My Vegas travel mistakes – there were TONS.

Ugh. I just had one of my worst travel days in a long time.

I seriously think the stars were aligned in the worst possible way today, ensuring that every little thing that could possibly go wrong…did. Coupled with the fact that I made lot of dumb or distracted moves, the end result was a very bad day, filled with unpleasant surprises at every turn.

Hopefully my loss will be someone’s gain – I’m crossing my fingers that this post will save one of you from making the same mistakes that I did!

My bad luck started this morning, when I called an Uber car. The driver claimed to have a “secret route” to the airport, and in a burst of trust and naiveté, I agreed to it. You can guess what happened.

Mistake #1

Do not let the Uber driver drive a secret route.

This cost me both time and money. Dumb move.

Once I landed in Vegas, I breezed along in the airport until…I was outside. Only I meant to stop by the Centurion Lounge for a drink and a snack. And once I was past security, I couldn’t go back.

Mistake #2

Don’t be an overconfident airport dud. Yep, that’s me. 

Things continued along this route when I pulled up Uber on my phone. Guess what? Uber doesn’t work in Vegas. Nor does Lyft or Curb or anything.

Mistake #3

Do your transportation research in advance. DUH.

So I took a shuttle.

Mistake #4

Do NOT – I repeat, DO NOT – take a shuttle from the airport to your hotel in Vegas. Unless you have an hour and a half to kill.

So this could have been fine, if I hadn’t scheduled an appointment for a pedicure a couple of hours after my arrival time….and if I wasn’t super hungry because I skipped lunch at the lounge. But the way things played out…it was a mistake. Especially since the nail salon was a fifty dollar cab ride from my hotel.

Yeah, that’s right. FIFTY DOLLARS. Because I didn’t really think about distances when I was making the appointment. I was just looking at Yelp ratings. Why? Who the hell knows.

Luckily I got out of the cab after only seven dollars. The cab driver was totally mean about it. It was not fun at all.

Mistake #5

Don’t pretend like you have a rental car when you don’t. Yes, whatever. I know.

So I grabbed some lunch at Lobster ME, which was actually really delicious and one of the bright spots of my day.

lobster ME

Then I decided to head over to the Cosmopolitan.

Because I was still slightly traumatized from my cab experience, I decided to take the Deuce bus. This was great, actually…but remember this detail for later.

In the meantime, know that I forgot my ATM card when I left my hotel. I actually called Barclaycard to ask what the cash advance rate was. You should take a wild guess, because it’s pretty astounding. Ready? It’s TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT. Yep. So I wasn’t about to do that.

Mistake #6

Whatever. Bring your stupid ATM card with you if you’re in Vegas.

So…I couldn’t really do anything but drink.


Yes, alone.

Things got tons better once I met up with a few friends. We went to the grand opening party at the Delano, which was very fun.


But then, because I am a dumbass, I decided to take the Deuce bus back to my hotel. Actually, that would have been fine, if I had been paying attention, but I wasn’t. So I got on the bus…and ended up at the Orleans Casino.

Yeah, exactly.

So I took a cab back to my hotel…only the driver took the LONG way back because he was “beating traffic.”

Which brings us full circle to mistake #1.

How was your day?


  1. The best thing to do in Vegas is to just rent a car. It’s free valet at every single hotel/casino on the strip. You drive right up to the front entrance and get out. So easy. Would have prob saved you money and, most important (at least for me), time.

    • Points Pixie says

      Nick – Agree. Lesson learned. I didn’t rent one because I didn’t want to deal with driving, but it would have been worth it. (Hottie are you reading this? There’s still time for you!)

      • PS – if you had a bad uber experience, send a complaint thru their website with a screenshot of the receipt with the route map they took. i live in nyc and use uber all the time, so 99% of the time the drivers know where they are going. but once in a while, a newbie driver doesn’t and i end up going the extra long way to go like 15 blocks…so send an e-mail to uber and they will usually credit you $5-10 or something like that. it’s better than nothing. and make sure to rate the driver a low rating too!

  2. I always take the express bus from the airport (WAX); it’s $2 and runs by the south end of the strip and easily downtown.

  3. All you can do now is dance it off.

  4. perhaps, you are just a terrible teaveler….

  5. I fell for the cab scam “oh I just looked up traffic and it’s really bad so I’ll have to take the highway” it was so much longer I trusted him an then told my brother to take the highway when he arrived

  6. I’m sorry you had those experiences but it makes for great post to read and learn from!

  7. Erk. Some days, thingsa don’t go right.

    This is one of those days to suck it up, and learn from the experience.

    Hope the rest of the weekend goes better 🙂

  8. I’ve been going to Vegas for years. Cabs are notoriously a rip off. They long haul everybody from the airport. The shuttle’s the only reasonably priced option. It doesn’t always take so long. Last month I was the first one dropped off at the Cosmo. And I always eat lunch at the Centurion lounge. Cheers!

  9. Nice. We all have days like that. Recently my wife and I arrived at FLL with no car or shuttle plans to get to Miami Beach. I thought no big deal I’ll just Uber it. Well that would have been great but Uber pulled up prices nearly as high as the franchised Goshuttle whatever place. We ended up getting car service for $20 more and saving 1+ hours on the “hotel tour/lottery” van 🙂

    Live and learn I say !!

    Besides, think how boring your trip report would be if everything worked out perfect and was just vanilla. “Oh I arrived on time and had no trouble and stayed at the hotel and left”

  10. I am assuming the cash advance 25% number was the APR and I also assume you pay balances off each month. But… the interest starts right away (unlike charges). There is usually also a 3% or so transaction fee for cash advances. If you had a card with minimal balance you could have paid the balance real quick after the advance hit. So maybe you would be paying 5% all-in.

    But… think how much you would have won gambling, which I guess is about the only thing you couldn’t just use a credit card for.

    • Points Pixie says

      Carl P – Yes and yes, to your questions. Somehow I misheard the phone agent and got totally freaked out by the entire prospect. I’ve never done a cash advance before and it just seemed like a bad idea all around.

      • Might be for the best. I’ve heard more than once that cash advances can set up red flags at the bank end. But then again it probably more common in Las Vegas then elsewhere.

  11. Sorry to hear you had all these transit troubles. The cab to/from the airport typically runs $15-$20 in my experience. Does your hotel have a shuttle?

    • Points Pixie says

      Sara – I wish I had taken a taxi from the airport! No shuttle at the Palazzo. It would have been worth every penny of cab fare…next time.

  12. Vegas is a transportation nightmare, which it really shouldn’t be since it’s all so clustered together. Last time I was there, I rented a car. By the time the shuttle took us to the rental car complex and I finally got my car and drove out of the garage, two hours had passed.

    • Points Pixie says

      Ariana – Wow, it seems like you just can’t win here in Vegas. No pun intended. Every single mode of transportation is challenging. I totally don’t understand.

  13. Amusing story on the other end. You made me smile! We arrived in Seattle recently at 12am to find the rental car company over sold, so severely that all of the car rental companies were out of cars…. Hundreds of people in line.,.. I was so grumpy!! Travel mantra, sometimes sh@t happens.

  14. I just read your post to the most entertaining Uber driver I have ever had. We both got a good giggle.

  15. You can dispute the route the Uber driver took you. If it is a lot more than the normal rate I would send them an email and tell them you were long-hauled. They are usually pretty responsive.

  16. Also, sorry about your day.

    Just arrived a day ago at a hotel booked through points and they had never heard of us, no reservation at all. We couldn’t really call anyone, so we just paid cash and will at least get our points back when I call to straighten it out. My point being that all of us who love traveling know that you have to roll with the punches and start smiling again as soon as we’re able, which might not be until cocktail hour. 🙂

    I know of people who get so upset with mishaps that they simply don’t travel.

    I guess that is an option, but not for us.


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    My Vegas travel mistakes – there were TONS. – Points and Pixie Dust

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