Getting from the airport to your hotel
Last update: September 2020
Uber / Lyft
Uber & Lyft can't pick up right outside the terminal, at least they couldn't the last time I checked. You have to walk to a parking garage.
Most hotels have staging areas for Uber/Lyft, but the city doesn't have as many staging areas for them as it does for traditional taxis.
I boycott both because of Uber is an incredibly ethically-challenged company, and because in my hometown of Austin, Uber & Lyft refused to comply with local regulations, then paid for a "grassroots" election to try to override local laws, and when voters defeated their measure, the companies then lobbied the Texas state government to cancel Austin's law, which it did. None of us should want a world in which corporations bully and bribe the government in order to get favorable treatment.
There's flat-rate pricing from
the airport to the Strip: $19 to the South Strip,
$23 to the Mid Strip, and $27 to the North strip. There's no
flat pricing to downtown but it'll cost around $32. The price
is the same no matter how many people ride. I generally
boycott the taxis because most drive so dangerously, threatening
pedestrians and bicyclists, and because buses and shuttles work
fine. Taxis also aren't as convenient as you might expect,
because they can't and won't stop on the street; you have to wait in
the line at the hotel, and sometimes those lines are long. Here's more
on taxis in Vegas.
Go to the spot right between the two
baggage claim areas, and take the escalator down. Go
outside, and the bus stop is the last stop on the right, right under
the little canopy. (Last I checked, it was just beyond the
last numbered slot, #23, where slot #24 would be if there were a
#24.) You'll see airport employees waiting for it. It's
usually best to pay $8 for the 24-hour pass when you board.
The 24-hour pass works on every bus in the city. More on fares
Here's which bus to take based on where
you're going. (You can find your hotel on our map
if you don't know where it is.)
- Downtown: Your best bet is the Westcliff Airport
Express or the #108, both of which go straight to downtown.
You could also take the #109 South/SSTT (not #109 North)
from the airport and transfer to the SDX at the SSTT (South Strip
- Stratosphere, Sahara/SLS, Hilton, or LV Convention Center: #108 takes you right there.
- Other North Strip, Mid-Strip: Take the #108 to the
Stratosphere, then transfer to the the Deuce or the "Strip &
Downtown Express" (SDX) bus, which run up and down the
strip. (For Circus Circus, instead of transferring to the
Deuce or SDX, you could get off at Rivieria Blvd. and walk 10
minutes west towards the strip if you wanted.)
- South Strip: The Westcliff Airport Express goes straight from the airport to the Tropicana / MGM / NY NY / Luxor area. Or you could take the #109 South/SSTT (not #109 North), get off at the SSTT, and transfer to the "Strip & Downtown Express" bus.
The Westcliff Airport Express goes straight from the airport to the South Strip, then it takes the highway to go to downtown. But it runs only once an hour. By the way, it took the geniuses at the bus agency until 2010 to create a route that goes straight from the airport to the Strip. Go figure!
The #108 normally runs every 20 minutes, except every
30 mins. between 11pm-1am, and then once an hour until 2:00am.
The bus doesn't run between 2-4am, but then neither do the planes.
The Deuce and the "Strip & Downtown Express" (SDX)
buses run up and down the Strip, and also to Downtown. See
below for info on these buses.
Shared shuttles will take you to Strip hotels for $8 per person, and downtown hotels for $9 per person. It's a great deal if you're traveling solo, but not so much otherwise, since taxis are the same cost for 1-4 people. It's also slow: you might wait up to 20 minutes for the shuttle to leave (even if the ticket seller says just 5-10 minutes), and since you share the ride with other passengers, if you're the last to be dropped off, the trip could take an extra 30 minutes over what it would in a taxi.
To find the shuttles, go to the space between the two big baggage claim areas and face the direction of the escalators that are coming down from the second floor. Go past the escalators (i.e., don't ride them), walk out the door, and look left or right.
Your hotel probably doesn't have a free shuttle. The only Strip & Downtown casinos that have them reserve them for the high rollers. Some off-strip casinos have free shuttles, like Palace Station, Red Rock, Rampart, and Suncoast. The pickup area for these is next to the bus stop described in the Bus section above.
You don't need to rent a car
If you're not venturing beyond the Strip and Downtown, you absolutely do not need a car. In fact, a car might just slow you down. Between gridlocked traffic and distant parking (you can't park directly on the strip—you have to go to a parking garage and then walk), taking the bus or just walking is often competitive on time, and a lot less stressful. Not to mention cheaper, even before we consider that free parking is becoming something of a dinosaur.
Even if you're going to Hoover Dam, a tour bus is often a better option. It's cheaper, safer, less polluting, more relaxing (you can sleep on the bus), and your driver will point out interesting things about the places you pass, which you wouldn't know about if you were driving yourself. There are places along the strip and downtown that sell the cheap Hoover Dam bus tours. A friend and I took one of them and it was definitely more fun going with a group.
Also, you can't even rent a car right at the airport any more. The car rental place is now three miles from McCarran.