These 12 Tips Will Ensure Your Trip to Colorado Is a Good One 

Are you planning a trip to Colorado? If you are, you’ve come to the right place! You need to be prepared for everything you might face. After all, you don’t want to find yourself caught without the essentials when visiting this state or unknowingly breaking the rules of hospitality. 

Before you visit Colorado, here are 12 tips to keep in mind and ensure you have a truly unforgettable trip!

  1. Know How Much to Tip

When eating out in Colorado, you should know exactly how much to tip. As with most states in the country, you should tip 15-20% for decent to excellent service in restaurants. In case of bad service that you still feel the need to tip for, a 10% tip is considered fair. 


That said, some restaurants include gratuity in the bill they present you with, so you don’t need to add an additional tip. Because of this, you should also make sure to ask if they include the gratuity automatically if you’re uncomfortable with having no control over how much to offer. 

Other places you will be expected to tip include bars (both for individual drinks and larger combined orders) and in your hotel (given to bellhops or other hotel employees who handle your luggage – a tip of about $1 per item is considered acceptable). 

  1. The Weather Can Be Unpredictable

If you want to plan for the weather, you may be out of luck – the weather in Colorado can often be unpredictable and switch quickly from shorts and tank top weather to heavy snowfall. 

That said, there are some tips you can follow when deciding what clothes to pack:

  • Weather in the spring and winter is the most unpredictable. 
  • Overall, the state gets a ton of sunshine and tends to dry during most months of the year.
  • Summers are generally warm, but July tends to see quite a bit of rain.
  • If you’re planning to go hiking up mountains, be prepared to be caught in a thunderstorm. Make sure to check the weather for your specific location before you start your hike to ensure you’re ready for what nature has to throw at you.
  1. Know What You’re Eating

When it comes to tasting the local delicacies, make sure you know what you’re getting into. It’s no surprise that you’ll find a number of Colorado travel guides recommending you try Rocky Mountain oysters; a fan-favorite for both tourists and locals. While it may be tempting to try the local cuisine if you’re a lover of seafood, make sure you can handle the food of this Mountain state first. Why do we say this, you ask? Well, this dish may include the word ‘oyster,’ but it’s anything but that. Rather, it’s a more commonly accepted term for a dish of fried bull testicles. 

If you don’t want to find yourself dealing with some unpleasant surprises or you have a sensitive stomach, make sure you know exactly what the dish on the menu in front of you is. If you’re unsure, ask your server or check online before placing an order. 

  1. Marijuana is Legal

Cannabis and marijuana have been legal for recreational use in the state since 2012. However, there are still certain laws you need to keep in mind – for one, you cannot have over 2 ounces of marijuana at once for personal use. Additionally, you cannot use it in any public places, including restaurants and cafes. 


Additionally, you cannot use it on federal land such as national parks, as it is still illegal federally. That said, you can use marijuana in your hotel as long as the hotel allows it. If you plan on indulging during your vacation, make sure to check hotel rules before making a booking. 

  1. Be Ready for the Elevation

Colorado has a higher altitude than most other states in the country, and if you’re not used to the effects of higher elevation on your body, you may find yourself feeling uncomfortable and sick. Altitude sickness is unfortunately common, which is why it’s recommended you stay in Denver for at least one night before moving on to the rest of the state. 

Though Denver is at a pretty high elevation as well, it’s lower than the rest of the state (5280 feet v/s an average of 6801 feet in the rest of Colorado). This will allow you to find your bearings in Colorado before you move onto areas that are higher up. Additionally, if you plan on hiking on your holiday, you’ll definitely need extra time to find your balance at the higher altitude of the cities before trying out mountain peaks. 

  1. Rent a Car

If you plan on exploring the state on your own time, consider renting a car to drive around on your vacation. This way, you can travel without any issues and it’s often cheaper than flying between cities. This also adds some flexibility to your itinerary, as you won’t need to book flight tickets in advance.

  1. Keep the Time of Year in Mind

If you’re visiting the state during peak season, make sure to book your hotel well in advance. While you can be flexible during the off-season, if you don’t have a place booked during vacation time, you may find yourself without a place to sleep. This is especially important if you’re visiting a ski resort or a smaller town with limited hotels. 

  1. Carry a Ton of Sunscreen

While the weather is unpredictable, as discussed above, Colorado gets a ton of sunlight throughout the year. The alpine sun is particularly strong in this state, and it’s essential to carry enough sunscreen for your trip. Be sure to apply it daily so that your skin is protected from the harmful effects of UV rays.

  1. Know About Fire Bans

When you think of wildfires, there’s a good chance you’re thinking of California. However, Colorado is also susceptible to large wildfires, which is why the state occasionally implements fire bans, especially in areas popular for camping. Check the rules regarding the fire bans where you are, and remain cautious when starting up bonfires in permitted areas so that you don’t accidentally cause a major wildfire. 

  1. Ski Etiquette is Crucial

You should know the appropriate ski etiquette if you decide to partake in the sport. Breaking these unwritten rules will have you come across as disrespectful to locals, so learn what they might deem offensive. 

You can easily follow ski etiquette guides online. That said, most of what makes it ski etiquette are pretty similar to common sense. Think of social rules, such as not cutting in line or smoking marijuana on the ski lift. You also want to be careful when skiing so you don’t accidentally harm an innocent bystander. 

  1. Plan a Long Enough Vacation

There are so many things to do in Colorado, and the last thing you want is to get to the final day of your vacation and realize you haven’t done nearly as much as you wanted to. Most locals suggest ensuring your holiday is at least 7-10 days long if you want to visit all the major sights. Additionally, if you truly want to enjoy yourself, you should consider adding in a couple of “rest days” so you’re not tired out after doing something new every day.

However, if a trip lasting between 1-2 weeks is not possible, you can still enjoy a whirlwind 4-day trip to Colorado. All you need to do is plan your itinerary in advance so that you’re able to mark off the places that were at the top of your “must-do” list – you can get to the rest the next time you return to the state.

  1. Remember to Pack the Essentials

What you should pack for your trip will vary depending on what you plan to do in Colorado – for example, if you’re planning on going hiking and skiing, you’ll likely be packing clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, while people who prefer to keep to the cities might opt to pack some more formal wear. Either way, there are some essentials you’ll need to carry with you no matter what you plan to do. 

Packing essentials include:

  • A reusable water bottle – the state has dry air, and you’ll feel parched and dehydrated pretty quickly, even in the cities.
  • Both a rain jack and a puffy/insulated jacket so that you’re prepared for whatever weather conditions you’ll face
  • Driver’s license. This allows you to drive around the state in a rented car and serves as the government ID that is needed if you plan on indulging in recreational marijuana.
  • As discussed above, carry sunscreen to protect yourself against the sun’s glare. You should also wear sunglasses and a hat for the same reason.
  • A camera to ensure you don’t miss out on some gorgeous photos

Colorado is among the most stunning holiday destinations in the country; it offers everything from state parks and ski resorts to hot springs and world-class hotels. It’s almost impossible to have a bad time in this state – but with a bit of planning and keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure the vacation you take is truly spectacular.


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