Las Vegas Conference Survival Guide

At some point if you do business you can find yourself in Las Vegas for a business conference, meeting or trade show. It really makes sense as Las Vegas is home to the most hotel rooms anywhere and 5th in space for convention halls worldwide. Business and Vegas can be a tough road to navigate with all the entertainment, food, and gaming around. While the abundance of these items can be overwhelming at times, Las Vegas can be done smart and avoid getting burned out. Here is a guide to help you navigate the trade shows and conferences with local insight.

1. Keep away from the crud.

People from all over the world come to Vegas for trade shows and vacations. That means a large influx of germs and increased chance of exposure to illness. Pack some hand sanitizer, vitamin C, and some of your favorite over the counter medicine. Hopefully you enjoy your time here and avoid getting sick. Be prepared for some increased personal hygiene habits before and during your stay.

Las Vegas Conference Survival Guide

2. Comfortable Shoes

Convention halls are made to hold large amounts of people which means there will be large amounts of walking. Keeping your feet happy will help to keep you going. One of the most common walking mistakes people fall into, is thinking something is closer than it actually is. Just because you can see it does not mean it is close.

3. Know What the Locals know

So this bullet point is kind of a broad statement and multiple points in one. Vegas can get expensive quick if you don’t play your cards right. They plan for massive amounts of people for conferences and trade shows in addition to the normal tourists. Off the beaten path is a good thing here.

-Drinks. Most bars in the casinos are about $10 a beer and go up from there. One pro tip is to find the sports book at the casino and get your drinks. The sports book caters to a different crowd. They want you to sit around and watch the games and gamble, therefore the drink prices tend to be lower.

-Cabs. Avoid them as much as possible. They tend to prey on people and the customer service is blah. This may be more a personal opinion but Lyft and Uber are much better options here.

-Get Downtown. Downtown Las Vegas near Fremont Street has a lot of great sites and even better eats. Don’t let the lights of the Strip distract you from the gems in the down town area.

-Sign up for the casino rewards cards. If you are spending money on the casino properties then sign up for the free players card. You earn points and perks as you spend. MGM resorts offer military veterans a free upgrade which earns you free parking on MGM properties. It’s free to sign up and worth looking into if you visit regularly.

4. Make Sure You Network.

Time and time again the relationships you make during these events can form into friendships. Also year after year the professional relationships help to get new leads. Do not discount the power of networking at any trade show. Also be sure to have a pen handy to write down notes on the back of business cards so you can remember who it is you met, some details may slip your mind. Here are some killer tips from Vanessa Van Edwards on conference networking.

5. Do Something Different.

There is a ton of variety here in Vegas. Abundance of food, entertainment, and outdoor sites just a short drive away. Get out and do something different and explore the possibilities away from your conference location.

Some of my favorite off Strip attractions.

Valley of Fire

Container Park

Calico Basin at Red Rock

Wild Horses at Cold Creek

6. Stay Hydrated!

Drink lots of water often. Las Vegas is extremely dry with very little humidity. If you are outside for any amount of time you may not notice that you barely sweat. Your sweat evaporates quickly out here so it's hard to gauge how dehydrated you are. Most places have complementary bottles of water or you can bring your own and refill it as you go. Ignoring this step can lead to getting sick or unplanned downtime during or after your stay here.

7. Stay Fed.

There is no shortage of great food in Las Vegas (one of the reasons I love it here). Fast food and buffets are abundant for sure, but you are really missing out if that is all you eat during your stay. There are some really great local places to venture to (or postmates if you're feeling lazy or extra) .

Some of my personal favorite places to eat in town.

Herbs and Rye (Steak and prohibition era drinks)

Skinny Fats (A healthy and fun side of the menu)

Cornish Pasty Company (Think calzone meets chicken pot pie, vegan options available)

Los Tacos (Mom and pop place with damn good tacos)

Honey Salt (Far drive, but worth it. Farm to table eats with brookie desserts)

Esthers Kitchen (Hand made pasta. Italian done right. Make a reservation or be forced to stand and watch others eat)

If you are traveling to Las Vegas for the first time or have not been recently hopefully this helps you navigate the conferences and trade shows like a pro. If there is anything you think should be added to this, let me know in the comments or send me an email. Happy travels!