This is a guest post by author Jay Rankin. His debut book Under The Neon Sky takes us behind the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas. You can read my review here – Simon

I wrote a book titled, Under the Neon Sky, about my job at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I was the late shift doorman and believe me when I say; I saw a lot and heard a lot. One of the things that really crystallized in my mind was how visitors behaved during any given two day weekend. One would think that one weekend in Vegas couldn’t do too much damage, not true. Although the film, ‘The Hangover’ might have seemed a little over the top, for the sake of this article, I won’t go into what I witnessed people doing during their stay. I’ll save those little gems for a later read.

Many people would arrive on a Friday night and leave Sunday. It was striking, at times stunning, and always surprising to see and witness some of these people upon arrival, and then after two days, their departure: the before, and after. Let me put in more visual terms: The hydrated and dehydrated. The rested and ready to party visitor, and the same exhausted visitor who hadn’t slept the entire stay. The fresh, clean smelling guest and the same guest after two days, wearing the same clothes smelling really bad. The big shot pretending to own the joint and later, the broke and in debt fool. The excited couple, holding hands, so in-love: and after two days, the look of hatred and self-loathing in their eyes.

People don’t like to admit much to themselves unless it’s how correct and full of wisdom they are. So how did people I came in contact with behave after having had no sleep, hung-over, and loosing lots of money? It’s called depression, regret, and self-loathing. Forget all the physical problems such as exhaustion, migraine headaches, aching muscles and constipation. It’s the emotional stuff I had to be careful with. I could smell the anger, see it in their eyes.

In the hotel business, the guest is always, always, and always right.  Vegas presents a lot of challenges for employees who work the hotels. Dealing with guests in Las Vegas is not like dealing with the guests in a Hawaiian resort. In Hawaii like most of the rest of the world there are a few rules such as, last call, closing time, closed on Monday’s, open at 10:00 am or, “We have to ask you leave because you can’t behave that way here.” There are no rules in Vegas. There are no clocks or even windows to see where the sun is in the sky.

So what is it I see a lot of? Answer: People hurting themselves.

The following is my top 10 survival techniques for a quick weekend in a place with no boundaries called Las Vegas.

1. Check the weather in Las Vegas before leaving home. If its 115 degrees, bring sunscreen or you will get fried. If its 40 degrees, bring warm clothes or you will freeze.

2. A weekend in Las Vegas is not a vacation destination for relaxing and catching up on sleep. It is a place to get stimulated, really stimulated. Your body will be pumping at warp speed during your stay so it’s up to you to: plan meals, sleep, go to the bathroom, shower, and other essentials to keep your body and mind from decomposing.

3. I understand your need to hit the casino in your first couple hours in town. Don’t go crazy. You can loose your entire gambling budget within an hour. Be careful. Tell your spouse you will be gone for an hour or two, and then come back!

4. If you plan to walk up and down the Strip, don’t do it in a pair of thongs or sandals or you will be sorry. Bring walking shoes.

5. Honestly think about a strategy. You will never be able to come close to seeing and doing it all. There’s way too much offered. Do some homework, pick what sounds good whether it’s a restaurant, show, or club, or with your spouse in your room, and plan it.

6. During your stay in Vegas, if you smoke, you will smoke more. If you drink, you will drink more. Again, give yourself some down time to eat and sleep. Take care of yourself.

7. If you come to Vegas with your spouse or a girlfriend, make sure you spend some time together. Vegas can also be a place to re-connect with someone. It can be a very romantic destination.

8. Always wear a watch. You will need it to know when its time for dinner, sleep, etc.

9. Understand that if you choose to drink alcohol all day and believe that a ‘Bloody Mary’ is dinner, you will eventually be telling anyone who will listen that you don’t feel so good.

10. Gambling. Lots to say here but I’ll go into detail at a later time. In today’s casino, a hundred dollar bill can go very quickly. A twenty dollar bill can be gone within seconds. There is something about sitting and gambling that does something to people. They forget about the world and themselves for a few moments in time. It can be a very stimulating feeling mixed with the possibility of winning lots of money. It’s very addicting. Be aware that a hundred dollar bill in a casino does not hold the same importance as it would back home. Because it’s so easy to use an ATM or credit card in the casino, be careful.

Jay Rankin is the author of

UNDER THE NEON SKY….A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story

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