There are no direct flights from Australia or New Zealand to Las Vegas, so you’ll have to fly to one of the main US gateway airports (either Los Angeles or San Francisco) and pick up onward connections – or a rental car – from there.
The cheapest route, and the one with the most frequent services from Australia and New Zealand, is to Los Angeles, which also has plenty of onward flights to Las Vegas. Qantas, American Airlines, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand fly to LA at least twice daily, while United flies once a day; other airlines include Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines. An alternative route, also with frequent flights, is via San Francisco.
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If travelling by air, you will arrive at Las Vegas ’ McCarran International Airport. Several shuttle-bus services operate from the airport to your hotel, while taxis are also readily available and quite cheap.
The Las Vegas Airport is ranked among the 12 busiest airports in the world based on the amount of passenger activity, serving over 40 air carriers. With over 1,100 flights arriving and departing daily, McCarran International Airport offers direct flights to more than 125 U.S. cities. McCarran Airport is going through major upgrades and it is expected to double in size by end of 2012.
For further information please visit the McCarran International Airport Web site.
Preparing for the airport security checkpoint will help speed your processing time. Some tips before you travel:
Interstate 15 (I-15) between Las Vegas and Los Angeles encompasses breathtaking expanses of the ruggedly beautiful Mojave Desert; the drive normally takes about four hours. The road can get very busy, especially on holiday weekends. Keep in mind that driving times can increase significantly in extreme cases.
That said, driving through the southern deserts of the US is an interesting experience, and if you’re with a group, the excitement of a road trip can be half the fun.
To help ensure a safe trip, you should check road condition reports before departing. Weather conditions and road construction information is available through the Nevada Department of Transportation.
Always ensure your vehicle has a spare tyre in good condition, and remember to pack extra drinking water during the summer; pay close attention to your fuel level and engine temperature. On some stretches of road, you might not see a gas station for up to an hour.
The principal highway connecting Las Vegas to Southern California and Utah is I-15. Also, US 93 meanders from Las Vegas southeast to Arizona, where it merges with I-40
Los Angeles to Las Vegas is approximately 430 km (270 miles). Leaving Los Angeles, take I-15 freeway North into Nevada. Once in Las Vegas, exit on East Tropicana Avenue or East Flamingo Road if your destination is the Strip.
You can plan on completing the drive in four to five hours, depending on stops. Construction delays can occur on this route (the state of California is in the process of expanding I-15), so be sure to check for holdups ahead of time. During peak holiday periods you may need to allow up to eight hours.
Phoenix to Las Vegas is about 465 km (290 miles). Take US 93 North out of Phoenix, and follow it right into Las Vegas.
San Francisco to Las Vegas is about 930 km (580 miles). Take I-80 East to Reno (Nevada’s capital), and then follow US 95 South to Las Vegas.
Amtrak stopped running passenger trains to Las Vegas in 1997, and its downtown terminal was demolished. Proposals suggest that a new light-rail service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas will come into operation at some point during the next few years, with a projected journey time of 5hr 30min. Some level of subsidy from the casinos is expected with individual carriages belonging to specific casinos and being equipped with slot machines to be switched on as soon as the train crosses the Nevada state line.
You can connect to Las Vegas from such major cities as Los Angeles, Pheonix, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Reno, San Diego, Bakersfield and other cities on a Greyhound bus. The Greyhound terminal is located alongside the Plaza Hotel at 200 S Main Street downtown.