I take safety issues very seriously as a solo female traveler to Las Vegas. There are several things travelers should be mindful of or risk having their vacations ruined by an unpleasant event.
1. Keep to the well-lit, heavily populated areas. I have heard stories of women walking alone from mid-Strip to downtown. Not something I would recommend unless you have a death wish. Even a burly man might run into trouble on that walk, so play it safe, take a bus or a cab.
2. Invest in a money belt or some other article of clothing to keep your money close to your body and out of sight. I only bring one day’s money with me and leave the rest at the hotel in the safe. I keep the bulk of my daily allowance is hidden away and a small amount in my purse for meals and tips.
3. Wear a cross-body purse or a fanny pack if that is your style. I used to shove everything I needed for the day in my bra, but apparently that is frowned on, so now I use a crossbody. They are safer because they are attached to your body. There is no danger of setting it down somewhere and walking away in a brain addled fog. Also, you cannot fall prey to the “distraction game” where one thief will cause a commotion behind you, and another one will abscond with your purse. I guess it could happen, but you would be strangled in the process. Men should keep their wallets in a front pants pocket.
4. Pack several small flashlights, so you are prepared in the event of a power outage.
5. Beware of drinking too much and/or exhaustion. It is amazing the stupid things one can do when those two scenarios are combined. Vegas is a very tiring place. Go to bed when you hit a wall. I swear the machines will still be there in the morning. If you are going to enjoy a few cocktails, especially if you are a woman traveling alone, I suggest being in or very close to your home hotel; that way you won’t have far to stagger when your bed beckons. Just kidding. But seriously, I would warn against over imbibing in general. You need to keep your wits about you at all times, plus you don’t want to waste valuable Vegas time studying the inner workings of the toilet.
6. Beware of con artists and their endless sob stories. If someone sits down next to you at a slot and starts a long, involved tale of how just a few dollars from you would buy their bus ticket home or something similar, you can ask them nicely to leave you alone. If that fails, turning on your CALL ATTENDANT light on your machine is usually enough to send them scurrying. Or, you could donate to their cause; your call.
7. Be aware if dressed provocatively. Dressing provocatively will draw a lot of attention, some positive, and some negative. While you may get the attention from those you’d like, you may also get attention from those you don’t.
8. Ask for help if you feel unsafe. Asking for help is a struggle for me. I try never to bother anyone, and I hate making a fuss, but if someone is hanging around and making you nervous, ask a security guard to walk you to your room. Don’t like the looks of the people getting onto the elevator with you? Act like you forgot something and walk away. Listen to your instincts.
Like any big city, Las Vegas is perfectly safe if you use common sense.
[Images: Michael Movestro]