Tips for Taking a Las Vegas Vacation

People associate a lot of different things to a Las Vegas vacation. Some people may picture a booze and gambling-filled party, while some may imagine a nice vacation away from home with the kids when they think about a trip to Sin City. In the late 60s and early 70s, the Las Vegas vacation industry really flourished. This is largely due to the efforts to reinvent the image of Las Vegas into a playground for adults.

The Las Vegas of that period was full of glitzy casinos, extravagant shows, and bars that were open night and day. You could catch a show, gamble all night, throw back a whiskey sour with breakfast at 8am and go to sleep for a few hours before doing it all over again in a Las Vegas vacation during those years.

The nature of a Las Vegas vacation became something completely different in the early 90s. Las Vegas casinos began to attract families who were traveling together to compete with the introduction of attractions like New York New York’s roller coaster and MGM Grand’s child-friendly environment.

Casino owners realized they could attract the all-night gamblers and high rollers while catering to a completely new crowd, the families, who brought their own money to play in the Las Vegas sands. As a result, kid-friendly shows, restaurants, and attractions began to pop up. Many casinos also offered child play areas so mom and dad could still go off to drink and gamble.

The present Las Vegas vacation represents an odd hybrid between the adult and child’s playground. Visitors can now observe roller coasters rumble over casino floors where slot machines ping and whiz and roulette wheels clatter. These days, advertisements for escort agencies litter the sidewalks and ads for topless shows are displayed on taxi cabs next to ads for Sponge Bob Square Pants because of the legalization of prostitution in Vegas.

The adult-playground feeling still persists, although the strip has reinvented its image as a family-friendly location. There are still more high-end restaurants and nightclubs than just about any other small area in the U.S., and money and champagne still flow freely in this city.

The Las Vegas environment is a little tougher for teenagers, although adults and young children alike can enjoy a Las Vegas vacation. The majority of the adult-orientated attractions are off-limits to teenagers because those under 21 can’t drink, nor gamble in Las Vegas. Vacationing in Vegas may entice older teens to try out more adult forms of entertainment so you should find another vacation destination if you’re a family with a few teenagers.

Las Vegas "Whales"

What Las Vegas jargon names “whales” is in fact the creme of the high rollers species. They are a handful of people that in some opinions don’t exceed 500 individuals in the world. Las Vegas hoteliers are nuts about them; some claim four or five of those whales bet much more than the rest of the thousands customers they receive daily. No wonder they are suspected of going as far as selling their first born child to get one of those whales into their gaming area.

Five tips to recognise a whale

* the size of the bet: $50,000 is the low end; Australian tycoon Kerry Packer likes to play seven blackjack hands at one time; his top bet was $375,000;

* the line of credit: 4 to 5 million dollars for one weekend; a fortune for us ordinary earthlings, pocket money for a “whale”;

* the treat: whales get all the freebies from the hotel they play: fine dining, luxury accommodations, private jet transportation, expensive gifts… often the US visa for the Asian high rollers;

* the escort: it usually includes bodyguards, beautiful gals and close friends; Las Vegas history saved for the record a legendary tale in which the Saudi Prince Adnan Khashoggi dropped for a bet at Stardust with an entourage of a dozen people;

* the generosity: whether they win or loose, everybody’s happy as long as they play; “whales” don’t spare tips & gifts.

While the “whales” number just a few hundreds in the world, the amounts they can afford to lose are purely impressive; that is why hoteliers pay specially trained staff for “whales hunting”. The Asians form a big part of this exclusivist market, about 80 %. The bottom line is to keep them coming in, at the same rate, after nine eleven.

Unfortunately, Las Vegas seems to be experiencing a decrease in whale strands these days. One reason, that all hoteliers agree about, is they don’t get as much privacy in Las Vegas casinos as they would normally get in other gaming destinations of the world. While hotel owners in Las Vegas await their VIP saloons approved, the “whales” gamble in Macau, Monaco or Australia.

Getting Discounts on Las Vegas Hotel Rooms

High rollers are aggressively courted by the major Las Vegas casinos by offering them discounted or free hotel rooms, free buffets and other “comps” (which is short for complementary offerings). If you’re not quite a big-spender and the hotels aren’t chasing after you, should you try to bluff your way into a free hotel room in Vegas?

Calling a hotel and simply asking for a gambler’s discount may be enough to score a free or deeply discounted hotel room. However, don’t expect it to be a no strings attached offer. You should be prepared to provide answers to questions such as what casino games you usually play, your average bet, how long each day you typically play and how much gambling money you have for the trip. A casino that is providing a deep discount to a first time guest may also ask that you apply for casino credit and give detailed information on your employment and bank accounts.

If you’re willing to jump through the hoops and give up some of your personal information, be aware that your casino play will be closely monitored during your stay. If you don’t give the casino an acceptable amount of play, don’t be surprised if you are charged the normal, non-discounted room rate upon checkout.

A legitimate way to receive Las Vegas hotel discounts is to sign up with the casino’s player’s card program. With a reasonable amount of gambling, you will regularly receive offers for promotions that are invitation-only. If you take the hotel up on the promotional rate, you will still be expected to do most of your gambling at that casino.

Whatever you do, don’t gamble in order to just save a few bucks on a hotel room.

Ten Common Mistakes of Las Vegas, NV Visitors

“We won’t EVER do that again!”. Both experienced and novice Las Vegas visitors make mistakes before and during their trips simply because of their humanity. The English poet Alexander Pope coined the phrase ” To err is human..to forgive is divine”. Planning and executing an enjoyable Las Vegas getaway is truly a learned art and individual visitor’s accounting of their own real or perceived mistakes varies widely due to personal likes, dislikes, budgets, and Vegas visitation experience. Yet, there are some common mistakes that many Las Vegas trekkers have made (including this author). Ten common misplays are described here.

1. Underestimating scale and size of hotel – casinos on the strip:

I once rounded the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard in front of MGM Grand on foot with my significant other. This was our initial trip to Las Vegas and we were in awe of the kitschy visual spectacle that the town is partially famous for. As we walked north in front of MGM, I spotted Caesar’s Palace which appeared to be on the not-so-distant architectural horizon. Wrong , Bubba! As we approached Caesar’s, I was fully prepared to pay someone to toss me into the Las Vegas Boulevard traffic. The sheer inherent size of the monstrous concrete monoliths we refer to as casino – hotels can render us error – prone in judging walking distances. On each and every subsequent Sin City trip , car rental has been a standard occurrence due to this experience.

2. Remaining too long at gambling venues :

Overstaying at an individual table game or slot / video poker machines in attempts to recoup losses is both common and foolhardy. It’s almost always wiser and cheaper to get up and do anything else.

3. Poor or inadequate overall trip planning :

This error can add significant costs to a Vegas trip budget for those who consider costs important. That said, it’s enjoyable to leave some time slots for unplanned, spontaneous activities as well (see next entry).

4. Over – planning Vegas trips :

Visitors who plan out every last detail and minute may exhaust themselves and their entire travel party into a condition of extreme fatigue…or anarchy.

5. Failure to sign up for player’s club and / or casino website email memberships :

This is a massive no-brainer if any gambling at all is anticipated, particularly in light of the current economic environment in Vegas.

6. Gambling at casino games that have an insurmountable house edge :

Keno comes to mind, despite the fact that this may upset a large collection of sweet grandmothers.

7. Poor driving habits :

That unique Vegas adrenaline can be a detrimental factor when behind the wheel. Driving as if one’s hair was on fire in order to arrive at the next exciting event can be dangerous. At times this author has committed said crime.

8. Failure to bring comfortable walking shoes :

Simply navigating within a single casino on foot can resemble a Trail of Tears at times. Have you ever roamed around and within MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay in uncomfortable footwear?

9. Failure to utilize valet parking services when toting luggage :

This particularly applies for those locales that have parking garages which are a county away from hotel check-in desks. It’s a hike at some of these (eg MGM Grand) even without luggage. Consider valet services anytime toting luggage to and fro , such as arrival and departure days or during hotel changes within the trip. The minimal costs ( visitors can still elect to maneuver their own bags) are usually worth avoiding a marathon trek on concrete.

10. Failure to use alternate access routes to strip hotels when driving :

Driving down Las Vegas Boulevard in heavy traffic conditions can be prohibitively time – consuming. There are some well-known alternate driving routes that can save considerable time and frustration. There are some thoroughfares that roughly parallel Las Vegas Boulevard on the east (Koval Lane and Audrie Street) and west ( Frank Sinatra Drive and Dean Martin / Industrial Road) sides that allow access to the strip properties from behind.