Gambling! Alcohol! Porn!

No, we're not talking about college; we're talking about that glorious Mecca of corruption that lies in the middle of a desert. Though Las Vegas is known as the City of Sin, in recent years, it's become one of the family-friendliest tourist destinations in the U.S., replete with theme parks, video arcades, tacky shows, and 24-hour buffets. It's degraded morals the Brady way! But you're no fool - you still know that most people go to Vegas to get a little taste of Lady Luck. Well, you're lucky already! This SYW will help you get to Las Vegas, have a good time there, and return as happy as can be (at least, for a person who stupidly decided to hit on a 17).

But before we get to the details, we need to address a hugely important question:



It depends. If you're under 21 but you're going on a family trip, you'll probably still have fun - there are tons of things for the underage crowd to do (especially younger kids). However, if you and some 17- to 20-year-old buddies are planning to hit the town, know this: you won't be able to gamble or drink. Casinos and bars are surprisingly strict with IDs and will boot you right out. Okay, maybe you'll be able to sneak a few pulls of the old one-arm bandit, but there are tons of security people walking around - you'd be so tense about getting caught, that even if you do manage 10 minutes at a table, you probably won't have any fun. Also, almost all hotels require a valid ID that proves you're 21 to check in. So the long and short of it is that if you're under 21, don't go if you're ONLY interested in the gambling scene.


First, decide how long you want to be in this neon wonderland. It's a 24-hour-a-day town, so it can get very tiring, and if you're a gambler, the longer you stay, the more money you'll probably lose. Hence, four or five days should be plenty of time to do (and drink) enough to wipe out a good portion of your frontal cortex.

As for a good time to go, well, it's always crowded and it's always hot. Always. It's a desert. Deserts are hot. But we do have a bit more guidance for you:

  • We recommend that you try to stay away during the July-September season, when temperatures break 110°F. However, because of the searing heat, the summer also tends to be a bit less crowded.

  • One way to avoid some of the crowd is to schedule most of your trip during weekdays (that's when hotel rates are lowest anyways).

  • Stay away during major holidays, especially New Year's Eve, Memorial Day Weekend, and Labor Day Weekend. It gets downright crazy during those times.

Still interested in the land of excess and indulgence? Like we even need to ask. But how will you get there?



If you live on the West Coast or anywhere somewhat close to Vegas, you can save some money if you road trip it. Also, it can be handy to have a car if you want to see some stuff that's not on the main Strip of hotels. If you do choose to hit the open road, then check out "SoYouWanna Drive Cross-Country?" However, we must remind you that there really isn't a lot of stuff surrounding Las Vegas except a whole lot of desert. So if you drive, don't expect to see interesting things along the way (except lizards, cacti, and the occasional lost prostitute).


This is the standard option for most people. We'll tell you right now that there are many, many great deals to get cheap tickets to Vegas. Those casinos really want your money, so they make it as easy as possible for you to get and stay there: plane tickets and hotel rooms can be found at very cheap prices. So look in your Sunday paper under the travel section and see all the sweet deals-especially if you fly Sunday through Thursday. The package deals can be especially tempting, and often, a hotel will "comp" you with casino tokens.

Another option is to check Expedia, in the past we found several deals for a trip for two from New York City to Las Vegas costing under $350 for airfare and hotel. Go to that site now and see what turns up.

And don't forget to check out "SoYouWanna Find Cheap Airline Tickets?" for a more complete scoop (we love them plugs).


We salute you, you crazy purist. We'll also laugh when they find your dried-up skull in the desert.