Getting to Las Vegas is just the first step to having a great time in a wonderful city, but how do you get around once you're there?
Depending on what your plans are and the type of budget you have for your vacation, you might decide to take the cheapest route possible in order to maximize your spending money for other pursuits. On the other hand, if you're visiting for a special occasion or celebration, you may have grander things in mind and want to go all out when you go from place to place. Either way, there are seven popular options for your trip (there are no doubt more ways to get around and see Vegas, but we're going with the most popular ones here).
Take a cab - This is one of the most popular options by far. From the airport to your hotel, from your hotel to a club and back again, whatever you need to do - there are plenty of taxis to go around. At the airport, follow the signs to the taxi stand outside. Where the lines were once long and the wait was painfully slow, the current state of the economy has made it easier to get a cab than ever before. That's not to say that you won't ever find a line, but you are more likely to have a shorter wait time. Be aware that the wait times for cabs immediately after shows let out and those outside the popular clubs are likely to be longer than other cab lines around the city.
Reserve a limousine or town car - If you're in town for a special occasion, this is not a bad option. There are several companies to choose from if you look at any of the Las Vegas information sites, but two of the ones I have used are Bell Trans (http://www.bell-trans.com/) and Presidential Limo (http://www.presidentiallimolv.com/). The drivers are polite, always ready to help, and willing to make additional stops for their customers. I say this because a lot of people don't make the trip down to the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign if they are taking a cab because of the cost. As long as you're within your paid time, cab drivers are more than happy to make the stop for you - and that's how I got my great photo at the top of my blog! In addition, you can negotiate the price of a limo ride for a large party from most of the hotels to another destination for dinner, clubbing, etc. by speaking with the doorman at your hotel. I have done this, too, and it was well worth a $35 ride plus tip for seven people to keep the entire party together, out of the sun, and off their aging and aching feet (and it was much more enjoyable than taking two separate cabs for our large party).
Rental cars - from the airport or from your hotel. Not only are you able to rent from any of the traditional rental car companies such as Alamo, Dollar, Hertz, et al, but many of the hotels offer the ability to rent and return a rental car directly from their lobby. (Check with your hotel for the rental agencies available and the exact terms and conditions of the rental and return.) This is a great option if you are planning on taking a scenic road trip during a small part of your vacation and do not want to pay for a rental car for your entire trip. Plus the convenience of returning the car at your hotel is an added bonus for those who have other things they'd rather be doing while on vacation. For the more adventurous types, check out the Dream Car Rentals - but be aware of the sticker shock that comes with renting something like this: http://www.dreamcarrentals.com/
Shuttles - Whether you decide to take a shuttle from the airport to your hotel and back or when traveling between hotels and casinos that are too far apart to walk between safely or comfortably, shuttles are a big part of travel in Las Vegas. At the airport, shuttles are available for a fee; follow the signage to get to the correct exit for your shuttle. A2ZLasVegas has a great listing of all the shuttle companies currently available from the airport: http://www.a2zlasvegas.com/transportation/airshutt.html. Also, many hotels offer free shuttles between hotel properties that are on-Strip and those that are off-Strip, such as the one between Harrah's and Sam's Town, or between Harrah's and the Rio. Check out the A2ZLasVegas guide to free shuttles in Las Vegas: http://www.a2zlasvegas.com/transportation/shuttle.html.
Get on the CAT and Deuce buses - Taking a bus in Las Vegas is one of the cheapest forms of transportation, especially if you get a 24-hour pass. Check out the CAT bus schedule for routes and schedules: http://www.rtcsouthernnevada.com/transit/route/index.cfm. Don't forget to check out my previous post regarding Dewey's hints for "Everything I Know About Riding the Bus" - the man knows what he's talking about!
Take the monorail - Opened in 2004, this often-maligned transportation system still has a few kinks in it. The downside to the monorail: the walks to the monorail stations can be long and somewhat confusing, and they only provide service to one side of the Strip. If you can overlook those faults, it's often cheaper than a cab ride and not a bad option for those who don't mind a little exercise to get to the stations. A single ride pass is $5; a 24-hour pass is $13 and a good deal if you're planning on riding several times during a shorter time period. A 3-day pass is $28 and a great deal if you plan to do a lot of traveling between the far ends of the Strip during your stay. Check their website for terminal information and hours of operation: http://www.rtcsouthernnevada.com/transit/route/index.cfm.
When in doubt, walk it out - By far my favorite way to get around Vegas. Why? Because it's the best way to see the city, day or night. My best piece of advice is this: Wear comfortable shoes and take your camera. The walk can be invigorating and refreshing if you've been cooped up inside for too long, and it can be entertaining and informative if you want to actually see the city and watch as humanity passes you by in every color, shape, and form. Day or night, walking along the Strip or on Fremont Street in downtown Vegas is very safe even when you're traveling alone, but I wouldn't stray too far from familiar territory off-Strip or to lesser traveled areas for safety's sake. Stick with the crowds and keep to the common areas for a safe and entertaining time.
Whatever you choose to do, enjoy your trip!