All About Las Vegas

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Here are some Las Vegas essentials that you need to know –

Las Vegas, an ever-changing fantasy-land of a city, has seen unbelievable expansion since it emerged from the desert 100 years ago.

The sights and sounds of Las Vegas are enjoyed by over 38.9 million visitors every year.  They stay in some of the most glamorous, unique hotels in the world.  They eat at five-star restaurants and expansive buffets.  They play at casinos, pools, health spas and golf courses.  There’s a lot of weddings in Vegas – anything goes!!

You will be dazzled by Vegas, but the sheer number of things to see and do can seem overwhelming.  A little advance planning will help you to enjoy your Vegas trip.  Here’s some basic information of things to know and what to bring, and an overview of this special destination.

Timezone:  GMT/UTC -8 (Pacific Time).

Electricity:  The Unites States uses 110 t 120 Volts AC (60 cycles).  Las Vegas electrical outlets accept the standard North American plug with two flat parallel pins.

Emergencies:  For police or medical assistance call 911 (toll-free).

Population:  (2006) 591,536 (City of Las Vegas); 1,912,654 (Clark County).

Telephone Area Code:  702 (from Australia dial 0011 1 702 then the telephone number).

Tax:  There is a 7.75% sales tax on purchases and a 9% tax on hotel rooms in Las Vegas.  An additional 2% is added to the room tax for certain Downtown properties adjacent to and near the Fremont Street Experience.

Money and Tipping

Credit or charge cards are widely accepted throughout Las Vegas. The most common are Visa, MasterCard and American Express, while Discover, Diners Club and Carte Blanche are also generally accepted. Some vendors may accept international cards like enRoute, EuroCard and JCB.

Cash machines, or ATMs, are available at virtually every hotel. If you need to cash a check, some check-cashing businesses will handle out-of-state personal checks, with provision of verification and personal identification. (Check in advance to see what fees may be charged.)

In terms of budgeting, it all depends on how high or low you want to go. Las Vegas is a great choice for travelers looking for value; it’s possible for two people to eat well and have a great time on around $100 a day, not counting room accommodations. Or, visitors can choose from among myriad world-class restaurants and spend more than that per person for dinner. It’s all about choice!

Great deals are available on lodging throughout the city, where you can pay from less than $50 for a room to well over $1,000 a night. Prices vary widely depending on the time of year and day of the week.

Tipping Guidelines

In Vegas, 15 to 20 percent of the total bill is a good rule of thumb for tipping. Some additional guidelines follow.

Hotel personnel: Generally tip $1 to $2 for each bag of luggage. If you are using concierge services, a $5 tip is appropriate.

Dealers and slot attendants: A small bet for the dealer is the usual method of tipping at gaming tables. A small tip is also appropriate for keno runners and slot attendants.

Taxi drivers and tour guides: Taxi drivers usually receive $1 to $2 for a direct route, or follow the 15 to 20 percent rule, whichever is greater You should provide $1 to $2 to tour guides for each person at the end of the tour.

Valet parking and housekeeping: You should tip $2 to a parking valet, while $2 a day is a good tip for housekeeping services.

Phones and Internet


Like hotels around the world, the surcharges on long-distance and local calls can be astronomical.  You are often charged for making a toll-free or phone card call.  You’re better off using a US mobile phone (cellphone) or a public pay phone.  Some hotels are now charging an additional “resort fee” to the cost of the room, which is supposed to cover local calls (as well as using the pool and other amenities).  The fee can range from $1 (motel style) to $15 per room per day.

Many convenience stores and supermarkets sell prepaid calling cards in denominations of up to $50; for international visitors, these can be the least expensive way to call the folks back home.  Many public pay phones at airports now accept American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards.  Local calls made from pay phones cost from 25-50 cents.

Most long-distance and international calls can be dialed directly from any phone.  For calls within the United States and to Canada, dial 1 followed by the area code and the seven-digit number.  For other international calls, dial 011 followed by the country code, city code and the number you are dialing.

To call an Australian landline number from the US, dial 011 61 city code without the 0, and the number.  For example, 011 61 2 9250 0000 (for a Sydney number).

To call an Australian mobile number from the US, dial +61 then the mobile number without the 0 that the mobile number begins with.  For example, +61 414 777 888.

Calls to area codes 800, 888, 877 and 866 are toll-free.  However, calls to area codes 700 and 900 (chat lines, bulletin boards, dating services and so on) can be expensive – usually a charge of 95 cents to $3 or more per minute, and they sometimes have minimum charges that can run as high as $15 or more.

For reversed-charge or collect calls, and for person-to-person calls, dial the number 0 and then the area code and number; an operator will come on the line, and you should specify whether you are calling collect, person-to-person, or both.  If your operator-assisted call is international, as for the overseas operator.

For local directory assistance (information) dial 411; for long-distance information, dial 1, and then the appropriate area code and 555-1212.

Mobile Phones

The US has very fragmented mobile phone (cellphone) system.  Most mobile phones will work in major cities, but if you head out to rural areas the reception is weak.  If you need to stay in touch at a destination where you know your phone won’t work, rent a phone that does work from InTouch US 800-872-7626 or or a rental location, but beware you will pay $1 a minute or more for air time.

If you are bringing your mobile from Australia, your phone will probably work for most of Las Vegas but not in rural areas.  Make sure you set up global roaming with your home service provider before you leave Australia and do so up to a week before you depart because some of them are very slow to connect you.  Beware massive charges apply and you not only pay for your calls but for others to call you.

A great alternative is to purchase a mobile phone from a local Las Vegas convenience shop.  They cost roughly about $25 and calls will set you back approximately 10 cents a minute.  A bargain and great for local outgoing calls or if you need to be reached by locals.

Internet and Email

Most resort hotels in Las Vegas offer wireless access, but for a substantial daily fee (around $17).  Some chain hotels offer free Wi-Fi in public areas, while others still offer high-speed access.  In Las Vegas, you can find free Wi-Fi at most stand-alone McDonald’s, Starbucks and in the Fashion Show Mall.  To find additional public Wi-Fi hot spots, go to; its Wi-Fi Finder holds the world’s largest directory of public wireless hot spots.

For dial-up access, most business-class hotels in the US offer dataports for laptop modems.

Don’t forget to bring the right power and phone adapter, a spare phone cord, and a spare Ethernet network cable – or find out whether your hotel supplies them to guests.

Some Vegas hotels still offer Internet service through the television, with a wireless keyboard (provided).  This is on average, $15 per day.

There are no easily accessible cybercafes in Las Vegas.  Check out copy shops such as FedEx Kinkos, which offers computer stations with fully loaded software (as well as Wi-Fi).

McCarran airport has internet kiosks that provide basic Web access for a per-minute fee at a price.

Las Vegas Weather


Very Cloudy
Humidity is 28%
Wind is SSW 0 m/s
Visibility is 30 km
Pressure is 1 mbar

Las Vegas Forecast


Average Temperatures in Las Vegas

All figures are according to National Weather Service records for the Las Vegas Valley. 













14° C

58° F

1° C

34° F



17° C

63° F

4° C

39° F



21° C

69° F

7° C

44° F



26° C

78° F

11° C

51° F



31° C

88° F

16° C

60° F



38° C

100° F

21° C

69° F



41° C

106° F

23° C

74° F



39° C

103° F

23° C

74° F



35° C

95° F

19° C

66° F



28° C

82° F

12° C

54° F



19° C

67° F

6° C

43° F



14° C

58° F

1° C

34° F


Vegas 365 days a year

Most of a Las Vegas holiday is usually spent indoors, so you can have a good time here all year round. The most pleasant seasons in this area are spring and autumn (April/May and September/October), especially if you want to experience the great outdoors.

Las Vegas is in the Desert!

Nevada is the driest state in America. It has an average annual rainfall of just about 7 inches. The wettest part receives about 40 inches of rain per year. Las Vegas, being at the heart of the hottest, harshest desert in North America, receives less than 4 inches of rain per year. Las Vegas has blue skies pretty much almost all year around with more than 300 sunny days. May to September are the hottest months and July and August can be extremely hot, with temperatures over 100ºF, even though everything is air-conditioned, walking around can be difficult. Winters are cooler but still warm and pleasant, but sometimes temperatures can drop below freezing during the night in December and January.

Best time to visit Las Vegas

The best time to visit Las Vegas is in Spring and Autumn (April/May and September/October) when the weather is warm but not too stifling for walking around. Many hotels close their pools from October to March when the weather becomes cooler. The quietest time in Las Vegas is in early December and late January though Christmas and New Year are the busiest times for visiting.

What to wear

Since most of the Las Vegas Valley is at an elevation over 2,000 feet, the winter months can be more chilly than you might think, particularly in the evenings. Long pants, a sweater and or a jacket are recommended if visiting between late October and early April.

During spring and summer months, t-shirts, shorts and athletic shoes are a common sight in the hotels and casinos.

Getting Around in Las Vegas

All prices quoted are in USD and are indicative only. Although Pure Las Vegas Holidays make every effort to keep prices as accurate as possible, they are subject to change by service providers, often without notice.

Las Vegas is a compact city with many attractions available in the central area around the Strip and downtown. Transportation options are numerous and varied, from renting a vintage Cadillac Eldorado or new Corvette, to hopping on a city bus, taking a cab or riding the Las Vegas Monorail, one of the most modern transportation systems in the world.

Airport Shuttle

If you’re flying into Vegas by yourself, the most economical way to get to your hotel is probably on an airport shuttle however it does stop at every required hotel. The shuttles gather just outside the terminal in the same area as the taxis.

Shuttle service to the Strip or downtown costs less than US$10, and buses run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Check with your hotel to arrange the return trip to McCarran.

Car Rentals

The average price for renting an economy car in Vegas is around US$25 to US$30 per day, but the sky’s the limit if you want to cruise the Strip in something a little more extravagant. Rates will rise on holiday weekends or when there’s a large convention in town.

As for driving, the city is laid out in a grid format, and easy to navigate. Be sure to keep a map handy, though.  Parking is free at most hotels but if you want your car valet parked you should tip around US$2 at drop off and pickup.

Buses and Charters

There are several private companies that operate buses and charters that travel to attractions in and around Las Vegas. For larger Groups, Pure Las Vegas has preferred supplier arrangements and rates already organised for our clients.

Limousine Services

There’s certainly something to be said for seeing Las Vegas in style, and you can do so for as low as $35 an hour. Options and pricing vary widely depending on the vehicle and services you desire and again depending on what convention is in town.


The good news is that free parking is abundant. Virtually every major hotel offers free valet parking (it’s customary to tip valets US$2 when they retrieve your car; this is still a great deal compared to virtually every other major U.S. city.)

Parking is not allowed on the Strip itself, and several blocks of Fremont Street form a pedestrian mall, the Fremont Street Experience, and are closed to vehicular traffic. Your best bet to park on the Strip or downtown is in one of the hotel lots or parking garages. Be sure to take note on where you leave your vehicle, or even better, take advantage of valet parking whenever you can.

Public Transportation

Public bus transportation in Las Vegas is operated by Citizens Area Transit (CAT). There are numerous bus routes throughout the area; a one-way fare on the Strip costs $2, and slightly less in the rest of the city. Buses on the Strip run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For the latest information and scheduling, call CAT-RIDE at (702) 228-7433, or visit the CAT Web site.

There is also a trolley that runs the length of the Strip. Reasonable fares and day passes are available, and the trolley runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.


You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a cab in town. Fares start with $2.70 on the meter, and $1.80 is then added for every additional mile.  It’s approximately US$15-$20 to your hotel on The Strip, depending on the traffic.  If there are two or more of you, this is the most economical way to travel.

The Las Vegas Monorail

The Las Vegas Monorail travels along the east side of The Strip behind the resorts. Runs 7 days a week from 7 am – 2 am. Monday through Thursday and until 3 am Friday through Sunday from the Sahara Hotel to the MGM Grand with the following stops in between – Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas Convention Center, Harrah’s/Imperial Palace, the Flamingo/Caesar’s Palace and Bally’s/Paris. See website for individual, multi-day and group ticket prices.

Vegas on Foot

With all of these transportation options, you will still cover a lot of the city on foot. That said, the length of the Strip can be deceptive… it takes more time than you would think to walk from one end to the other. But parts of the Strip must be experienced on foot: where else in the world can you marvel at dancing fountains (the Bellagio), see an erupting volcano (the Mirage), or watch pirates and sirens entertain on ships nightly? (Treasure Island, or T.I.) Not to mention downtown’s Fremont Street Experience, which is a haven for pedestrians.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and carry a bottle of water, especially during summer months.


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