Combined Suggestions, Las Vegas
The streets are big!
If you're a tourist here and you've driven here on your vacation then just leave your car at the hotel!
There are plenty of ways to get around Las Vegas - Monorail at one end, lots of hotel buses and shuttles run between different areas, there is a local bus service as well. If you are brave you could even walk!
TRAM: There is a FREE air-conditioned tram serving the Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay resorts operating 24 hours a day.
In 2004, there will be a free tram from MGM all the way up to the Sahara - so basically 90% of the strip will be covered via a tram.
CAR: If you have a car, most of the resorts have free self-parking or you can do valet parking for a nominal fee. Warning: Although it's enticing to see all the lights while driving along the strip, try to avoid driving on the strip at night since traffic jams will slow you down. You may be better off driving along the Intersate 15 or one of the roads parallel the strip to get from one end to the other.
WALKING: Bring comfortable shoes since most likely you will be doing alot of walking on the strip. Almost all of the major intersecting roads along the strip has an overpass to ease crossing the strip.
LIMO: Live it up in style and do anything you want in the privacy of a rented limo (that's what I read in the ads).
McCarran International Airport is the best way into and out of Las Vegas. Interstate 15 runs through downtown Las Vegas and there are many exits to the different hotels along the "Strip." But be aware that Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing cites in the U.S., so road construction will be your constant companion.
While there you can take shuttles to/from the airport as well as to downtown and the strip, you can rent a car pretty cheaply, take the bus or taxi, or walk to wherever you need to be. Surprising to me was the fact that all of the major resorts have huge parking structures behind them and it doesn't cost a thing to park in them.
Vegas has a great transportation system! Although my mom has a horror story of waiting for a cab at the airport for over 45min. I have never had a problem getting to, around or away from Las Vegas.
Taxis are the easiest way to get around. You are never more than 50 feet from the nearest cab no matter where you are at. All the cab drivers that I have experienced are always very nice and polite. Even the one's that are in a bad mood are very polite about it. They are very helpful and have all the inside info about their city. So ask for their advice and any suggestions they might have.
From the airport use the Grey Line Shuttle to get to your hotel. You can purchase tickets at the airport or better yet order them with your travel package and you will get a discount. Taxi service from the airport to the strip is very reasonable.
There are a lot of ways to get around in Vegas. There are free monorails that run from the MGM to Balley's. From Excalibur to the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. Or from the Monte Carlo to the Bellagio. There is a trolley service that runs the entire strip with over 15 stops for under $2.
We start out by taking the monorail to a different part of the strip. Then walk to where we want to go. After several hours of sight seeing or when our legs are about to fall off, we grab a cab back to the hotel. Most fares will average $8 to $10.
At the airport, right outside the doors at 'Baggage Claim', you'll see people in line to buy a shuttle ticket. Buy a $7.50 round-trip shuttle ticket to your hotel on the Strip.
Use half the ticket when you arrive and the second half for the day you depart. The clerk will explain how the return shuttle ride works.
Once on the Strip, if you plan on visiting the different hotels, take advantage of the free tram rides that connect certain hotels to one another. This will keep you off the sidewalk and out of the hot sun. There is a tram that connects:
(1) Mandalay, Luxor & Excalibur
(2) Monte Carlo & Bellagio
(3) Mirage & Treasure Island
(4) Bally's & MGM
These trams help you 'beat the heat' and get you up & down the Strip more efficiently. Use them at every opportunity to conserve your energy, because hotel-hopping can be very draining. (Combine this with buying cold water at the hotel gift shops along the way and you'll be 'cool' all afternoon.)
There is also a $2 city bus you can take, the CAT 301. This bus runs along the Strip and makes plenty of stops along the way. This bus is great to zip you back to your hotel at the end of the day. (For more information, see my 'Transportation' suggestion #2.)
Taxi cabs are also readily available, especially on the Strip in front of each hotel.
By bus or car, I've done them all. If you drive I suggest that you leave your vehicle in the hotel ramp until you leave. There are plenty of other ways to get around while your in Vegas.
One of the cheapest would be by the trolley or bus that runs along the strip. I usually take a taxi because it's a lot faster.
If you are flying into Vegas and if your wanting to hit the casinos right away I suggest getting a taxi. If your on a budget than take the shuttle. It will take you some time to get to your hotel with possible stops along the way to other hotels.
Fly or drive. Flights are relatively inexpensive and the drive can be a straight through shot depending on where you're coming from.
Walk when you're on the strip. You'll be more inclined to walk in and check things out versus when you're driving. Plus it can somethimes take you about 40 minutes to get from one end of the strip to the other.
Leave the car at home and fly in. There is simply no point in taking a car. The strip is very busy and frequently jammed, when its not it is not a pleasant driving experience. And the parking, though free, is usually a good walk from where you want to be.
We took a taxi from the airport to the Riviera, it cost $20. For the return trip we took one of the buses which visit each of the hotels every quarter of an hour or so, this cost $8.50 + tip for the two of us, good value I think.
There is a good bus service up and down the strip. Bus no 301 stops everywhere, no 305 only stops at five or six places along the strip. Price is $2 any distance. The 'Trolley' does a round trip for $1.50, good for sightseeing.
Only the fastest way.....airplane....real cheap fares on American or America West
On the strip you would walk, the view of the casinos is breathtaking as you stroll up and down the strip. For those who plan on travelling just outside the strip, there is either car or bus.
We flew in on Southwest Airlines.
We rented a car and had a blast!! Bring a map though! Las Vegas is huge and you'll wear out your walking shoes trying to do the Strip by foot. I'd suggest taking advantage of the tremendous free parking and driving from sight to sight. Even then we did, in fact, walk a lot.
There are also lots of busses but if you use them a lot, it does add up and we found renting a car to be much more economical - not to mention the fact that it gave us such freedom!
We took the airplane. I don't think I would want to drive.
Public transpertation is not reliable, the bus is very unpredictable. We found the trolly to be the best way to travel on the strip. You can take a cab but it is expensive. If you like to walk, Everything is within walking distance.
* First off, don't walk from the Hardrock Hotel to the Strip unless you are completely broke. It just takes waaaaaay to long, and there's nothing interesting along the way (unless you consider discarded escort service ads interesting). There is a free shuttle from the Hotel, so just take that, although it stops running around 10:30 or so.
* Most hotels have free shuttles to/from the airport.
* Taxis are so expensive, it could cost you $25 or more just to get 1 mile or so, mostly because of the traffic. Save taxi rides for 5am when you're stumbling back to your hotel.
* Take the Monorails, they rock.
* And lastly, an Escalator is not an amusement park ride, the purpose is to help you go up and down faster than simply walking. Be sure to continue walking after stepping onto the escalator, or at least stay to the right (or perhaps left in the UK) so those of us who actually know how to use it can get where we are going. (Ok that was a little snippy, but you know who you are.)
Along the Strip, there is the 'Cat Bus' - a cheap alternative to sightseeing trolleys. Plus there are two monorails connecting casinos - one starts at the MGM Grand and takes you near Cesars Palace, the other one runs along the outer strip in order to connect the Mandalay, Luxor, Excalibur....
i have planed trained auotmobiled and even bussed in to vegas, due to the proximity of vegas to where i live, a ten hour drive to there is a blast because i am usually with my friends, sometimes newcomers and along the way we can talk up some excitement! otherwise, fly in. its quicker, you can check your baggage at the airport in some cases, and you can start having fun in sin city quicker!
i prefere to walk everywhere on the strip. the sweltering heat in august doesnt bothe me because were only minutes from an airconditioned casino. the monorails are a plus as well. the strip is a pedestrian friendly place to be. the new walk ways offer a great photo-op place. by the way the venetian spent $4 mil on theirs.
Travel by foot whenever you can. (Easy for me to say -- I was there in February.) It's the best way to people watch and see the sights.
There's a perfectly good bus that will take you from the strip to downtown and back again, but it can get awfully full (watch your purse or your wallet) and, as a result, may pass right by you as you wait.
I don't think taxis are allowed to cruise the Strip for fares. If you need one, get the doorman at the casino to help you. If you're in a hurry, tell the driver to use the access road, not the strip -- it's much faster and cheaper.