Car rental Las Vegas
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Why rent a car in Las Vegas?
Sin City, U.S.A - once just a gamling town, now a resort mecca. Travelers flock from all over the world to partake in the cuisines of celebrity chefs, lounge by the luxurious pools, shop in high-end shops, experience the plethora of entertainment options, and do things that you can do nowhere else. Oh, and to gamle, too.
Visitors planning to spend most of their time in the one hotel where they are staying surely wouldn’t find a rental car to be valuable. On the other hand, visitors that want to make many trips, including day trips to the surrounding area, will definitely find a rental car to be a superior choice to taxis, both for convenience and budgetary concerns. A common option taken by many travelers is to not have a rental car while staying on the strip, but taking one when making trips to the surrounding areas, including the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.
Top ways to enter Las Vegas
Most visitors for afar will enter Las Vegas via McCarran International Airport. Located just south of the Strip, it may seem like the airport is in walking distance to some of the hotels, however it is actually a little out of reach. The car rental desks for the airport are located in the Rent-A-Car Center south of the airport. Free shuttle buses are available at all times. Do note that due to the location, car renters should plan to arrive at the airport 30 minutes earlier than they normally would to leave time for the shuttle.
There are no other major airports located near Las Vegas. However, travelers arriving in other locations and including Las Vegas as a destination in their trip will find the city to be conveniently connect to the surrounding states. I-15 brings travelers in from Los Angeles and Utah. US-93 brings travelers from Phoenix and other Arizona cities. Be sure that your rental contract includes the opportunity to cross state borders and the mileage necessary for your trip.
If planning to make the tip from the Los Angeles area, be mindful of the weekend traffic congestion heading to Las Vegas on Friday and back to Los Angeles on Sunday. Also, be prepared for the remoteness of the road. In some places, you will be miles away from any sizeable town and emergency services may be slow to respond.
Useful city facts
The name Las Vegas is, for any traveler's intent, used to refer to the metropolitan area as a while. Most of the restors lie south of the city proper in an unincorporated area. Because of this, the Welcome to Las Vegas sign actually sits 4 miles south of the city limits.
Travelers should be aware of resort fees. Most hotels, especially those on the Strip, charge resorts fees on top of the room rate, sometimes even being equal to the room rate. This is stated to include use of fitness facilities, internet access, morning newspapers and the like. However, it may seem like little more than a ploy to advertise lower rates. These resort fees originally gained popularity in Las Vegas before spreading to other parts of the country.
The city has been known for years for its all-you-can-eat buffets. While in the past, these were usually value-priced affairs, the current trend is moving towards higher-priced buffets. Now, diners can sample food from multiple restaurants at a single buffet. Off the stip and across I-10, Palace Station hosts a classic Vegas-style buffet that is more reasonably-priced.
Las Vegas is what Las Vegas is due to the casinos. Very few visitors will not try their hand at gambling during their stay, although those under 21 years old will not due to federal law. It is worth knowing the types of games, their rules, and which are better for the player.
All games in any casino have a house advantage, that is a higher probability of the casino winning over the gambler. While the slot machines are entertaining and can require lower wagers, they have the worst odds for the gambler. Blackjack usually has the best odds for the gambler. It also has the advantage of being the simplest table game. Craps and roulette are also games where the house sees less of an advantage.
Most casinos offer lessons for beginners in the mornings. Dealers are often friendly and willing to explain how the game is played during calmer times, mostly during the daytime. Do note that beginners should be careful playing blackjack at higher ante tables, as their play may affect other players’ odds.
Most hotels on the Strip also have poker rooms with both cash games and frequent tournaments. Seasoned players are bound to find games to their liking. Once again, though, beginners are best left learning and practicing before playing at any poker tables in Las Vegas less they be a “fish.”
Top destinations and activities
- Fountains of Bellagio- One of the most famous Vegas attractions, the fountain is a water show set to vairous music. It runs every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes later at night. The jets starting to rumble and the resort being lit are signs the show is about to begin. It is rare that any visitor to Las Vegas doesn’t see this show at least once.
- Fall of Atlantis Show - This free attraction is an animatronic show located in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Lights, smoke, and water make this another favorite of visitors. The mall also has a 50,000 gallon aquarium.
- The Big Apple Coaster - Take a trip to NewYork, New York, strap yourself into the taxi-car-themed train and experience this outdoor roller coaster. To get to the entrance to the ride, you must walk through a large arcade, perfect if you’re in a group with someone who doesn’t want to ride the roller coaster.
- Cirus Circus - As one would expect, the Circus Circus resort is great for families. Free live circus shows are held multiple times every day. There is a large arcade space with numerous games available. The casino also offers an amusement park, the Adventuredome. Here visitors can find rides for kids from young to old, including three different roller coasters that are all housed indoors, and therefore comfortable year-round.
- Stratosphere - The northernmost hotel on the Strip, the Stratosphere is a resort and casino with the 1,149 foot (350 meters) tall Stratosphere Tower at its heart. For the thrill-loving, the tower boasts three extreme rides: Big Shot, blasting riders 160 ft. in the air and letting them freefall down; Insanity, a mechanical arm spinning riders off the edge of the tower over the Strip ; and X-Scream, a 27 ft. roller coaster heading straight for the ground. Bungee jumping off the tower is also available. The more timid visitors can enjoy the view of the surrounding desert from the tower.
- Shows - Las Vegas has long been famous for its entertainment. With each resort trying to one-up the others with its shows’ gradosity and celebrity performers, visitors have a plethora of world-class performances to choose from. Magic shows by the likes of Penn & Teller and David Copperfield, Cirque du Soleil shows, tribute performances, stand-up comedy performances, and concerts by the most famous musicians in the world all mean a visitor has a choice of entertainment that is unparalleled anywhere else. On any given day, there are more up to 75 shows available.
- Downtown - If you are staying on the Strip, it is certainly worth visiting Downtown Las Vegas. Having been revitalized in recent years, Downtown offers visitors numerous activities, dining options, and casinos. Starting at the end of Fremont Street. The Fremont Street Experience is a covered pedestrian mall full of attractions. Be sure to catch the free concerts hosted in the summer.
- Boulder City - Located a short drive from the Stripor Downtwon, this small town was founded to build the Hoover Dam. It hosts various attractions for visitors including the truly American experience of shooting rifles from a helicopter (offered by Gunship Helicopters) and ziplining across Bryce Canyon (Flightlinez).
Traffic and parking tips
While driving along the Strip is probably on many traveler’s must-do list, it is best done only once. At times, traffic may come to a stand-still making a short trip into a long one. It’s best to use I-15 just west of the strip if driving more than a few blocks.
While parking used to be free at many resorts, the times have changed. Most resorts now charge for parking. This includes overnight parking fees for hotel guests. If you are a guest of a hotel that is either in the MGM group or Caesars group, then you will have in-and-out privileges at not just your hotel, but all the other hotels in the group also. For example, if you stay at Luxor, you can also park at Bellagio or the Mirage without paying more than your daily hotel parking fee.
Toll roads can be a headache when renting a car, especially with the prevalence of cashless toll roads. Luckily, those traveling to Las Vegas won’t have to worry at all about tolls, as there are not only no toll roads in the Las Vegas area but there are none in the state of Nevada. Those venturing around also will be glad that Arizona also is devoid of toll roads and that Utah has only one small toll road that is unlikely to be reached by the traveler.
The nearest toll roads that a renter may want to be aware of lie in Southern California.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Hoover Dam - The Hoover Dam, roughly 40 miles from the Strip, is perhaps the most famous day trip for visitors of Las Vegas. Its construction was a large impetus to Las Vegas’ early development and a marvel of engineering at the time. Drive across the dam and park to walk to viewpoints of it and Lake Mead and the Colorado River below.
- Desert - Las Vegas is centered right in the middle of the Mojave desert, which itself is surrounded by other deserts. Therefore, a traveler can drive in any direction and experience the vast emptiness of the desert. Travelers should be prepared for both high and low temperatures, particularly if planning any hiking. This includes carrying enough water to avoid dehydration.
- Grand Canyon - The second most visited national park in the U.S., the Grand Canyon National Park is a must for any Las Vegas visitor who hasn’t been before. The majority of the amenities are located on the South Rim of the canyon. This means that the majority of the visitors go here. The North Rim is more remote and inaccessible during winter. However, if you are traveling during summer, it may be rewarding to make the longer trip to enjoy the canyon without the crowds. If heading to the South Rim, take US-93 out of Las Vegas. If adventuring to the North Rim, head out of Vegas via I-15 towards Utah.
- Part of the Grand Canyon is located within two Native American reservations. One of the most popular attractions at the Grand Canyon, the Skywalk, is located within the Hualapai Indian Reservation. This is a glass walkway extending into the Grand Canyon. Although an interesting experience, some may find the entrance fees too steep.
- Lake Mead - A reservoir created by the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead offers a great opportunity for summertime recreation. Many Las Vegas visitors spend days between parties relaxing on the lake. Boating, hiking, caping, and fishing are all activities available here. Travelers can also head south along the Nevada/Arizona border to Lake Mohave to scuba dive.
- Mount Charleston - Just a 45 minutes drive away from the Stirp, Mount Charleston makes for a perfect day out of the city. From hiking in the summer to snowboarding or skiing in the winter, the mountain makes a great place for year-round enjoyment.
- Zion National Park - A two hour drive east on I-15 from Las Vegas brings travelers to this canyon paradise. Unlike in other national parks where you see canyons for the top, in this park you hikers get to look up at the canyons and sandstone structures.
Most popular rental types and cars
With travelers out west often taking advantage of the road trip opportunities, the intermediate class of rental cars, such as the Kia Forte, is most popular in Las Vegas. This is followed by the typical economy class, such as the Chevy Spark, being used by those staying mostly in the city. Intermediate SUVs such as the Toyota Rav 4, and compacts, such as the Toyota Yaris, are also quite common rental choices.
Be sure to choose the right vehicle for your planned itinerary, especially if you plan to take unpaved roads through the desert.
Being located in the middle of the western states in the U.S., Las Vegas makes for a great start to a longer road trip. The western states best feature is perhaps its nature. Nevada and its surrounding states boast some of the world’s top national parks, and as a road tripper- you certainly wouldn’t want to miss any of them.
- Los Angeles - Travel down I-15 from Las Vegas to reach the heart of Southern California. Visit the Santa Monica pier to people-watch, Venice Beach for trendy restaurants, Hollywood an dBurbank for show business, or Disneyland for a family adventure. Try to avoid making this drive on Sunday evening if at all possible.
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