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7 First-Time Vegas Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

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7 First-Time Vegas Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

A poorly planned Las Vegas vacation can lead to a lot of bad decisions and regrets. Here are a few first-timer mistakes to make sure you avoid.

Posted on Aug 12, 2022

Did you know that more than 42 million people visit Las Vegas every year? From mouthwatering restaurants to world-class casinos, it's one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. But, if not planned correctly, a trip to Las Vegas can lead to more regrets than memories. These are the most common mistakes first-time Las Vegas visitors make and how to avoid them.

1. Never Leaving the Strip

Obviously, Las Vegas is best known for the lights and sounds of the Strip. Sure, the Strip has a lot of excitement, but there are plenty of exciting things to do away from the Strip as well.

The Mob Museum and The Neon Museum are great places to learn about Las Vegas history. Take a day trip to Red Rock Canyon, the Hoover Dam, or the Grand Canyon to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

You'll be astonished at how many natural treasures exist within a few hours of Las Vegas!

2. Being Unprepared to Do a Lot of Walking

Most attractions on the Strip appear to be a short walk away when you eyeball distances, even from one end to the other. However, everything on the Las Vegas Strip is larger than life. It gives the illusion of closeness, but everything is quite a distance away!

If you want to stroll the Strip, keep in mind that it is nearly 4 miles long from end to end. Even getting to something right across the street might take time because you can't cross the Strip in most places.

You'll probably have to travel out of your way to go over and then walk back. Consider purchasing a Strip bus ticket to get from place to place.

3. Going Way Overbudget

Casinos, particularly those in Las Vegas, are professionals at separating people from their money. They've spent decades figuring out how to keep you playing as long as possible.

Make a plan for how much money you want to spend on gambling each day. When you've reached your limit, Go Away. Consider this an entertainment cost rather than a "profitable investment."

When you're down at the tables or slots, the worst thing you can do is keep playing to try to recoup your losses. While it's possible you may return, it's much more probable you'll find yourself much deeper in debt.

There are numerous stories of visitors blowing their entire vacation fund on the very first night. This typically leads to an earlier flight home and a whole lot of missed experiences. 

4. Only Considering Five-Star Hotels

While it's always tempting to stay at the newest and brightest hotels on The Las Vegas Strip, many of the affordable options are home to clean, spacious, and newly-renovated rooms. Truthfully, unless you fail to follow Rule #3 above, you probably won't be spending much time in the room anyways, so why spend a major chunk of your vacation budget on one? Park MGM, Flamingo, and The Linq are excellent budget-friendly Las Vegas hotels with a wide selection of recently remodeled options. 

Not only are these hotels affordable, but they are also located directly on The Strip and give easy access to the top Las Vegas attractions and landmarks. Las Vegas can be a very expensive city, don't waste all your entertainment money on an overpriced room.

5. Not Seeing Shows and Visiting Attractions

When most people think of Vegas, they think of gambling, but there are a plethora of activities in Las Vegas for those who don't want to risk losing their money.

O by Cirque du Soleil, Mystere, Blue Man Group, and Absinthe are all excellent production show options, but there are also concerts, comedy tours, and other events going on throughout the year. There will almost certainly be plenty of performances to pick from whenever you decide to come. Check out our Las Vegas Event Calendar for a full list of activities and entertainment options available during your stay.

Other things to consider include a helicopter tour of the Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon, as well as unusual experiences like ICEBAR. Contrary to common beliefs, it is possible to have a good time in Vegas without ever entering a casino.

6. Gambling Solely For Free Drinks

Everyone knows that Las Vegas casinos offer free drinks to anyone sitting at a machine or table game. If you're going to be gambling anyways, then you will certainly want to take advantage of this perk. But, if the free drinks are the only reason you're pulling the handle, then you could end up losing more than simply heading to the bar and purchasing your own drink. 

Here's the thing, the free mixed drinks typically have much less and lower quality alcohol than the signature drinks found at one of the hotel bars or lounges. People have been known to lose $50 or more before getting their first drink, or worse, never getting a drink at all. If you are deadset on gambling for the drinks, then learn to play video poker and head to one of the bartop games located throughout the casinos. The bartenders are much quicker at getting you your drinks and video poker has a much smaller house edge than slot machines.

7. Not Joining Players Clubs

Every major casino on the Las Vegas Strip has a Players Club and they are always free to join. Even if you're not a high roller, it's a good idea to be a part of them.  Every dollar you spend will earn you points, and you will be surprised at how quickly you can earn free stays and dining credits.

Also, many of the Players Clubs offer free play and perks just for signing up. Simply head to the Players Club desk wherever you plan to gamble and ask to join. They will take a small amount of personal information and you'll be signed up with a card in hand in under 5 minutes. It really is a no brainer.

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USCGirl Profile Photo


531 Points
Nov 7, 2022 at 4:44pm

Do not wear heels on the strip. Every girl thinks they will be fine and they are always walking barefoot by the end of it. Sure you look great in heels, but you look like an idiot when no shoes.

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NvLove4 Profile Photo


1402 Points
Sep 9, 2022 at 11:35am

Everyone should plan at least one day away from The Strip. It's a beautiful city to explore if you stay away from all the touristy areas. One thing I would add is don't get so drunk on your first night that you ruin the next day. A lot of people get carried away with the drinking and miss a whole day of vacation because they don't want to get out of bed.

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Hightimes Profile Photo


1490 Points
Aug 17, 2022 at 8:44pm

I don't understand people who gamble without using a players club card. You can literally play $200 and get a free room at a lot of casinos.

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Whale Profile Photo


408 Points
Aug 17, 2022 at 8:25am

Definitely control your spending. Especially if it's your first time in Vegas. Countless stories have been told of people losing everything with 5 days left to go.

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