1. Vegas Traveler tips for NMX Live and CES Vegas -Updated for January 2013Two major conferences are happening back to back in Las Vegas Nevada this January, theNew Media Expo (the conference formerly known as Blog World) and the 2013 InternationalConsumer Electronics show/NMX is from the 6th to the 8th at the Rio All Suite hotel, about a mile off the strip, and CES willbe held in several hotels from the 8th to the 10th.Whether youre headed to NMX Live or CES this January, or going to Vegas for the umpteenthconference some other time this year, youre surely aware that advance planning of your tripmakes all the difference.In fact, if you plan well enough, you will find yourself some free time if youre not actuallyspeaking at a business gathering in Las Vegas. Its possible that youll spend a good deal oftime networking, catching up with friends and taking in a couple of tourist attractions, perhaps allat the same time.I put together a brief document on a few things you should be aware of for a happier stay ifyoure a business person traveling to Vegas who wants to have fun or entertain new prospectsand clients. I lived in Las Vegas from 2002 - 2007, started a business there in 2004, and visit at
2. least twice a year.Some of these things are just what I wish Id known when Vegas was new to me, others are justthings you might not think to ask about.For example, I found it Very helpful to know which venues were appropriate for what crowd. Younever can tell, in Vegas, if a place that might be family-friendly in your home town is locatedadjacent to a place thats... not.Fun surprise if youre just hanging out with friends. Not so much if you take the wrong newcontact to a spot that is next to something potentially embarrassing.Las Vegas weather - plan to dress in layers.The weather is going to be mid-50s - 60 degrees, and is about 40 at night. This is chillier thanexpected this time of year for Las Vegas.Vegas also has pretty low humidity. If you type "89109 weather" into Google on your mobiledevice, youll have a pretty good idea of what the temperature will be like walking the Strip, orLas Vegas Boulevard, the main stretch of road that most major casinos and hotels are on ornear.Accessibility in Las VegasVegas is extremely disability-accessible. Whether you rock a cane or are on wheels, just ask.Most hotels are equipped to do everything from take you to your hotel room by wheelchair tosharing secret shortcuts to the meeting rooms or through the casino floor.Vegas is not for walking - Except on the Strip & In CasinosIf youll be traveling a lot in Vegas, especially off Strip, you need to add a car rental or plan ontaking cabs. Limos are often cheaper here than most other cities Ive been too - I supposedthey must be to remain competitive. The key is to do a little research when booking and checkreviews.A whole lot of the more fun activities, business related or not, take place off the Strip than onit. Theres a bus line that runs down the Strip, but remember if youre staying at the NMX 2013venue, the Rio is about a mile off the Strip.
3. If you have to catch a cab, the extra walk to a hotel, even a small one, is much smarter thantrying to hail one. Theyll basically ignore you. If theres no hotel nearby, call for a cab. Ask foran Elite fleet cab - they may give you the special Elite fleet number. Same price, better service.Youll see a black E in a white circle on the back of the cab.Unless you have money to burn OR are staying at a casino where the station is located in thelobby of your hotel, forget the monorail. Its a longer walk from the station to the place you wantto go in the casino than from the lobby and the cost is comparable. Cabs will get you therefaster.Saving on Shows and AttractionsTheres nearly always a better deal than the one you got. Im normally not a bargain hunter,but being able to get the same quality or better at half the price is important if you want to go toseveral shows at $50 - $200 a seat.Typically I find deals in one of five ways: 1. I find coupon booklets at a hotel front desk or in the Strip cabs 2. Players club cards - each group of casinos has one that can be used on sister properties 3. The web - look on Twitter, Facebook, the venues website or in Yelp reviews 4. Foursquare check-ins - Vegas is a very Foursquare friendly town. 5. At a major casino hotel - ask the concierge, cruise the casino floor looking for promoters, check the items given to you with your hotel key, as well as the hotels channel in your room.Speaking of the Las Vegas Strip - plus a tip for ladiesIf you ignore everything else I say in this section besides this first thing, you can still have agreat time on the Strip.Find. A. Map. Print it Out. Take it with you.It always seems like you can get all the attractions done in one day, but even the free attractionsin any one casino could take up a whole day, between walking back and forth, breaking formeals, and pausing to enjoy things.Add to that the fact that casinos are designed to keep you in, and help you lose all sense oftime? Thats a recipe for getting caught up in the moment. Which is not a bad thing.
4. But if you have a map, glancing down at it will remind you that you have 16 other attractions youwant to see, or a lunch meeting, so maybe you should leave the slots and go to the next place.Walking the Strip can be fun in groups, especially if you arent stopping at every single hotel.If youre looking up a location on the Strip, remember that its technically called Las VegasBoulevard.If youre going to walk the Strip, the entire thing is about four miles, so wear athletic shoes.The more touristy and friendly part of the Strip starts at Tropicana Avenue, near the Excaliburand New York, New York, and extends North to Desert Inn road, where youll be able to see theWynn just a block or so off to the east..The rest of that map is still technically the Strip, but before Excalibur isnt as exciting or foottraffic friendly, and after Desert Inn gets seedier for a while, until you get downtown. Then aftera while it gets a little grimy again..Even in winter you can get dehydrated. Vegas is a desert. Drink more water than you usuallydo.So if you want to do Vegas like you see in the movies, stay within those lines unless youre witha group. And make sure you find a map.In addition to walking the Strip, you can take a CAT bus, Vegas public transportation,, a tourbus or even a limo ride. The 24 hour bus that runs along the Strip is called The Deuce. Theresanother bus line that will take you up or down Las Vegas Boulevard, but it isnt 24 hours.Just make sure whatever option you choose gives you the chance for the photo opp of yourchoosing, as each hotel property has a specialized experience - even the lower end hotels havehidden attractions, a lobby that transports you to another part of the world, or daily shows ofsome sort.A tip for my fellow women: Its safe enough walking on the Strip by yourself, even at night,unless youre downtown. But be aware that there are... advertisers handing out pamphlets forcertain... services.They are trained to slap the flyers and booklets into the palm of their hand when a lady passes.The entire experience is 1000 times more annoying than it sounds. You wont want to insist thatthey treat you the same as any other passer-by.Trust me.They really shouldnt be doing this on the street at all, but on the rare occasions that they getrun off the Strip they just move to another location and come back.
5. Gorgeous mountainsEven among locals, when people talk about Vegas, they rarely talk about the mountains thatframe the town. Locals tak it for granted. Visitors are usually more mesmerized by the Strip.If youre getting a hotel room that is right on the Strip or within a mile of it and youre offeredStrip or Mountain view, take either Partial Strip, which gives you a little of both, or Mountainview.Unless this is your very first time in Vegas, youll probably find mountain view nicer, and thesunset or sunrise more dramatic. Besides, there are plenty of tourist spots where you can get aclear shot of the Strip, day or night, that wont be crowded this time of year.Try the Mix Lounge at theHotel at Mandalay Bay - the elevators even give you a view as youretraveling up. Theres the free view at the Eiffel Tower, complete with spots in the protectivegates that allow you to take clear photos.You can also get a 270 degree view of the Strip view by going up to the VooDoo Lounge in theevenings until at least 3 a.m. most nights. (Look for a promoter on the Casino door during theday and you can get in for half off the $20 cover charge.)Vegas NightlifeThere is gambling everywhere, with the occasional exception of all-suite hotels. There aremachines in the airport, in gas stations, everywhere. And its true that if you gamble, even in theslots, cocktail wait staff will bring you free drinks all night in most Strip hotels. Just remember totip the staff, and that free drinks mean variable quality and inconsistent service.Should you decide to casino-hop in the central part of the main Strip, near the Flamingo, youcan normally take your drink with you on the street, as you can in the area near the Freemontexperience.But if youre out of those areas and soemone tries to stop you, take heed. Contrary to myth, theopen container laws are the Strip are loosely enforced, not universal.If youre looking for places to party, theres a place in Vegas for everyone, that caters to everytype of crowd. Go to the hotel for where youre staying and check their nightlife scene againstthe Yelp reviews, even if you were just in Vegas a couple of years ago.
6. Every few years the landscape and nightlife of Vegas changes, and is seasonal as well. Thatspot that was jumping when it was too hot to be outside in the summer might not be as crowdedduring the winter.So how do you know whats hot? How do you find places tame enough to have drinks with newcontacts - or spicy enough for a "this stays in Vegas" reunion with old friends?Go to the Las Vegas Weeklys Nightlife section. The second level navigation has a menu withguides according to what kind of adventure youre looking for - cocktails, pool, clubs, DJs.For easy comparison, turn to page 40 of the PDF digital edition (or search for the word nightlifeif the page number changes on Sunday with the updated release) for the grid of area hotspots.PRO TIP: Whether youre taking family members out to a show, or colleagues out for drinks,view Every place on Google maps street view before you go. The place youre actually going tomay be perfectly innocent and well chosen, but occasionally the place across the street or nextdoor is very much not so.Finding Things to Do In Las Vegas That Arent Part of the NightlifeThere was a short, weird period of time when Vegas attempted to rebrand itself asa family friendly destination. The campaign thankfully failed miserably for the mostpart.A happy side effect of the venture was the exposure of G and PG rated activities todo in Vegas, and other non-touristy fun for adults.Here are a few recommendations, and links to places to find things on your own.SuggestionsI like Mexican food, and always try to hit up Willy and Joses Cantina at Sams Townat least once a year. Fantastic guacamole, still fresh made when I went there in2012.Italian is a favorite too. If youre with friends or family, an inexpensive place withgenerous family-style portions and a fun atmosphere is Buca di Beppo on EastFlamingo Road.
7. You havent done Vegas if you didnt watch the Bellagio fountains at some point.But there are other fountain shows in Vegas too. In fact there are a lot of freecasino shows that are considered staples of the Vegas experience.If youre from the East coast, and get a craving for fast food, try In and Out Burger.They only have burgers and fries, but theyre pretty much awesome. Try oneAnimal style or Protein Style for a new experience.LinksFree Things to Do in Vegas - not the most beautiful site ever. Still a good list with things to dothat locals enjoy.Vegas.com list of free tihngs to do.Tips from About.coms Vegas guideFoursquares 69 Vegas SuggestionsSeveral Must-Do suggestions for VegasAvoid that " you went to Vegas and you didnt blah-blah?" conversationABC News on the top things to do in Vegas (with video)http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/las-vegas-attractions-free-things-cheap/story?id=11689616#.UOVCOm_gDGAA User generated list from Vegas Chatterhttp://www.vegaschatter.com/story/2011/3/9/17202/35561/vegas-travel/OpenThread%3A+Top+Must+Dos+For+Vegas+VirginsVirtual Tourist has both to-dos and not-to-doshttp://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/Nevada/Las_Vegas-836630/TravelGuide-Las_Vegas.htmlVegas.coms listhttp://blog.vegas.com/more-las-vegas-news/top-10-vegas-must-dos-12120/A best-of list from the Vegas Aboutcom guidehttp://govegas.about.com/od/attractions/tp/Must-Do-Things-In-Las-Vegas.htm
8. If you have more questions for a former Vegas local like myself, you can ask me on Twitter, onmy @Tinu handle.Image courtesty of Flickr user Vanessa Chettleburg