So you’re thinking about booking a trip to Las Vegas? As a four-time veteran of the Vegas scene, I’ve got some golden nuggets of wisdom for you. It seems that the people who don’t do so well in Vegas are the ones who compare everything to back home. No, this isn’t Melbourne/Mackay/Mildura – this is Vegas! Yes Vegas is slightly tacky but you know what else it is? FUN.
When in Vegas, you’ve got the chance to eat, drink and do things you wouldn’t do back at home. So get in there and roll around with Vegas. Perhaps even try and ‘out-Vegas’ the city of Vegas itself? Order that ridiculous cocktail. Eat that massive, bacon-stuffed waffle at the breakfast buffet. Pay good money to see the Michael Jackson themed-Cirque Du Soleil show. Ride that rollercoaster on top of the New York casino. And so on and so forth.
May the odds be ever in your favour
Just in case you missed the memo, Vegas is a city built on the hedonistic pursuit of filthy lucre, so you really shouldn’t be shocked when you see slot machines at the airport upon arrival. If you think you’re too good to gamble at the airport then good on you (but I bet you a fiver you’ll be playing them in the departure lounge on your way out).
Beyond the airport, the casinos have all the slots you need for a good time. There are old-timey one-armed bandits and themed slot machines that cleverly play on your childhood memories. How can you resist a Ghostbusters, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off slot machine? If you prefer your slot machines to serenade you, then Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Dean Martin are all represented in the slot line up. But if want to try your luck with a modern entertainer then the Britney Spears slot machine is just asking for you to “hit me baby one more time”.
Then there’s the all-singing, all-dancing, revival show known as Craps. That’s the table where you’ll see packs of strangers high-fiving, fist-bumping, chest-slamming and hugging every time a seven isn’t rolled by the shooter (the person with the dice in hand). If you’re short on time and want to fit in a swim, then try a game of swim-up Blackjack in Caesar’s Palace. When in Rome…
Public service announcement: by all means, have fun but best not to turn into Gamblor lest you end up like Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!
When you’re at home you might enjoy smugly sipping an artisanal craft ale or quaffing a glass of award-winning Pinot Noir, but when in Vegas novelty drinks must be purchased at least once. At the Tropicana you can drink out of big plastic pineapple which conveniently doubles as a money box when you’re done with it, and at the Excalibur you can sip alcohol out of a silver goblet just like Tyrion Lannister does in Game of Thrones.
The first few sips might taste a little rough, but as your senses adjust to the strong coconut-aroma coming from your goblet of premixed daiquiri, you’ll be sipping ‘em down like no one’s business and lining up for a cheap refill in no time.
Want to go to a different casino but haven’t finished your drink? Doesn’t matter! You’re in Vegas baby. Carry that oversized plastic cowboy boot filled with Pina Colada down the street and drink it with pride. Viva Las Vegas indeed.[related_articles]3230,23811,27675[/related_articles]
Eat it. Just eat it.
When not gambling and drinking, most people in Vegas are eating (but they’re definitely not #cleaneating). If you hit the jackpot then by all means treat yourself to some mighty fine Maine lobster at Nobu, but if you’re not flush with cash then dodge the people in cheap suits with fluorescent smiles trying to sell you timeshare apartments and make a beeline for a buffet.
If you’re serious about eating then go all-in and buy round-the-clock access to a range of buffets. Known as the Buffet of Buffets, for one fee you get a sweet wristband that allows you to eat all day and all night at different buffets around town for a period of 24 hours. Only in Vegas.
If sweet treats are more your thing then M&M’s World offers a sugar rush-inducing four floors of chocolate, while at Serendipity 3 you’ll find a frozen hot chocolate reported to contain 20 different kinds of chocolate in the blend. Respect.
Team with the theme
When it comes to accommodation, the themed casino hotel is a thing of beauty to be embraced, not scorned. If you want a normal hotel with understated furnishings, then visit any other city in America.
In Vegas, you can choose to sleep in a faux-Egyptian pyramid at the Luxor, have a classy weekend in Paris, or wake up in ye olde England within the medieval-meets-modernity confines of the Excalibur. Whether you choose to go for the Euro-style luxury of the Venetian or opt to stay in the masquerade party fever dream known as Harrah’s, staying on the Strip is a sure fire way to maximise playtime and minimise time spent in taxi queues.
Buy the ticket. Take the ride.
One does not simply go to Vegas and complain about the type of performances on offer. When it comes to shows, Vegas has no shame and neither should you. Where else in the world would you get to see the likes of Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Cher, Olivia Newton-John and Barry Manilow? Where else outside of a karaoke room would it be acceptable to sing along to ‘How Can We Be Lovers (If We Can’t Be Friends?)’ or ‘My Heart Will Go On’?
In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, the masterful author of Fear and Loathing in Vegas: Buy the ticket. Take the ride.[qantas_widget code=LAS]Check out Qantas flights to Vegas here.[/qantas_widget]
Jo is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist who knows that the best stories are yielded from time spent on the road, not behind a desk. She writes about travel, pop culture, sustainability, nature and indigenous issues for a bunch of Australian newspapers, magazines, journals and websites. Her work reporting on scientific expeditions means she has lived and worked in some of the harshest environments on the planet including Antarctica, the Simpson Desert and the means streets of Sydney.