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Tips for Vegas Virgins

Written By mela armono on Saturday, June 29, 2013 | 10:53 AM

Visitors to Las Vegas either love it or loathe it, there's no middle ground. It's probably not for the culture lovers out there, with it's big, brash hotels and casinos, and also not for anyone looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday either. Las Vegas is truly one of the world's 24 hour party towns. So if you do decide to visit, here are a few tips:

As is generally the way with the USA, everything is bigger! The first time I went I was surprised at how big The Strip itself was (this is where all the action is in Vegas), the road itself is motorway width and 4 miles long, so it can take a long time to walk up and down it, so ladies, flat shoes are a must. And no jay-walking. That's crossing the road when you're not supposed to, the Americans are funny about stuff like that!

The hotels... where to begin. The hotel resorts are some of the biggest in the world but everyone is welcome to have a stroll about them, most have casinos, shops, restaurants and bars that they are desperate to get you in to spend your money, so feel free to go and have a look in even the most exclusive looking hotels.

Gambling, well it's what most people go to Vegas for and there are plenty of opportunities to do so, there are even slot machines in the airport. If you've never been to a casino before, let alone ones the size and scale of those in Las Vegas, then just have a wander around and stop and watch some of the table games in progress. Many of the casinos offer free lessons so take advantage of those if you're new to it.

My biggest piece of advice on the gambling front though is budget! Unless money is no object, you should set yourself a limit of what you want to spend on gambling for your entire Vegas trip. Whilst we're all optimists and think we're going to win big, you should assume you're going to lose this amount, so make sure you can afford it. If you get over-excited you can easily run through all your money on your first day in Vegas and either come back massively in debt or have a very boring remainder of the trip. My favourite advice is to set aside a daily amount that you want to spend and put it in sealed and named envelopes in your hotel safe, only opening the envelope on the set day. If you've had a bad day at the tables you can start afresh the next day knowing you've only lost what you intended to the day before.

The weather in Vegas is usually very hot and very dry, however November - March is the slightly cooler period. If you are going in the summer months though make sure you take plenty of sun cream and a bottle of water if you're going out for a walk. The one problem I've experienced when it's really hot is that all of the indoor areas are always freezing as they have the air conditioning on full blast. Whilst it's great when you first walk in out of the desert heat, it can get pretty chilly.

Finally, a word on tipping. Us Brits tend to fall foul of this when we go to the US. We tip here for good service, over there it's expected, it forms part of their pay. So, unless you want to become unpopular, get ready to tip pretty much any time anyone does anything for you. Guidelines are a couple of dollars for help with your suitcase, 10-20% for a taxi depending on service, 15-20% in a restaurant. The last one especially can look pretty horrendous but it's just the cost of eating out there. I always try and keep hold of $1 bills for tipping purposes, but if you don't have change feel free to ask them for change of a higher note, it's quite common to do so.
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