Day 1 - Arrive in Vegas
As you come in to land at McCarran International Airport you'll see the unmistakable sight of the city's famous Strip, situated on Las Vegas Boulevard. That's where you'll want to be staying to make the most of Vegas. There are hotels for all budgets situated on The Strip, from cheap and cheerful to incredibly luxurious, so pick the one that suits your needs best. Once you've checked in, take the time to wander The Strip and take in the visual delights that await, from The Venetian's incredible replica of Venice to the mesmerising Bellagio fountains. If the heat's too intense for you to walk for long stretches - you're in the middle of the desert, after all - make use of The Deuce. These air conditioned double decker buses roam The Strip frequently and are very reasonably priced. In the evening, treat yourself to a nice meal from one of many award-winning restaurants. Again, there are options to suit all tastes and budgets; a good middle ground is The Venetian's Grand Lux Café, which offers great food at less-than-premium prices.
Day 2 - Get your gamble on
Let's face it: if you're in Vegas then there's a very good chance you're itching to get some gambling done - no doubt you scoured the internet for the best deals on flights, hotels and cheap travel insurance in order to maximise your spending money. From blackjack and craps to the constant musical hum of slot machines, there are plenty of distractions for anyone who likes to play a game of chance. If you like to be a little more in control of your destiny, there are also a multitude of poker tournaments and cash games for you to choose from. Tournaments vary in value but you won't go wrong with the $75 option at The Orleans, which with starting stacks of 7,500 chips offers excellent value. The Orleans is set back a little from the main Strip but you can catch a free shuttle from Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon, which is situated bang in the middle of The Strip.
Day 3 - Check out downtown
While The Strip is undoubtedly the main draw for tourists nowadays, there was a time when all the Vegas action took place downtown on Fremont Street. And while 'Old Vegas' no longer matches up to the glitz and the glamour of the new arrivals, it's still well worthy of a visit. Famous old casinos like Binion's and 4 Queens are steeped in history and offer a more down-to-earth alternative to the hyper-reality of some Strip hotels such as Excalibur or New York, New York. There's plenty more to see and do, though, including a diverse range of musical entertainment. Best of all are the Viva Vision light and sound shows, which utilise a huge LED canopy - boasting more than 12 million LED lights - that runs along a large stretch of Fremont Street.
Day 4 - See a modern wonder of the world
The Grand Canyon is an absolute must-see so be sure to make time to experience it. At 277 miles, widths ranging between 4 and 18 miles and a maximum depth of more than a mile, this natural phenomenon is a genuine 'you won't believe it until you see it' contender. If you can spare a whole day then bus and jeep tours are available which take 12-15 hours and often include stops at the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon Skywalk - a glass-bottomed walkway in the shape of a horseshoe that extends out over the floor of the canyon at a height of 3,600ft. If you'd prefer a quicker - and potentially more spectacular trip - treat yourself to a helicopter ride. Journeys from The Strip to the Grand Canyon via helicopter take around 45 minutes each way so if you go during the day you'll be back in time to fit in another activity in the evening.
Day 5 - Take in a show
What better way to round off your trip than to enjoy a nice meal followed by one of The Strip's headline shows? If you've overdone the gambling and are running low on funds, head to Ellis Island and order the Steak Special; it's not on the menu, but those in the know will pay just $6.99 for a 10-ounce steak with potato, green beans and dinner rolls - as well as a glass of beer from the on-site micro-brewery. As for the show, you've got a lot to choose from with hit productions ranging from comedy and magic to theatre and musical entertainment - but your top priority should be to catch a breathtaking Cirque du Soleil performance. There are currently five Cirque shows in permanent residence on The Strip, from aquatic masterpiece O to the Beatles-themed Love. Best of all, though, is Mystère at Treasure Island.