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Las Vegas, USA
USA | Cities | Nature
|Where: Nevada, USA|
- Shows and other entertainment
- Nature parks nearby
- One of the non-typical but iconic cities in the USA
- Glitter, wealth, entertainment
- Unusual hotels
- World class shows
- Frequent conferences can make your trip tax free
- Driving distance to the Grand Canyon
- "Sin city"
Why visit Las Vegas?
Most people in US will think casinos and gambling when you say Las Vegas. It will be a bit different for foreign tourists. Las Vegas and New York are the two cities that are iconic of the American culture for a foreigner. It will be an incomplete impression of the country for a tourist touring the United States without visiting these two cities. These tourists visit Las Vegas to see its never sleeping life rhythm, sparkling hotels, night lights, shows and overall aura of a glamorous "sin city". There are also natural attractions that could be included. One of the greatest natural attractions in the US is the Grand Canyon. It is approximately 4 hour drive from Las Vegas. It would be a good plan to combine the two, visit fabulous Las Vegas and do a day trip to the canyon.
Where in the world?
It will be hard to find a person who does not know that Las Vegas is in the United States. Las Vegas was built in Nevada desert. It is located close to a T-junction of borders of three states: Nevada, Arizona and California.
There are many direct flights to Las Vegas international airport (LAS) from US and Canadian cities but there will be likely a connection flying from other places. We encountered people who flew to LA by a direct flight, then rented a car and drove to Vegas. Driving, it is about 5 hours from Los Angeles. Flying, it takes 5 hours from New York city or Miami. The airport is practically in the city, a short drive away from the strip.
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Vaccination and infections
According to CDC no vaccination is required in addition to the routine vaccination established in most countries (subject to your country of origin and your personal vaccination). There is NO risk of malaria in the country. Prevent yourself from insect bites to avoid insect transmitted infections. Some parts of USA are endemic for Lyme and other tick born diseases. Please see updated information for health at CDC site or health authority in your country.
Citizens of some countries can enjoy Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Please check if you can visit USA without visa here. In order to travel without a visa on the VWP, you must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier. Passport holders of other countries need to apply for visa well in advance.
When to go?
It is desert and is almost always dry. However, temperature during winter (November-February) can drop to just above freezing. Occasionally temperature dives below freezing and it can even snow. At the other extreme, summer temperatures (June-August) can climb well above 30 degrees on the Celsius scale (90 Fahrenheit). Spring and fall will have moderate temperatures and will be more enjoyable.
Where to stay?
The hotels in Las Vegas can be divided into those on the strip and outside the strip. The strip is a section of Las Vegas Boulevard with the highest density of higher end hotels and casinos. The higher end hotels compete by their splendor while the prices can range significantly. If you are on a budget, you may get a better deal just outside the strip although there are less expensive hotels on the strip too. Staying during weekdays is usually cheaper than staying over a weekend. Las Vegas is a place for frequent conferences and conventions. Hotel prices and room availability can become an issue during one major or several coinciding conferences. Check adjacent weeks during booking if you are flexible. It may happen that you target a conference week with low availability of less expensive choices.
What to do?
You can gamble but you do not have to. First time we came to Las Vegas our son was a teenager. We were passing by slot machines and started playing. In no time $10 were gone and we asked him what would he do, continue playing or save money for something we can buy for him. He said: "What's the fun when you lose?" Now he is a grown man and he has not shown interest in gambling. For us Vegas was never about gambling, we went there for conferences and enjoyed other things the place can offer.
If you are with kids you can ride few thrill rides that are available at several hotels. Some are real thrills for brave ones. For example, those on top of the Strat hotel will make you hesitate:
There are also day- and night-time attractions available for adults.
The best night-time attractions for us were the shows. Some shows can be popular and you are better off buying tickets beforehand for better seats. On other nights we would just have a nice dinner and stroll along the strip, stopping to watch fountains at Bellagio hotel and venturing inside the most spectacular hotels. Visiting the hotels is a sightseeing on its own.
- The Grand Canyon can be visited by either driving if you have a rental car, or you can buy a tour. As we mentioned earlier, combining Vegas and the Grand Canyon makes most sense for an international traveler.
- Red Rock Canyon park is a close by park with a range of rock climbing and mountainous scenery.
- Valley of Fire park a nearby park with surreal red rock formations and petroglyphs.
- Lake Mead is also a surreal combination of a lake and a desert. The lake is a man made reservoir formed after construction of the Hoover Dam.
As always, we have no affiliation with any booking companies or resorts. We simply share our experience and opinions.