10 Tips for Vegas: Street Smarts

This is the first ten of a series of 100 tips I have found for Las Vegas.

First, we’re starting with street smarts.  This guide has 10 survival skills I’ve collected from blogs across the web.  (Can you go across the web?  I suppose it doesn’t have a temporal space…)

Anyway, back to the tips!

1. Stay Hydrated in Vegas!

Make sure you stay hydrated in Vegas!  The heat in Vegas and alcohol do not mix.  You’ll get dehydrated a lot faster than you realize and you can get sick.

The article I linked to recommends asking the cocktail waitresses in the casinos for bottled water or to purchase water at the ABC stores.

In addition to this, I recommend stopping by a Walgreens and buying a bunch of water at the start of your trip.  If you need cold water while you walk around, there are usually people on each pedestrian bridge (crossing over Las Vegas Blvd) selling water for a dollar.  Some might say they are selling their water for $2, but I’ve always had luck with asking if they’d take a dollar if I show them a single dollar bill.

a city with many tall buildings

2. Don’t Wander Away from the Touristy Areas (or walk from one to the other)

While the strip is pretty safe, there are many areas in Las Vegas that are not so safe.  You can find some areas to avoid in this article.

Also, while Fremont street is touristy, you may want to be careful if you are there alone at night.  I had a friend run off to get something from a store at night and I immediately felt uncomfortable.

You can safely walk up and down the strip itself for the most part, but things do get a bit sketchy around the stratosphere at night.  When you aren’t sure, take an Uber just to be safe.

a street with cars and palm trees

3. Don’t Hang Your Purse on the Bathroom Hooks

This is a common trick in Las Vegas.  Do not hang your purse on the hook on the back of the bathroom stall door.

A thief may be trying to catch you with your pants down.  Literally.

Some people will reach over the door and grab the purse right off the door.  So be careful!

a metal door with a lock

4. There are no “Official” Photographers

Some people pose as “official” photographers in front of the Las Vegas signs and offer to take your picture in exchange for a tip.

If you’d like them to take your photo–sure, go ahead and tip them.  But know that there’s no official photographer and you have no responsibility to use them.

Feel free to ask another tourist to take your picture. But make sure you are careful with your stuff and don’t get your phone stolen by a thief who runs off after you pose!

a group of people standing in front of a sign

5. Use a Purse That’s Harder to Steal

Use a crossbag or some other purse that’s hard to steal.  In addition to being difficult to steal, it’s more difficult to absentmindedly put down.

Most of the time when I’m traveling, I carry a sling bag that is pretty pickpocket proof.  The zippers lock into place and the fabric is slash-proof.  The pockets also have RFID protection to prevent skimming in addition to preventing pickpocketing.

I’m a pretty big fan of the Travelon purses, and they make multiple styles.

prevent pickpocketing


6. Don’t Grab Random Ads You Are Handed Outside

Don’t grab the random leaflets people hand you outside.  Usually, they are extremely explicit advertisements for strip clubs or prostitutes.

Inside the casinos, people will be handing out useful coupons or free club passes.  These are fine to take (and I encourage it!)

But outside–be warned!

7. Don’t Leave Your Drink Unattended

This tip applies in so many places, but especially in Vegas.  Someone may take the opportunity to slip something in your drink.  Ask a bartender or friend to watch your drink if you have to leave it.  And if you realize you accidentally left it for a while, it’s safer to abandon it than to risk it.

With the open container laws, the line between a bar and public area is blurred.  Basically, you can get a drink almost anywhere you go, and strangers can easily sneak over to your drink.  Be careful and be safe.

You can also buy test strips online now to check your drink.  They may be useful in a situation where you meet someone new while traveling and accept a drink from them.

a glass of liquid with ice and a cherry

8. Take the Pedestrian Bridge that Goes Over Las Vegas Blvd.

Do not try crossing Las Vegas Blvd. from the ground floor (except up by the Mirage and Harrahs).  It’s much safer to take the pedestrian bridge that goes across the main road (and often across the intersecting roads as well).

While Las Vegas has a police strong presence when it comes to drunk driving, it’s still dangerous to cross the roads–especially when people have been drinking.

a large sign over a road

9. Watch Your Chips

Don’t take your eyes off your poker chips on the table.  Sometimes people will try to grab them!

Luckily, the casino is also keeping an eye on the people there too.  At the nicer casinos, the staff will probably notice a potential thief before you do.

Also, be careful about making too big of a deal about a big win.  It will attract the wrong type of attention.

I hit it big on roulette once and the walk to the cashiers was most paranoid-ridden journey I’ve ever taken!

a close up of a game

10. Bring Cash With You

Try to bring enough cash for your trip in Vegas because the cash machines have huge withdrawal fees.  Don’t carry all of it at once (please use the safe in the room!) and consider using a credit card for purchases you do not need cash for.

Also, if you find you need to pull more money out (even after taking a bunch with you), take a moment to consider whether or not you are spending the money on something you budgeted for.  Sometimes the thrill of the tables can skew our decision making.

a person holding an empty wallet

So there you go, ten tips on street smarts in Las Vegas.  Stay tuned for more Las Vegas tips!

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Great tips. I travel to LV on business typically. Off the strip there are some rough areas for sure. I think it’s fairly safe South, Southwest of the strip and East of the Airport but North and Northwest are a bit rough until you get further out into the suburbs. Vegas is a big city geographically and unfortunately illegal immigration, transient labor force as well as a big homeless population can make crime worst than usual.
    Places to see off the strip that often are missed are: The pinball hall of fame, Shelby Heritage Center, Hoover Dam (of course) as it’s not that far of a drive. Also if you have a car don’t miss the plane spotting parking lot on the South side of the airport along E. Sunset. You can park almost on the runway with a radio signal that broadcast the air traffic controllers. Some people prefer to set at the outdoor restaurant areas near Sunset and the Strip also. The plane spotting parking area is just North of the rental car center is a must for plane geeks.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      Have you gone to the Neon Museum at all? I saw it when it was still the Neon Graveyard, and I was a fan!

  2. Regarding #8 crossing the strip, there’s also a flat crossing from Bellagio to Paris/pH that’s very safe.

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