It’s the most wonderful time of the year — except when it comes to your wallet.
No, I’m not talking about Christmas or Hanukkah (although those are awesome too). Instead, I have a much more sinister observation: The worst part of the holiday season is right around the corner.
If you’re like me, you probably spend most of December getting ready for Christmas and New Year’s Day, but there are still some people who aren’t quite done with all that shopping yet. For them, this week brings the busiest travel period of the year: Airline ticket sales begin at the end of November and continue through the first half of January. Then, come February, we hit peak ski season.
So, what can gamblers do to get through these times? They can gamble. And they do. During peak travel periods, casinos pull out all the stops to ensure that their patrons will be in town long enough to spend money. Let’s take a look at how they do it.
Tighten up security
The best way to stay safe while traveling at a casino is to make sure no one knows where you are. It may seem obvious, but no one can follow a person 24/7. Even if someone has access to your itinerary and knows exactly when you’re arriving and leaving, there are still ways to thwart surveillance.
For example, if you’re flying into Las Vegas on Delta Airlines from Seattle, don’t plan on going straight to the airport hotel. Instead, go to McCarran International Airport in North Las Vegas, which is about 15 miles away. You’ll find a lot of restaurants, shopping malls, and other entertainment venues in the area. If you need to change planes or catch a bus to your hotel, you won’t run into any problems. You can also avoid being tracked by using a different credit card than the one on your airline reservation.
But even if you’re not a gambler, this tip is relevant to other areas of life as well. Think about the places you frequent regularly and try to minimize your time spent in them. If possible, choose a new place to visit every few months or so. This will help you avoid having anyone know exactly where you are.
The next step in keeping track of your whereabouts is to play games that involve randomness. Slot machines are popular among the casino crowd because they give players an opportunity to win big bucks without taking any risks themselves — just insert a quarter, press “spin,” and hope for the best!
Some of the slot machines now offer video poker options, which means you can actually bet real money on whether or not you’ll win. But the main thing these games have in common is the fact that they’re unpredictable. That’s why it’s important to make sure you play during off-peak hours.
There are two reasons for this. First, casinos want you to spend money, and second, they don’t want to lose money on you. When the casino isn’t busy, they can afford to take a chance and let you walk away with $20 or $30 instead of $100 or $200.
You might think that playing slots is fun, but it isn’t always. In fact, it’s pretty stressful. So, if you’re looking to have a relaxing vacation experience, steer clear of the gambling dens.
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Go to the spa
Most casinos offer various types of spas so you can unwind after a long day of gambling. Some of these spas include massage rooms, saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, and even pools. While you’re there, you should definitely indulge in the services offered, especially if you’re planning on hanging around the casino for awhile.
One thing you shouldn’t do is book appointments for the same day you arrive. Casinos keep track of things like this to prevent customers from making reservations too far in advance. There are exceptions, though; for example, sometimes certain spas require a minimum number of guests per day. In this case, you could book a room for yourself and then book another room for your spouse or significant other.
Another good way to beat surveillance is to stay out of the casino altogether. This can be tough, since many major cities hold huge casinos within their borders. However, there are plenty of alternatives. For example, you could head west to Reno, Nevada. Not only does it boast one of the largest casinos in the United States, but it also hosts several smaller casinos in surrounding towns.
Or perhaps you’d prefer to stay east of the Mississippi River. Try Atlantic City, New Jersey, which boasts three massive casinos and dozens of smaller ones. Or, if you live in California, you could check out the city of San Jose, which features three casinos and numerous other gambling establishments.
These tips aren’t foolproof, but they do offer some protection against surveillance. So, enjoy your last couple of weeks before the holidays. Just remember, you’re probably better off saving your money for something else.