When most people take a Las Vegas vacation, they don’t bother renting a car to get around town, because just about everything you want to see is located on or near the Las Vegas Strip. Even when you are attending a major trade show like CES 2008, it’s probably not the best idea to rent a car, because not only do you need to fight with all that traffic, you also have to pay an arm and a leg for parking. Piero’s, for example, is known to charge as much as $40 for valet parking… and they don’t provide a self-parking option.
I’ve been to Las Vegas on several occasions, so you could say that I have a good grasp of what transportation in Las Vegas is like. By and large, you could say that getting around Las Vegas can be broken down in three main strategies. These are in addition to renting a car or having a personal driver, and these three transportation options are geared toward the average visitor and not the high roller who gets complimentary rooms and flights.
1. On Foot – Naturally, this is the most economical option that you can take to get around Las Vegas. If you plan on staying near the meaty part of the Strip, especially if only plan on visiting a particular section of it that day, going about on foot is probably the best means to consider. You get to experience more of the sights and sounds while on foot, and you don’t have to worry about waiting for a bus. On the downside, it can take a long time to walk from one end of the Strip to the other, so you should only walk it if you’re staying within the same relative area. That said, I’ve walked from Circus Circus to Excalibur before, so it can be done.
2. Monorail – This is one of the more recent options made available to Las Vegas visitors. There used to be free shuttle trains that ran between certain hotels — like the Bally’s-MGM line — but these have been replaced by the monorail which runs from MGM Grand to Sahara Hotel. In the future, they plan to expand the line to reach McCarran International Airport. The Las Vegas Monorail is reasonably convenient, but it’s not great for folks on the West side of Las Vegas Boulevard (Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Monte Carlo, Treasure Island, etc.). It can also get quite pricey, because single ride tickets are $5 regardless of the length of your ride. You’re better off with the one-day pass ($15 regular, on special for $9), which lasts for a full 24 hours from time of first use. Just be wary of broken monorails and lack of refunds.
3. Taxi – This might not be the cheapest transportation choice in Las Vegas, but it could be one of the more convenient ones. Taxi stands are set up in front of nearly every hotel, but you sometimes have to wait for your turn and then you have to wait as the cabbie fights through the gridiron. Using taxis is a reasonable option for parties of three or four people, but cabbing it on your own can get pretty expensive. For frame of reference, a ride from Hard Rock Hotel to Imperial Palace is about $10-$15.
Which option to you prefer while in Las Vegas? I’d love to hear about any other Las Vegas transportation options that are particularly effective (and economical).