Lucky you, your Vegas trip will be smooth and unobtrusive, and your accommodations will be everything you hoped for. These tips will help you make your stay more enjoyable. Part I deals with good advance planning. Part II talks about what you need to do once you get here.
Advance Planning. Don't let anyone tell you that planning ahead disrupts spontaneity. If anything, it gives you the flexibility to change your mind later.
Step 1: Meet with your partner or friend. Decide on the basics. How much can we spend, and what do we want to be safe? Make a budget. Rather than adding as much of a "fudge factor" as you can comfortably. In no way can you predict everything you want to spend money on to arrive.
Step 2: Check the weather before packing. If it's winter, ask if the pool is still open.
Step 3: Golfer? Club rentals. They have beautiful ones, maybe better than yours.
Step 4: Call ahead for show tickets right away or go online immediately. If you know where you are staying, contact the concierge. Tickets must be purchased well in advance, sometimes months in advance.
Step 5: Book that "Must Visit" restaurant. Like the shows, some restaurants have been fully booked for weeks, especially around vacation time.
Step 6: Research your purchases. Obviously it will be fun to browse once you get to town, but if you know you will be looking for certain items, go surf the Internet early. Get an idea of where you want to go and how much you will surely spend. This will save time, avoid stress and sticker shock and direct you to the shops and stores that really interest you.
Step 7: Assess your luggage. Is there room for what you want to take with you and also for what you can buy? Look at home shipping items if your plans include a heavy or fragile purchase.
Step 8: Discuss gambling. Share a bankroll for each of you and agree to limit your game to it. Don’t risk egg money. Discuss how much time each of you expects to spend at the casino. If it is not equilibrium, make adjustments (to avoid broken expectations).
Step 9: Practice gambling. Sign up for some shows online. Learn what you like before you show up in Vegas. Learn the rules and the cords.
Step 10: Find out what's next. Las Vegas is, of course, much more than casinos, shows, restaurants and nightclubs. Consider the exits to Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon or any of the many other sights and excursions. To make the most of your vacation time, decide in advance if you are a candidate for a side trip to a non-casino destination.
Step 11: Timing the program conscientiously for each other. If you do not do this, you will come home with the feeling that you were so busy, you barely had time to visit with your partner. That would be a shame. Schedule a little "nothing" in your schedule.
Step 12: Learn where things are. Study the map. Many people waste time because they have the wrong idea of how close or far the different points of interest are.
Step 13: Comfort package – especially shoes. Distances in Las Vegas can be great, especially for pedestrians, and even more so if it's hot! During the day you will be happy to have comfortable, casual clothes.
Step 14: Style Package. You will probably want to go out to the fancy places a few times. This could be at a restaurant, a nightclub or a show. So you want to have some things in your suitcase for such special occasions. Be sure everything fits in before you schedule it for the trip. Don't miss out on luggage with cuts, skirts, hoods, torn jeans and the like, which are not welcome at most restaurants and nightclubs.
Step 15 Plan to spend money on taxis and other local transport. It is a false economy to leave a lot of money to be in Las Vegas and then spend most of that time on the sidewalk. Speed, efficiency, and comfort require taking the taxi and limo a bit of the time, not to mention the pleasure of not losing!
Step 16: Consider going "cold turkey" to electronics. Leave the Blackberry at home. With my laptop. A couple may decide to take cell phones as a means of keeping in touch with each other, but really, if you can leave work and email for a few days, you might have to rethink the whole idea of taking a vacation.
Step 17: Remember a watch, sun block and camera. Las Vegas doesn't want you to know what time it is, so hours are scarce. If this is something you want to know, bring your watch.
If you follow the items in this list, you'll be ready to go. The second part of this series gives you tips on what to do after arriving on your vacation.