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The Best and Worst of Las Vegas for the Handicapped Traveler

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In a wheelchair? On crutches?


ALLOW EXTRA TIME TO WAIT IN LINES FOR CABS. Be warned that every cab driver in Las Vegas has the personality of a dried twig, except for the ones that are worse. Don't try to be too pleasant or it will backfire on you. They don't want to hear it.

Wear your hometown name on a pin. Most employees have their original hometowns on their nametags. Since no one is from Vegas, it is the only approved topic of conversation allowed between staff and tourists. There is no weather to discuss. Even the week before the Presidential election no one was talking about the candidates. Be prepared for a week of, "Where are you from?" unless you are wearing your pin. (I'm making mine up now for my next vacation in Vegas.)

Have lots of small bills handy. Everyone in Vegas gets tipped. Pull out ones or a five, every time you speak to anyone. Don't tip the other tourists, tho I'm sure you will before you leave there. I almost tipped the gas station attendant when I returned home. :)

Have a bag beside you in your wheelchair... you will need it for freebies and such. Falling brochures and drink stirrers get unruly after awhile. Bring an empty suitcase with you on the plane. You are allowed to fly with two, do it. Wait for the 3 for $10.00 stores to buy your T-shirts, you can buy all the full price ones online from the hotels and have them mailed to you, so why carry them around? Pack 1/2 the clothes you think you will need for the trip, you'll end up buying things to wear there. Check out the glass skull mugs at Treasure Island at the casino bar. $11.99 and you get a drink in it. Decide what you are going to "collect" before you go. Otherwise you will have a fit trying to remember which hotels you got the stirrers from, who is missing matchbooks, where you are missing poker chips from, etc. I went with a $1.00 silver coin and a postcard from each and have a nice collection now. Ask yourself if you have room in your suitcase before buying anything and yes, you can get a box from the hotel, tape it up good, and check it with your luggage at the airport.

Pack sweat pants, soft clothing and baby powder for yourself and your walker. He or she will end up with their skin broken down from all the walking in stiff pants. Soak your feet each night in your hotel room no matter how tired you are. Bring the most comfortable walking shoes you can find, forget about style and fashion, Vegas doesn't care. No one notices if you walk around in your slippers but try to wear a shoe with a good support. Despite the maps you will see in advance, there is no such thing as "next door" on the strip. Hotel hopping is a long, tiring, and serious business here... be prepared. Don't believe the information you read about the convenient ways of getting around. The trolleys won't take you with the wheelchair. The monorails etc just take you from one hotel to the other and the time spent waiting and riding are worse than just going by street. They make you go through everything to get to it and through everything to get out of the next property. The streets have overpasses that you can use the elevator to get up to and off of, if they are working. At night when the traffic is jammed up, you can use the pedestrian walk in front of Caesar's center fountains and cross to the Flamingo with no trouble.

Bring your own wheelchair!!! I can not stress this enough. Yes the hotel will loan you one for your stay and yes, all the airports will wheel you from one plane to the next. It isn't worth it! I was stuck at New Jersey waiting for 1/2 an hour, and again at Cleveland after someone else grabbed my transport and no one knew how long it would be for another one. This was on the way home and Continental had called ahead from Vegas and again one hour before landing! The Boston and Las Vegas airports were waiting for me and were pleasant and charming. I'm not blaming Continental for this and will fly with them again, but I'll have my own chair next time. Please think of this if you use the chair for extended periods of time... you want your chair... trust me! Don't take "the easy way out" because just going from one airport gate to another can be a trek.

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