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Las Vegas and Los Angeles are two of the greatest cities in the Western USA. Luckily for tourists, it’s not all that difficult to travel between these popular destinations. Indeed, many people who travel to SoCal plan a trip to Sin City before heading home. If you’re considering visiting both of these mega-cities, you’re probably wondering whether to book a flight or rent a car. Be sure to review the research we’ve done on this topic to make the best decision for your travel goals.
For most tourists, flying from LA to Las Vegas is better than driving. While driving your car may cost less, you will have to put up with some of the worst traffic in the USA. Also, there’s not a ton of world-class attractions along I-15. Flying from LA to Vegas is not only a more pleasurable experience, but it will also save you precious vacation time.
While most tourists prefer flying between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, it may not be the right decision for you. For more details on using these two transportation methods, please keep reading this post.
Flying vs. Driving Between LA And Vegas — Considerations Every Tourist Should Know About
As mentioned above, flying from LA to Las Vegas will save you a lot of time and stress on your West Coast vacation. But just how much will it cost you for this convenience? Below, we’ll go over a few key factors to keep in mind before making your decision.
How Long Does It Take To Get From Tinseltown To Sin City?
Non-stop flights between Los Angeles International and Las Vegas McCarran Airport should only take between 1.5 to 2 hours. By contrast, most tourists say it takes at least five hours to drive between these two cities.
It should only take four hours to drive between LA and Vegas, but that’s under ideal circumstances. Unfortunately, gridlock traffic is the norm in Los Angeles. Indeed, LA often ranks as the worst place in the USA for traffic jams. Even if you’re not traveling during rush hour, you have to prepare yourself for a slow-moving, bumper-to-bumper drive.
This intense traffic can be incredibly stressful, especially when you’re not familiar with the local roads. Add on a pre-arranged reservation in Las Vegas, and you’re just asking for a migraine!
While flights could get canceled, at least you’ll know how long it should take once you’re in mid-air. Plus, to put your mind at ease, it’s hundreds of times less likely you’ll get in a plane crash versus a car collision...especially in Los Angeles.
Is It Cheaper To Drive From LA To Las Vegas?
Many people are tempted to drive from LA from Vegas to save a little "moolah" for all those dazzling casinos. While it may be cheaper if you drive your vehicle, booking a plane ticket isn’t that much more expensive than renting a car.
While flight tickets vary depending on the season and your airline, you can usually find one-way tickets from LA to Los Vegas for between $70 - $100. Interestingly, if you go with no-frills airlines like Frontier, you could book a one-way flight for as low as $25.
Generally, this price is comparable (if not less!) to what rental car companies charge per day. Also, remember that you’re going to have to pay for gas and parking fees during your Vegas vacation.
Honestly, flying between these cities may be cheaper than renting a car, especially if you’re only going to stay on the Strip.
How Much Is A Car Rental In Las Vegas?
Las Vegas rental car prices can fluctuate, but big-name companies like Enterprise and Hertz now offer midsize rental cars for $70 - $80 per day. If you want to upgrade to premium cars, you should prepare to pay over $100 per day.
If you’re not sure about driving in Sin City, be sure to read our detailed post entitled, “Should You Rent A Car When Visiting Vegas?”
What Is The Average Cost Of Uber In Las Vegas?
While Uber prices fluctuate at different times of the day, most tourists claim they are cheaper than hailing a traditional cab. Without surge pricing, you should be able to get anywhere on the Strip for less than $10 per ride. If you want to head into Downtown Vegas, you may have to pay around $15.
FYI: You won’t find a dedicated stand for Uber cars in Las Vegas International Airport. Instead, you have to travel to the airport’s parking lot to get your ride. You can learn more about where to meet your driver on Uber’s official website.
Where To Park A Car In Las Vegas?
Since every casino on and off the Vegas Strip has a garage, it’s not hard to find parking in Sin City. Also, due to the effects of COVID-19, many hotels have suspended paid self-parking to boost tourism. However, unless you hear otherwise from your resort, you should expect on-Strip hotels to give you only one hour of free self-parking.
If you’re interested in free parking, you’d be better off looking into off-Strip hotels. For instance, OYO Hotel and Casino now offers complimentary valet and self-parking. The Tropicana Las Vegas also usually provides free parking, except when there’s an event at the Tropicana Arena. It’s also worth mentioning the Fashion Show Mall offers free parking in Las Vegas.
You could look into rewards programs like Caesars Rewards or an MGM Resorts credit card for parking perks. There are also some cases where hotels offer free parking to guests, so be sure to look for these deals when booking a room.
FYI: There is a $4 per hour parking fee at the famous Fremont Street Experience garage.
What Is There To See On A Drive Between LA And Vegas?
The most direct route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is I-15. Admittedly, this road isn’t one of the most scenic in America. If you have the option, it’s better to take a road trip from LA to San Francisco on California’s iconic Route 1. Be sure to review our “Highway 1 Guide” for more tips on traveling along this famous road.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see along I-15. Indeed, there are plenty of “selfie-worthy” attractions dotting this desert.
Arguably, the most famous new attraction alongside I-15 is the Seven Magic Mountains Art Installation. Located just south of Las Vegas, this outdoor exhibit features a collection of colorful boulders stacked on top of each other. While nothing is surrounding this attraction, it’s pretty cool to snap a few photos here.
Another popular spot for tourists to take a few selfies is in front of the “world’s tallest thermometer” in Baker, California. Nearby, you’ll also find access to the Mojave National Preserve and the mysterious former resort in the oddly named town Zzyzx.
As for restaurants and restrooms, you’ll find plenty of unique pit stops ranging from the ultra-futuristic Tesla Supercharging Port to the retro Peggy Sue’s 50s Diner. There’s also a huge ice cream-shaped restaurant and Lakers museum known as EddieWorld.
Whether you’re planning on making frequent stops or heading straight to Vegas, please invest in a high-quality GPS to ensure you’re on the right path.
What’s Within Driving Distance Of Las Vegas?
One of the advantages of having a car in Vegas is that you can visit many nearby natural attractions. The most famous self-drive trip from Vegas is to the Hoover Dam, but you could also travel to Lake Mead or Red Rock Canyon. If you don’t mind driving a little further, you could also reach Death Valley or Zion National Park in about two hours.
Of course, if you’re only interested in staying on the Strip, there’s not much need for a rental car. As we’ve discussed in our post on “Whether To Stay On The Vegas Strip,” you can get around just fine here without a vehicle. Not only are all the on-Strip casinos within walking distance, but there are also plenty of public transit options, ride-share vehicles, and taxis.
If you’re more interested in learning about attractions just outside of Vegas, then we’d recommend reading through this post on the “Best Self-Drive Trips From Las Vegas.”
Craving Convenience? Plan To Fly Between LA And Vegas!
Unless you can’t resist wacky roadside attractions, it’s better to fly between LA and Vegas. Not only will you save vacation time on a flight, but you also won’t have to deal with the aggravation of Los Angeles traffic. Plus, since one-way flights are relatively cheap, it’s often a better buy than a rental car. However, if you’re staying off-Strip or you want to explore around Vegas, it might be a good idea to take a ride on I-15.