Las Vegas, Nevada: Aka Sin City, Disneyland for grown ups, and the playground adults crave. This glam-filled oasis in the heart of the desert has an appeal all its own. For decades, the allure and excitement of Vegas has centered on gambling, glitz, and glee galore. Consider the excitement with which little ones squeal at the thought of a first visit to the land of Mickey Mouse – now extrapolate decades – you’ve arrived.
There are those who focus their visit on the nightlife and glamour of the strip, while others ditch it altogether in favor of the natural surrounds of the desert oasis. Whether you’re spending your 24 hours each day in the air-conditioned playground of casinos, sipping mojitos at a poolside bar, or exploring the surrounding canyons, you’ll have to pack something.
Hanging in downtown Las Vegas often involves visits to hotels and casinos. Although definitely within walking distance, those hotels are further apart than they appear, so those sturdy walking shoes are no joke.
Your packing list will be determined by your choices of activities:
Are you the traveler to pack comfy clothes to hang in the casinos 24-hours a day?
Do you need those heels, gold lamé, and feather boas for the nightlife frenzy and glam of Sin City?
Are you a bathing suit and flip-flops friend of sunshine and pools whose only decision is when to flip over and which umbrella filled drink to order?
Or, do you need only those sturdy shoes, extra layers, hat, and water bottles since you are the hiking fiend who can’t wait to climb the red rocks that decorate the desert landscape?
Whether it’s an overnight for a bachelor party, a two-day stint of shows, slots, and buffets, or a long weekend of natural elements – pack wisely, organize accordingly, and don’t forget your wallet. Remember to plan for your social media presence and selfie fixation too; at least once, you’re certain to utter that ever-important mantra: “What happens in Vegas… stays in Vegas.”
Then again, perhaps it’s as simple as my Grandfather’s advice to take out half the clothes and put in double the money. This alternative approach leaves room for the option of shopping ’til your heart’s content.
Las Vegas Packing Tips
Las Vegas has grit, glitz, glamour, and glorious scenery. Being situated in the middle of a desert, means cool nights, chilly mornings, and sun-filled afternoons during much of the year. The days call for one type of outfit, while your nights may be a whole different story. If you’re taking your Outbreaker with you, you’re all set to carry on, hop off, and explore. If the anticipation of Vegas shopping excites your inner child, grab that expandable duffel and hook it to the outside of your bag. This way, you’re ready for souvenir finds and extra purchases.
- Plastic bags work as space savers and wrinkle removers (you can even pack outfits in them).
- Rolling clothes in lieu of folding saves more space.
- Packing small soft items inside shoes, cords within eyeglass cases, and purchasing travel sized toiletries allows you to utilize all space within your luggage.
- An expandable duffel or tote bag hooked to your carry on, or packed in luggage, accommodates spontaneous purchases.
- Plastic bags, or ziplocks, are always helpful for dirty laundry or wet bathing suits.
- A money belt of some kind allows for that extra security when you’re out and about all day long.
- Copy your travel documents, or be sure you have them on a digital file somewhere accessible (you might also want an emergency contact who is not traveling with you to have a copy of them along with your itinerary).
- A state or government issued ID is a must (you will need this to get onto the plane, show at your hotel and prove that you’re over 18/21 in order to be on the casino floors and to be served alcohol).
- Pack an extra set of clothes (including underwear) and bathing suit in your carry on (if you’re checking luggage).
- Putting fabric softener sheets in your luggage eliminates odors and limits wrinkles.
- Pack for the season: October – April is cooler (warmer clothing) while May – September gets downright hot (cooler clothing).
Las Vegas Packing List
Believe it or not, you can get everything you need into a carry on, even if you’re headed to Vegas. Think multi-purpose when choosing your items.
Depending on the time of year you visit, you might want as little clothing as possible, or you might need layers for heading up to the mountains to visit the snow in winter. Balance your daytime and nighttime plans and try to choose clothing that can be dressed up, or down, to suit both needs.
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 bathing suit & cover up
- 1 pair of khakis or capris
- 2 pair of shorts or skirts
- 3 t-shirts or tank-tops
- 1 collared shirt or nicer blouse
- 1 cocktail dress or suit jacket
- 1 sweater, sweatshirt, or light jacket (hotels/casinos are all air conditioned)
- 1 or 2 sundresses if you prefer them to skirts
- 1 set of workout gear (get your yoga on)
- 4-5 pair of underwear and socks
Shoes take up a lot of space in your bag. Think about how you can combine some of the following with multi-use shoes to cover all occasions. At the very least, bring a pair of dressier shoes and wear your solid walking shoes on the plane.
- Dress shoes (for fancy nightlife)
- Flats (because why wear heels on holiday?)
- Sturdy walking footwear or runners (the strip is long)
- Flip flops or sandals (even your feet deserve some sunshine)
Consider the desert combined with the craziness of the strip when choosing your accessories. You’ll want to take the hot, dry, climate into consideration in summer and you’ll want to make sure you’re carrying as little as possible around downtown when you’re walking for miles.
- Side purse, wristlet, or evening bag
- Money belt
- Hydration sachets & vitamin B tablets
These are the things to add to your usual toiletries kit when heading to Vegas.
- Medications you regularly take
- Mini first aid kit
- Dramamine (for those who might need it in flight, on excursions, or on that rooftop rollercoaster)
- Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen (hello Vegas hang over)
- Lotion with aloe (to keep your skin feeling crack-free and limit sunburn pain)
- Anti-bacterial hand gel (you never know what germs collect on that slot machine)
Expect the unexpected when you head to Las Vegas; be prepared for anything and keep your technology handy to record the experience. Be ready to shop ’til you drop, and plan ahead to have room to take your new purchases home. Consider including your:
- Camera (if you want to have any photographic evidence)
- Portable device charger
- Converters (if traveling from overseas)
- Expandable duffel or travel bag for extra purchases on the road
- Refillable water bottles
Bring Out Your Inner Vegas
Finally, it’s Vegas, so pack some bling to dial up your fun:
- Gold lamé leggings (because lamé never goes out of style)
- Feather boa (channel your inner diva)
- Shimmery top (you have it, might as well bring it)
- Sparkly eye shadow (because Vegas does glitter)
When Vegas calls… answer. Pack your bags and get ready for adventure!
- Pack with the seasons in mind (Vegas gets cold in winter)
- Good walking shoes are a must for the strip
- Tell someone who loves you where you’re going
- Bring out your inner diva
- If checking luggage, be sure to put an emergency outfit, medications, chargers, bathers and maybe even sunscreen in your carry on so if your luggage is lost you don’t also lose your first day of adventure seeking
- Take Grandpa’s advice: Take half the clothes and twice the money
- What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!
Photo Credit: James Walsh, Unsplash