If you’re staying at any of the major resorts and casinos located along the famous Las Vegas strip, you won’t need a car to get around town. You can leisurely walk from one casino to another and for attractions further away, you can easily hire a taxi, Uber and Lyft to get you there. And with plenty of free shows and entertainment along the way, walking can be a fun means of getting around and exploring all the sights and sounds of this crazy town.
But if you’re staying off the strip or want to explore anything beyond Las Vegas Blvd., having a rental car may be worth your while. On this trip, I stayed in the Lake Las Vegas resort area, approximately 30 minutes from the strip, so I definitely needed a car. I booked a rental car through Hotwire and got a pretty good rate from ACE Rental Cars. Nothing went wrong but the entire process was a learning experience for me so I wanted to share some advice with you guys about renting a car in Las Vegas.
First off, the McCarran Las Vegas Airport rental car center is not actually located at the airport. It’s located off-site, approximately 10 minutes away and you have to catch a shuttle bus to get there. As you exit out of baggage claim, just follow the signs for the rental car shuttle and walk towards the bus stop. When you get off the bus, just walk into the building and find your rental car company counter.
But… be warned that not all rental car companies operate out of the rental car center. The majority of the big names do but some of them operate out of off-site facilities. The only rental car companies that operate out of the McCarran rental car center are:
- Zip Car
Every other company not listed above, including ACE, Economy, Fox, Sixt, Silvercar, etc., operate at remote facilities, which will require another shuttle ride. If you are booked with one of these companies, don’t walk into the building. Instead, will walk across the driveway and stand near the taxi stand. This is where the respective rental car shuttles will pick you up from. On this trip with ACE, I waiting about 30 minutes before a shuttle bus arrived.
Taking a second shuttle bus isn’t the end of the world but I’m just noting it here for your reference. Between the two shuttles, it may take you up to an hour to actually get your vehicle. But more importantly, it may take you up to an hour to drop your rental car off and get back to the airport. I would buffer in additional time just in case. The last thing you want is to miss your flight because the rental car shuttle is running late or whatnot.
How to Get Free Parking in Las Vegas
The other thing to consider with having a rental car is parking. Gone are the days of free parking at the hotels and casinos. With revenues dropping year after year, the casinos have turned to increasing ancillary fees to meet their bottom line. If you will have a rental car, you can expect to pay another $15 to $50 per day just to park at any of the resorts and casinos. Some resorts do offer free parking but the majority of them will charge you something nowadays.
And it’s not just the hotels and casinos that are charging parking fees, shopping malls and other attractions are getting in on the ancillary fee action too. Want to get in on some good deals at the Las Vegas Premium Outlet Stores? Expect to pay $5 for parking. What about a visit to the Mob Museum? Yeah, that’s another $5 for parking.
However, there are still a few places where you can get free parking along the Las Vegas strip. Here is a list of places as reported by the Las Vegas Sun.
- The Venetian and Palazzo Resorts and Casinos – In addition to being fantastic “all suites” properties, the Venetian and Palazzo are also IHG affiliate hotels.
- Circus Circus – It’s kind of a dump but hey, it’s cheap and the kids will enjoy the AdventureDome play area.
- SLS Hotel Las Vegas – Located at the northern end of the strip. This is the last stop of the Las Vegas monorail.
- Tropicana, a DoubleTree Resort – Located in the center of the strip, this is the best free parking spot for the T-Mobile Arena and the other MGM resorts and casinos.
- TI (Treasure Island) – Located across from the Venetian, this resort is also connected to the Mirage Resort and Casino via a free tram.
- Planet Hollywood – This is the most centrally located free parking spot on the strip.
- Fashion Show Mall – Located across from Treasure Island and the Wynn Resort.
I hope this information helps. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks for reading!