Did last week’s rules leave you desperate to get the rest of my tips? Have no fear, you can find them below. Read on!
6. Airport logistics. Getting in from McCarran International Airport is quick and simple–there are several airport shuttles that will get you to your hotel door for $6 (a little more if your hotel is off The Strip). However, beware: do NOT buy a round-trip shuttle ticket. On the way home, you’ll have to leave your hotel much earlier than your flight time to accommodate the traffic and multiple pick-ups–difficult if you’ve had a crazy last night in Vegas. Especially problematic, though, is that the shuttles are notoriously unreliable. I once had to wait over an hour past my pick-up time before some random other shuttle driver took pity on me and decided to take me to the airport. The birthday girl, on our last trip to Vegas, waited for a shuttle that never even came; luckily for her, some random TV producer with his own limo offered her a ride, making sure that she made her flight and came away with a funny, only-in-Vegas story.
In both of our cases, we were out the money for the trip back to the airport because, by the time we arrived at the airport, we had to hustle to our respective flights; thus, there was no time to request a refund. The message is clear: either just take a taxi to the airport on the way back or ask your hotel for the best shuttle option (as some hotels have their own free airport shuttles). This is especially important because you don’t want to get to the airport at the last minute–the security lines can be long, and you may have to make your way past people that are hung over (or still drunk). Hey, maybe you’ll decide that you’re desperate to spend another day in Vegas, but don’t let the decision be made for you because you missed your flight home!
7. Non-alcoholic sustenance. If you party hard at night, you will almost certainly sleep through breakfast; if you party VERY hard at night, you may even sleep through lunch. That being said, (wo)man cannot live by alcohol alone. At some point, you’re going to have to eat. As one would expect, Vegas has tons of options. From Subway to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, there is a restaurant for every price point. On previous trips, I have been a huge fan of the sushi and cocktails at Shibuya; on this last trip, all of the women in the group loved the tapas (and relatively reasonable prices) at the Aria’s Julian Serrano (helpful hint: if you want to learn some Spanish, just go to the bathroom–over the speakers, you’ll hear helpful phrases in both English and Spanish; service-y!). If you’re too lazy to leave your room, you can go into budget-buster mode and order room service or you can just munch on some snacks that you bought at CVS (see Rule #2). My favorite middle path is to order a sandwich at the pool so that I don’t have to move too far from my room and I can soak up the sun while I eat. Perfect.
8. Shoes. This rule is so important that I probably should have included it earlier on the list. Comfortable shoes are CRUCIAL to how long you can party and how much fun you can have. During the day, assuming that you’re not lounging by the pool such that the only footwear you need is flip-flops, be sure to wear flats or other comfortable shoes so that you don’t tire out your feet, especially since everything is so big in Vegas that you will always have to cover a larger distance than you expect between locations. At night, you’ll obviously need serious heels in order to look the part and get into the club. That being said, make sure you have a bag that lets you carry some flats for you to change into once all of the dancing finally means that you have to ditch the heels–don’t be that girl who is walking around barefoot; eww. No need to carry a massive purse, though; just get some low-profile flats. I favor these from Calvin Klein while the birthday girl loves the foldable ones from Tieks. You can even buy some disposable flats from CVS! (Are you seeing a pattern here with all of the CVS references? Amazing one-stop shopping.)
Once you change shoes, if your heels are strappy, you can loop them through your purse strap; if not, you can use a carabiner to attach the shoes to your purse. (Don’t judge me! I use the carabiner as my keychain, so it seemed fitting to use it for my shoes, Lady MacGyver-style.) Worst-case scenario, you can just leave your heels at coat check (yes, I’ve done this, too); just don’t lose your ticket! If you follow none of my other advice, please heed this rule. I don’t care how comfortable your heels are, when you’re on hour 4 of dancing, your feet will ache. If you don’t have a change of shoes, you will have to sit down, which, in most clubs, is only possible if you make it into the VIP section (see Rule #2). This means that you may have to go home early (boo!); even then, you won’t get immediate relief because the taxi lines at night are LONG, so you could be on your feet for even more time than you anticipated. In short, be prepared: pack flats. Voilà–partying without the pain.
9. Resort fees. When you’re online shopping for hotels, be wary when comparing prices–many Las Vegas hotels charge a per room, per night resort fee, but this fee is usually not included in the room price. Thus, before booking, find out what the resort fee is. Further, find out what the resort fee includes. You will be super-annoyed if you pay a ridiculous resort fee and then have to pay another separate fee for the “privilege” of using the internet or the fitness center (can you tell that I’m bitter that this happened to me in the past?). That’s another thing that I liked about the Mandarin Oriental: they were very clear on their pricing, and their resort fee included both wireless internet access (which, surprisingly, I did not use on this trip) and unlimited use of the fitness center (which, surprisingly, I did use on this trip). Whichever hotel you choose, just be sure to know what you’re getting so that you avoid sticker shock.
10. Recovery. You’ve followed all of my above tips to perfection–and, now, you are an absolute wreck. What’s the quickest way to recover? Lounging by the pool can help you get some sun and fresh air, but it’s best to be in the shade to avoid further dehydration. Speaking of which, drink LOTS of water; if you have some leftover club soda from last night’s in-room mixers (see Rule #2), it can do double duty today as liquid relief. If you need to take pain medication, skip acetaminophen/paracetamol (i.e., Tylenol), aspirin, and naproxen (i.e., Aleve) as these can cause liver damage, stomach bleeding, and gastrointestinal complications, respectively, when mixed with alcohol. Ibuprofen (i.e., Advil, Motrin) is your best bet to handle your headache healthfully (although this, too, has a risk of stomach bleeding, so be sure to read the instructions and proceed with caution). Obviously, though, the only certain cure is the potent combination of sleep and passage of time. Once you’re back in fighting form, you have two choices: recalibrate your drinking choices the next time that you’re in Vegas or just accept that this is how Vegas is going to be for you (and plan accordingly).
Well, that’s it! You’ve officially read all of my Girls’ Getaway Guide to Las Vegas (or, if you missed Part I, check it out here). Congratulations! You should start planning your trip immediately. Awesome–I’m so excited for you!
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I hope that you’ve found these tips to be helpful! Still, I can’t have covered everything. For those of you with Vegas experience under your belt, what did I miss? For Vegas virgins, what did I not include that has left your curiosity unsatiated? Let me know in the comments. If I get enough feedback, I’ll add an extra post to the guide, and I’ll be sure to credit you for the tip. In the meantime, happy travels!