Traveling from rural southeast Missouri to a place as fast paced as Las Vegas, Nevada, can be intimidating, especially when you travel with kids.
My first trip to Las Vegas was nine years ago and not only my first time on an airplane, but my first time in a city that size. I wish someone had given me a handbook on the do’s and don’ts of traveling to Las Vegas – it would have made my trip less stressful. I had plenty of advice of free things to do in Las Vegas, best hotel deals and where to eat in Las Vegas, but no one mentioned “things to know when you live in Missouri and are traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada.”
What You Need to Know When Planning Your Las Vegas Trip
- There is a two-hour time difference between Missouri and Las Vegas. This will change everything: your sleeping habits, your eating habits, and – most of all – your kids. Think about this when planning your trip; you may be napping when you are used to playing.
- When flying to Las Vegas from Missouri, leave as close to bedtime as possible so your kids will sleep on the plane. If you want to travel during the day, a layover may be your best option. I have traveled both ways having a layover in Denver, Colorado – we walked the Denver airport for hours!
- There is a huge difference in climate between Missouri and Las Vegas, Nevada. While we are hot and humid, Las Vegas is just dry – so dry that my skin has split cause my lips and hands to crack and bleed. Remember to drink lots of water, maybe double your normal intake, and pack chap stick and good moisturizers.
- Plan your trip to Las Vegas during the cool months. I have traveled to Las Vegas in April, June, and August; out of those months, I only suggest April. In April all their flowers are bloomed, the temperatures are warm, but not hot, and I did not feel like I was dehydrating the moment I stepped out the door.
- If you travel in the summer, remember the temperature in your car is way hotter than the temperature outside. If you plan to pack water, drinks, food, sunscreen, or anything keep it in a cooler on ice or in a cool place.
- Drivers in Las Vegas are used to driving in Las Vegas; we Missourans are not. If you plan on driving, I suggest you pack an up to date GPS system. If you plan on renting a car, take out the insurance – traffic is 50 times worse than St Louis’ rush hour traffic.
Things to Know When You Are in Las Vegas
- No one is your friend – they are all natives or tourist. The tourist will be lost and the natives will be busy, so have a map, have a plan, and be ready.
- About those people handing cards out on the street corner … those are not always coupons, I returned to my hotel room one night with about 50 show/dancing girls’ business cards (and no, I did not call any of them).
- Lock everything: your car, your luggage, your hotel door, and anything you use.
- Children are not allowed in the casinos; while I knew that, I did see many tourist getting questioned for having their kids in a casino.
- When dining out, select your restaurant beforehand, know if the restaurant is family friendly. My brother in law once told me that he took his work crew out to eat at this new place, only to discover it was “Topless Tuesday.” Be sure you plan appropriate dining and check if the place has a dress code.
- The lady in the restroom handing you that fresh hand towel wants a tip. This is not common in our parts; in fact I had never seen a bathroom attendant until I went to Las Vegas.
- Tip anyone who serves you. In Missouri, we are not used to having someone carry our luggage, park our cars,etc., so tipping them does not come naturally. They do deserve and want to be tipped – and you will receive better service if you do.
- The idea of catching a cab on the street is not like it is in Chicago. If you want a cab, I suggest calling one and ask them to pick you up at a certain location.
- Be cautious of buying tickets to events or shows off the street.
- Stay on the Strip or only go to and from the tourism attractions. Just off the strip you will find some very poor areas of town, which can have a higher crime rate. You may also see some heartbreaking images in those parts of town.
- Wear walking shoes. Forget those cute flip flops or sandals – after one day on the Strip, my shoes were ruined and my feet were black. After that, I wore tennis shoes everywhere I went (and they were pretty much ruined after my vacation).
I do plan to one day return to Las Vegas, childless and better prepared. Las Vegas is a beautiful city, especially if you fly in at night, surrounded by beautiful scenery and rich history. Also, honestly, it is a very affordable place to vacation.