Las Vegas Skyline

Las Vegas: where you'll be going. (photo: Trevor Lowder / Flickr)

If you want to spend a long, luxuriant weekend in Las Vegas with your significant other, but lack the time to plan a memorable trip, today’s your lucky day: I’ve done it for you. In preparation for my couple’s trip to Vegas in late May, my assistant and I spent nearly 15 hours planning the details. My better half and I followed the agenda to the letter — and it did not disappoint.

In this three-part post series, I’m going to share some tips and advice that you (the designated Vegas planner) should take into consideration in planning out your trip to Vegas, presuming it’ll be with your girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, or really, really, really good friend. Then, in Part 3, I’ll provide you with my tested and Sin certified agenda, so in the end all you and your partner need to do to get the most out of Vegas is to follow my step-by-step itinerary.

Vegas: Why You Should Go

Personally, I don’t like Las Vegas, I love it. Whether you drive, fly, walk, or crawl there, the experience begins the moment the endless Nevada wasteland abruptly stops and you spot the very first Vegas building. Las Vegas is literally built in the middle of nowhere and its raison d’être is based on the very simple (and true) principle that people prefer a hidden oasis for their gambling, drinking, and indulgence. Las Vegas engendered that spirit, perfected it, and turned it into a legend. Today, Vegas remains the capital of gambling, and even if you don’t care to pull the one-armed bandit, you’ll find plenty to do in this mecca of epicureanism, hedonism, and sybaritism.

Moderation is Key

With the construction of several new high-end hotels including all the gilded accoutrements you’d expect of vintage Vegas, there’s now more to do and see than ever. As much as there’s to do, I adhere to a very strict rule: never stay in Vegas for more than three nights (and never more than once or twice a year). Why? Ernest Hemingway once explained that he never continued to write through his day’s allotment of creativity. Hemingway was extremely disciplined and recognized that before he reached a point of aesthetic exhaustion, he forced himself to stop so that the following day he would have something to build on. Likewise, Vegas is a place that should be exploited, pushed, pinched, blurred, wrestled, slapped, admired but never fully explored, never truly known…always leave a little something.

Planning for Vegas

Las Vegas represents a place of intense mystery and calculated hope so an occasional two or three night venture will be just enough to see her, appreciate her, but never really tire of her. When you do go to Vegas, however, you must be prepared. Being ready to invade the neon playground means having a plan that will allow you to maximize your time. This is not to say that spontaneity doesn’t have its place in Vegas (it does and absolutely should). I just believe a solid house frame should be constructed and then you can decide if you want curtains or shades.

Vegas loves the non-planners who waltz in and lose the majority of their money in the first and last thirty minutes of a visit. Vegas profit numbers have a lot of zeroes and that’s made on you, the occasional, recreational gambler. Point is: you must have a plan or the shiny lights, loud dinging noises, $.99 buffets, plush lounges, and other distractions will do just that. After 72 hours of wandering like a 10-year old in Toys “R” Us, you’ve missed Vegas (or most of it). It can happen, trust me, I’ve done it.

In Vegas, You Can be Anyone

To optimize your leisure time and maximize the Vegas experience, you need to define what category of visitor you’ll be: (A) Bachelor/Bachelorette Weekend; (B) Tourist; (C) Hardcore Gamble; or (D) Hybrid.

(A) Not an issue: Room + Whalebone Drinks + Nightclubs = FUN
(B) Easy: Loose-fitting Clothes + $1.00 Buffets + Slot Machines + Tourist Traps = WHAT YOU THINK IS FUN
(C) Simple: Sunglasses + Wad of Cash + Liquid Diet + Never See Daylight = BROKE or FLUSH
(D) Complicated: Fancy Clothes + Gambling + Clubs + Good Food + Nice Room + Shows = ULTRA FUN

(A), (B), and (C) are easy because you just show up and go. Really. Planning for you will add a little, but even if you did zero planning, you would have just as much fun. However, for you in the (D) category, I know you have high expectations and want to enjoy Vegas Maximus. This is where my trip agenda comes in handy, which is meant for the Hybrids. Anyone can use the schedule as a planning tool, as it includes some information for everyone, but it’s really meant for the Hybrid couple going to Vegas for a long weekend. The trip agenda is age neutral and that’s always a nice feature of Vegas: any person age 21 and up can enjoy any of its offerings. Sure, there are spots that trend towards certain older and younger demographics, but those unwritten rules are more like vague boundaries that are self-enforcing as opposed to law.

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So which Las Vegas visitor category are you: (A), (B), (C), or (D)?