Vegas is a fairly small city but it’s not so small you can just walk anywhere you want to go. So at some point, you will have to utilize some form of transport. If you are driving in then you can just use your car, as long as you aren’t drinking, Same with Hiring from the airport. But otherwise, you will need to embrace Las Vegas’s Transport system. So here is our guide to getting around Las Vegas Without a car.
Las Vegas is the simplest city of them all for navigation. At least as far as Tourists are concerned. There is the airport at one end and Downtown at the other with all the major hotels and casinos lining a long road between the two. The Below Map shows the location of most of the hotels. Downtown is just off the top of the map.
Of course, the utter simplicity of the city masks a problem that is not inherently obvious from the map. The Hotels themselves are absolutely enormous, so simply walking past one hotel takes quite some time. That short dense cluster of hotels is actually nearly 4 miles long. This means getting to and from the more distant hotels can actually involve a long hike. In summer when the temperatures in the City are close to melting steel. You are going to want to avoid hiking too far.
Hire Car and Casino Parking Charges
Hire cars was the obvious choice back in the day, as long as you were going to avoid drinking. All casinos have Large indoor parking lots and you could just hop between hotels and remain in Air conditioning all the way. Better still tip the Valet and walk right in the front door!
Unfortunately during the 2016 season, MGM Properties decided to introduce Parking charges for their parking lots and valet Services. Closely followed by CEP ( Caesars Entertainment Properties). Thus in one fell swoop, the majority of properties on the strip now had paid parking. While MGM and CEP’s bank balances bulged.
Of course, if you are going to hire a car anyway, as you want to get out of the city, you will still have to pay even though you are a guest. However, it does mean your parking is transferable between properties of the same brand. So if you are staying at an MGM property, you can transfer between Properties for no extra charge. And the same is true at CEP. Small conciliation really!
People spending large amounts of gambling will not have to worry, however, as you can just join the Rewards Clubs and get free parking at higher levels. But for the rest of us. It’s quite a bummer. To be honest we never used the hire car much for getting about the strip though. Drinking is always a part of our Vegas Trips so the car was often just left in the garage for the duration. Apart from trips out of Vegas or to the malls. The new charges will make us rethink the hire-car situation completely.
Whenever you need to get somewhere the first question you should ask is can we walk it? Despite the distances, we find most of the journeys we need to make, we can just hoof it. Often we are there before we have really thought about it and to be honest, walking the strip is always a highlight of our trips!
This is in large part dependent on where you are staying. Central hotels offer more opportunities to just walk it, than the hotels at the far ends or just off, the Strip. Mandalay Bay, for instance, is really quite far from everything, While Caesar’s Palace and The Bellagio, for instance, are slap bang in the middle.
Walking can still be a long arduous task but it’s pretty unavoidable. Most people find they cover quite a few miles per day on any trip to Vegas. We have clocked up well over 10 miles on busy days and this leaves your feet in tatters! While the temptation is to bring beautiful fancy shoes, for nights out and whatnot, you are better advised to bring comfortable footwear you can walk far in, at least, for the most part, you can still rock those Louboutins on your Big nights out!
To be honest all that walking really helps offset some of those All-you-can-eat buffets and bottomless beverages. So it’s not all bad!
The Deuce – Bus
The next cheapest option for getting about when the trip is just too far is “the Deuce”. The Deuce runs the length of the strip stopping at all the major hotels and casinos. The buses are air-conditioned and run 24 hours a day, albeit on a reduced schedule overnight.
Buses should arrive around every 15mins but this can alter during heavy traffic. But they are very frequent. The service is reduced after midnight but only to 20min frequency so still only a short wait.
There is an SDX service which is an Express service. This stops at fewer casinos and should get you to where you are going faster. This route also heads further out and services the fantastic Premium Outlets North. A fantastic Shopping Outlet.
The Deuce Route map – has all the information you may need. showing the routes and stops along the way.
Fares are $6 for a 2-hour trip (unlimited rides) or $8 for a 24hr pass. a 3-day pass is only $20. 2 and 24hr passes can be purchased on the bus (exact change) or at the ticket machines at most bus stations. Check the Route map for a “tvm” symbol next to your stop to see if there is a vending machine available. If there is no symbol then you will need to pay on the bus.
The App is also pretty cool, this shows the position of all busses and when you can expect the next arrival. You can also pay directly on the App for whatever fare you choose!
The deuce can be used to access the Airport as well, more info on that below.
The downside to the Deuce is the stops are often unsheltered and swelteringly hot. Once on the Bus, there is Air conditioning and often a fun and friendly tour guide pointing out the various stops along the way. The stops also seem really close but are often quite a bit further than you think!
Finally, the Vegas Traffic really can be awful, especially on evening weeknights, This means your 20 min bus Journey could see you stuck on a bus for an hour or more!
Back in the Day when Mono Rails were the future, Vegas was cutting edge with this futuristic mode of transport whisking you between different hotels. However, we feel, that future has been and gone. Monorails are far from the travel of the future and this one, in particular, is pretty useless. Situated at the back of the hotels It can mean quite a hike added on each end of each trip. If you are going to a hotel on the other side of the strip it really is a long slog. The Route does not even cover the whole strip and It only services a select number of hotels. It’s quite fun for a novelty but we would always choose the Deuce or Ride-Sharing Apps!
- Single Ride – $5
- 1-day – $15
- 2-day – $26
- 3-day – $32
- 4-day – $39
- 5-day – $47
- 7-day – $62
As with every major City Vegas is served very well by Taxi. They will pick you up right outside your lobby and take you anywhere you instruct them. The only real issue with a taxi is the cost. While not horrendous they do add up if used a lot. We save them for important trips like dinner and a show where we just don’t want the hassle of using a bus or walking too far in high heels (Kate that is, not me).
Here are some example fares, to give you an idea.
- Caesar’s palace – Mandalay bay – $20-25
- MGM Grand – Freemont Street Experience – $35-40
- Luxor – Stratosphere – $30 -35
- Bellagio – McCarran Airport – $27-30
Uber / Lyft
Uber and Lyft have really taken over Vegas, to the point we never use taxis anymore and have pretty much abandoned the Duece! Prices are really cheap and the convenience really means whenever we move location we either walk or grab an Uber.
Availability is amazing. If you have to wait 15 mins for your Car to arrive it must be seriously busy, 5 Mins is the more usual wait. This means if you are sitting in a Casino and order the Uber, by the time you are at the pick-up point the Car will be there!
Unlike many Cities, Ubers are really embraced, all Hotels have specific Ride Sharing locations visibly signposted and all the drivers and any member of staff know the score so just ask.
- Caesar’s Palace – Mandalay bay – $14
- MGM Grand – Freemont Street Experience – $20
- Luxor – Stratosphere – $15
- Bellagio – McCarran Airport – $17
As you can see prices are LOW, of course, used often it does add up, but that is simply part of the trip costs. We tend to use 1-2 a day, while walking to most places we just Uber when things are too far!
The only time we use the Duece now is if we head to Freemont Street, and even then an Uber is only mildly more expensive as these are prices per CAR, The Duece fairs are per person!
New To Uber?
We used to say if you were New to Uber then maybe don’t try it in a new City, as the added stress of working a new transport method on top of all the other new experiences might be too much, but Uber works SO well in Vegas, we struggle to keep to that advice, you really really should try it.
Naturally, if you use Uber at home don’t give it a second thought, it works amazingly well in Vegas. But if you have never tried it, still give it a go. Set everything up before you go and just give it a whirl. You will be amazed at how simple cheap and convenient it is!
Not from the US?
one issue for many who are not from the US is the fact you may not have a US phone connection, your own Mobile contract will be hideously expensive if you use Data in the States, so it will be turned off, and you worry you won’t be able to use Uber due to Lack of data.
Don’t worry, Vegas has so many Wifi Hotspots you will never be without Data. Once the Ride is hailed, from inside a Casino, you don’t actually need data. Just get to the pickup point and the car will arrive! Once in the car, the driver’s app takes over and the ride is completed perfectly without any more input from you.
McCarran Airport is actually very close to the Strip in Vegas. Most Cities Position their airports well away from the center to reduce noise nuisance for residents, Well Vegas isn’t like Most cities so the Airport is right at the edge of the strip. To be fair the Airport was there first and is a good 5+ miles away from the Old center of Downtown Vegas with the strip building up afterward.
Anyway, what this means for tourists is the airport is really close to your hotel. So options for getting to your hotel are far simpler (read that as cheaper) than most Cities Airports.
When arriving at an Airport we find one of the most important things to consider is how fast can I get the hell out of there and into my hotel! Likewise, When leaving the City, you want to leave as late as possible to get the most out of your vacation you can. On both counts, the fastest and easiest way to and from the airport is Uber/Lyft!
It just happens to be the cheapest, apart from the Bus, and it’s not exactly much more expensive than that! 2 Single trips on the Bus are $10 and an Uber is around $16-25 depending on Hotel! Considering you need to find the bus station and change buses, it’s just easier to hop in an Uber and be in the pool within an hour of landing!
The Airport has a dedicated and signposted Ride Sharing pick-up location and while it’s hidden away in a Parking lot, it’s easy to find and you will not be waiting long for your driver to arrive, load your luggage for you, and whisk you off. The App calculates the Route so no Long Hauling through the Tunnel (see below), unless the traffic is so bad that IS the better route. And we find Vegas Uber drivers are some of the most fun, friendly and colorful Characters of any City we know, compare this to New York where you are lucky to get a hello!
Unless we hire a car, Uber/Lyft has answered the Aiport question entirely for us, it really is a no-brainer if you use the Ride Sharing app, and if not, this might be the time to try your hand!
Even just jumping into a kerbside cab will not break the bank, most hotels will only cost between $25-30, more for the more distant hotels. You also run the risk if Drivers Long hauling you. There are two routes to the strip and one is considerably more costly and longer than the other.
Make sure, unless you are staying in Mandalay Bay, or Luxor, you say clearly to your driver “Do NOT use the Tunnel!” this should ensure you are routed correctly and not overcharged! See the difference below!
McCarran Airport to Planet Hollywood – 3.2 Miles – 8 Mins
McCarran Airport to Planet Hollywood – Via the Tunnel – 7 Miles – 12 Mins
As you can see the Tunnel is quicker going as it’s all freeway, but the distance ensures the meter clocks up considerably! This “trick” is very common, and another reason we have a clear conscience when hopping in Our Uber.
There are also lots of shuttle services available which will get you straight to your hotel for a very cheap fare. Expect around $10-15 one way or $15-20 round trip. Now depending on how many are in your party or what hotel you are going to, that’s not actually that cheap. A taxi could be less, and an Uber probably will be regardless. So do your maths first! 4 people in Taxi might cost you $25 each way but even a return on a shuttle will be nearly $60
Our normal reservations on Shuttles taking a long time and making many stops don’t really apply in Vegas as we are quite happy visiting all the different hotels along the Strip. As long as we are on the Strip we are happy! And even the longest shuttle rides are pretty quick!
Again, Uber has rendered this Option pretty much redundant, even if your party is large, an Uber XL will render this option an expensive inconvenience!
The Deuce, unfortunately, doesn’t go as far as the Airport. So isn’t perfect. But it does go as far as the South Strip Transit Terminal where you can transfer to the 109 which takes you to the terminals. It’s all a bit of a faff when a cab is only $27 and an Uber only $19, but if you have already been using the bus and have a pass it’s a good option, as it’s then technically free! Full info on this here.
You know, why not. You’re in Vegas! We are not ostentatious people and really couldn’t imagine getting a limo in most places but in Vegas, We think you can easily get away with it! And let’s be honest no one will bat an eyelid, but you will feel like a boss! Especially if it’s a special or important trip It’s well worth the money to be greeted at arrivals by your very own driver who will take you straight to your hotel lobby. It’s the perfect way to start your Vegas trip!
Prices are around $85 for a round trip in a Luxury Sedan or $140 for a Stretch (6seats)
Have Your Say
How do you get around Vegas? Have you tried the Deuce? or are you strictly a Taxi / Uber person? Let us know your thoughts and let us know if you have any questions. Or want advice on getting to and from any specific destination.