As a complement to my recent story of traveling as a family to Vegas — and all the reasons you should consider taking your own kids to this amazing city — I asked my sister Laura to share her perspective having taken the same trip but with a toddler. In many ways, we took the same vacation — but if your family includes a baby or toddler rather than an 8-year-old, seeing the trip through her eyes will be valuable. Laura and her husband Leo, and their little guy Nelson, are travelers themselves — read on for Laura’s tips from eating and sleeping to playing and getting around town.

Laura with Leo and Nelson – on the High Roller

Getting Around Town

Nelson’s preferred mode of transportation

Biggest and best piece of advice: ditch the stroller. Vegas was not made for strollers. The sidewalks are packed, the concrete is uneven, there’s not always a working escalator to get up and over the elevated walkways. Just don’t even bring it. Find a baby/toddler carrier (or a set of strong shoulders) and go.

Also, we left the car seat at home. Nelson is still young enough to sit on our lap during flights, and has done fine that way. And while Nevada technically allows babies in taxis without car seats, we weren’t OK with that. But! Las Vegas has a pretty fantastic bus system that goes back & forth from the Strip to the Downtown area all day and night. We never had a problem hopping on and off the bus. Passes are only $8/day and kids under 5 are free!


The time change was rough. There’s no getting around that. When you haul a toddler 2 time zones over, everyone will pay the price. But Nelson did OK, considering. We rented a Pack’n’Play from the hotel ($30/night!!), and made sure he had his favorite stuffed animal and PJ’s and bedtime books and then just prayed. No real advice here. Just know this part will be the least fun. The good news is — coming back to Texas was a snap. We arrived home at 6pm, he was in bed by 7, and slept until nearly 8am the next day!


We’re pretty lucky in that Nelson will eat just about anything. So we really didn’t have much trouble finding him food. But even if you’ve got a picky little person, we had a McDonald’s, Jack in the Box and Walgreens all within walking distance of downtown. Or there’s always chicken fingers from room service! We also brought his straw cups and snacks from home. So even if mealtimes were a little off due to the day’s activities, he was never starving. Because no one likes a hangry toddler.

And never underestimate the power of a Vegas buffet. We could cherry-pick the food we knew he’d eat from the buffet without having to worry about a “kids’ menu” at a restaurant. It was PERFECT.

Playing and Things to Do

If you read Sarah’s travelogue, you know we were busy! And I think truly everything on our itinerary was pretty appropriate for toddlers. Everyone thinks of Las Vegas as an adult playground, but there’s plenty for the littles, too! And while we paid for some of it — the Children’s Museum, the High Roller, etc. — you don’t even have to do that stuff to have fun. Nelson was mesmerized by every fountain, every light display, every weirdo on the street. And while we didn’t make it to the aquariums or the MGM tigers, I know he would’ve loved those, too.


The Verdict

Did we have fun in Vegas? Absolutely. Would we take a toddler back again? Probably not. I feel like tiny babies who could care less about their surroundings would do great, and a little bit older kids would do great — but toddlers may be in that in-between phase. Sure I’m glad we went. But for the money spent and hassle of the time changes, we’d probably go elsewhere next time.


Thank you, Laura! Vegas may not have been the perfect destination for Nelson, but we can all agree that traveling is never a bad idea. Thanks for the insight and learnings — and here’s to your family’s next adventure!

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