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Las Vegas

Getting there & around

***For information on the updated requirements for the Visa Waiver Program see the US Visa section of this website.***

Just south of the major Strip casinos and easily accessible from I-15, McCarran International Airport (702-261-5211) is among the USA’s 10 busiest airports. Security lines are notoriously slow, but self-service check-in and luggage drop-off kiosks at the airport and at select off-Strip locations, such as the airport rental-car center and the city’s convention center, can ease check-in headaches. For arriving passengers, advance check-in kiosks are available for a few Strip hotels, but skip them if lines are long. Most domestic flights use Terminal One; international, charter and some domestic flights use Terminal Two. A free, wheelchair-accessible tram links outlying gates. McCarran has direct flights from most US cities, and some from Canada and Europe. Bell Trans (702-739-7990) offers a shuttle service ($5) between the airport and the Strip. Fares to downtown destinations are slightly higher.

Citizens Area Transit (CAT; 702-228-7433, 800-228-3911; www.catride.com) operates city and suburban bus routes usually from 5am to 2am daily, with the double-decker Deuce buses running 24/7 along the Strip and to downtown. The regular fare is $1.25 per ride, except on Deuce buses ($2); exact change is required. Free transfers, timetables with maps, and 24-hour passes ($5) are available from drivers and at the Downtown Transportation Center (DTC; 300 N Casino Center Blvd; h7am-5:30pm). The low-cost Megabus (877-462-6342; www.megabus.com) offers three daily express buses between downtown Los Angeles (Union Station) and Las Vegas, usually taking 3¾ to 4¾ hours each way. At press time, one-way fares ranged from $1 to $35, depending on how far in advance you book your seats. The Megabus office and drop-off/pick-up station in Las Vegas are near the UNLV campus, a short taxi or bus ride east of the Strip.

The Greyhound bus station (702-384-9561; 200 S Main St), downtown, has regular buses to and from Los Angeles ($36 to $42, six hours), San Diego ($36 to $46, eight hours) and San Francisco ($45 to $75, 15 hours). Amtrak (800-872-7245) does not run trains to Las Vegas, although it does offer a connecting bus service from Los Angeles ($38, six hours).

Fast, fun and fully wheelchair accessible, the Monorail (702-699-8299; www.lvmonorail.com) connects the Sahara to the MGM Grand, stopping at major Strip megaresorts along the way, and operating from 7am to 2am Monday to Thursday and until 3am Friday through Sunday. A single ride costs $5; a 24-hour pass is $15. The Deuce (702-228-7433; www.thedeucelasvegas.com), a local double-decker bus, runs frequently 24 hours daily between the Strip and downtown ($2).

Las Vegas is a great road-trip destination, but heavy traffic makes navigating the city by car a chore. In fact, you don’t even really need a car except for day trips out of town. In the desert vehicles may overheat when temperatures outside top 90°F. If you’re driving around on a hot day, keep the air-con off to avoid taxing the engine.

The main roads into and out of Las Vegas are I-15 and US Hwy 95. US Hwy 93 leads southeast from downtown to Hoover Dam; I-215 goes by McCarran Airport. Freeway traffic often crawls along, particularly during morning and afternoon rush hours and on weekend nights, especially near the Strip. When traffic is snarled on I-15 and Las Vegas Blvd, stick to surface routes, such as Paradise Rd east of the Strip and Frank Sinatra Dr and Industrial Rd west of the Strip. The fastest way to get across the Strip is via the Desert Inn Rd super-arterial. Listen to KNUU ‘K-News’ (970AM) for frequent traffic and weather updates.