Las Vegas can be a very tricky place for first-time visitors. For that reason, we have put together a list of 20 amateur Vegas mistakes and a quick word on how to avoid them.

Staying In the Wrong Hotel

There are a lot of hotels in Las Vegas and choosing the right one can be difficult.

The way I see it, you have 3 options:

  1. Pick the cheapest one (trust me, you don’t want to do this)
  2. Comb through travel forums and take advice from total strangers
  3. Check out Bryce’s color-coded map below this list

Good choice.

I’ve divided the strip into three zones:

Zone 1 is the most central and by far the best area of the strip. This is where you are going to find the most people, the best nightlife, and the best hotels in the city.

Zone 2 also has a number of high-end hotels and nightlife spots but is a little farther from the center of the strip. Overall it’s still a good option if you don’t mind doing a little bit of walking.

Zone 3 is on the outermost edges of the strip and has very little to offer. Don’t go to Zone 3.

If you’re traveling to Vegas for the first time then I would highly recommend that you stay at a hotel in Zone 1.

Specifically, I would recommend checking out:

The Cosmopolitan if you are under 35 and are willing to spend some money

The Bellagio if you are over 35 and are willing to spend some money

The Flamingo if you are on a budget

And if you see a hotel that is described as being “Off the strip”, don’t stay there. (I’m looking at you Rio and The Palms)

Trust me on this one.

Not Asking for a Room Upgrade

Hotels in Las Vegas are often willing to upgrade you to a suite if there is one available.

All you have to do is ask the representative at the front desk if they have any complimentary upgrades. Many times they will give one with no questions asked.

Be sure to tip generously if they are able to accommodate you.

Drinking on the plane

The logic seems simple. “Let’s start the party on the plane and roll it right in to our weekend”. Funny it never seems to work out that way.

You’ll end up falling asleep on the plane and waking up tired, jet-lagged, and slightly hung over.

Better to stick to a couple cocktails on the flight and save your energy for when the real fun begins.

Getting Overcharged by Taxis

Every cab ride that you take in Las Vegas will begin with 2 questions:

  1. Where to? (Obviously)
  2. So have you ever been to Vegas before?

You should always answer “yes” to the second question.

Here’s why.

Vegas taxi’s frequently try to boost their fares by taking longer routes to your destination. This is called “long hauling”, and last year alone it accounted for almost $15 million in excess cab fares.

Another way to avoid this is to visibly map the route on your smart phone. Make sure the cab driver sees you doing this.

Trying to Hail Taxis on the Strip

Speaking of taxis, don’t try to wave one down on the strip. It is illegal for them to stop there and most of them already have a fare anyway.

A better option is to go to the nearest hotel cab stand. You’ll find a line of taxis waiting to take you where you need to go.

Amateur Clubbing

Some of the best clubs on the planet can be found on the Las Vegas strip.

There are 2 reasons why you should ever go in to one of them:

  1. You know someone who can get you in (A DJ, VIP Host, Promoter, VIP Guest, etc.)
  2. You plan on buying a table with bottle service

The alternative is to wait in line for 2 hours, pay a $50 cover charge, spend the entire night in the corner of the club, and wait 20 minutes to buy an $18 beer.

You do the math.

Visiting Vegas On a Big Trade Show Weekend

On any given weekend there are as many as 100 trade shows being held in Las Vegas.

Some of the bigger ones can bring as many as 150,000 people to the city, causing room rates to double and casinos to be packed.

Unless you want to spend your weekend waiting in line to play penny slots I would recommend Googling “Las Vegas trade shows on (insert dates of your trip)” before booking anything.

Overpaying for Show Tickets

Every show in Las Vegas has two ticket prices, face value and market price. Don’t ever pay face value for a ticket. is a good place to start.

Gambling too much

Gambling is only fun when you are playing with money that you can afford to lose. Pick a limit and stick to it.

If you can’t lose money and still have fun then you probably shouldn’t be gambling.

Bad Gambling

Don’t play any table games until you understand the rules. Nobody likes the guy who is holding up the pace of play.

Learning basic strategy couldn’t hurt either.

Overeating at the Buffet

Nothing kills a hangover quite like 2 or 3 plates of greasy comfort food.

Nothing puts you to sleep faster than eating 2 or 3 plates of greasy comfort food when you have a hangover.

Skip the buffet and head to the spa instead. Spend 15 minutes in the sauna, 15 minutes in a hot tub, and 5 minutes in a cold shower.

You can thank me later.

Wearing Uncomfortable Shoes

The Las Vegas Strip is a very big place that requires a lot of walking. Be sure to wear shoes that won’t slow you down during the day.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

When going out at night, make sure to wear an outfit that won’t prevent you from getting in to any bars, clubs, or restaurants.

For guys, a collared shirt, blazer, and expensive pair of jeans are your best bet.

For ladies, go with a dress and a comfortable pair of heels.


Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert. Pair that with alcohol, lots of walking and minimal sleep and you have a recipe for a nasty hangover.

Drink plenty of water. You won’t regret it.

Seeing Bad Shows

There are a lot of world-class shows to be seen in Vegas. There are also a lot of terrible shows.

Anything by Cirque du Soleil is going to be great (except Chris Angel’s Believe).

Stay away from the tribute bands, variety shows, and washed up singers.

And if you only see one show, make it Absinthe at Caesars Palace.

Eating Low Quality Food

While walking the strip in Vegas you are never more than 100 yards away from a high quality meal.

You are also never more than 100 yards away from a $2 hot dog.

Eating a $2 hot dog will make you feel like you just ate a $2 hot dog. Better to pay more for something that won’t make you feel like crap.

Missing Your Flight Home

On the average day, McCarran International Airport is quite pleasant.

On a Sunday morning, McCarran International Airport is an absolute zoo.

Leave plenty of time to make your flight. Not everyone can get as lucky as I did.

Staying Too Long

One night in Las Vegas is a lot of fun.

Two nights in Las Vegas is perfect.

Three nights in Las Vegas works for anyone under the age of 30.

Four nights in Las Vegas will make you never want to come back.

Less is more.

Failing to Tip the Casino Cocktail Waitresses

The casino cocktail waitresses control the flow of free alcohol from the bar to your glass. Tip them generously if you want them to come back often.

Getting a Cash Advance on a Credit Card

Credit cards are valuable tools for earning lots of free travel but are very dangerous when used for gambling. Know the difference.


Happy Travels,