There is a common misconception that Las Vegas is only fun if you’re 21. That is the first thought that flowed through my head when my dad revealed that Vegas was our vacation destination. Great, I’m going to Las Vegas two months under my 21st birthday. I’m going to have so much fun. After I was able to scoop my mouth up off the floor, I figured I’d have to make the best of the trip. No margaritas from Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville while walking down the Strip. No “playing the slots” even though I’m not into gambling because what college student has money to gamble with, right? Now the question remains: What is there for me to do in Vegas? So, here it is all of my fellow young adults: a guide to Las Vegas for the under-21 college student and some helpful travel tips.
Getting ready for your trip:
1. Travel lightly. There is nothing worse than having an airline lose your bags, especially when you’re going to be on vacation for a week not knowing if your luggage is in Nevada or somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean. Pack a bag that you can fit in the overhead compartment. You get one carry-on and one personal item, so use it to your advantage. Pack only what you need; and, trust me, in Las Vegas, you only really need tank tops, shorts, one or two dresses, and bathing suits.
2. Pack Appropriately. Stemming off of my last point, I would strongly urge you to pack only what you know you are going to wear. This statement comes from the girl who takes practically her entire wardrobe to school with her every year because she might wear this shirt some day. Check the weather. During the summer, it is very rare that the temperature in Las Vegas goes below the 100s, 90s at least. So, pack clothes that will best help you deal with the heat. Sneakers are a MUST if you have feet problems like I do. The Strip is long and if you plan on walking it, you will feel the burn. It’s great for your thighs and gluteus maximus, though.
3. Toiletries. Toiletries get their own category because I, like most women, have way too many toiletries than I will ever need or use. So, naturally, packing what I needed was insanely difficult. I figured the best option, and the safest for my budget was to go to my local CVS and buys some 99-cent sample sizes (This is especially helpful because you can only have 3-ounce or less liquid bottles in your carry-on unless it’s medication or contact solution). As I browsed the aisle, I saw TRESemme shampoo and conditioner! They make sample sizes out of really good hair care products as well as body washes. Hooray!
4. Pack things to read/do on the plane. Depending on where you live, you flight could be long. Mine was about five hours, so I had to make sure my iPod was charged and ready to go. I also bought a magazine and a book to pass the time. I would suggest a light, funny book for the trip- it’ll help you get in the Vegas vacation fun mode faster!
When you’re in Vegas:
1. Walk the Strip. Walking around looking at all of the lavish casinos and cute shops along the Strip is really fun. Make sure you have comfortable shoes because the Strip is LONG. I would highly suggest you walk the Strip during the day and at night. The lights are amazing and really make the vacation.
2. Explore the Different Hotels. Each hotel is exquisite and has so many things at which to look. The Bellagio and The Mirage both have gardens inside and they are absolutely amazing. Many of the hotels also have great shopping. There’s a cute mall right next to Planet Hollywood, there are beautiful shops in The Venetian, and the Forum Shops are fantastic. A lot of the clothes were out of my college student budget, but hey, window shopping is always fun, too.
3. Visit Madam Tussauds Wax Museum. Madam Tussauds is amazing and so fun! The wax figures really do look like their live counterparts. Going to the wax museum is more fun if you’re willing to go all out with your poses with the wax figures. Ah, good memories. Oh, and make sure you bring a student ID because you could save yourself or your parents $7.
4. See a Show. Many hotels will offer a package that includes tickets to see one of the shows currently in Vegas. There is a list and you choose your first, second, and third options. My family and I saw Cirque Du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage. It was phenomenal. These people are so talented and the show was exciting from start to finish. I would highly recommend it and any other Cirque show (although Cirque’s Zumanity is an adult show, not for young eyes).
5. Try the Buffets. Ah, the food. Simply put, it is awesome! There is so much food to choose from and the hotels have wonderful buffets. I would highly recommend the Bellagio’s buffet. The food is amazing, but very filling. I would also recommend the all day buffet deals offered. The Luxor and Excalibur both have buffet deals ranging from $25-$29.99 per person. And, the best part is, you get to go back as many times as you want!
6. Have an Afternoon by the Pool. The hotels’ pools are very refreshing after a long day of walking and heat. They are also beautiful. Lounging and getting some sun also does the body well, but make sure you have your sunscreen!
7. Visit Exhibits in Hotels. The Luxor, the hotel in which I stayed, had two awesome exhibits: The Titanic and Bodies. Tickets are only $25 per person and there are coupon books in the back of taxis that offer $5 off of your ticket. Bodies was really cool and I learned a lot about bones and muscles among other things. The Titanic was probably the best exhibit I’ve ever seen. It’s just really amazing and sobering to think that the artifacts in the exhibit belonged to people that were on the ship. I would highly recommend both of them.
Yes, my fellow college students, there are things to do in Las Vegas if you’re under 21 years old. These are only just some of the activities. My family and I did all of these things and they definitely filled up the five days and four nights we stayed. If you decide to venture to Vegas, have a delightful time, and take stock of all of the things you can do when you turn 21!