General tips for a smooth trip

Book show tickets in advance

The Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show

Popular productions like the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show often sell out, esp during holiday periods.

Although there are a number of great Vegas shows to choose amongst, many of the more popular productions completely sell out (especially the case during holiday periods). Save yourself some disappointment and book your tickets online prior to your trip! Then your only hassle will be picking up your tickets at the box office. On one occasion, I witnessed a poor couple trying to buy tickets to the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show last minute only to find that the 2 remaining tickets were located nowhere near each other. I guess they really wanted to see the show as they still bought the tickets! Imagine paying $200 a ticket and not even be able to sit with your significant other!

For a really relaxing vacation, base all activities at your resort

Pool at Paris hotel in Vegas

Every once in a while, I like to book a Vegas trip where all activities are at the same resort. This is a truly relaxing alternative as you can cut out the hassle of pushing through crowds and hopping from casino to casino. I recommend picking a resort that has a great show you want to see as the main activity. Next, concentrate on finding fun activities at that resort (spa, restaurants, shopping, etc.). Paris hotel is one of my favorite resorts when I need a low key vacation. They have great restaurants, a nice pool, great shows all the time, and affordable rates.

Wear comfortable shoes & clothing to explore The Strip

I recommend skipping heels in favor of comfortable walking or gym shoes. As you will be doing miles of walking, your feet will definitely thank you later on. Workout clothes, especially during the brutally hot summer season, is also recommended as there is no point in dressing up in 100+ degree weather.

Sunglasses & sunblock is a must

Year-round, you will want to pack sunglasses and sunblock as you would for any sunny destination. Getting burnt while out by the pool might leave you lying in the bed like a lobster missing out on all the fun.

Visit the Welcome to Las Vegas sign early for the best photos

Welcome to Las Vegas sign

As one of the most photographed spots in Vegas, the famous Welcome to Las Vegas line begins to form pretty early in the morning. By 10-11am, there will almost definitely be a full line. To avoid the lengthy wait, set your alarm early and enjoy the resulting crowd free photo opp. The sign is located south of the Mandalay Bay (5100 Las Vegas Blvd. S.).

Advice for those driving in

Driving into Las Vegas

Avoid arriving too early on check in day & leaving too late at check out

I can’t even count the number of times I have left Vegas too late and suffered the consequences of driving hours through a dark desert while completely exhausted. It’s so hard driving at night after a few days of endless excitement. With all the adrenaline, you really don’t notice how tired you are in until you get in your car and realize you have hours of driving through pitch black scenery!

Be aware of new self parking fees

Palazzo Las Vegas

The Palazzo is one of the few free parking lots on The Strip.

Unfortunately, almost all resorts on The Strip are now charging parking fees. This includes all MGM resorts. If you are driving into Vegas and are set on not paying for any parking, you should probably know ahead of time which casinos are still free to avoid unnecessary time driving in circles. As of early 2017, The Wynn, The Venetian, The Cosmopolitan (plans to begin charging sometime in 2017), The Palazzo, and Treasure Island. Most Caesars properties with the exception of the Rio also charge. If you are staying at hotels that charge, you will receive parking as part of your resort fee, however, you will need to pay again if you visit a hotel other than your resort (even if it is an MGM property).

Shows & attractions to skip

Terry Fator show – Highly rated, although myself and others I know were a bit dissapointed. Lots of singing, not enough puppets. While Terry is an amazing Ventriloquist, too much of his show focused on his signing which was unfortunately just average.

The Terry Fator show in Las Vegas NV

The Terry Fator show is an okay choice for fans of America’s Got Talent. Not the best show in Vegas, but a decent choice if you have already seen everything else worth seeing.

Beatles Love – Enjoyed this Cirque du Soleil production, although I was expecting much more. La Reve at The Wynn and the O at the Bellagio are a far better value as you get to see more of the stunning acrobatics you are paying for. The Beatles show features too many musical dance numbers and too few circus acts. Love the Beatles music but I can listen to it at home! I want to see something I cannot see at home!

Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil at The Mirage in Vegas

The Rio Buffet – Tried it out because it is rated one of the best buffets in the city. Rio was one of the worst buffets I have ever visited, not to mention way overpriced for the quality. If you are looking for a budget buffet with a decent selection, The Palms is the way to go. Mid price, The Mirage and Paris are great. For more of a fine dining experience, The Wynn, Aria, Bellagio, and Caesars Palace are all wonderful options.

Rio casino in Las Vegas

Rio – an okay resort for those looking for budget friendly accommodations, however, the buffet is so overrated.