Area Codes The local area codes in Las Vegas are 702, 775 and 725. The full 10-digit phone number with area code must be dialed to complete the call.
Business Hours Casinos and most bars are open 24 hours a day; nightclubs are usually open only late at night into the early morning hours, and restaurant and attraction hours vary.
Cannabis Laws Count Nevada among the states that just voted for recreational marijuana use. It’s expected that it should be mostly legal to smoke pot by the end of 2017, but while the state is figuring out how to handle its newfound vice it might be best just to keep your toking on the down low. As in, don’t blaze up right in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard and of course not while driving.
Customs Every visitor 21 years of age or older may bring in, free of duty, the following: (1) 1 liter of alcohol as a gift or for personal use; (2) 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars (but not from Cuba), or 3 pounds of smoking tobacco; and (3) $100 worth of gifts. These exemptions are offered to travelers who spend at least 72 hours in the United States and who have not claimed them within the preceding 6 months. It is forbidden to bring into the country almost any meat products (including canned, fresh, and dried-meat products such as bouillon, soup mixes, and so forth). Generally, condiments, including vinegars, oils, pickled goods, spices, coffee, tea, and some cheeses and baked goods are permitted. Avoid rice products, as rice can often harbor insects. Bringing fruits and vegetables is prohibited since they may harbor pests or disease. International visitors may carry in or out up to $10,000 in U.S. or foreign currency with no formalities; larger sums must be declared to U.S. Customs on entering or leaving, which includes filing form CM 4790. For details regarding U.S. Customs and Border Protection, consult your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or U.S. Customs (www.cbp.gov).
For information on what you’re allowed to take home, contact your home country’s Customs agency.
Disabled Travelers On the one hand, Las Vegas is fairly well equipped for travelers with disabilities, with virtually every hotel having wheelchair-accessible rooms and ramps and other requirements. On the other hand, the distance between hotels (particularly on the Strip) makes a vehicle of some sort virtually mandatory for most people with disabilities, and it may be extremely strenuous and time consuming to get from place to place (even within a single hotel) because of the crowds. Even if you don’t intend to gamble, you still may have to go through the casino, and casinos can be quite difficult to maneuver in, particularly for a guest in a wheelchair. Casinos are usually crowded, and the machines and tables are often arranged close together, with chairs, people, and such blocking easy access. You should also consider that it is often a long trek through larger hotels between the entrance and the room elevators (or, for that matter, anywhere in the hotel), and then add a crowded casino to the equation.
For more on organizations that offer resources to travelers with limited mobility, go to www.frommers.com.
Doctors Hotels usually have lists of doctors, should you need one, or you can use the physician referral service at Desert Springs Hospital (tel 702/733-8800; www.desertspringshospital.com). Hours are Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and Saturday from 9am to 3pm except holidays.
Drinking Laws The legal age for purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages is 21; proof of age is required and often requested at bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, so it’s always a good idea to bring ID when you go out.
Beer, wine, and liquor are sold in all kinds of stores pretty much around the clock in Vegas; trust us, you won’t have a hard time finding a drink in this town.
Do not carry open containers of alcohol in your car or any public area that isn’t zoned for alcohol consumption (doing so is fine on the Strip and the Fremont Street Experience). The police can fine you on the spot. And nothing will ruin your trip faster than getting a citation for DUI (driving under the influence), so don’t even think about driving while intoxicated.
While walking around on the Strip with an alcoholic beverage is generally safe (provided you’re of age, of course), remember that glass containers are now illegal. You’ll see plenty of folks stumbling around with plastic, novelty-size yards and boots, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to act like a total fool when out in public. If the drink you ordered in the hotel came in a glass, you can ask the bartender to transfer it to a plastic cup so you can take your roadie to go.
Electricity Like Canada, the United States uses 110–120 volts AC (60 cycles), compared to 220–240 volts AC (50 cycles) in most of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Downward converters that change 220–240 volts to 110–120 volts are difficult to find in the United States, so bring one with you.
Emergencies Dial tel 911 to contact the police or fire department, or to call for an ambulance.
Family Travel Family travel can be immensely rewarding, giving you new ways of seeing the world through smaller pairs of eyes. That said, Vegas is hardly an ideal place to bring the kids. For one thing, they’re not allowed in casinos at all. Because most hotels are laid out so that you frequently have to walk through their casinos to get to where you are going, you can see how this becomes a headache.
Note also that the Strip is often peppered with people distributing fliers and other information about decidedly adult entertainment options in the city. Sex is everywhere. Just walking down the Strip might give your kids an eyeful of items that you might prefer they avoid. (They don’t call it “Sin City” for nothing!)
On top of everything else, there is a curfew law in Vegas: Kids younger than 18 are not permitted on the Strip without a parent after 9pm on weekends and holidays. In the rest of the county, minors can’t be out without parents after 10pm on school nights and midnight on the weekends.
Although still an option at most smaller chain hotels and motels, the major casino-hotels on the Strip offer no discount for children staying in your room, so you may have to pay an additional fee ($10–$40 per person per night) to have them bunk with you. You’ll definitely want to book a place with a pool. Some hotels also have enormous video arcades and other diversions.
To locate accommodations, restaurants, and attractions that are particularly kid-friendly, look for the “Kids” icon throughout this guide.
Health By and large, Las Vegas is like most other major American cities in that the water is relatively clean, the air is relatively clear, and illness-bearing insects and animals are rare. However, in a city with this many people coming and going from all over the world, there are a couple of specific concerns worth noting:
- Food Poisoning Food preparation guidelines in Las Vegas are among the strictest in the world, but when you’re dealing with the sheer volume that this city is, you’re bound to run into trouble every now and then. All restaurants are required by law to display a health certificate and letter grade (A, B, or C) that indicate how well they did on their last Health Department inspection. An A grade doesn’t mean you won't get food poisoning, but it does mean the staff does a better-than-average job in the kitchen.
- Norovirus Over the past few years, there have been a few outbreaks of norovirus at Las Vegas hotels. This virus, most commonly associated with cruise ships, is rarely serious but can turn your vacation into a very unpleasant experience of intestinal illness. Because it is spread by contact, you can protect yourself by washing your hands often, especially after touching all of those slot machines.
- Sun Exposure In case you weren’t paying attention in geography class, Las Vegas is located in the middle of a desert, and so it should come as no surprise that the sun shines particularly bright here. Heat and sunstroke are dangers that all visitors should be concerned about, especially if you are considering spending any amount of time outdoors. Sunscreen (stick to a minimum SPF 30) is a must even if you are just traveling from one hotel to another, and you should always carry a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated even when temperatures are moderate. The low desert humidity means that your body has to work harder to replenish moisture, so help it along with something other than a free cocktail in the casino. The good news: Low humidity means it’s hard to have a bad hair day.
Hospitals The closest full-service hospital to the Strip is Sunrise Hospital, 3186 Maryland Pkwy. (www.sunrisehospital.com; [tel] 702/731-8000), but for lesser emergencies, Las Vegas Strip Urgent Care, (www.lasvegasstripurgentcare.com; [tel] 702/796-1116), offers an on-call doc 24 hours a day who consults right in your hotel room. Additionally, most major hotels in Las Vegas can provide assistance in finding physicians and/or pharmacies that are well suited to your needs.
Insurance Traveler’s insurance is not required for visiting Las Vegas, and whether or not it’s right for you depends on your circumstances. For example, most Las Vegas travel arrangements that include hotels are refundable or cancelable up to the last moment, so insurance is probably not necessary. If, however, you have prepaid a nonrefundable package, then it could be worth considering insurance.
For information on traveler’s insurance, trip cancellation insurance, and medical insurance while traveling, please visit www.frommers.com/planning.
Internet & Wi-Fi Most major hotels in Vegas offer wireless access as a part of their nightly resort fee, although some still require an additional fee that can run upward of $20 per day. Some hotels offer free, advertiser-supported Wi-Fi in public areas, meaning you won’t have to pay to surf the Web when you’re hanging out at the pool, but you’ll have to put up with banner ads on your browser. In Las Vegas, you can find free Wi-Fi at most stand-alone McDonald’s, Starbucks, and in the Fashion Show mall.
Most major airports have Internet kiosks that provide basic Web access for a per-minute fee that’s usually higher than hotel prices. Check out copy shops, such as FedEx Office, which offer computer stations with fully loaded software (as well as Wi-Fi).
Legal Aid While driving, if you are pulled over for a minor infraction (such as speeding), never attempt to pay the fine directly to a police officer; this could be construed as attempted bribery, a much more serious crime. Pay fines by mail, or directly into the hands of the clerk of the court. If accused of a more serious offense, say and do nothing before consulting a lawyer. In the U.S., the burden is on the state to prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and everyone has the right to remain silent, whether he or she is suspected of a crime or actually arrested. Once arrested, a person can make one telephone call to a party of his or her choice. The international visitor should call his or her embassy or consulate.
LGBT Travelers For such a licentious, permissive town, Las Vegas has its conservative side, and it is not the most gay-friendly city. This does not manifest itself in any signs of outrage toward open displays of gay affection, but it does mean that the local gay community is largely confined to the bar scene.
Mail At press time, domestic postage rates were 34 cents for a postcard and 49 cents for a letter. For international mail, a first-class letter of up to 1 ounce or postcard costs $1.15. For more information go to www.usps.com.
Always include a zip code when mailing items in the U.S. If you don’t know a zip code, visit www.usps.com/zip4.
The most convenient post office to the Strip is immediately behind Circus Circus at 3100 S. Industrial Rd., between Sahara Avenue and Spring Mountain Road (tel 800/275-8777). It’s open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm. You can also mail letters and packages at your hotel.
Medical Requirements Unless you’re arriving from an area known to be suffering from an epidemic (particularly cholera or yellow fever), inoculations or vaccinations are not required for entry into the United States. Also see “Health,” above.
Mobile Phones Just because your mobile phone works at home doesn’t mean it’ll work everywhere in the U.S. (thanks to our nation’s fragmented mobile phone system). Whether or not you’ll get a signal depends on your carrier and where you happen to be standing when you are trying to make a call. Hotel rooms and casinos are notoriously bad places to be if you want to chat with someone back home on your cellphone, but step outside and things usually improve dramatically. Note that if you can get a signal in a casino, don’t try to use your phone while sitting at a gaming table—that’s a big no-no.
Once you leave Las Vegas proper, you are in the wilds of the Nevada desert, and so unless you are near a major byway (like I-15), expect to get very few, if any, bars on your phone.
The Value of the U.S. Dollar vs. Other Popular Currencies
US$ Aus$ Can$ Euro (€) NZ$ UK£
1 A$1.35 C$1.37 €.91 NZ$1.45 £.77
Money & Costs Because Las Vegas is a town built on the concept of separating you from your money, it should come as no surprise that gaining access to money is very easy—sometimes too easy. There are ATMs (also known as “cash machines” or “cashpoints”) conveniently located about every 4 feet (okay, an exaggeration, but not by a lot); and check cashing, credit card–advance systems are omnipresent. Note that using any of these to access your money will cost you money; ATMs charge upward of $6 per transaction, and that’s before whatever fees your bank will add.
And while Vegas visitors used to require a great deal of change in order to play the slots and other gaming machines, few, if any, still accept coins. Gone are the once-prevalent change carts. All machines now take bills in most denominations, and you get “change” in the form of a credit slip that appears when you cash out. You then take this slip to the nearest cashier’s cage to exchange for actual money.
So getting to your money isn’t a problem. Keeping it may be.
Las Vegas has grown progressively more expensive, with the concept of a cheap Sin City vacation a distant memory. The average room rate on the Strip on weekends is over $200 a night, those formerly cheap buffets have been replaced by $40-a-person lavish spreads, and top-show tickets easily surpass $100 a head. And then, of course, there are the casinos, a money-losing proposition if there ever was one.
But there are Las Vegas vacations available for just about any budget, so pay (no pun intended) close attention to “Where to Stay,” and “Where to Eat,” which break down your choices by cost.
Beware of hidden credit card fees while traveling. International visitors should check with their credit or debit card issuer to see what fees, if any, will be charged for transactions in the U.S.
For help with currency conversions, tip calculations, and more, download Frommer’s convenient Travel Tools app for your mobile device. Go to www.frommers.com/go/mobile and click on the "Travel Tools" icon.
What Things Cost in Las Vegas US$
Taxi from the airport to the Strip 15.00–25.00
Taxi from the airport to Downtown Las Vegas 18.00–27.00
One-way Las Vegas monorail ticket 5.00
All-day Deuce or SDX bus pass 8.00
Standard room at Bellagio, Fri–Sat 175.00–400.00
Standard room at MGM Grand, Fri–Sat 150.00–300.00
Standard room at Bally’s, Fri–Sat 100.00–200.00
Dinner for two at Guy Savoy, prix fixe 580.00
Dinner for two at Pizza Rock 45.00
Wynn Las Vegas buffet, weekend champagne brunch 35.00
Main Street Station Garden Court buffet champagne brunch 12.00
Ticket to Cirque du Soleil’s O 109.00–180.00
Ticket to Mac King (comedy magic show) 30.00
Domestic beer at Light 10.00
Domestic beer at the Double Down Saloon 5.00
Newspapers & Magazines The Las Vegas Review-Journal is the major daily periodical in the city, which is now partnered with the Las Vegas Sun, its former newspaper rival. Both offer the latest news, weather, and information and can be valuable resources for coupons and up-to-the-minute show listings.
LVM is a local magazine usually available in-room, listing shows, restaurants, and more, and it often features discount offers to attractions that could save you some dough.
Packing Most Las Vegas hotel rooms are fully stocked with basics—shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, mouthwash, and in some cases things like sewing kits and cotton swabs. If you don’t have allergy or skin sensitivity issues to contend with, you may want to consider leaving those types of sundry items at home to free up some room in your suitcase. The same goes for your travel iron, as most rooms have a full-size iron and ironing board or they are available by request through housekeeping.
Comfortable walking shoes are a must for Las Vegas as you’ll be doing a lot of it. Yes, your Jimmy Choo’s will look fabulous for your night out at the party spots, but do you really want to navigate the crowds across a 100,000-square-foot casino in them?
Checking the weather forecast before your trip can provide you with guidance on what types of clothes to bring, but packing a light sweater or jacket even during the summer months is not a bad idea. It gets windy in Las Vegas and there can be a chill in the evenings, plus many of the casinos and showrooms set the air-conditioning on “Siberia,” so light layers that you can peel off when you go back outside into the heat are recommended.
If you are bringing your computer or other mobile devices, don’t forget to bring your power cords and chargers.
Lastly, consider safety when packing by tossing in a small flashlight. During an emergency, this could become invaluable in helping you navigate your way out of a 4,000-room hotel.
Police For non-emergencies, call [tel] 702/795-3111. For emergencies, call [tel] 911.
Safety CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, a popular U.S. TV show, may turn up new corpses in Vegas each week, but the crime rate in real-life Vegas isn’t higher than in any other major metropolis of its size.
With all that cash floating around town, pickpockets and thieves are predictably active. At gaming tables and slot machines, men should keep wallets well concealed and out of the reach of pickpockets, and women should keep handbags in plain sight (on laps). If you win a big jackpot, ask the slot attendant to cut you a check rather than give you cash—the cash may look nice, but flashing it can attract the wrong kind of attention. Outside the casinos, popular spots for pickpockets and thieves are restaurants and outdoor shows, such as the volcano at the Mirage or the fountains at Bellagio. Stay alert. Unless your hotel room has an in-room safe, check your valuables into a safe-deposit box at the front desk.
When in your room, be sure to lock and bolt the door at all times and only open it to hotel employees that you are expecting (such as room service).
A special safety concern for women (and even men occasionally) centers on behavior at nightclubs. Do not ever accept a drink from a stranger no matter how handsome he is, and keep your cocktail in your hand at all times, even while on the dance floor. Instances of people getting something slipped into their drink are rare but they have happened—singer John Popper of the band Blues Traveler was drugged and robbed in 2014—so it’s best to take precautions.
Senior Travel One of the benefits of age is that travel to most destinations often costs less—but that’s rarely true in Las Vegas. Discounts at hotels, shows, restaurants, recreation, and just about anything else you want to do are rare. About the only discounts offered to seniors are at some of the local attractions, which will give a few bucks off to those over 62 or 65.
Members of AARP, 601 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20049 (tel 888/687-2277; www.aarp.org), get discounts on hotels, airfares, and car rentals. But be sure to check them against the discount websites we recommend earlier in the book, because sometimes these “special discounts” aren’t as good as the normal ones.
The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) offers an America the Beautiful—National Park and Federal Recreational Lands Pass—Senior Pass. The pass gives U.S. residents 62 years or older lifetimeentrance to all properties administered by the National Park Service—national parks, monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges—for a one-time processing fee of $10. The pass must be purchased in person at any NPS facility that charges an entrance fee. Besides free entry, the America the Beautiful Senior Pass also offers a 50% discount on some federal-use fees charged for such facilities as camping, swimming, parking, and tours. For more go to www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.
Smoking Vegas is decidedly no longer a smoker’s haven. Increasingly strict smoking laws prohibit puffing virtually everywhere indoors except in designated hotel rooms, nightclubs, bars, and on the casino floor itself. Because it’s frequently hard to tell where a casino ends and basic public area begins, don’t fret too much about stepping across some invisible line. Hotels still have dedicated floors for smokers and nonsmokers. There is a significant charge, approximately $300, for smoking anything in a nonsmoking room.
Taxes The United States has no value-added tax (VAT) or other indirect tax at the national level. Every state, county, and city may levy its own local tax on all purchases, including hotel and restaurant checks and airline tickets. These taxes will not appear on price tags.
The sales tax in Las Vegas is 8.1% and is added to food and drink bills. Hotel rooms on the Strip come with a 12% tax, while those in the Downtown area carry 13%. Taxes are also added to show tickets.
Telephones Generally, Vegas hotel surcharges on long-distance and local calls are astronomical. You are often charged even for making a toll-free or phone-card call. You’re better off using your cellphone since pay phones are almost nonexistent these days. Some hotels are adding on an additional “resort fee” to the cost of the room, which sometimes covers local calls (as well as using the pool and other elements that ought to be givens). The fee can range from $3 to $25 per day.
Most long-distance and international calls can be dialed directly from any phone. To make calls within the United States and to Canada, dial 1 followed by the area code and the seven-digit number. For other international calls, dial 011 followed by the country code, city code, and the number you are calling.
Calls to area codes 800, 888, 877, 866, and 855 are toll-free.
For reversed-charge or collect calls, and for person-to-person calls, dial the number 0 then the area code and number; an operator will come on the line, and you should specify whether you are calling collect, person-to-person, or both. If your operator-assisted call is international, ask for the overseas operator.
For directory assistance (“Information”), dial 411 for local numbers and national numbers in the U.S. and Canada. For dedicated long-distance information, dial 1, then the appropriate area code plus 555-1212.
Time The continental United States is divided into four time zones: Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST), and Pacific Standard Time (PST). Alaska and Hawaii have their own zones. Las Vegas is in the Pacific Time zone, 8 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 3 hours behind the East Coast, and 2 behind the Midwest. For example, when it’s 9am in Las Vegas (PST), it’s 7am in Honolulu (Hawaii Standard Time), 10am in Denver (MST), 11am in Chicago (CST), noon in New York City (EST), 5pm in London (GMT), and 2am the next day in Sydney.
Daylight saving time (summer time) is in effect from 1am on the second Sunday in March to 1am on the first Sunday in November, except in Arizona, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Daylight saving time moves the clock 1 hour ahead of standard time.
For help with time translations, and more, download our convenient Travel Tools app for your mobile device. Go to www.frommers.com/go/mobile and click on the "Travel Tools" icon.
Tipping Las Vegas is a hospitality-driven economy, meaning many of the people you encounter depend on tips for their livelihood. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to tip more than you would anywhere else, but average tips in other cities can be viewed as somewhat stingy here.
In the casinos, it’s common to tip cocktail waitresses $1 to $2 per drink and to tip dealers 5% of any big wins.
In hotels, tip bellhops at least $1 per bag ($2–$3 if you have a lot of luggage) and tip the chamber staff $3 to $5 per day (more if you’ve left a big mess to clean up). Tip the doorman or concierge only if he or she has provided you with some specific service (for example, calling a cab for you or obtaining difficult-to-get theater tickets). Tip the valet-parking attendant $2 to $5 every time you get your car.
In restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, tip service staff and bartenders 15% to 20% of the check, and tip checkroom attendants $1 per garment.
As for other service personnel, tip cabdrivers 15% of the fare; tip skycaps at airports at least $1 per bag ($2–$3 if you have a lot of luggage); and tip hairdressers and barbers 15% to 20%.
Toilets In Las Vegas, you are almost always near a bathroom as long as you are in one of the tourist areas, with the casinos being the most obvious example. All have multiple facilities and they are usually among the cleanest you’ll find in any public location. One small annoyance is that many hotel restaurants do not have their own restrooms, meaning you may need to go into the casino to find the nearest one.
Large hotels and fast-food restaurants are often the best bet for clean facilities. Restaurants and bars in resorts or heavily visited areas may reserve their restrooms for patrons.
Visitor Information The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (tel 877/847-4858 or 702/892-7575; www.lasvegas.com) provides information, hotel reservation assistance, show guides, convention calendars, and more.
Other popular Las Vegas travel websites include www.vegas.com, www.vegas4visitors.com, and www.cheapovegas.com.
Many hotels have their own mobile apps that you can download for special information and offers.
Water Ongoing drought conditions mean water is a concern in terms of its long-term availability, but for now it is plentiful from faucets, drinking fountains, and endless bottles of the stuff. As in most of the United States, the drinking water is considered safe and there have been no reported instances of sickness from it. Still, bottles of water are often free in the casinos, so you might as well pick one up.
Women Travelers Thanks to the crowds, Las Vegas is as safe as any other big city for a woman traveling alone. A woman on her own should, of course, take the usual precautions and should be wary of hustlers and drunken businessmen. Many of the big hotels have security guards stationed at the elevators at night to prevent anyone other than guests from going up to the room floors. If you’re anxious, ask a security guard to escort you to your room. Always double-lock your door and deadbolt it to prevent intruders from entering.
For general travel resources for women, go to www.frommers.com/planning.
Passports Virtually every air traveler entering the U.S. is required to show a passport. All persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda are required to present a valid passport. Note:U.S. and Canadian citizens entering the U.S. at land and sea ports of entry from within the Western Hemisphere must now also present a passport or other documents compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI; www.getyouhome.gov). Children 15 and under may continue entering with only a U.S. birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship.
- Australia Australian Passport Information Service (tel 131-232; www.passports.gov.au).
- Canada Passport Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, ON K1A 0G3 (tel 800/567-6868; www.ppt.gc.ca).
- Ireland Passport Office, Setanta Centre, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 (tel 01/408-2000; www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie).
- New Zealand Passports Office, Department of Internal Affairs, 109 Featherstone St., Wellington, 6140 (tel 0800/225-050 in New Zealand or 04/463-9360; www.passports.govt.nz).
- United Kingdom Visit your nearest passport office, major post office, or travel agency or contact the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), 2 Marsham St., London, SW1P 4DF (tel 0300/222-0000; www.ips.gov.uk).
- United States To find your regional passport office, check the U.S. State Department website (http://travel.state.gov/passport) or call the National Passport Information Center (tel 877/487-2778) for automated information.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.