Taxis

Most Taxis will only  pick you up at a TAXI STAND as they can be ticketed by the police for picking you up on the street.  They cannot drop you off on the street. 

Taxi is a popular way of getting around Las Vegas, along the Strip and to and from downtown and the airport.  A steady flow of taxis come in and out of the taxi stands available in front of all major hotels and casinos.  You may have a short wait in line during busy times, but often you can simply step outside of any hotel’s main entrance and a taxi will be immediately available for you.  What used to be a plentiful supply  of minivans and full vans operating as taxis to accommodate people traveling together in larger groups is now largely made up of subcompacts and 4 pax SUV's.   A Taxi is certainly the best way go to and from the airport as sometimes you can wait an hour for the shuttle, but by taxi you can go straight to your hotel with little delay. 

The rates as of September, 2008, are:  The “drop fee” or initial fee is $3.30. The wait-time charge (the cost per hour for time spent traveling slower than 8-12 mph) is $30.  The rate is now $2.45 per mile, plus $30/hr for waiting time, which comes into effect when the taxi is stopped in traffic, so the same trip could cost $15-20 depending on traffic, of which there can be a lot during the night.  There is also a charge of $1.80 for all taxicabs leaving the airport.  The cabbies know how to avoid the Strip traffic, which  can often take an hour to drive during busy times, so it is a good idea to utilize one when time is a factor.  Walking is often a cheaper alternative along with the Duece bus system, but both have their drawbacks.

Rental Cars

Car rental is a smart option for getting around Las Vegas as long as you don't mind the traffic, have knowledge of the area and plan on avoiding alcohol.  If that is the case, then the sheer size of the hotels makes a car worthwhile, especially if you plan on glamming yourself.  Imagine walking several miles to get to the hotels in dressed-up clothing.  Not a smart option, unless you are a sucker for pain.  But beware - although drinking is free and open in Vegas, drunk driving laws and penalties are particularly tough and Metro is everywhere.

Pockets of resorts are within walking distance of each other; however, the entire strip would take a couple of hours to walk from end to end, and then another couple of  hours to return to your destination.  Free shuttle service is  available  between the Harrah's properties and for some of the off-strip hotels. 

The additional availability of public transportation options such as the Monorail and the bus system, as well as readily available taxis, make having a car superfluous for some visitors.. There are others though who wouldn't be without a car even for 1 day on the Strip.  With valet service at virtually every location in town, getting from the Hard Rock to Caesar's Forum Shops then down to the Bellagio in your own rental is actually inexpensive, as long as you don't mind waiting to retrieve your car from the valet during peak times.  If you then go to dinner somewhere other than at a restaurant in your hotel, you quite possibly could spend  more on taxis than on a day's rental and a $1 or $2 valet tip at each stop.  But  remember, you are on vacation, relax and enjoy your trip.

If expenses are really a concern, then use the free self-parking garages each large casino provides, and skip the wait  and the valet's tip. Using the garages also allows you to miss much of the Strip's bumper-to-bumper traffic, as the garages are usually placed at the back of the properties, reached by the streets paralleling the Strip. The garages for most casinos on the east side of the Strip can be reached by Koval Lane, and the ones on the west  by using Dean Martin Drive.

Also, those who plan on leaving the main tourist areas of Las Vegas to explore the surrounding desert areas or to visit the Hoover Dam, for example, will find that renting a car is a very good and convenient option.  Many national rental companies do business at the airport.   Navigating away from the Strip is fairly straightforward.  Fremont Street Experience, complete with free live entertainment and overhead sound and light show at night, is located downtown and should definitely be seen. 

The biggest inconvenience for those who choose to get around by rental car will be the traffic on the Strip, and not being able to drink if one chooses.  One warning: many people think they will take a quick drive over to the Grand Canyon. It is not a day trip.  Plan on two or three days and remember there are taxi, bus, plane, and helicopter trips which take the work out of the experience and make the canyon an enjoyable day. 

Another rental car consideration is where to get the car.  There are companies that advertise that they will pick you up.  They do, but at a hefty price.  From a non-central location the price drops considerably, BUT they will not pick you up because it is not the closest rental location.  If you choose the closest site to the main hotels on the Strip or downtown, the price will rise sharply.  There are rental agencies at McCarran Airport who will shuttle you to their off-site location.  Not only is it easier to drive away from the airport area, the prices are lower.  Ensure that you rent from the airport location.

There is a 'free' shuttle between the airport and the McCarran Rent-a-Car Center, although there may be a fee of $3 per day charged in your rental contract.  This is located south of the airport, away from the major traffic areas of the city, so getting in and out is very easy. The new building is very large, spacious, modern and easy to use. Similarly, when dropping off your car, you return to the same building, and a common shuttle bus returns you to the airport.  In summary, Vegas has done a great job with the new common car rental building.  However, bear in mind that in the time you spend on the shuttle bus going to the rental center, you could be on the Strip after using a taxi, and you still have to drive back.  Remember too to allow enough time for this journey when returning the car.  Given this additional time, the relatively high cost of rental cars and varying rates for parking in Las Vegas, it is worth really thinking about whether you need a car.

You can also rent a classic car or a more exotic car. Google for a listing of agencies that can accommodate your tastes and desires.