Summer is on the horizon and to celebrate the ordeal, students have been planning trips to kick it off just right.
Inevitably, crowds of older students, especially those who have recently turned 21, are going to think that it’s a great idea to head to Las Vegas — and what college student wouldn’t? The place is nicknamed Sin City for a reason, as it is infamous for encouraging promiscuous, scandalous and shameful activities. With slogans like, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and “Desperate times call for desperate fun,” even the television advertisements promote the town’s sleaziness.
Right now, nobody wants you to go to Vegas more than the city itself. With the recent economic downturn, Sin City is suffering. According to an article at The Press Enterprise’s Web site titled “Las Vegas Casinos attempting to withstand struggling economy,” the largest casino corporations in the world are either losing money or not making very much. Harrah’s lost $415.1 million in 2008 after earning $667.2 million in 2007. MGM-Mirage earned $292.7 million in 2008, a 59 percent drop from the $712.21 million it made in 2007.
I have personally been to Las Vegas twice since I turned 21. I’ll admit that it is easy to have a good time in Vegas and the city undoubtedly lives up to the ridiculous, over-the-top hype it receives. However, if you are a college student planning on heading to the desert soon, I urge you to reconsider your plans and here are five reasons why:
5) It is extremely expensive: Whatever amount of money you are planning to bring to Vegas is not enough. Unless you have a few thousand dollars to blow over a few days, it is hard to really enjoy yourself. Vegas is like an enormous adult amusement park in that your money transforms into “fun tickets.” The only problem is that restaurants and drinks at bars are obscenely overpriced. You are also perpetually surrounded by gambling, which usually sucks your money away instead of blowing it in your face. Shows like Cirque Du Soleil are entertaining but pricey, at around $80 dollars for a ticket.
4) Everybody is older than you: While there is a younger crowd, the majority of the people you will see are probably in their late 20s or older. It is hard for 21-year-olds to fit in at most casinos and employees will not not take you seriously. People who look even moderately young get their IDs checked constantly, especially at high-end casinos. It gets annoying.
3) It’s crowded and hard to get around: Even in a recession, Vegas is very crowded. Driving from one end of the strip to the other takes at least 30 minutes because of all the stoplights and pedestrian traffic. Walking is usually the best option. While the strip is an entertaining place to be, trying to get from place to place can be a hassle. Pedestrians are forced into taking roundabout routes over large overpasses just to cross the street. While these structures are necessary because of all the traffic, they are scarcely dispersed. On weekends, table games at casinos are always packed and it takes a while to get a table at even a decent restaurant.
2) Vegas is shady: I can’t believe families go on vacations to Vegas. Every street is lined with annoying people who whistle at you and offer advertisements for the endless amount of escort services that are available. People are legally allowed to carry alcoholic beverages on the streets, a concept that some would object to. The club scene may seem cool, but many of the people who hang out at them are old, drunk and/or drugged out. Most people on the strip are tourists and guys especially feel the need to put on a charade and play the baller and douchebag parts even if they aren’t one, making confrontations highly probable. The city is high on materialism and low on morals.
1) You can lose your life savings: It’s easy to joke about losing all your money in Vegas, and some people expect to. However, one weekend of fun is not worth it. Gambling is extremely hard to walk away from, especially when you are winning. A night at the casinos can quickly burn a hole in your pocket. Some people do not realize they are gambling addicts until it’s too late. Losing a lot of money plus hangover equals you and your conscience feeling like crap on the trip back home.
For those who insist on going to Las Vegas (I can’t really blame you), I have some tips you should consider. First, do not stay longer than two nights. By then you will be burnt out and and so will your finances. Do not bother booking an expensive luxury suite. You will probably be out and about most of the time, so an affordable room at a lower-end casino works just fine.
When you go out at night, bring only the amount of cash you are willing to lose. This way you will feel like a winner if you have any money at the end of the night but won’t lose sleep if you lose it all. Do not under any circumstance get a cash advance, as it collects interest daily
If you get really drunk, try as hard as you can not to gamble recklessly because you will be more impulsive (and stupid) than normal. Also, keep in mind that Nevada has much stricter laws against marijuana possession than California so watch out.
Chris Jagger is a journalism senior and a Mustang Daily reporter.