Private transportation options in Las Vegas are plentiful and offer the quickest transport with the most flexibility. If you cherish your independence and want the ability to get out beyond the tourist areas of the city in an economical way, you may choose this option. However, keep in mind private transportation is more isolating for the solo traveler. You’re not going to meet other people while tooling around by yourself in a car. It can be cheaper than public transportation–or more expensive–depending on what your planned activities are. Your private transportation options are:
If you want to arrive at your hotel in style, there’s no better way to do that than with a limousine or towncar pickup at the airport. Generally this is arranged ahead of time, so your driver is waiting for you at baggage claim holding a sign with your name on it. But sometimes you can get walk-up limousine service at the airport. You can also request that your hotel send their limousine to pick you up. You will be charged for this. Rates vary by hotel.
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All the big name national car rental companies can be found here. You can rent at the airport, and several Strip hotels have car rental locations as well. Airport rental fees can be steep and the counter service agents there are often aggressive at trying to get you to buy insurance coverage or upgrades. Know ahead of time what types of rental car liability (collision damage, loss of use, etc.) your credit card covers.
Tip: Memorize the license plate on your rental car. Even better, use your digital camera (or cell phone camera) to snap a picture of the car, including the license plate. If you self-park, take a photo indicating where it’s located in the garage. Why? So you don’t go crazy trying to find it when you’ve forgotten what it looks like or where you parked it!
Some people may not consider a taxi very private, but aside from the driver, you don’t have to share the space with anyone else, so for our purposes, it’s categorized under “private”.
The first thing you need to know is that you cannot flag down a taxi on the street; it’s illegal for them to stop for you. But every hotel has a taxi stand. Or call a cab if you’re at a location where there are no taxi stands. Be aware that the cab line at McCarran can be very, very long at times, but it moves more quickly than you would expect. I cannot recommend a particular cab company over another, as I haven’t heard that one is more trustworthy than the rest. It’s pretty much luck of the draw. You can get phone numbers of cab companies here:
Another number for you to keep on your cell phone is the Taxicab Authority: (702) 668-4000. The reason you want this number is because longhauling is prevalent in Las Vegas. If your cab from the airport goes through a tunnel, and the driver never asked you if you wanted to go through a tunnel, chances are 99% good that you’ve been longhauled. (The exception would be if you’re traveling south of the airport.)
To avoid this, when you get in the cab, tell the driver where you want to go, and be sure to add “No tunnel.” Be forewarned that some cab drivers get very testy when you say “No tunnel.” Some are genuinely offended at the assumption that they would try to rip you off, while others are ticked off that you’ve just avoided their attempt to rip you off. If a cab driver longhauls you, you have the option to refuse to pay and to call the Taxicab Authority to report them. If you choose to go this route, I’d wait until you’re at your hotel’s valet, so you have some backup. Out of all my trips to Vegas, I’ve only been longhauled once. Most of the cabbies I’ve interacted with were good, decent hard-working people and fun to chat with. It’s just those few bad apples that give all of them a bad reputation. Be prepared, but don’t be paranoid.
The downside of taking a cab as a solo traveler, of course, is that you have no one to split cab fare with (unless you are lucky enough to meet some nice folks on the plane who happen to be staying at the same hotel).