I’m seated comfortably in seat 14F of my Virgin America flight for what is now my 27th trip to the neon oasis in the desert known as Las Vegas. I used to go 2x a year and have had some trips last as short as 2 days and some as long as a week. Here are 7 things I’ve learned to survive Sin City.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
The daily recommendation is to get half of your body weight in ounces per day. That is tough to do when you are in and out of meetings all day. The best bet is start the day with a bottle or two, to double up during meals, and flush your system with one more before you hit your bed at night. The dry desert air is not what most of us are used to and the constant smoke and recycled air of the hotels and casinos doesn’t help much either.
MAXIMIZE YOUR DAILY BUFFER
Preparation is key in keeping on track. Some of the simple things you can do to give yourself the most amount of time to recover and be bright eyed at the conference. When you get to the hotel unpack your suitcase and get everything situated just as you would at home. Doing your ironing for the whole week and getting your wardrobe in place for each day can save precious minutes in the morning. If you are more OCD than most, get your toiletries in order too and you can make the best use of your time. In a pinch, the steam from the shower can remove any lingering wrinkles in your suit jacket.
EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST
If you have given yourself a good buffer you should have time for a quality breakfast that isn’t rushed or low quality because you spent too much time getting ready. Make certain you get a good amount of protein to fill you with energy throughout the day, grab some fruit to give your body the necessary vitamins it needs to recover. Grab a glass or two of water as well to start your hydration in the right direction.
On my first 5 day trip to Vegas I realized I was only outside from the airport to the hotel and then again from the hotel to the airport. A quick breath of fresh air can do the body good. Instead of grabbing a cab at the front of the hotel, walk down to the main street and grab a taxi there. Or if you have time go for an early morning run outside to recharge the lungs with real O2 instead of the forced stuff from the casino floor.
I used to get grumpy after a few days of little sleep, like Frankenstein level grumpy. I could usually make it to the airport on the way home then snap, usually biting someone’s head off that didn’t deserve it. I started doing a mental trick to give myself the energy needed. If you are here for a 5 day trip imagine it is actually 6. We are all adults and can realistically estimate how much energy we need to make it through. Adding a mental “extra day” forces us pace ourselves accordingly. Similarly there is no need to channel the direct descendants of Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, or Jack Daniels on the first night. Pace yourself and your liver will thank you later.
Vegas is a hospitality industry gone wild. More than 40 million people visit each year and it is home to 17 of the 20 largest hotels in the US. Tip often and tip well. The general rule of thumb is $2-3/day for housekeeping ($5-$10 if your hotel room resembles your college dorm room, $100+ if it resembles a scene from the Hangover, regardless of bathroom corralled Tiger). Tip the bell desk at least $5 for watching your bags and at the bar the guide is $1/drink or 20% for craft and specialty beverages.
HAVE FUN, BUT KEEP YOUR JOB
Vegas is the ultimate adult playground. There’s plenty to do and see and lots of excitement. But at the end of the day, remember who is footing the bill for you to be here. Whether it is on the conference floor or out at the bar at 2AM, keep in mind you are still a company and brand ambassador. Keeping a level head will help you keep your job. No one wants to be “that” guy or gal that ends up talked about in the office on Monday morning or has an unplanned call from HR.
The saying goes “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” may be a great idea but the reality of our connected world is that every phone has a camera attached to it, can upload anything to the internet, and can spread virally in a matter of clicks and likes. You may be able to untag yourself or delete the photo but the blessing and curse of the internet age is that it has a photographic memory.
Enjoy your trip, be safe, and viva Las Vegas!