So you are attending a conference in Sin City. Whether this is your first SHRM conference in Vegas or your tenth you have a lot on your mind. What do I bring, what am I gonna do while I’m there, how do I avoid looking like a stupid tourist? Those are all valid concerns and I am here to put some of your worries to bed. By laying out all the things that can ruin your Vegas trip! Process of elimination will leave only the things you should totally do in Vegas! Unless something you shouldn’t do got left off the list, then don’t do that either.
1. The airline might lose your luggage
So let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. Airlines have been the butt of jokes for decades and at this point air travel is infamous for messing up a trip with a well-timed luggage loss. Toothbrush, shirts, undies, all can be lost in a well fell swoop. Since you are already there and paid them airlines tend to put forth as little energy as possible to finding your stuff. Usually, you file a claim and MIGHT get a check in a month or two covering 1/10th of the cost of your stuff that some family in Sheboygan is enjoying. So it’s important to be prepared for this possibility. I usually suggest stuffing your carry on with emergency underwear, but if you are the type that has to check luggage then scope out which airlines are the best about actually getting your stuff to you.
2. You could run into someone that recognizes you that you don’t
This one has been looming over everyone’s head since they graduated high school. Someone at SHRM approaches you from across a room, usually while shouting your name. You have zero clue who this walking social faux pas is, you see them, they see you see them, escape is all but impossible. They approach you with a handshake, or a hug if you are really unlucky, and they know your name, position at your company, how many kids you have, and your dog’s name. Meanwhile, you are mentally filing through names struggling to attach words to the face of your tormentor. Eventually, they realize your mistake and tell you their name and the situation, and your day is ruined forever. It happens to everyone at some point or another, luckily there are some solutions that can prevent this travesty from ever happening again. Check out these 5 tricks to remembering names!
3. You could get mugged
So despite being called Sin City, Las Vegas actually has a pretty good reputation for being a safe place to be a scared vulnerable tourist. It’s well lit, cameras are everywhere (Side note: Cameras are everywhere so don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want captured on film) and police are on the strip 24/7. Yet any large city with easily available vices is going to have crime and you are obviously new in this city, which makes you a good target. Now I am not saying to be in a constant state of panic with your mace at the ready at a moment’s notice.
4. You could end up seeing a bad show
So I know that this one doesn’t seem like the biggest of deals, nor does it seem too likely, I mean Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world, right? That is true and there are hundreds of great shows that happen every year but with all the shows put on, of course, there are going to be stinkers that make it through. So really the best advice for this one is to do a little research for yourself and see what shows are actually worth it and which shows aren’t. *cough* Chris Angel Believe *cough* Also don’t be afraid to ask for a refund!
5. Your hotel room could be filthy
Well let’s be honest, ALL hotel rooms are filthy, but some hotel rooms are filthier than others. Just watch any television show and you’ll see what I mean. Sheets are neglected, curtains are trashed, bathrooms are a tiled petri dish and that mint on the pillow isn’t a mint at all. Or that’s the stereotype at least. There is truth to the stereotype though so do a little research on your hotel first as well as some research on how to avoid disgusting parts of your room!
6. You might go to the wrong place
I know what you are thinking, “Cody, how can I get lost on the strip when it’s literally one road?” Well, that would be a valid question if the strip wasn’t a jumbled mess of lights, sounds and debauchery. The fact of the matter is even the best of the best need a map to navigate the strip and the surrounding roads. There is so much crammed in such a small space that things tend to overlap a time or two. You might end up in the Luxor when you wanted Caesar’s! Won’t you look silly then? So no matter how well you THINK you know the layout of Vegas make sure you are prepared and you can get to SHRM with ease.
7. You could party too hard
As soon as you read that I know you mentally said “No, I won’t I’m just gonna be there for business!” Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Stronger wills than yours have been bent by Sin City. It’s okay, you are allowed to cut loose every now and again, you deserve it after a tough conference, I am sure your note-taking hand hurts by now. And no matter what you do to party, Las Vegas has it in spades. If you do end up having one too many, here is a guide to get you back on your feet in the morning to be fully functioning human!
8. You could accidentally get married!
So this situation is probably not entirely likely, but let’s go over it for the sake of being in Vegas! About 350 couples get married in vegas each and every day. The majority of these come from the 50 or so quickie wedding chapels, many of which are open 24/7, just in case you’ve always wanted to get married at 3:30 AM by a guy dressed like Elvis, every girl’s dream wedding, of course. These weddings are cheap, usually 49 bucks a pop, and fast and don’t particularly care if the people participating are sober as long as they have valid ID and a way to pay. It’s a perfect storm of bad decision making so try to avoid it at all cost. There isn’t really a tip or anything I can give you other than don’t have the worst wedding ever unless you love the other person and both have low standards for weddings. If you wake up married to some random person you might wanna brush up on Nevada’s incredibly lax divorce laws.
9. You could wake up late and miss some of SHRM
You are in Vegas which means your sleep schedule has been blown into tiny chunks. Either because you are staying out too late or you just can’t get to sleep with the hustle and bustle of the city. However, you still need to wake up to give your speech or run your booth or do whatever it is you are at the conference for. Well if you don’t have a good plan then it isn’t going to happen. I recommend asking for a wake up call from the hotel. But to be frank, you are one of a hundred or a thousand other guests and there is a real likelihood that your wake up call could get lost in the shuffle. So it’s important to make sure you have backups, and backups for your backups. I am a particularly heavy sleeper with a garbage sleep schedule but I did find a few tips that have yet to fail me.
10. You could fall prey to the Vegas myth
So Las Vegas’ excellent marketing department came up with a slogan that we all know by now “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” In addition to giving people an annoying line to say when you ask them how their trip was, this catch phrase has instilled a lot of false confidence in people over the years. The fact of the matter is that there are 600,000 thousand people living in Vegas and an extra 112,000 tourists per day. All of them with a camera or phone to take video or pictures of whatever you are doing. Rest assured if you make a fool out of yourself it will end up on the internet in some way. I don’t have any more advice other than don’t be a dummy!