Spanning 135 square miles and offering numerous entertainment options, Las Vegas can be difficult to navigate for anybody. The problem is only further compounded when you consider that there are multiple transportation methods available along with varying prices.
What transportation methods should you use in each situation? And how do you get around Vegas when you're on a budget?
I'll answer both of these questions below and discuss the various ways that you can travel in Sin City.
Given that many Vegas resorts and attractions are clustered together, you can get to where you want to go by walking.
The advantages to walking are many, including that it's free, you get exercise, you won't have to tip valets, and you avoid dealing with public transportation.
But before you swear off rental cars and buses, there are a few downsides to keep in mind as well.
Fatigue is one major problem because you'll not only be walking to different casino resorts, but also walking inside of them too. This is killer when you're inside a massive casino like the Venetian, which spans over 240,000 square feet.
Another factor to consider is the desert heat, which can reach 115 degrees in the summer. This is why you definitely want to stay hydrated if you go through Vegas on foot.
Finally, beware that you'll be solicited with adult entertainment ads when walking down the Vegas Strip. These vendors won't impede your progress, but they do get annoying after the third or fourth block.
This is a quick way to get around Vegas and avoid dealing with public transportation or expensive taxis.
Another perk to Vegas rental cars is that resorts offer free valet parking. We still suggest that you tip the valet a few dollars, but this beats the costs of parking garages or meters.
If you'll be going out of town, like on a Hoover Dam trip, rentals gain even more value since you don't need to pay for a tour bus.
The downside to rental cars is that you probably won't need one if you're just staying in town. You'll find multiple cheap entertainment options in Vegas, even if you want to go from the strip to downtown or vice versa.
Aside from walking, buses are the cheapest way to get around Las Vegas.
The Deuce, a double decker bus, makes rounds to key spots in Sin City, including the airport, Fremont Street, shopping malls and several locations on the Vegas Strip. You can buy a one way ride on the Deuce for just $3, a 2 hour pass for $6, a 24 hour pass for $8 or a 3 day pass for $20.
Another important Vegas bus is Route 301, which not only goes to many of the aforementioned locations, but also suburbs like Paradise and Henderson. Route 301's prices are roughly the same as the Deuce, and you can count on this bus running 24 hours a day.
One advantage to using buses in Vegas is that you can get off before your stop at any time, making this like a cheaper taxi ride. The Deuce even offers entertainment value if you sit on the second story and look down at the streets below.
A downside of Vegas buses is that you'll get stuck in traffic during peak hours; taxi drivers, on the other hand, are more adept at quickly maneuvering you to your destination.
Another problem is that buses pass you by when they fill up at the north or south end of the strip. That being said, these are good locations to board buses.
Like the Deuce, the monorail is fun because it gives you an elevated view of Vegas city streets. You'll also appreciate that this is a cheap transportation option because you pay $5 for a single ride, $9 for two rides, $15 for a 24 hour pass and $40 for a 3 day pass.
The monorail runs from 7am to 2am on weekdays and from 7am to 3am on weekends. And it goes from the north to sound end of the Vegas Strip, making seven stops across this 4 mile stretch.
You can also take free monorail shuttles between Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay, between Bellagio and Monte Carlo, and between Mirage and Treasure Island.
The only drawback to these monorails is that they're only available on the strip.
Casino resorts offer free shuttles that run from the resort itself to specific locations and back.
Examples include: California Hotel & Casino to Sam's Town Gambling Hall, Fremont Street to Sam's Town, Gold Coast to the Vegas Strip, Barbary Coast to The Orleans, Fashion Show Mall to Boulder Station, Fashion Show Mall to the Forum Shops and Mandalay Bay to Green Valley Ranch.
The good thing about free shuttles is that you can ride them regardless of if you're a guest or not. The downside is that the stops for these shuttles are usually limited to properties owned by the same company.
Taxis are a quick way to make it through Vegas because the drivers know the streets and drive aggressively.
Keep in mind that taxis can't stop on the Vegas Strip, so look for them parked outside resorts and other parking lots.
The big downside to cabs is the price because, according to TaxiFareFinder.com, you'll pay anywhere from $7.60 for a short ride to $40.15 for a long trip. And this doesn't even include the standard 20% tip.
The upside is that taxis are ready when you need them, unlike buses, monorails, and shuttles.
Ideally, you'll be able to walk to most locations during your Vegas trip because this is a free, easy method of getting around the city. But walking also takes time and can quickly tire you out, which make buses, rental cars, monorails, shuttles, and taxis attractive in certain situations.
Buses are especially nice for budget conscious travelers who want to visit different parts of Sin City. The monorail and free shuttles are also great for saving money if you don't mind waiting for their scheduled times.
Provided traffic isn't too bad, rental cars and taxis are the most convenient way to travel long distances in Vegas.
Keep the pros and cons in mind for each form of transportation we've discussed so that you choose the right method for your circumstances.