The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast

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Responsible Travel

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Over the last several years, there's been a push in the travel industry for people to practice what's called "Responsible Travel".  This is travel that's all about making choices to minimize the negative impacts of your travel in favor of ones that are neutral or contribute positively.

My guests for this episode are Erin Hynes & Kattie Laur, the hosts of Alpaca My Bags, a Canadian podcast that explores Responsible Travel.

During our conversation Erin shared what got her interested in travel & what inspired her to start blogging and podcasting as well as how she connected with Kattie & brought her into the fold, the ladies shared their experiences of their own Las Vegas vacations, and we discussed how to apply the principals of Responsible Travel to when visiting a city like Las Vegas - known best for total irresponsibility.

You can learn more about Responsible Travel by visiting Erin's website/blog as well as by following her on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.  You can also follow Kattie on Twitter and visit her website as well.  And be sure to listen to Alpaca My Bags wherever you get your podcasts.

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Become a Jeff Does Vegas Insider today for only $5 USD/month & enjoy all kinds of cool perks like early access to new episodes, commercial-free versions of EVERY episode, invites to exclusive live streams & videos, insider-only virtual hangouts and even real-life in-person hangouts IN Las Vegas!

Sign up NOW at patreon.com/jeffdoesvegas

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Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Dark Tourism

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Dark Tourism - otherwise known as Thana Tourism, Black Tourism, or Morbid Tourism - is the term used to describe travel to places that are historically associated with death and tragedy.

Dark Tourism destinations exist all over the world; from Nazi concentration camps in Poland, to the site of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, to Ground Zero in New York City.  There are Jack the Ripper tours in London, Pablo Escobar tours in Colombia and even JFK assassination tours in Dallas.

But what is it that brings people to these types of attractions?  Why has so-called Dark Tourism seen such a boom in recent years?

My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to answer that question...and many others.

Marta Soligo teaches Sociology of Leisure at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and is also a visiting professor at the University of Bergamo in Italy, where she teaches Sociology of Tourism.  Marta has also done extensive research into Dark Tourism, specifically as it relates to celebrity culture.

Marta and I discussed what got her interested in studying tourism & leisure from the sociology side of things, why people are attracted to "the macabre", and she shared a few examples of Dark Tourism destinations in Las Vegas.

If you'd like to learn more about Dark Tourism, there are LOTS of great resources on line including Google Scholar (which has - literally - HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of great articles on the subject) and the website, dark-tourism.com featuring an extensive database of over a thousand Dark Tourism sites in 115 different countries around the world! 

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Become a Jeff Does Vegas Insider today for only $5 USD/month & enjoy all kinds of cool perks like early access to new episodes, commercial-free versions of EVERY episode, invites to exclusive live streams & videos, insider-only virtual hangouts and even real-life in-person hangouts IN Las Vegas!

Sign up NOW at patreon.com/jeffdoesvegas

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Showgirls - Fact vs. Fiction

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There are some AWESOME Vegas movies out there.  Classics like "Casino", "Oceans Eleven" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas".  There are also some TERRIBLE Vegas movies out there...like "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone", "3000 Miles To Graceland" and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2".

I think it's fair to say that the film we're discussing in this episode falls somewhere in the middle.

Considered to be one of the biggest box office bombs of all time, Showgirls (written by Joe Eszterhas, directed by Paul Veerhoven, and starring Elizabeth Berkley) has morphed into a huge cult classic.

Thanks to a steady stream of nudity & gratuitous sex, the film was given an NC-17 rating and to this day, remains the only film with that rating to have had wide release in US movie theaters.  And although Showgirls wasn't based on a true story, Eszterhas and Veerhoven claimed they did "extensive interviews" with people in the Vegas entertainment community to make the portrayal of the showgirl world as accurate as possible.

So, did they get it right?  We're about to find out.

My guest for this episode, making her second appearance on the podcast, is Dani Elizabeth - a legit Showgirl and former cast member of the legendary Vegas shows, "Jubilee" and "Crazy Girls".

Dani shared the story of the first time she saw Showgirls and how it almost led to a career change, we dove into the film with some character analysis & theories on why people watch the film over and over again, and we compared Dani's "showgirl life" to Nomi Malone's.

If you want to dive further into the world of Showgirls - and really, who wouldn't? - check out the documentary You Don't Nomi directed by Jeffrey McHale (available for sale & rent on your favorite streaming service).

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Become a Jeff Does Vegas Insider today for only $5 USD/month & enjoy all kinds of cool perks like early access to new episodes, commercial-free versions of EVERY episode, invites to exclusive live streams & videos, insider-only virtual hangouts and even real-life in-person hangouts IN Las Vegas!

Sign up NOW at patreon.com/jeffdoesvegas

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Eye In The Sky - An Inside Look At Casino Security

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"In Vegas, everybody's gotta watch everybody else. Since the players are looking to beat the casino, the dealers are watching the players. The box men are watching the dealers. The floor men are watching the box men. The pit bosses are watching the floor men. The shift bosses are watching the pit bosses. The casino manager is watching the shift bosses. I'm watching the casino manager. And the eye-in-the-sky is watching us all." - Sam "Ace" Rothstein, "Casino", 1995

Since the days of Sam Rothstein and the Tangiers - or Frank Rosenthal and the Stardust, if you will - casino security has come a LONG ways.

The industry has moved on from binocular-carrying staff, wandering catwalks in the ceiling to a world of digitally networked video recording and facial recognition software...and my guest for this episode of the podcast is here to take us behind the curtain and into that world.

Charles H. Barry is an expert in casino and corporate security, surveillance & investigations and currently runs his own consulting firm.  He has over 30 years in the field and has worked with several major gaming companies.  Mr. Barry is also a former law enforcement officer, having worked as a detective with the Phoenix Police Department and as a Special Agent with the FBI.

Charles and I discussed the evolution of casino security over the last several decades, emerging threats to casinos & hotels, and the major event that forced gaming corporations to re-examine their security procedures from top to bottom.

If you'd like to learn more about Charles and the services he currently provides, be sure to visit his website.

__________________________________________________________________________

Become a Jeff Does Vegas Insider today for only $5 USD/month & enjoy all kinds of cool perks like early access to new episodes, commercial-free versions of EVERY episode, invites to exclusive live streams & videos, insider-only virtual hangouts and even real-life in-person hangouts IN Las Vegas!

Sign up NOW at patreon.com/jeffdoesvegas

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Plane Misery - Tips & Tricks For Smooth Air Travel

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Welcome to another BONUS EPISODE of the podcast!

If you've been watching the news lately, then I'm sure you're aware of what's happening at airports all over the world.

Mass flight cancellations, huge delays, lost baggage, staff shortages and huge line-ups are just some of the problems plaguing flyers in recent weeks.

Adding to the problem is that after almost two years of a lot of the world not being able to travel anywhere, pent up demand has led to a lot of people hopping on planes for vacation, which in turn has put stress on an industry that might not have been ready for such a quick rebound.

As some of you may be aware, when I'm not doing the podcast, I work in operations for a major airline here in Canada, meaning I'm seeing first-hand the impact this craziness is having on travellers.

As such, I thought it might be helpful to share a few "insider tips" for anyone who might be planning a flight to Las Vegas (or anywhere in the world for that matter) to help make your trip a little smoother and even prepare you for the possibility that things might not go as planned.

There's a lot of information crammed into this episode, so I've made my notes downloadable for your own use!

__________________________________________________________________________

Become a Jeff Does Vegas Insider today for only $5 USD/month & enjoy all kinds of cool perks like early access to new episodes, commercial-free versions of EVERY episode, invites to exclusive live streams & videos, insider-only virtual hangouts and even real-life in-person hangouts IN Las Vegas!

Sign up NOW at patreon.com/jeffdoesvegas

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Better Safe Than Sorry - Tips & Tricks For Travel Safety

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The world is FINALLY starting to feel normal.  And part of that "normal" is a return to travel.

But when you haven't done something for a long time - for example, for two years during a global pandemic - it's easy to get out of practice and forget all those good travel habits you had that helped to keep you safe when you were venturing out around the world.

With more people starting to make the trek to Las Vegas (and elsewhere around the globe), I thought it might be helpful to put together an episode all about travel safety & security.  After all, nothing can wreck a vacation faster than being scammed, losing your passport or ending up sick or injured.

And although some people may think I'm "fear mongering" here, I prefer to think of it as "worst-case scenario planning".  I mean, it's better to have an umbrella and not need it than need one and not have it, right?

There's a lot to unpack here, so I've created a downloadable copy of my notes for your own use and here's links to some of the resources I used to put together this episode:

__________________________________________________________________________

Become a Jeff Does Vegas Insider today for only $5 USD/month & enjoy all kinds of cool perks like early access to new episodes, commercial-free versions of EVERY episode, invites to exclusive live streams & videos, insider-only virtual hangouts and even real-life in-person hangouts IN Las Vegas!

Sign up NOW at patreon.com/jeffdoesvegas

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

The Best Dam Episode Ever!

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Get ready...we're going on a little road trip.

We're heading about 35 miles southeast of the Vegas strip, to Black Canyon, where one of the greatest feats of engineering in the United States - and possibly the world - is located:  Hoover Dam

Constructed in the late 1920's & completed in the early 1930's, Hoover Dam serves a multitude of purposes including flood mitigation & hydro-electric power generation.  Present day, millions of tourists visit each year to both marvel at this amazing structure and to take advantage of the many surrounding amenities including Lake Mead and the numerous hiking trails in the area.

My guest for this episode is Patti Aaron, Public Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Reclamation in the Lower Colorado Basin.  Patti and I talked about the history of Hoover Dam including its planning & construction, the "controversy" behind its name, some of the economic benefits of the dam's construction, and she shared some fun bits of trivia about Hoover Dam.

For more information on Hoover Dam and to plan your trip, visit the Bureau of Reclamation's website and be sure to follow Hoover Dam on Facebook.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Goin‘ Solo

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I do A LOT of solo traveling, particularly to Las Vegas - but I've also done solo trips to other cities including Seattle, Toronto and Los Angeles.

People often ask me what the appeal is of traveling solo. 

Don't I get bored?  Do I worry about my safety?  What does my wife think about me traveling solo?  (The answers to those questions are, in order: no, no and she's fine with it since I'm usually doing stuff she doesn't like)

A lot of folks won't take the jump and book a solo vacation, but I'm hoping my guest for this episode of the podcast might help change a few minds.

Janice Waugh is the founder of Solo Traveler World, a website & online community devoted to people who love to travel solo.

Janice & I talked about the inspiration behind her creating Solo Traveler, the best ways to plan a solo trip, the mistakes to avoid while traveling solo and how to stay safe & out of trouble when you're on your own in a strange city.

If you'd like to connect with Janice & the Solo Traveler community, visit their website at SoloTravelerWorld.com, follow them on Twitter & Instagram, or join the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.

Total Immersion - The Psychology Of Slot Machines

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I think we've all had that experience where a bunch of time passes and we have no idea where it's gone.  Whether it's while driving down the highway, surfing social media or - sitting at a slot machine in a casino in Las Vegas.

But what causes that effect?  Why do our brains drift away like that and take us out of reality?

My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to help us understand.

Spencer Murch has a PhD in Psychology & Cognitive Science from the University of British Columbia and, over the last several years, has been involved in several different research projects surrounding the cognitive science of gambling.  Recently, Spencer completed a study surrounding "immersion" and being "zoned in" or "zoned out" during slot play.

Spencer took the time to jump on the show with me to explain the methodology behind the study and share the results of his research.  We also talked about the part slot designers play in creating that "immersion", what the future of gaming may hold and how to avoid "zoning in" or "zoning out" while playing slots.

If you'd like to learn more about the psychology of slot machines, check out:

- Research Snapshot: Exploring zoned-in or zoned-out immersion during slot machine gambling
- Research Snapshot: The relationship between dark flow, depression, and multiline slot machines

Or pick up a copy of the book, "Addiction By Design" by Natasha Dow Schull.

The Science Of Scent

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If you've ever been to Las Vegas, you're well aware of the unique scents of the various casinos & hotels up and down The Strip.  In fact, if you ask people what one of their favorite parts of Vegas is, they'll tell you "it's the smell inside the casinos".  And it seems that everyone has their own preferred scent - so much so, that there are thousands of posts online from people asking how to either purchase or duplicate their favorite casino scent.

But what's the big deal about smell?  Why is the scent of a casino so important that the companies that own them spend MILLIONS of dollars on creating these so-called "signature scents"?

To get the answer, I decided to talk to an expert...

My guest for this episode is Dr. Rachel Herz, a world-renowned expert on the psychological science of smell.  Dr. Herz is a cognitive neuroscientist, a TED-X speaker and a published author of both numerous research publications and several books on the topic of the science of smell.

We discussed what piqued her interest in the psychology of scent, the connection between scent and emotion & memory and how businesses use scent to affect customer behavior.

To learn more about the science and psychology of scent, visit Dr. Herz's website or follow her on Twitter.  You can also pick up one of her books:

And if you want your home to smell exactly like your favorite Vegas casino, visit Aroma Retail's website and check out their "Resort Collection" which includes scents from the Bellagio, Aria, the Cosmopolitan, Luxor, the Flamingo, Mandalay Bay, Wynn and many others!

The Tipping Point

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One of the most divisive and controversial topics I've ever seen discussed online is the practice of tipping.  If you want to see grown-ass adults lose their minds & resort to insults in just a few short posts, jump on a Vegas-related Facebook page and ask how much you should tip for a specific service.

I do understand the confusion though; Las Vegas gets 42 million visitors per year and not all of them come from countries where tipping is customary.  And if you're not prepared for it & don't budget for it, tipping can drain your bankroll pretty quickly.

But the question still remains: Who should you be tipping and how much should you be tipping them?

My guest for this episode is international etiquette expert, Jacqueline Whitmore.  Ms. Whitmore is considered one of the world's foremost experts on the subject of etiquette and has appeared on dozens of TV shows as well as in multiple newspapers & magazines.

Jacqueline and I took a deep dive into the world of tipping - including tipping at restaurants & hotels, limo/taxi/rideshare drivers and even a few Vegas-specific topics like casino dealers, slot attendants & cocktail servers.

NOTE: My conversation with Jacqueline was recorded before the COVID-19 shutdown in Las Vegas, so whether or not these bits of advice will still be applicable when Vegas re-opens remains to be seen.

If you want to learn more about Jacqueline or you're in need of etiquette advice, visit her official website or follow her on Twitter & Instagram.

Superstitious Feeling

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Whether we like to admit it or not, we're all a little superstitious in our own little ways.  And I don't think there's anywhere in the world where that superstitious nature is on display more than in Las Vegas.

Some people have lucky shirts they wear when playing Blackjack, others tap the side of the slot machine in between spins and some refuse to use $50 bills when they're gambling.  

But is there any science to superstitions?  My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to answer that question...

Stuart Vyse is a behavioural scientist, a teacher and a writer.  He's also an expert on superstition and irrational behaviour who's been quoted in the New York Times & Washington Post and has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning & NPR's Science Friday.

We discussed some of the most common superstitions & their origins, whether or not certain cultures are more superstitious than others and famous superstitions in the world of sports, music & theater.

If you'd like to learn more about Stuart and the world of superstitions & irrational behaviour, be sure to visit his website.

Stuart's books, "Believing In Magic: The Science of Superstition" and "Superstition: A Very Short Introduction" are both available via his website or from your favourite book seller. 

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