Top 10 dos (and don’t dos) in Vegas

To put it mildly, Vegas is a one-of-a-kind experience. So, rather than my usual roundup of a trip day by day, I thought the best way to summarise my visit would be through a run down of the top 10 dos (and don’t dos) in Vegas

Las Vegas is one of those places where its reputation precedes it (and then some). At the end of 2022, I very fortunately got the opportunity to visit America and Vegas through work. But before then, I only really had this generic reputation to go off. 

So, I visited with a vague sense of there being endless glitz, feathers everywhere, and long stretches of casinos blaring throughout the night. 

And while yes, there is definitely an abundance of that in Vegas, that’s only half the story. 

Truly, if anything, the degree of ostentatiousness in Vegas was actually even higher than the legends depict. But, there are also a lot of pretty significant trip hazards, which have the potential to put a serious dampner on your visit. 

So, I wanted to share a full breakdown of everything I wish I knew before I went to Vegas. And for me, I thought that the best way to do this – in a way which tells both sides of the Vegas story – is to split them up into a series of tips. Both what to do and not to do. 

Without further ado, below I’ve shared my…

round-up of the top 10 dos (and don’t dos) in Vegas.

1. Do: see the fountains by night 

Without a doubt, one of my favourite sights of Vegas was the iconic water show at the Bellagio Fountain. 

But, you might well be thinking, ‘it’s just a fountain’. And yes, that’s exactly what I thought before I saw it in person. 

When I saw the show, however, I was absolutely blown away. The combination of the music, the drama and the choreography is exceptional.

The Vegas strip is all about its theatre, and you can’t leave without seeing the bright lights of it all. While yes, there’s the nightlife and the casinos, for me, these fountains are just as special a part of it. 

Top tip: the show at the Fountains of Bellagio happens like clockwork, every single day.  On Monday to Friday, these shows occur every half an hour from 3pm – 7pm, and every 15 minutes from 7pm till midnight. On weekends, the show schedule is the same, with the addition of the daytime shows extending, from midday to 7pm (again, once every half an hour). 

Top 10 dos (and don’t dos) in Vegas

If you’re visiting Vegas, I recommend extending your trip with a visit to California. Particularly Santa Cruz, where I once lived.

2. Don’t: underestimate the heat 

I knew that it was going to be hot in Vegas (after all, it’s no secret that Sin City is smack bang in the middle of a desert), but I had no idea just how hot it would feel. 

The heat is incredibly intense, to the point at which it makes being out and about very draining – even late at night. So, forget a spare coat, make sure your clothes are comfortable and light, and bring a cold bottle of water with you wherever you go.

I’d also recommend that, when you do go out during the day time, you plan regular stops along the way. In classic Vegas fashion, all the shops, restaurants, hotels and casinos are intensely air conditioned. Trust me, you’ll be incredibly grateful for this during your walk! 

3. Do: eat with a group

It’s almost a given that the food in Vegas would come in excessive sizes. No one’s going to be surprised by me saying that the food portions are huge. 

But, despite all the forewarning, I was staggered by just how big the portions are here. It’s honestly at a whole other level. 

To give you an example, at one pasta restaurant, we shared a starter and a main course dish between three of us, as our entire meal

So, wherever possible, I recommend going to restaurants as a group. That way, you can keep the costs of eating out down (as you’d expect, they’re very high) and minimise the food wastage. 

4. Don’t: be tempted to use the mini bar 

Speaking of expensive food… 

The mini bars in Vegas hotels are crazy costly. 

Although the cost will vary from hotel to hotel, a single bottle of water can set you back around $12. 

No matter how much you fancy that pack of M&Ms, it’s hard to justify this level of cost. 

What’s more, it’s important to note that the majority of Vegas’ big hotels install sensors into their mini bars. 

This means that, if you lift any of the items up off the mini bar – even if you put them back down again, in the same place – you’ll get billed for it. So, as you can well imagine, I steered well clear of that hotel mini bar! 

5. Do: stick to the strip 

On the strip itself, on the whole, you feel pretty safe walking through Vegas at night. 

But, away from the strip, it quickly starts to feel more dangerous. 

So, while of course everyone’s experience will differ, I personally wouldn’t recommend going outside of the strip at night. 

Top 10 dos (and don’t dos) in Vegas

6. Don’t: cheap out on hotel location

Partly, this is due to the reason listed above.

But, it’s also down to the fact that Ubers and taxis in Vegas can (as you can see, there’s a running theme here) be pretty pricey. 

Although you might assume that a hotel on the strip would cost a fortune, in reality, many of these hotels are at a pretty decent price point. 

Plus, by investing a little more in your hotel, you’ll have a much more enjoyable trip. Not only does it mean that you’re right in the heart of it all, but your hotel is where you’ll end up spending a lot of your time. 

This is because the hotels – especially the really big ones – are remarkably self-sufficient. Inside, you’ll have casinos, restaurants, shops, and pretty much everything you could need for a day. 

In fact, if you end up staying at somewhere like Caesar’s Palace, you could almost complete your entire Vegas bucket list without ever having to leave. 

Top 10 dos (and don’t dos) in Vegas

Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, some of the cheaper Vegas hotels on the strip include Circus Circus, Excalibur, Flamingo and Bally’s. 

7. Do: save some time for shopping 

If you’re a fellow Brit, you’ll have undoubtedly heard rumours about the extraordinary deals that you can find on designer clothes and makeup, when shopping in US outlets. 

And, classic Vegas, the city is home to not one, but two major shopping outlets. 

These are located on the Northern and the Southern ends of the strip, and can be easily accessed via car or Uber (I, personally, wouldn’t recommend walking to them). 

Although these outlets aren’t quite as good as some of the ones that you can find elsewhere in America – Florida being an absolutely prime example, and well worth a visit if you’re heading over to Disney – you can still certainly grab a bargain. 

8. Don’t: go to the roulette table without a budget

All jokes aside, don’t underestimate how addictive the roulette tables are. 

It’s all engineered – from the drinks right the way through to the music – to be as compelling as possible. 

And of course, we all want to keep playing, because there’s that glimmer of a chance of the next roll bringing in that huge win. 

But of course, there’s only one winner.

This isn’t me trying to put a downer on it all – Vegas is Vegas, and this is all part of the fun – but I found that going to the table with a very strict self-imposed budget stopped me from gambling any more than I would be upset about losing. (And absolutely, I did lose. Didn’t win a single round).

I went to the tables in Caesar’s Palace, as I was staying in the Nobu hotel on site. I’d really recommend it there because, although the buy-in is higher than some other places, it’s a clean, safe, formal and (relatively) relaxed environment. 

The gambling tables in Vegas are definitely a must-experience part of the trip, even if you literally only do one round. 

Or, you can buy a drink, and simply stand and watch other people try their luck. Even this is a pretty remarkable experience. Honestly, I was left completely blown away by the sheer amounts of money that people were gambling. So for me, living vicariously through them was just as entertaining. 

9. Do: make time for a day trip 

While there is a lot to see in Vegas, there’s only so much time you can spend gambling and feasting. 

So, if you’re staying there for more than a couple of nights, I’d highly recommend arranging to go on a day trip.

In fact, some of America’s most famous sights are actually within a relatively short drive of Vegas. And, if you don’t fancy doing the drive yourself, there are endless tour companies that you can book the trip with.

Some of the most popular day trips from Vegas include:

  • Grand Canyon 
  • 7 Magic Mountains
  • Red Rock Canyon 
  • Hoover Dam 
  • Red Rock Canyon 
  • Valley of Fire 
  • Lake Mead
  • Area 51 
  • Mount Charleston 
  • Zion National Park 
  • Death Valley 

10. Don’t: arrive without a bucket list

As you can see, there’s lots to do, and lots of big things to see in Vegas. 

So, my final tip would be – do your research, and create a bucket list.  

Find shows that you want to see, places you want to eat and sights you want to see, and set them at the top of your priority list. 

In my mind, this is good practice whenever you plan a holiday, but when it comes to Vegas, it’s particularly important. When it comes to Vegas, everything here is very expensive. So, unless your budget is endless, I’d do some research and plan what you want to do, so that you have enough in your budget to tick those off the list. 

We hope you enjoyed this round-up of my top 10 dos (and don’t dos) in Vegas. What tips have I missed on this list? Are there any other recommendations or ideas that you think I should add? 

If you’ve been to Vegas and have any insights or experiences to add to this list, we’d love to hear them! Get in touch with us in the comments, or through our socials.

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