Las Vegas is the premier tourist and gambling city set deep in the American desert. Tourists from all over the world visit this destination, which makes the need for travel essential. Las Vegas has answered the call, providing a wide array of travel options for everyone, from those who would pay heavily for the service to those looking for free rides.
Las Vegas visitors love limos. There are over a dozen limousine rental companies here, from stretch limos to simple sedans. The town includes stretch SUV’s, mini busses, passenger vans and luxury cars. Limousine prices range from low to high, and many people on vacation will view the sites from the back of one of these luxury cars.
Many people use limousines in Las Vegas, from tourists, to stars, to businessmen impressing clients. It is never a good idea to approach a limousine, as there is no way of knowing who is inside. Rent your own limousine, especially if you plan to drink or if you want to see the sights while someone else drives. All limousine drivers are professionals, and some will expect a tip for their services. Check with the individual limo service to find out proper limousine rental etiquette.
Las Vegas has one monorail that moves from Sahara Ave to MGM Grand Hotel. It operates 7 days a week; 7 am to 2 am Monday to Thursday and later on Friday through Sunday by one hour; until 3 am. Each monorail car holds 72 seated riders and 152 standing riders. The ride is 4 miles long, with the total ride time being 15 minutes.
Tickets can be bought from vending machines found inside the monorail stations and at the station hotel locations. The prices range from a 1 ride pass option to a 3 day pass option, with options in between. Young children are often admitted for free.
Stations on the monorail system include:
Bally’s – Paris station
Harrahs – Imperial Palace station
Las Vegas Hilton station
MGM Grand station
Flamingo – Caesars Palace station
Las Vegas Convention Center station
There are more than 50 rental car companies in Las Vegas, so choosing a rental car is simple. Many of these companies are at the airports, making transitions from flights to car trips fast. Renting a car in Las Vegas is as easy as calling one of the many companies, and the prices range from low to high. Available cars include sedans, SUV’s, trucks, sportscars, vans, mini busses, and everything in between. Many tourists use rented cars to get around Vegas; more information on traffic in Vegas is listed below.
Rental car companies will ask for a signed contract and proof of license. Many licenses from around the world are acceptable, as are passports, but if there is any question, a phone call to the rental company may be necessary before arrival. Most companies will allow users to rent cars online, so arrangements can be made before arrival in Las Vegas.
Shuttles are popular, especially on the Strip. They are usually free for all riders. One of the most thorough shuttles is the bus leaving Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on the hour between 10 am and 7 pm. It stops along various Strip resorts.
Many hotel chains offer complimentary shuttles, but the wait can be up to 40 minutes during the busiest hours. For example, the Off STrip Boyd Gaming hotel offers shuttles between their properties, Boyd properties downtown and the Strip. This is only one example of a free shuttle that runs from a hotel to a casino and back again. Check your hotel to find out if it includes shuttle service.
The buses in Las Vegas are as frequent and accessible as a rental car or limousine. There are double decker buses, some with open tops. There are also traditional buses, trolley buses, and hybrid buses available on the Las Vegas streets.
Buses are the most economically friendly way to travel around Las Vegas. They are operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, with two overlapping routes to cover the city. The Deuce, one of Las Vegas’s more popular buses, is a double decker system, similar to those in London. It runs around the clock and makes stops at many resorts between downtown and Mandalay Bay. The SDX is another popular bus route, moving quickly through the city on bus lanes and HOV lanes. It will bypass the Strip for its express services. It runs 9 am to midnight every day.
These services, while reliable, are popular. Buses may fill quickly, but there is a bus every 15 minutes. Next to these services is the Citizens Area Transit, or the CAT system. It includes a number of different routes through the city.
There are a number of taxis available in Las Vegas. They are often available at taxi stands in front of most of the Strip resorts, as well as waiting outside the airports. Taxis are found other than those locations, however, as there are a number of different taxi services in Las Vegas. Cabs can be called to a location or hailed on the street. One word of caution for taxi riders is to know the route, as some drivers will take longer routes to increase the fare.
Other tips include:
Walk to a hotel to get a cab if you are on the Strip; it is actually illegal for a taxi to pull over on the Strip to pick up a fare. It’s also safer to get into a cab at a taxi stand.
Ask your taxi driver to take Paradise Road or Swenson Avenue from the airport to your hotel, avoiding the airport tunnel. This will save you money on taxi fare. The exception to this rule is if the hotel is downtown, on West Flamingo Road or on the far North of the Strip.
Share the cab. Getting into a mini-van cab and splitting the fare will save a lot of money.
Walking around Las Vegas isn’t out of the question, and it is certainly cheap. The Strip is 4 miles long end to end, so unless you’re an avid walker, you won’t be walking the whole thing. However, walking is quite possible in Las Vegas. Follow a few simple tips for walking around Las Vegas.
Stay on the Strip at night and never walk alone.
Wear shoes appropriate for walking, such as sneakers.
Remember how hot the summer is, and remember your hydration. Take bottled water if you plan to walk around Las Vegas.
Observe and obey signals at all traffic lights. It is not unusual for tourists to be hit by cars due to looking at the sights rather than looking at the traffic signals.
There will be people handing out ads, magazines, and other literature that may be offensive to you. If you ignore these people, they will not bother you, so do not take what they offer. Do not hold out your hand; just walk past them.
Trams are plentiful in Las Vegas, as plentiful as the trolleys. They are mostly on the west side of the Strip, and they usually connect sister properties, such as MGM Mirage. Tram One connects Luxor and Mandalay Bay to Excalibur. From Excalibur, the tram will run south to Mandalay Bay. The second tram connects The Mirage with Treasure Island. Both trams run daily and both make stops along the way. Some people will refer to the tram as the monorail; be careful not to confuse the Monorail with the Tram. The Monorail always charges fares; the Tram never charges. The Monorail also serves a different part of town than the Tram.
Las Vegas might be a hot tourist destination, but there are also many business and workers in the city. Club Ride is a program provided by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, or RTC, and it is free. It was designed in an attempt to decrease engine emissions and increase carpools. The program also encourages compressed work weeks, as well as bicycling or walking to work.
The program works with Las Vegas commuters to customize commuting opportunities and it offers incentives to those who carpool. There are Club Ride Rewards, transit passes called EZ Rider, a Guaranteed Ride Home program, and programs that entice employers to participate.
Many Las Vegas workers share rides, not only for the Rewards programs, but for the ease of getting to work and saving money. The daily stress of driving to work is reduced, and the cost of gas per car is eased. There are carpool lanes in Las Vegas for this purpose, and tourists mus respect these lanes. Remember, Las Vegas survives on its workers, so respect their need to get to work by keeping carpool lanes open. More information on driving in Las Vegas is included below.
Las Vegas is best known for the Strip and its many tourist attractions, but the city is also beginning to host a number of different cycling clubs. Mountain bikers and racers rejoice together as the city builds itself up for riders. As the city lies in the middle of a desert, biking is easy. Year round biking is also possible, with warm temperatures year round and a number of bike shops available for every biker’s needs. The city is also participating, building bike lanes, signed routes, and over 30 bike racks around the city for those who would rather bike than walk or drive.
One of the most exciting rides in Las Vegas is the Red Rock Scenic Ride. It is a 13 mile ride in the Red Rock Conservation Area. There is a tough climb, but the downhills are swift, and the scenery is spectacular. This is for the serious bikers, however, many bikers will ride along the new bike paths to work or to other places around the city.
Las Vegas includes pit stops with bike washes and refreshments for cyclists. There are fleets of rental bikes to be enjoyed throughout the city and on the trails of the desert. Some pit stops are on the outskirts of town and serve up fresh food from local farms. Other pit stops include showers for cyclists, lockers and bicycle repair shops. Whether rolling through Las Vegas or just rolling through the city, Las Vegas offers some of the best cycling in the desert.
Remember to stay hydrated when riding through the desert. The desert heat can dehydrate quickly, and many people don’t realize they are becoming dehydrated. Stop at the cyclist pit stops for water, cool drinks and hydrating foods. Take a bottle of water with you and make sure to stop often along the way.
Driving around Las Vegas requires a rental vehicle, mentioned above. Free shuttles move from the airport to the car rental depots, so getting a car is easy. Driving around Las Vegas is also simple, if the local laws and signs are obeyed. At least once a week, a pedestrian is hit by a driving tourist looking at the sights. It is always smart to arrive at your destination then view the sights on foot or from a bus. Additionally, there are many crosswalks and stop lights in Vegas – be sure to obey them. Remember the bike lanes and remember to respect cyclists in these lanes. Las Vegas residents share the road with others; keeping this in mind is important. Use a GPS to avoid getting lost and be mindful of the HOV lanes. They are only for carpoolers. Many car rental places will include GPS in their vehicles, so be sure to request a car with a navigation system. Handheld cell phone use in Nevada is illegal, so do not drive and use your cell phone.
The trolley is very popular in Vegas because it looks like a trolley and is fun to ride. It is not a true trolley, however, it does offer a more convenient travel option behind the Strip and downtown. It runs behind the Strip so it can create a faster commute time and bring travelers to destinations faster. It does make frequent stops, but because it deals with less traffic, it makes the 4 miles down the Strip shorter. It includes wooden seats, and with such frequent stops, it can create a bumpy ride, but travelers who choose this option appreciate the unique ride. It will stop at every hotel along the way.
Free transportation is available all over Las Vegas, from the Strip to downtown to the outskirts of town. There is a tram that moves between the Bellagio to the Monte Carlo hotel every 10 minutes around the clock, and it offers an indoor boarding platform. The tram from Mandalay Bay to Excalibur also operates around the clock, including a non-stop service as it travels south. It stops on its northbound trip at the Luxor.
Other free rides include:
1. Barbary Coast Shuttle
This runs every 25 minutes between choice casinos from 9:30 to 12 am.
2. Harrah’s to the Rio
This shuttle runs every 30 minutes between 10 am and 1 am. It loads at Rio’s side entrance, then loads again at Harrah’s rear entrance.
3. Sam’s Town Shuttle
This shuttle begins at Sam’s Town and moves to a number of different Las Vegas locations. It runs every hour between 8 am and 11:30 pm.
4. Hard Rock Shuttle
This free shuttle will pick up riders every hour between 10 am and 7 pm. It stops at many shops and malls along the way. This shuttle can be flagged down between stops.
5. The Palms Shuttle
This free shuttle is provided by the Palms hotel and moves in a loop to local malls and shops. It has a fixed schedule, which can be found at the Palms location.
6. Green Valley Ranch Shuttle Service
This shuttle service moves from McCarran Airport to the Strip. It is in the form of a van, and can fit up to ten people at each stop.
While all these shuttles are free to use, a tip of at least one dollar for the driver is appreciated.