One of the first vacations I went on by myself was to Las Vegas, and I’ve been there several times since. I chose this city because it’s a relatively easy trip for a neophyte solo traveler. You can find some great package deals for Vegas flights and hotels through Southwest Airlines Vacations (http://www.southwestvacations.com/).
Although I’ve always felt safe in Las Vegas, I guard my purse and keep a watchful eye on who’s around me. Be aware of your personal safety, plan your route, so you know where you’re going and stay in well-populated areas. It’s just common sense whether you’re traveling or in your hometown.
Las Vegas is easy to access from any city in the United States and is simple to get around once you’re there, particularly if you’re staying on the Strip. No need to rent a car. You can grab a cab at the airport and at any hotel. That can get expensive, though. The double-decker Deuce bus provides a more economic way to navigate the Strip, or you can walk.
The Deuce runs 24 hours a day and serves the Las Vegas Strip from the Stratosphere Hotel to the South Strip Transfer Terminal. You can pay per ride or purchase a multi-day, unlimited ride pass. Passes are available at Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at selected stops. Fares are as follows: 2-hour – $6; 24-hour – $8; 3-day – $20; 30-day – $65.
They say everything’s big in Texas, but try Las Vegas. The hotels are huge! They’re so large it’s easy to miss some of the attractions. That’s why it’s important to do some research before your trip. And be prepared to walk a lot, even if you’re only walking inside the hotels/casinos. Pace yourself, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Your feet will thank you.
The hotels are spectacular, each one uniquely themed with detailed architecture and elegant appointments. Treat yourself to a spa appointment during your stay. The Canyon Ranch Spa at the Venetian is a good one (http://www.canyonranch.com/lasvegas). That’s part of the fun, staying in an elegant place where you can be pampered.
Some of the hotels on the Strip provide a little taste of Europe without having to leave the country, deal with customs and languages you can’t speak, monetary exchange rates and other barriers.
Inside the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, you can wander along a narrow “street in Paris” lined with Parisian shops and restaurants. If you’d like a panoramic view of the city, take the elevator to the 460-foot-high observation deck of the hotel’s scaled-down Eiffel Tower replica. The admission price starts at $7.50. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the mountains that surround the city and have a unique view of the Bellagio fountains below.
At the Venetian Hotel, take a gondola ride and enjoy a song or two. Or sit in the piazza near the Grand Canal, have a glass of Chianti at Canaletto (http://www.venetian.com/Las-Vegas-Restaurants/Fine-Dining/Canaletto/) and watch people. You can hear the Gondoliers singing as they make their way through the indoor canal. The piazza is actually inside the hotel, but you feel as though you’re outside inVenice, Italy. The ceiling is even painted with faux blue sky and clouds.
There’s plenty to do even if you aren’t into the gaming scene. The hotels on the Strip host dozens of restaurants with world-class chefs, sexy nightclubs, spectacular shows, and lots of shopping.
Many of the attractions are free. Here are just a few of them.
The Wildlife Habitat at Flamingo Hotel:
Home to a flock of live Chilean Flamingos, swans, ducks, koi, and turtles on islands and streams surrounded by waterfalls and foliage.
Fountains of Bellagio:
Monday – Friday at 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (show every 1/2 hour)
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. (show every 15 minutes)
Saturdays, Sundays* and Holidays at 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (show every 1/2 hour)
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. (show every 15 minutes)
*On Sundays Fountain show times begin at 11 a.m. and run every 15 minutes for the Fountains Brunch at Jasmine. Schedule may vary. Shows are subject to cancellation due to high winds.
Volcano at the Mirage:
Firing nightly. *Schedule may vary. Shows are subject to cancellation due to high winds.
Eruption Schedule: Begins at 7:00 p.m. and runs every hour on the hour until 11:00 p.m. (nightly)
Conservatory at Bellagio:
The Bellagio’s conservatory displays spectacular arrangements of plants and flowers in a sun-washed atrium. While you’re at the Bellagio, sit down at the Petrossian Bar off from the lobbyand have a glass of champagne (no need to buy a bottle) and listen to music played on a grand piano.
Viva Vision Light Show at Fremont Street Experience:
425 Fremont St., Las Vegas – Located in downtown Vegas, near the Plaza hotel-casino, accessible from the Strip via the Deuce bus
Hours of operation: Nightly on the hour beginning at dusk
The Sirens of TI Pirate Show:
Located at the front entrance of Treasure Island Hotel and Casino
Hours of operation: Open daily, 7, 8:30 and 10 p.m., weather permitting. During fall and winter months, there is a show at 5:30 p.m. During spring and summer months, there is a show at 11:30 p.m.
Here are some attractions that will cost some money, but they’re worth the price of admission.
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat:
Mirage Hotel on the Strip
Adults | $19.95; Children 4 – 12 | $14.95; Children 3 and Under | Free
Show Times: 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Monday – Friday; 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Saturday – Sunday. Last admission is at 5:30 p.m.
Madame Tussauds Las Vegas:
The famous wax museum, located on the Las Vegas Strip in front of the Venetian Resort Hotel
Open: Sunday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Summer hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. (last ticket sold at 10 p.m.) July 1 – August 24, 2013.
Cost: Adult (13 and older): $29.95; Children (4-12): $19.95; Children (3 and under): Free.
For more information, go to http://www.madametussauds.com/LasVegas/.
Eiffel Tower Experience:
Paris Las Vegas Hotel
Hours of operation: Mon-Fri 9:30 am-12:30 am; Sat & Sun 9:30 am-1:00 am
Cost: Starting at $7.50
Roller Coaster at New York, New York Hotel:
Hours of operation: Sun-Thurs 11:00 am-11:00 pm; Fri & Sat 10:30 am-Midnight
Cost: Individual tickets – $14.00; Scream Pass – $25.00 (Includes: all day ride pass, $2.00 off 5×7 photo); Family Fun Flight for Four – $60.00 (Includes Four individual ride tickets & two 5×7 close up photos)
If you’re scared of roller coasters, you can have fun just watching it from outside. The track goes over the rooftop of the hotel. A good vantage point is from the bridge that spans the boulevard betweenNY, NY and the MGM Grand.
if you’re only going to be in Las Vegas two or three days, it’s best not to plan too many things. Go to a show one day and maybe plan a tour for another day and leave the rest of your time flexible so you can explore. Don’t try to do it all at once. There’s so much to see. If you have a great time on this first trip, you’ll want to go back again (and again).