Although Las Vegas offers plenty of tourist-friendly transit options, many people wonder whether they should rent a car in Sin City. Some tourists love the freedom rental cars provide—but is that worth the extra expense? If you’re debating whether to rent a car on your upcoming Vegas vacation, you’ve got to check out the research we’ve done on the topic.
If you’re only going to stay on the Las Vegas Strip, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a rental car. Not only is the Strip highly walkable, but there are plenty of cheaper transit options available for tourists. However, people who want to explore outside of the Las Vegas Strip may benefit from the convenience of a rental car.
Deciding whether to pay for a rental car depends on your budget, preference, and what you want to see in Vegas. If you still have questions about getting around this fabulous city, you should keep reading the transportation tips below.
Should You Rent A Car In Vegas?
In general, people who are staying on the Las Vegas Strip for their entire vacation don’t need a rental car. If you’re staying off-Strip, or you want to explore a few sites around Las Vegas, then it makes more sense to splurge on a rental vehicle.
To help you decide whether a Las Vegas rental car is right for you, here are a few pros and cons to consider.
Convenience Is King — The Benefits Of Renting A Car In Vegas
The top perk of renting a car in Vegas is that you could travel wherever you want to go whenever you feel like it. This is especially beneficial if you’re interested in traveling to the many attractions surrounding the Vegas Strip (e.g., Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, and Red Rock Canyon).
FYI: Read this post on “13 Self-Drive Day Trips From Las Vegas” to see the most popular destinations surrounding Sin City. You might also enjoy this detailed post on “Visiting Death Valley From Las Vegas.”
Another reason some people rent a car is that they’re staying in an off-Strip casino. Having a rental car means you won’t have to rely on often unreliable shuttle service from your hotel.
If you are going to go road-tripping around Vegas, it may be a good idea to invest in a high-quality GPS or find an excellent phone app that you love.
An Unnecessary Expenditure? — The Cons Of Renting A Car In Vegas
On average, buying a rental car costs more than using public transit. This is especially true if you’re staying at an on-Strip hotel. Plus, parking fees can be incredibly high at big-name hotels, so be prepared for a bit of sticker shock.
Plus, if you’re only interested in the Las Vegas Strip, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to rent a car. You could easily walk to all the main destinations on the Vegas Strip. There are also plenty of public transportation options you could take advantage of.
Lastly, driving in Las Vegas can be a headache-inducing experience, especially during peak traffic hours. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians and sit bumper-to-bumper as you navigate these unfamiliar streets.
Riding Without A Rental — Alternative Vegas Transit Ideas
Since Vegas is a tourism mecca, there are plenty of transportation options available to guests. If you’re not renting a car on your Vegas vacation, you should take advantage of the services listed below.
How Does The Bus Work In Las Vegas?
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) handles all bus-related transportation in Las Vegas. The two most important routes for tourists are the “Deuce” and the “SDX Strip & Downtown Express.” Both of these routes travel north and south along Las Vegas Boulevard from the South Strip Terminal to Fremont Street.
As the name suggests, Deuce buses are double-deckers, and they operate 24/7 every day of the week. By contrast, SDX buses shut down between midnight and 9 AM. The standard wait time for a Deuce bus is usually 15 – 20 minutes, while SDX buses should appear every 15 minutes.
Currently, a 2-hour pass on either of these buses costs $6 per person. You could also buy 24-hour access for $8 or a 3-day bus pass for $20 per person. These prices make bus transportation one of the most budget-friendly options for visitors.
For convenience, the RTC now offers a mobile app to view route maps and purchase tickets. Check out this official video for more info:
Are There Free Shuttles In Vegas?
There are a few free shuttles that frugal Vegas tourists could take advantage of. However, since many shuttles are designed for hotel guests, people with room keys will get first access to these buses' seats. So, if a bus fills up before you can board, you’re going to have to wait for another one to arrive.
Also, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many free shuttles have been temporarily suspended. Be sure to check with the hotels offering these services to see if they are still operational.
Sam’s Town Shuttle To Harrah’s & Downtown Vegas
The Sam’s Town Hotel is an off-Strip casino that’s a 20-minute drive from Harrah’s Las Vegas. This hotel’s free shuttle offers two services: one that stops at the Harrah’s valet parking and another that travels to Downtown Las Vegas near Fremont Street.
While hotel guests have priority access, anyone could board Sam’s Town Shuttles at these three stations. Typically, these buses arrive at their stops every 30 – 40 minutes. The Las Vegas Strip bus typically starts at 9 AM and ends at 9:50 PM, while the Downtown shuttle runs from 10:20 AM till about 5:50 PM.
Orleans To Gold Coast Free Shuttle
Another free shuttle on the Las Vegas Strip is called the Orleans/Gold Coast Shuttle. Typically running from 9 AM – 12:30 AM, this free shuttle travels between The Orleans Hotel & Casino, the High Roller Ferris Wheel, and the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. You can board these shuttles at the entrance to each attraction once every 40 minutes.
ARIA Express Tram
To save you a few steps while you’re on the Strip, be sure to research the ARIA Express Tram. This complimentary service stops at three prominent attractions: the Bellagio, Crystals Shopping Center, and Park MGM. Usually, you can catch this tram between 8 AM and 4 AM every day.
Tourists say this shuttle usually arrives every 15 minutes, and the one-way ride should take a total of seven minutes.
How Much Is A Taxi Fare In Vegas?
There’s no flat fee for taxi fares in Vegas, but all drivers should charge $2.76 per mile. You will also have to pay a $3.50 activation fee, a 3 percent excise tax, and an extra time fee set at $32.40 per hour.
The standard fare for a ride from McCarran International to on-Strip hotels should cost between $20 and $26. FYI: there’s an extra $2 taxi fee if you’re riding from the airport to the Las Vegas Strip.
Does Las Vegas Have a Monorail?
Many new tourists are surprised to learn there’s a monorail on the Las Vegas Strip. Initially designed to connect MGM Grand with Bally’s, the Vegas Monorail now measures almost four miles and makes seven stops along the Strip.
If you want to take a ride on this monorail, you will have to purchase a ticket online or at a vending machine. There are many ticket options available, ranging from a one-ride pass for $5 to an unlimited 7-day pass for $56.
Typically, the Las Vegas Monorail is open from 7 AM – midnight on Mondays, 7 AM – 2 AM on Tuesdays through Wednesdays, and 7 AM – 3 AM on Thursdays through Sundays. However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Las Vegas Monorail has been closed in recent months.
Does Las Vegas allow Uber? Lyft?
You can use your Uber or Lyft apps while in Las Vegas. Indeed, most resorts nowadays have a dedicated area for rideshare vehicles.
While you have to be wary of surge pricing, most tourists claim that Uber and Lyft offer significantly cheaper rates than standard taxis. In fact, it’s not unheard of for Uber fares to be in the $11-range from McCarran International to the Las Vegas Strip.
Is A Rental Car Right For Your Vegas Vacation?
Rental cars may be convenient, but they aren’t necessary if you’re staying on the Las Vegas Strip. To save extra dough for shows (or slots!), you should focus on making the most of Vegas’s public transportation on the Strip. Only research rental car prices if you’re staying off-Strip or you want to travel outside of the Vegas Strip.