Las Vegas draws travelers from around the world with its famous casinos, popular shows, luxury shopping, rich cuisine and more.
But visitors to Sin City have made their fair share of mistakes during their travels ― and locals certainly take note. We asked people who live in Las Vegas (and a couple of seasoned visitors) to share some of the faux pas they’ve observed.
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Vegas locals have noticed many visitors making the same mistakes.
From transportation fails to missed deals, here are 17 mistakes tourists often make while visiting Vegas ― and some advice for avoiding these errors during your travels.
1. Not Drinking Enough Water
“One mistake I see and hear about time and time again is tourists not drinking enough water. People forget that they are visiting a very dry desert! Drink up!” ― Sivan Gavish, blogger at The Olive Brunette
2. Renting A Car
“I think one of the biggest mistakes tourists make is renting a car when they don’t actually need one. It is a waste of money that could be used to gamble or party. Now that most Strip resorts charge for parking, it is an even worse deal. If they plan to venture far from the Strip or Downtown, they can easily use the bus, Lyft or cabs, or even walk. Many tourists come to Las Vegas to let loose. You don’t want to get behind the wheel after a night (or day) of partying, either.” ― Mark Anduss, blogger at Mark’s Las Vegas
“Driving themselves along the Strip is easily the No. 1 mistake that tourists make when traveling to Las Vegas. While driving down Las Vegas Boulevard is very scenic, it is very congested and could take hours to drive 2 miles. You will enjoy the view of the Las Vegas Strip far more by either walking or taking many of the free trams that hotels offer.” ― Monique Cordier, blogger at My Perfect Itinerary
3. Trying To Do Too Much In One Night
“Pace yourself. Do not try to take Vegas all in one night. It won’t be pretty. Tourists should definitely pace their alcohol intake. I have had clients who have gotten belligerently drunk the first night, been sick the entire weekend, and not been able to enjoy all they have planned because they can’t get out of bed. So tourists should not make the mistake of trying to do it all their first night. I know Vegas will make you want to do it. But don’t.” ― Bre Khounphinith, makeup artist and cosmetologist at Beauty By Bre
4. Misjudging The Distance Between Casinos
“Don’t misjudge the distance between casinos. Many ladies wear heels thinking it’s a quick jaunt then end up barefoot because the distance is deceptive.” ― Christie Moeller, fashion stylist and blogger
5. Failing To Take Advantage Of Free Transportation
“Not utilizing the free transportation along the Las Vegas Strip is easily the worst mistake that tourists make when traveling to Las Vegas. Most of the hotels along the Las Vegas Strip are sister hotels and offer free trams that link between their properties. Three free trams that will save you a lot of travel time and money: Park MGM → Aria → Bellagio, Mandalay Bay → Luxor → Excalibur, Mirage → Treasure Island.” ― Cordier
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Many locals pointed out common transportation errors tourists make.
6. Sticking To The Strip
“I would say the number one mistake tourists make when visiting Las Vegas is not venturing off the Strip! There is so much Las Vegas has to offer both on and off the Strip. I always suggest that visitors venture into the community while they are here.” ― Lin Jerome, co-founder and owner of The Refined Agency
“There is a common misconception that the only good dining in Las Vegas is on the Strip. There are restaurants just off the Strip, no more than 10 minutes away, that provide tourists an equal and/or greater experience if they so choose to venture out. For example, there is an outstanding steakhouse just behind the Strip, named Cleaver, that I almost always recommend when tourists ask me where to find a great steak during their stay due to the food and low-key atmosphere.” ― Edward Thompson aka The Food Baron
7. Getting Scammed
“If someone approaches you and offers to ‘sell’ you VIP tickets to a nightclub, it’s a scam. VIP tickets are free, and you can get them from the concierge at your hotel!” ― Moeller
8. Wearing The Wrong Outfit
“I think the biggest mistake is what people wear! Tourists tend to think they should put on their sexiest, glitteriest clothing. Las Vegas is one of the world’s biggest luxury shopping destinations, and locals love a good chic fashion-forward look. We can spot a tourist a mile away when we see an ultra minidress and glitter.” ― Moeller
9. Not Joining A Players Club
“One mistake is not joining a players club. They aren’t just for gambling anymore. Most of them will give you at least a little discount on dining and many effectively give you a small rebate on your spending.” ― Anduss
10. Misjudging The Airport
“I have so many clients who miss their flights back home. Tourists definitely misjudge the airport. Most tourists figure, ‘The airport is so close we have time.’ Of course, the large buildings and constantly hearing planes makes it seem closer than it appears. Traffic in Vegas has gotten pretty heavy the last few years ― something to definitely take into consideration with travel time. Also if you are leaving on a Sunday or Monday, which are days most tourists depart, the airport is going to be a mess. So tourists should definitely factor all that in.” ― Khounphinith
11. Missing Out On The Natural Landscape
“A lot of visitors are unaware that we have two of the most beautiful conservation areas/state parks in the U.S. ― Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire. Both are equally beautiful and unique in their own way. Even if you’re not a nature person, I still highly recommend venturing out of the Strip and seeing these two places for yourself. I’ve been numerous times and I still find myself being in awe whenever I visit.” ― Janna Canlas, blogger at Janna on a Jaunt
“There are so many beautiful sites to see around Las Vegas like Red Rock, Calico Basin, Fremont Street, Hoover Dam and Death Valley.” ― Gavish
Michele D’Amico supersky77 via Getty Images
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a beautiful site just outside the city.
12. Not Researching Food Options
“Since I’m in the world of vegan dining, the biggest mistake I see tourists make is not doing their homework to find vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants on the Strip or nearby. I have an entire guide to the best vegan food in town, and a website that makes it so easy not only to find restaurants, but also what dishes to order. I always see visitors complain Vegas has no vegan options and they were stuck eating salad and fries their entire trip. The truth is, Vegas has a quite fantastic vegan dining scene and people can find the vegan comfort food/veganized versions of omni favorites, as well as elevated and elegant plant-based cuisine. They just need to look.” ― Diana Edelman, blogger at Vegans, Baby
13. Not Playing The Max-Bet
“When playing a video poker game like ‘9/6 Jacks or Better,’ the expected value (EV) is 99.54% if you are playing the maximum bet ― typically five credits. That factors in the Royal Flush bonus. In that game, the Royal Flush pays 800:1 when betting the max-bet, but only 250:1 when betting 1-4 credits. That reduction in the payout drops your EV by 1.3%. In the short-run, that percentage may not sound significant, but the longer you play, the more that will eat away at your bankroll. Also, the thrill of hitting a Royal Flush is very short-lived when you realize that you could have been paid a lot more per credit if you had been playing the max-bet. For progressive slot machines, the big flashy jackpot is only active if you are playing the max-bet. If the magical jackpot symbols line up while you are betting less than the max-bet, you will still get a nice payout. It just won’t be the life-changing event that some of those jackpots can be. Those stories of putting a single penny or quarter into a slot machine and hitting the big jackpot are from long ago.” ― Anduss
14. Expecting All The Free Drinks
“If you are playing bar-top video poker and expecting to get a free drink, you typically need to put in at least $20 and be playing the max-bet in order for the bartender to comp it.” ― Anduss
15. Missing Out On Deals
“One of the biggest mistakes I see tourists making is not taking advantage of happy hours. Yes, it’s Vegas, and yes, you can expect to drop some money while visiting. However, there are a ton of spots that offer great deals on food and drink that will help slow down your spending without sacrificing a good time. One of my favorite on-Strip happy hours is Mercato Della Pescheria inside the Venetian, with $6 cocktail and app specials between 3 and 6 p.m. daily! Another great one for a more casual and party vibe is the Bird Bar inside The Flamingo, with a daily happy hour between 4 and 7 p.m. with specials like 50-cent beers and $5 margaritas.” ― Miranda Mendelson, blogger at Slashed Beauty
16. Getting Way Too Drunk
“The biggest mistake I see people make is completely forgetting how to drink alcohol responsibly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone passed out somewhere ALONE, puking, or just totally drunk and lost missing their ID and phone. This is Vegas, and we love for you to have fun … but we also have the internet, so when they are out here acting irresponsibly, there are people happy to share it. We also have a drunk tank, and lots of LVMPD officers ready to escort you there.” ― Nikki Houston, blogger at Nikki On Vegas
17. Ignoring Local Recommendations
“One of the most common mistakes tourists make when visiting Las Vegas is planning their entire trip around a Google search. Asking locals or reading blog posts by Las Vegas natives is the best way to find the hidden gems in Las Vegas and make your trip unforgettable. Although the Strip has great dining and entertainment options, there are so many restaurants and shows to choose from, so it is essential to narrow it down to the best places in town.” ― Kelley Nemiro and Victoria Fertitta, creators of WilsonGabrielle
Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.