We've been attending the NFR yearly since 2018, and by now we know a few tricks of the trade!
Travel: When booking your travel to Las Vegas we recommend Southwest Airlines. They're always affordable when booked well in advance (less than $200 a leg from Houston, Direct). They also offer about three non-stop flights per day for us Houstonians, this is typically the case in any major city I would wager.
Airport: The las vegas airport, in our experience, is quite easy to get through and collect your items We also try to arrive in LAS in the morning time while baggage claim is still on schedule. The aiport has also restricted smoking to small enclosed rooms. Most casinos have a free shuttle that will pick you up for your stay, otherwise car rental, uber, and ride share are all accessible at different pickup locations.
Hats: If you're anything like us you have to bring more than one hat. Traditional carry travel hat boxes are bulky and can only hold one hat. We recommend hat carriers that can hold multiple hats but still have structured sides to protect your hat during travel. We use AZITI hat boxes that double as backpacks when needed.
Shopping: Now there are more locations than ever for shopping during the NFR, this year alone there is the tradional and famous Cowboy Christmas at the convention center, Cinch Christmas at the South Point, Downtown Christmas, Cowboy Marketplace at the Horsehoe, and more. We also reccomend bringing a backpack to hold all your small purchases along with water bottles, pain killers, and Tums. 😅
Casual Attire: Acceptable all day round, and especially encouraged if you're walking the strip or going shopping. Your feet will hurt wither way but wearing a flat shoe will ensure you last longer than 45 minutes. Dressing comfotable for shopping, ladies, is a must. If you're going to try something on, you don't want to have to take off a masterpriece look to do so. Also, eating food truck or convention center food isn't always friendly to your gut or waistline, so we recommend a pair of pants that isn't already strangling you when you put them on.
Formal Attire: Best starting aroun 4-5pm daily and lasting into the wee hours of the morning, if you've got that muxh energy. Las Vegas formal fashion is to some rediculous, but once you really look into it it's a competition of who can have the most outrageously acceptable outfit. And we are always here for it, the people watching is amazing, and i truly admire the people who've managed to put together an outfit that really is "Vegas + Rodeo".
Attending the Performance: Yes, it is early in the evening, and yes it'll have you out around 8. What I love about the NFR is that the arena is just small enough that you can hear what someone shouts from across the collusem, it really is an intimate atmosphere. Though I wish they'd transition to a larger venue, I totally understand the magic of the Thomas and Mack.
Dining: I know you're going to want to go all over creation to eat, but I reccommend going somewhere within your own casino's under ground. The MGM Grand for example has several restauraunts underground that are formal enough to wear your "get-up" but aren't main attractions. Don't misunderstand, they still book up.
The Bus: It's free to the performances and has stations at most casinos, but make sure to ask around for the location of the bus pick up, it's not always obvious! If you're taking a shuttle bus (which we reccomend) you may not make it back to your casino until an hour or so later. And always stay on top of your driver, we had one take a wrong turn one night and we had to guide him back to the hotel, but we all waited 30 minutes into being lost to do so. That was a painful evening.
The Train: Did you know there is a high speed mono-rail that runs from several casinos all along the strip and down to the confrence center (Cowboy Christmas)? You can buy your passes ahead of time by the ride or in packages of days. The ticket can be downloaded to your phone and added to apple wallet. Trains run every few minutes and the passes function just the New York subways, scan and go!
We hope you enjoyed this sage advice, Happy NFR!