio fountains for a stunning show every twenty minutes.
  • Keep an eye out for the art you can see all over the Strip. There are sculptures on the street and in many of the hotels; the Bellagio and Cosmopolitan have on-site galleries, displaying exhibitions from around the world; and the Bellagio’s Picasso Restaurant is full of work by the eponymous artist.
  • Take pictures everywhere! But don’t forget that if you take a picture with a costumed character, they’re going to want to be paid.

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Getting Around

When you get in a cab at the airport, your driver is likely to ask if it’s your first time in town. This is not just small talk: it’s not unusual for your driver to take a longer route than necessary if they think they can get away with it. Consider checking out the quickest route on Google Maps beforehand so you can politely call out your driver if it looks like they’re trying to rip you off.

The Las Vegas Strip is more than four miles long, and the hotels are always a little further apart than you expect – everything in Vegas is so cartoonishly big that it can be hard to keep a sense of perspective. Make use of the Monorail, trams and the Big Bus tour, and expect to take at least a few cabs during your trip – don’t be surprised if you have to wait a half hour or longer for a taxi, especially at busy times.

But walking along the Strip is all part of the experience, so leave some time for that too. You’ll find pedestrian footbridges at the main traffic intersections, which make it easier to get around but will add a little time to any journey. Bring water, sunscreen and shoes you can comfortably walk in – and walk through the hotels when you can, especially if your trip is during the summer months, to take advantage of the air conditioning. Before you head out for the day (or night) it’s worth taking five minutes to find the shortest, coolest route with the best views.

And don’t forget you can take a drink along for the walk if you’d like to! It’s totally legally to drink on the street in Las Vegas.

Where (And When) To Eat

One thing that really surprises a lot of first-time visitors to Vegas is just how well you can eat there. Whatever your preference and budget, you’ll find something in Las Vegas to cater to you, from great value hotel buffets to three-star Michelin restaurants. Many Vegas hotels have earned themselves a fantastic reputation due to their top chefs and great relationships with suppliers of quality produce. Do a little research before you make the trip out there, and you can ensure that every breakfast, lunch and dinner you eat in Vegas will be among the greatest highlights of your trip.

You might find it easier to get dinner if you avoid peak time. Wait times – and lines, if you’re eating at a buffet – can be pretty wild between about  6pm and 8pm, so head there earlier or later if you’re flexible about your schedule.

You’re all set for your first trip to Vegas. We’re so excited for you! Like over 40 million visitors every year, you’re going to enjoy shows, casinos, restaurants, attractions and experiences you will never forget – and if you follow our advice you’ll do so without wasting a second, spending a cent more than you have to, or missing out on a single unmissable moment.

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