There are 41 million visitors coming to Las Vegas every year and 19% of them are first timers. With the average trip lasting 3.2 nights and the average visitor gambling $530, it can be a bit tricky to go to Sin City and have fun on a budget. The good news is that not everything is expensive and a good plan following the right tips can be the perfect way to save money and still have a memorable experience.
Once upon a time, Las Vegas was a vacation destination that came at an affordable price. The food was cheap, the hotel was cheap and the entertainment provided a lot of bang for buck. However, those days are long gone and the mega resorts which made the city a lot fancier pretty much took over Sin City. And this is not all bad news since visitors now have a lot more options for entertaining and luxury accommodations.
Las Vegas is the number one destination for every regular casino player and while it is easy to spend a lot of money in a short time here, there are a few ways to make sure that you don’t go overboard and still have fun on your vacation. This is why we will present the top tips for saving money in Las Vegas across multiple categories.
Getting to the destination
Getting to Las Vegas is the first step of the vacation and if you want to do it on a budget, it is highly recommended to plan for it ahead of time. Plane tickets can be quite expensive but buying them a month or so in advance will certainly cut the prices and make them much more affordable.
For example, flying from London to Las Vegas on the next day will cost more than a pretty penny as economy fares will begin at around £1,200, returning after six days. Getting the tickets for a trip a month from now will bring the price down to £780, also returning after six days. This is a major cut and it is one of the main reasons why vacations should be organized at least a month in advance when flying is required.
There are also various websites that will help compare prices on different airlines in order to really shop around for the best offers. This can also turn out to be an amazing way to get various specials that may offer plane tickets and hotel accommodations for a few days as part of a package with a much lower total price.
The day of the departure can also be important due to several factors. While plane tickets are a bit cheaper on Saturday, the hotel rates in Las Vegas will be much higher on Saturday. It is better to spend a bit more on tickets and get to the destination on Sunday or just book the hotel room before getting there.
Making the most out of the hotel
Hotels in Las Vegas can really go all out when it comes to luxury and glamorous services but doing a vacation on a budget doesn’t have to be all that different. It is easy to find affordable hotels in the region but having to take two buses and then walk for two miles just to reach the Strip every night can really take the fun out of it. The goal may be to save money but not at the cost of enjoyment.
This is why it is recommended to go for hotels located around the center of the action, even if they cost a bit more. To bring down the prices however, going in the middle of the week will be much more affordable than paying for a weekend. There is nothing wrong with looking for deals on the internet and again, plan ahead!
There is a nice little trick which can be very useful. When reaching the hotel, try giving the front desk $20 and ask politely if there are any complimentary upgrades available. The result can easily be a better hotel room at the booking price plus the small tip and it is worth asking. It is better to ask later in the day, at 6pm or later, so that they have an idea of the available rooms. Most of the times, if they don’t have any upgrades available, they will give back the tip.
The Las Vegas Convention Calendar is a great way to see what big events are coming up since this will also influence the prices of the hotel rooms. These change from one day to another and picking just the right time when to book in and how much to stay will really help save money.
After all, you are not going to Las Vegas to stay in the hotel room so it is better to just get something cheap and close to the preferable entertainment options.
Amenities in Las Vegas can be very overpriced and if you don’t really need something, it is better to stay away from it. This even includes wireless internet at some hotels that adds it up to the bill. A much better alternative would be to just check out the many places that offer free wireless internet on the Strip.
Also, resort fees can be really annoying, especially if you don’t plan on using the services. Some hotels will charge an extra $5-$20 per day and provide access to the fitness center, include local calls and maybe a few drinks. Going at hotels who do not charge such fees can end up being much cheaper.
Saving money on food and drinks
Las Vegas is known for its notorious drinking clientele but despite the fact that alcohol is so common here, it can also get very expensive. It is actually possible to spend a good part of the vacation budget just on alcohol due to the overpriced options available in casinos and restaurants.
There are a few ways around this problem and you can easily get a buzz going without spending that much. The first is of course the complimentary drinks while playing casino games. Free drinks in Las Vegas are a way to keep players happy and seated at their preferred betting game. Just take a seat at a slot machine and wait for the cocktail waitress to come around to take your order; it doesn’t even have to be alcohol as you can just as easily get soda, coffee or juice. A good tip will make sure that she comes back to take your order again and you will be spending a lot less on drinks if done right. A $5 tip for the first time and a couple of dollars every time after that is a nice way to save money.
Alcohol, snacks and water can be purchased from Walgreens or CVS and the prices are much lower than what the hotel will charge you for using the minibar or from the lobby. These can be found on the Strip and it is recommended to get a lot of water due to the climate.
There are several Starbucks on the Vegas Strip but there is also one on Koval that is just behind the main road but is much cheaper and open 24 hours.
Buffets help complete the Las Vegas experience and they also provide good quality of your money. A few tricks here can work great if you time your meals just right. Breakfast is the cheapest meal and you can take advantage of this by going towards the end of the breakfast hours in order to get lunch. Most of the food items will already be out and they will be as fresh as they get, while you can also pick from the breakfast items if you want to get some combinations of foods going. The same can be done with dinner at the end of lunch hours since it is cheaper and has more variety.
If you are coming from a different time zone, you can use the jet lag to your advantage and eat at times that don’t really match the local hours but will still feel good for you. This will also help you avoid peak hours and open the door for special offers from restaurants that always want to have their tables full.
Gambling with a plan
We finally get to the good stuff. Arguably the main reason why the majority of visitors go to Las Vegas is to gamble on the games in some of the most extravagant casinos in the world. This is what makes the experience outstanding and it is nice to place a few bets even if you are not an avid gambler, just to see how it is. As a new customer in the gambling world, there are free gaming lessons at some casinos that cover the most popular games and will teach you the basics before going to the real money tables.
For casino players however, gambling is the main reason for the trip and it can also be where most of the vacation money ends up going. As a result, it is important to follow some easy tips to help save your finances but still enjoy your time in the former gambling capital of the world.
Make sure to sign up for a player’s card when you start at a casino. Most visitors will just overlook this aspect because they don’t fully understand it but it is a great way to get free play and discounts simply for signing up. Cards can also be used for slots so if you plan on taking a seat at a machine, get a slot card and check out the available offers once you are done. Getting comped is a good way to earn free benefits for playing the games and it is similar to the reward programs used at online casinos.
Probably the best tip for a Las Vegas vacation is to have a set bankroll for gambling. Simply decide how much money you are willing to spend on the games and don’t go over your limit.
We talked about alcohol and how you can get it cheap in Las Vegas but it is strongly recommended to not bet while drunk because it can quickly end up costing you too much money and turn the entire trip into something you will regret. It is much better to just look to have fun and not worry about winning that much since the games are designed for entertainment.
A good way to have a more memorable experience is to opt for casino games that can be played with other people, instead of just looking at a slots screen for hours. Roulette, craps and even baccarat can get fairly heated and this makes it more exciting,
Getting around Las Vegas
It is recommended to not just stick to one casino and go see Las Vegas at night, in its entire splendor. Getting around Las Vegas can be quite expensive but just like everything else we talked about, there are ways around the high costs.
Walking is the cheapest option and it will also provide the best view since you can admire the lights and the extravagant design of the buildings at your own pace. For a faster option however, it is best to avoid getting a taxi since these can be quite expensive and will eat into your budget.
The better alternative would be to get a one-day pass for the buss. The price is about $8 and you can use it at any time, getting on and off on the Strip as you please. Some hotels will offer free shuttle service so it doesn’t hurt to ask the front desk for a few pointers on the best ways to get around.