Traveling To Vegas A Guide On How To Travel Safely
Everything you need to know to stay safe in Las Vegas - whether it's your 1st or 50th visit
For many of us, Las Vegas is the trip of a lifetime.
We spend months, if not years, saving up for the flights, the hotels, and a little pot of spending money. We spend hours working out where we want to stay, where we are going to eat, and what shows we want to see while we're out there. We may even look up where the best 24-hour chapel is, just in case.
We think if we spend long enough planning we can make the trip perfect, however, many of us forget to research and plan one of the most crucial elements to a successful Las Vegas trip - our safety.
You don't want to travel all the way to Las Vegas just to get robbed or swindled out of your money before you have even had a chance to set foot on the casino floor.
Many people who get robbed in Las Vegas chalk it up to the town being the way it is. They think there was nothing they could have done to avoid the situation. The good news for those of you who haven't been robbed yet is that there are ways you can avoid these situations.
One of the best things about the internet is that we can use it to share information. Information that would have been impossible to get hold of 20 years ago. In this article, you will find all the information you need to stay safe during your next trip to Las Vegas.
The Importance Of Travelling Safely
General safety practices to be aware of when you travel
While traveling is a wonderful experience that all of us return to time and time again, it never comes with a guarantee of safety.
Is Las Vegas the most dangerous place in the world to travel to? No! But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't prepare and learn how to keep yourself safe on the streets.
While this article is going to be very specific about avoiding being scammed, robbed, and bullied out of money in Las Vegas. We do have some general tips for traveling that you should work on before setting foot on the plane over there.
Here are some things you should consider before traveling to Las Vegas:
Take out travel insurance
No matter where in the world you are traveling, you should take out travel insurance. Some people might tell you it's a scam because you most likely won't need it. But, travel insurance isn't for the trips where nothing goes wrong, it's for the trips where something bad happens.
This is particularly crucial if you are traveling from outside the USA, as the US has a private healthcare system that can charge in excess of $11,000 just to stay overnight in a hospital bed.
Stay at a recognized hotel chain
We recommend staying with a recognized hotel chain and booking through a well-rated comparison site the first time that you visit anywhere new. This will help you to guarantee that you are staying somewhere legitimate and safe.
Travel planning websites have high standards for the hotels they sell.
Check any terrorism and safety warnings before you leave
While Las Vegas isn't in the middle of a war zone, it is still in America. So far this year, there have been 470 mass shootings in the country this year. The last large mass shooting in Las Vegas was in 2017, but it pays to be prepared.
We have also seen COVID-19 shut down the American borders and prevent state to state travel multiple times in the last 2 years. Before you leave, you should check up on the latest advice.
Have money set aside for an emergency
We recommend preparing an emergency fund for your trip.
What should you do with this emergency fund? Transfer it to someone who is not traveling with you, but who you can get hold of. This way, if someone takes your card and empties your accounts you will still be able to get hold of enough money to get home.
Women traveling alone
If you are a woman traveling alone anywhere in the world, then you need to take precautions to keep yourself safe. This is particularly important in a place like Las Vegas where crime and drug rates are quite high.
Here are some quick tips for solo female travels:
Wear a wedding ring to reduce unwanted attention (even if you aren't married)
Share all your plans with someone who is not traveling with you
Try to arrive in Las Vegas when it is still light - this will allow you to get a better understanding of your surroundings
Plan your trip before you travel
TripAdvisor has some more information about how to keep yourself safe when you are a woman alone in Las Vegas.
Tips On How To Travel Safely
Ways to prepare for a safe trip to Las Vegas
As well as following the tips above, once you set out for Las Vegas there are a few more things that you can do to protect yourself.
It is important that you go on this trip as prepared as possible. You might want to save this article, so you can reread it and refresh your memory just before you arrive.
Here are two very important things you should do before you land in Las Vegas.
Understand Common Travel Scams
Las Vegas is one of the busiest cities in America, so it is pretty easy to understand why so many scammers go there to "make a living". Add to that the fact that most of the visitors have brought money or have won money while in the city and you have the perfect storm.
In this article, we are going to cover many of the major travel scams that you might encounter in Las Vegas. But you should also be aware of scams that you might face before you get there.
You should be aware of scams like fake wifi hubs that are designed to steal your personal details or access your bank account. Be aware of anyone trying to give you free gifts before turning around and charging you for them. Don't get in a taxi when the driver says the meter is broken unless they let you negotiate a fare in advance.
There are many small scams like these that it is all too easy to fall for. Remember to refresh your memories of these scams while you are out there.
Document Emergency Information
Before you land, you should have collected all of the emergency information you could possibly need while out on your trip.
It is best to have both physical and digital copies of this list. That way you can access it no matter what happens.
This is the emergency information you should have on hand at all times:
The address and contact information for your hotel
If you get lost, injured, or drugged having this information to hand can be the easiest way for you to get back safely
Your insurance policy and the contact information for your insurance company
If you have to spend any time in a hospital or emergency room then you will need to have access to this
You will also be able to refer back to it to see what you can claim for - i.e. if your rental is hit by another driver, if part of your trip is canceled, etc
Details of where the 3 nearest pharmacies are (in relation to your hotel)
If you get hurt or start to feel unwell you will want to know the easiest way to get to a pharmacy
Details of all the key hospitals in Las Vegas
The contact information for the LVPD and where the nearest police station is - more information can be found here
This is always useful information to have, especially when traveling abroad
Staying Safe In Las Vegas
12 ways to stay safe in Las Vegas
Nearly everyone has a great time in Las Vegas. It is a great place to visit - for a holiday, bachelor's party, or even a honeymoon.
However, like every large city in the world, there are people who will be looking to take advantage of tourists. In this section, you will find a list of the 12 most common scams that happen in Las Vegas. You will also find a guide to dealing with each one of these issues.
Yes, you should be aware of scammers, but you should also remember that you are traveling to Las Vegas to have fun, blow off some steam, and enjoy the amazing sights.
Always have a plan
While a lot of people like to be spontaneous while they are on vacation, this can cause more trouble than it's worth. Not taking the time to research locations, companies, and events in advance can open you up to unnecessary amounts of risk.
For example, you could decide on a whim to head to a busy-looking nightclub. However, had you researched that nightclub in advance you would have discovered that it was a hot spot for pickpocketing.
There are two types of plans that we recommend you make for your trip to Las Vegas - an emergency plan and a day to day plan.
A day to day plan
This plan doesn't have to include exact dates, times, and itineraries. But you should include a list of restaurants, casinos, bars, clubs, shops, and locations that are safe to visit. You can use this plan as a resource throughout your trip. It will keep you in the safe areas of the city and allow you to have a good time without having to worry about being safe and making the best choices for your family/traveling group.
*Note - you may find you have to book tables or viewings in a lot of locations ahead of time because of COVID-19 restrictions.
An emergency plan
The second plan we recommend you make is an emergency plan. This plan should cover what you will do if you lose your wallet or passport. What you will do if you lose one of the people you are traveling with. A plan that will cover how you will get to the nearest hospital if a member of your party gets injured.
This plan will stop you from having to make these important decisions under pressure and possibly making a mistake.
Leave all valuables in front pockets or your hotel room safe
We all know that pickpockets exist, and if you have spent any time researching Las Vegas then you will be aware that it is rife in the city.
There are many pickpocketing hot spots around the city - including in front of the Bellagio Fountains, in front of the Las Vegas sign, and in many nightclubs.
The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself from pickpockets.
Firstly, leave any valuables that you don't need in your hotel safe. You should not carry your passport with you at any time. You should also not carry a large amount of cash with you.
Secondly, keep the valuables that you need to take with you in your front pockets or in a fanny pack that is hidden under your clothes.
Avoid wearing expensive and flashy accessories if possible, as it can make you a target.
Keep some spare cash where no one can get to it - i.e in the bottom of your shoe or inside your bra.
Photographers at the ‘Las Vegas’ sign
They are not official employees
There are areas of outstanding beauty across the whole of Las Vegas - from the Las Vegas sign, the mock-Eiffel Tower, to Little Venice. Understandably, most people want to stop at these landmarks and take photos there.
At the majority of these landmarks, you will be approached by people who claim to work for the hotel or casino that owns it. They may offer to take a photo of you and your group in front of it with your camera or their own.
Once they have taken the picture they will then insist you pay them to give you your camera back or for their time. These people do not work for the hotel (or landmark) and you should not give them money.
It might be worth investing in a selfie stick so that you can take group photos without anyone's help.
Watch out for the homeless, asking for money
Some aren’t homeless and are professional beggars
Scammers know that lots of tourists don't like seeing homeless people when they are on holiday, it makes them feel guilty and they are more likely to hand out money. This is why you will see lots of people who are homeless and pretending to be homeless in popular cities.
Las Vegas is no exception to this.
While some people who are out begging on the streets are genuine, most of them aren't. You will commonly see young children begging on the streets as well as pregnant women - the scammers know that these groups are the most likely to get money from strangers.
The reality is that most of these people are professional beggars. They may also have parents who are trying to pick your pockets while you are distracted. If you do want to help the homeless people of Las Vegas out, then you should consider donating to a local charity instead of an individual.
People will come up and ask for money
Usually holding a sign saying “My wife cheated on me”
The same goes for anyone who approaches you on the street asking for money.
There is a notorious group of professional beggars that walk around with signs saying that their wife cheated on them and they need money to get home.
While they are talking to you and trying to pull on your heartstrings, another member of the gang will be trying to pick your pocket or take something out of your bag while you aren't concentrating.
We recommend offering to take the person who is asking for money to the police so that they can get help. This normally scares them off pretty quickly.
Don’t bet on games you’ve never played before
Card games are not always what they seem
The best piece of advice we can give anyone who is heading out to Las Vegas is never to bet on any card games happening on the street. In fact, never bet on any kind of game you see happening on the street - 9 times out of 10, they are going to be a scam or a distraction to promote pickpocketing.
You especially shouldn't bet on any game that you don't recognize.
One of the most famous card game scams is the Three Card Monte - known to us civilians as Find the Lady.
The player is shown three cards, one of which is a Queen. The cards are then flipped over and the player is asked to keep track of the Queen as the dealer moves the cards around the table. If the player finds the Queen they win money from the dealer.
The scammer tends to allow the player to win at the game a few times so they start betting larger and larger sums. They will then remove the Queen entirely so the player has no chance of winning.
There is no way for the player to beat the dealer when they cheat.
Try to be aware of betting with strangers outside of the casino. They could be trying to hustle you out of your hard earned money.
CD Hawkers-’Musicians’ handing out CD’s for free
...then asking for a payment
Another group of people to avoid on the streets of Las Vegas are musicians who are handing out free CDs.
You may be approached by a musician on the street who will offer you a free CD. As soon as you take the CD they will start demanding that you pay them for the CD. If you try to give it back to them or say that you don't want it they will start kicking up a fuss and accuse you of stealing from them.
People use this trick with many other items, including bracelets, flowers, herbs, and photos.
The best way to avoid this scam is to never take something from someone walking around on the street. Being given free items by your hotel or by a casino is a different situation that you don't need to worry about so much.
Never leave your slot machine, without cashing your ticket
Most slot machines will give you a TITO ticket when you win any money on them. This is a safer system than the slot machine spitting out coins that you then have to carry around until you can cash them out.
TITO tickets are great for many reasons, they are easy to carry around and they are tracked by a computer system that prevents them from being cashed out more than once.
However, this second benefit can actually open a lot of people up to scams. If someone is able to forge a copy of your TITO ticket or steal your ticket then you may not be able to claim your money.
We recommend that you have a special pocket document holder to keep your TITO tickets in. Keep this either in your breast pocket or in a fancy pack. If you are really worried, cash out your TITO ticket as soon as you win it, before returning to play more rounds on the slot machine.
Sex worker thefts
We want to start this section by saying that not all sex workers are scammers. Many of them perform their jobs honestly, however, there are a small group of sex workers who bring a bad reputation to the whole industry.
Some men have been robbed and beaten by women pretending to be prostitutes. Some have also paid for sex that they did not receive because the sex worker drugged them and left.
You should not come home with a sex worker if you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. You should also look to hire a sex worker from a licensed and well-established brothel.
Make sure that any valuables are locked away in your hotel safe and do not share any personal information, bank details, or safe codes with anyone you hire.
In addition to this, it’s also important to note that it is illegal to solicit prostitutes in Clark County. This does include Las Vegas. You can find more information about this here. That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy using a sex worker on your trip to vegas. Instead, you will need to go to one of the licensed brothels previously mentioned. These are in counties outside of Las Vegas. The above link will provide you with more information about counties where solicitation of sex work is legal.
Like fake photographers, it is also important that you are wary of street performers. There are many performers that will offer to take a selfie with you and then insist that you pay or tip them for the privilege.
Ultimately most of the time, the best thing to do is to talk to the performer beforehand before you take the photo. It’s okay to tip the performers, this is usually not the main problem. Instead, the problem usually lies in the fact that a lot of the performers will ask for extortionate amounts of money after the photo has been taken. If you refuse to pay the fee it can be quite dangerous, since they may end up getting aggressive. For this reason, vigilance is crucial.
You may also notice street performers who are encouraging tourists to play games like Three Card Monte with them - see above for more information on this topic.
Avoid some neighborhoods
Like every big city in the world, Las Vegas has areas that are safe for tourists to visit and areas that they shouldn't stray into.
The three main areas that anyone visiting Las Vegas should avoid - Downtown (this area has one of the highest crime rates in the state but you should be safe if you stay on Fremont street), North Las Vegas, and Meadows Village.
Armed robbery rates are incredibly high in all of these areas, as is physical assault.
As well as avoiding spending time in these areas, visitors should be careful not to book accommodation in the three districts mentioned above (again, you shouldn't have a problem if you book a hotel on Fremont street as long as you don't go exploring the neighborhood late at night) .
More scams you should be aware of
While the internet is a great tool for learning about scammers and catching them out. They can also look up the same information and change how they work.
For this reason, you should try to keep your research as up to date as possible. You can find a list of Las Vegas scams that is constantly updated here.
Travelling & Staying In Vegas During Covid-19
Traveling during an unprecedented pandemic
Note: the information and COVID-19 regulations are changing frequently and may change between us writing this and you taking your trip - visit https://www.visittheusa.co.uk/us-covid-19-travel-guidelines for the most up to date information.
There has not been a global event like the COVID-19 Pandemic in living memory and even seasoned travelers are having to learn new things in this situation.
In America, the rules and restrictions vary from state to state. If you are traveling through multiple states on your journey then you will have to make sure that you are keeping yourself up to date with the correct set of rules.
If you are traveling from outside of the US, then you may find that the rules in Las Vegas are very different from the ones you are under at home. It will be worth the effort to regularly check up on any local restrictions while you are traveling. You should check the overall rules in the US, as well as the local rules in Nevada.
We also advise that you do not get involved with any protests about vaccinations, lockdowns, or any other political issues (no matter which side you fall on). These protests can get violence, and you can be punished more harshly for committing crimes in a country (or state) that is not your own.
Restaurants and bars are open
The good news for anyone planning a trip down to Las Vegas is that all the bars and restaurants are now back open.
Not a lot of Las Vegas shut down during lockdown, all the casinos have been open for a while now. As have the hotels and their in-house restaurants.
Many of the shows in Las Vegas stopped their nightly performances, but things are beginning to return to normal.
Masks are mandatory on all public transportation
Including flying to and around the U.S.
The current guidelines from traveling in the US state that you must be fully vaccinated if you want to travel from another country. Many countries around the world are still on a no-fly list to the US but they are slowly removing these restrictions.
You will need a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination, and to not have had the virus in the last three months to enter the country. As well as, complying with your own countries travel rules and the rules of the airline you are traveling with.
If you are not vaccinated then you may be asked to quarantine for up to two weeks once you have arrived in America.
When flying to and around America you will be asked to wear a mask on the flight except when you are eating or drinking. This is both for your safety and the cabin crews'.
On the ground, you will also be asked to wear masks on all forms of public transportation and in some taxi cabs.
Info on USA Covid-19 travel guidelines
Again, all up to date information about the COVID-19 guidelines and how they are affecting travel in the USA, you can visit - https://www.visittheusa.co.uk/us-covid-19-travel-guidelines.
The CDC also has a detailed guide to traveling during the pandemic - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html.
Yes, Las Vegas is a wild and unpredictable place - but the people who are trying to take your money are neither. Above, you will find a cheat sheet to dealing with all the tricks the thieves of Las Vegas will try and throw at you.
They are expecting you to be yet another unprepared, unorganized, and bewildered tourist but with the advice above, you can be prepared for them.
They do the same thing over and over again because it works, so by being prepared you can ensure that your next Las Vegas trip will be the safest trip you have ever been on.