Las Vegas, NV
Jim's Wheelchair Traveler Tips & Information
I've been fortunate to have traveled to many corners of the globe. Although planning comes to me fairly easily, traveling in a wheelchair necessitates becoming an even better planner. Experience has taught me many lessons. I've been to hotels where the wheelchair could not fit through doors or into an elevator, and visited too many restaurants without an accessible restroom. While traveling, I've had wheels, axles, the wheelchair frame and footrests break or fall off. And getting into a taxi or renting a car was far easier 30 years ago when vehicles were considerably larger.
With today's car rentals being more compact, it is much more difficult to fold up my wheelchair and throw it in the backseat. Although Hertz and Avis have specialty reservation desks for wheelchair accessible vehicles, neither provides vehicles that easily accommodate independent wheelchair travelers and both are incredibly unreliable.
Today I plan my hotel and restaurant reservations with great care, calling and emailing and following up well in advance. It is now possible to arrange almost everything including taxis and van rentals across the globe in advance. Every location can be put on speed dial before departure. It's also nice to know the location of the local wheelchair repair shop and have access to medical supplies when and where needed. We have attempted our best to provide you with some helpful hints throughout our website including some local contacts below that you might find helpful.
General Wheelchair Accessibility: Las Vegas has done an exceptional job of being fully wheelchair accessible. Although there are steps, escalators and massive overhead walkways across Las Vegas Blvd, there are elevators everywhere (some are hard to find) and the casinos and restaurants are generally very wheelchair accessible. There is generally a wheelchair accessible restroom nearby.
Driving: The Las Vegas “Strip” can be exceptionally crowded with people in the afternoon and evening hours. It took me 30-45 minutes to drive 1.7 miles from the Luxor to Caesars Palace. I advise using the free and very accessible Trams wherever possible, or call an accessible Taxi.
Tram’s: There is one Tram that conveniently connects the Luxor, Excalibur and Mandalay Bay hotels/casinos. There is another Tram that connects the Aria, Bellagio, Monte Carlo and Vdara hotels/casinos. Each has an elevator to the Tram station. Both are fully wheelchair accessible and free. The Trams are my Favorite mode of transit in Las Vegas.
Monorail: The Monorail is totally wheelchair accessible although there is a fare (1 to 7 day passes). There are multiple stations including several casinos and the convention center.
Downtown Las Vegas - The Fremont Experience: About 4 miles north of The Strip is the "old" downtown Vegas. This was like going back in time 50 years, and I mean that in a bad way. Wheelchair accessibility here is about the same as it was in 1960. Lots of steps and poor restroom accessibility. Several properties have installed those dreaded small hydraulic lifts which I can't stand. It's half the price of The Strip and half the quality. Avoid this area if you can!
Walking or Rolling the Strip: The Las Vegas Strip is only about 2 miles long along a totally level surface (One of our followers wrote me to say the strip was 4 miles in length, not 2 miles). But many of the hotels/casinos are set back off Las Vegas Blvd and have some rather steep driveway inclines. Attempting to walk or roll the entire Strip can be a challenge, especially in the hot summer months. I advise using the Trams or accessible taxis.
Hotel Rates: Las Vegas hotel rates vary largely depending on the day of the week. Weekend rates can be double or more the weekday rates which we have included.
Making Restaurant Reservations: When you book a restaurant reservation, let them know that a member of the dining party is in a wheelchair. You will receive preferred seating for your convenience and restroom access.
Additionally, if you are meeting in a private or banquet area of a restaurant, make sure that it is wheelchair accessible and has accessible restrooms.
Pack You Airlines Bags Carefully
Wheelchair passengers are always last to exit the plane, sometimes 30 minutes or more after all other passengers have departed. Since I'm generally the last person to the luggage carousel, I'm always concerned someone will steal my bags (yes, this has happened). As a result, I always pack a special carry on bag with anything I might need for 2 days if my luggage is lost or stolen. This includes critical medical supplies and medications, an extra seat cushion cover, lightweight wheelchair repair tools, handy wipes and plastic bags.
I always bring large black plastic bags to collect my detachable wheelchair parts at the end of the jet way. These should be placed in the over head luggage rack, not in the cargo area.
You should also know that the Air Carrier Access Act mandates that fold up wheelchairs have priority for on-board storage if a closet is available. Keep your wheelchair on-board if possible. Demand your rights!
Medical Supplies & Repairs
Sometimes things go wrong. Items get lost or broken, wheelchairs lose a screw or fall apart, or you just need something that you forgot to pack along for the trip. Not to worry, the Las Vegas area has some great medical supply and wheelchair repair companies ready to give you a hand. NOTE: I'd also like to acknowledge the help and support of Desert Medical Equipment for assisting with our project with the Harrah Hotel College at UNLV. A big Thank You for providing a wheelchair for the students to use during their videos!
Desert Medical Equipment
(Wheelchair Sales & Repairs)
3555 W. Reno Ave Suite F
Las Vegas, NV 89118
Phone: (702) 876-9171
(Wheelchair Scooters Rentals & Repairs)
7260 W. Lake Mead Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89128
Phone: (702) 233-3770
1811 W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Phone: (702) 366-1111
Booking your Hotel Room
Booking a hotel room online is convenient, but more often than not it results in arriving to the hotel only to find out they did not properly reserve an accessible room, or even worse - they have no accessible rooms in the hotel. Before booking a hotel room, we recommend reviewing our extensive list of certified Las Vegas hotels, hotels to avoid, plus a directory of wheelchair accessible hotels in and around Las Vegas. When booking a hotel room, WCJ highly recommends the following:
- Call the hotel directly and "block" your wheelchair accessible room for the desired dates of travel.
- Have the hotel email or fax you a confirmation, noting the accessible room and bring this with you at check-in.
- Call the hotel directly 24-48 hours in advance of your arrival to re-confirm your wheelchair accessible room.
When calling the nationwide reservations call center for many hotel chains, they do not have the ability to "block" wheelchair accessible rooms with individual hotel properties. We recommended to call the hotel directly, and speak to the front desk to properly reserve and block your accessible guestroom.