As a single woman/solo female traveler, I’ve been a little slow to embrace the whole Uber-Lyft ride sharing phenomenon. The idea of getting into a car with a stranger runs completely contrary to everything I was taught about safety growing up, you know? But after awhile, I had to realize how ridiculous that was. I mean, really, what’s the difference between getting into a cab driven by a stranger or getting into an Uber or Lyft with a stranger? Some would argue that cab drivers undergo more stringent background checks, but you wouldn’t know it by some of the sketchy cab drivers I’ve gotten in the past.
Finally, on my latest trip, I had just reached my limit with the longhauling cabbie situation in Las Vegas and decided to give ride sharing a try. At least, I hoped, with the apps, if something bad did happen to me, the culprit would be easy to track down. And it was less likely that an Uber or Lyft driver would leave me in a dark alley outside the tour lobby of my hotel like a Vegas cabbie once did so I couldn’t report him to the valet for longhauling me. (Yeah, that happened.) Continue reading →
In most cities I travel to, I always try to book an airport shuttle rather than take a taxi to my hotel. For a solo traveler with a large suitcase, it’s generally the least expensive option. (Public transportation is out when your suitcase is larger than a carry-on, and sadly, I am incapable of packing everything I need for a week in a carry-on.) But, believe it or not, until my most recent trip, I had never used an airport shuttle in Las Vegas. I just never saw the need, with the Strip being so close to the airport and all.
But my discontent over longhauling cabbies in Vegas finally reached the boiling point, and I decided that it was time to see what the shuttle experience was like here. I’ve heard mixed reviews over the years. Some love the fact that it’s cheaper than a cab, while others hate that it takes longer (sometimes a lot longer) than a cab. I knew I could handle it, though. I’ve taken so many airport shuttles over the years in other cities, I’ve gotten used to dropping other people off at their hotels before I arrive at mine.
With that in mind, I booked a one-way trip from the airport to the Downtown Grand on Showtime Shuttle. I didn’t book a round-trip for 2 reasons:
I was changing hotels mid-trip and couldn’t figure out how to book a return trip from a different hotel; and
I didn’t want to commit to the return trip just in case I had an awful experience the first time.
I’ve taken cabs in New York, Orlando, Miami, Chicago, cities in Europe—you name it, all over the place. When it comes to Las Vegas, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with cab drivers. It’s the only city other than Madrid I feel this way about (and for the same reason).
Now, I automatically suspect that a cab driver is trying to rip me off until proven otherwise. It’s sad, really. I don’t want to be suspicious of my fellow human beings. But now, I’m wary. Sometimes, a little too wary, as I learned this year.
The story below is a simple story, but says a lot, I think, about the taxi industry in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Strip may seem short, but trust me, you will probably walk at least six miles a day when you’re here. Resorts that are right next door to each other are further away than they appear. And they can be very deep and spread out. Because of this, the use of people movers and escalators is prevalent all up and down the Strip. They’re used to cross the street safely and to enter resorts that are set back from the sidewalk. (Assuming they’re working, of course. On my last trip, about 25% of them weren’t. Boo.)
The people mover at the entrance to Ballys from the Strip.
You would think by now that everyone in the world would know how to use escalators and people movers, and I wouldn’t have to write this post. Apparently, you would be wrong. Because on every trip I’ve ever made to Las Vegas, I’ve ended up riding with someone who has clearly never learned the unwritten code of escalator and people mover etiquette. I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to these people and assume they’re not trying to be jerks; they just don’t know any better.
After all, it’s possible some Las Vegas visitors come from places where escalators and people movers aren’t widely used. Or maybe they’re distracted by the shiny lights and constant sensory stimulation in Las Vegas. Or maybe they’re just so exhausted they’re not thinking about their fellow human beings.
In any case, it’s easy to learn this etiquette, because there are only a few things to remember. And they’re important if you don’t want to drive your fellow Las Vegas visitor into punching you in the face. What are they? Continue reading →
Terminal 3 (housing the E Concourse) at Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport opened this summer to much fanfare in the press. Everyone oohed and ahhed over the slick new technology, like self-check baggage kiosks and self-scanning ticket machines at the gates—all ostensibly designed to speed processes along. When I realized that my September flights would likely land and take off from the new terminal, I was excited to finally get a firsthand look at this new wonder. What a disappointment that was.
Really? ‘Cause I’m not feeling it.
When my plane landed, and I stepped into the airport, I was disoriented. Did we accidentally fly into Las Vegas, New Mexico instead of Las Vegas, Nevada? Where was the sound of slot machines that always used to greet me, filling me with the excitement of knowing I was in “Vegas, baby”? Where were the ads for all the shows around town, filling me with the endless possibilities for how to spend my evenings on the town? Where were the long, long corridors of boutique shops and restaurants and all their shiny objects to entertain me during the walk to baggage claim?
It was as quiet as a library. I suspect there was a stern woman lurking behind a desk somewhere occasionally telling people “shush” and “For God’s sake, no fun is allowed in here!” The airport has taken away everything I loved about it, leaving me with a bland, de-themed terminal that could exist in any airport in any city in the world. Thanks for sucking the joy out of the Vegas airport experience for me, McCarran. Continue reading →