Las Vegas may very well be the most exciting place on Earth. Countless casinos with their own restaurants, shows, and attractions line the Vegas Strip and many other locations throughout the city. All of this glitz and glamor comes at a high price though and it can be difficult to visit Vegas on a budget. Over the years, countless gamblers have lost plenty of money at tables, slot machines, and the sports booking counter.
The cost of hotels, food, and the seemingly endless variety of shows can also take their toll on a visitor’s bank account. All of those fancy buildings didn’t build themselves after all. However, a trip to Las Vegas does not have to leave you begging on The Strip for the gas to get you home.
If you can wait until the last minute you could potentially save a lot of money on shows. There are two half-price ticket stands where you can buy same-day show tickets. If this seems inconvenient, you can check for Half off tickets in Vegas before your visit. If you are a military member you can get a pretty substantial discount on many shows including Cirque De Soliel.
By being smart about how you gamble, where you stay, and where you dine, you can have a pleasurable stay in Vegas without breaking the bank.
Odds are you will want to gamble while you are in Vegas. Odds are you will lose money if you do. That is fine, as long as you are having fun and are not tapping into cash that needs to be used elsewhere. Keep in mind that I was living in Las Vegas during the economic crash. All the casinos reduced the odds of winning and reduced payouts.
Establish your limit before you even leave home. Stick to that limit. Be reasonable about these limits though, since unless you want to sit at the nickel slot machines for the duration of your stay, $100 will not get you very far.
Playing roulette is a fun and exciting way to play, and you can expect to last a while at a table as long as you start at about $100. Blackjack is a fun game as well, and it is actually fairly easy to learn. It is very important not to start with less than $100 when playing blackjack though; since it often takes a few hands until favorable cards come your way.
Score Cheap Drinks
Have fun playing the games, but make the minimum bets. This will make your game last much longer, and the cocktail waitresses will be inclined to come and supply you with free drinks if you stick around awhile. On a side note, if you want a cheap night of drinking, sign up for the player’s club card.
Many casinos offer some free slot play (around $10). This will last you a long time at the penny machines, and the waitresses will still be happy to supply you with all the drinks you want as long as you tip them for each drink. A dollar for a beer or mixed drink is an incredibly good deal when it can be eighteen at the bar.
For more tips on drinking cheap check out: Where to get free drinks in Las Vegas
Avoid High ATM Fees
Also, if you need more money, leave the casino and go to a bank or ATM away from the casino. The casinos offer ATMs, but they charge hefty fees to withdraw money. An even better option, pull cash out at an ATM before you head to Vegas and plan on only spending that money. Physically seeing your money go down will typically help you spend less.
Affordable Vegas Lodging
When visiting Las Vegas, you will obviously need a place to stay. Odds are though, it will be a place to sleep, shower, and change clothes. That is about it, since you will be busy seeing the sights. With that in mind, you do not need a penthouse at Caesar’s Palace.
There are many much more affordable places to stay on The Strip and around Fremont Street like the Golden Nugget.
Travelocity and other travel sites are great resources for getting even better deals on rooms. By booking through these sites, you can save on your room, as the hotels will list un-booked rooms on these services at discounted rates to make sure they are generating some form of revenue.
Rent a House: It might be even cheaper to just rent a house. There are a ton of privately owned houses and condos you can rent for your vacation. You can find places to rent on VRBO. I’ve even put together a list of the Best VRBO Las Vegas Vacation Homes.
Of course, being on a budget will mean eating on a budget. Thankfully, most casinos on the cheaper side of The Strip and all of the ones on Fremont Street will have fast food establishments such as McDonald’s and Subway. There are also great specials at many of the casinos as well, such as 25 cent wings at Dan Marino’s restaurant at the Hooters Casino after midnight.
Many of the more upscale restaurants have reasonable prices, and most of them will post their menus outside of the restaurant. By shopping around and finding the best prices, you can get a great meal at a reasonable price. Here are some good deals I’ve found.
- Sugar Factory – Get $40 for just $28
- Senor Frogs – Get $40 for just $24
- Tacos and Tequila – 2 Chonga Margaritas for $27
- Mr. Chows at Caesars Palace – $132 for a signature dining experience for 2 people
- Giada’s – Brunch tasting experience for $39
Happy Hours: Consider hitting up happy hour each day to reduce meals costs. 31 Happy Hours in Las Vegas.
Restaurant.com – Las Vegas has almost 200 restaurants that participate in these restaurant gift certificates. Some of my favorites are Hussong’s Cantina, Carlos N Charlie’s, Memphis Championship BBQ, Pink Taco, Strip burger, House of Blues, and BB Kings. This can really help you have an inexpensive Vegas vacation. Just be careful about the ones that automatically add 18% gratuity. Most restaurants in Vegas do this anyway if there are 5 or more in a party.
Free Things to Do
Vegas does not necessarily mean spending money though. People-watching is a great way to pass the time here, and you will see some very interesting people walking down the streets and inside the casinos. The sights are simply amazing here, so a photography enthusiast could have a very pleasant time taking snapshots of their trip. (Remember not to take a camera onto the casino floor though.)
There are many free shows in Vegas that are simply stunning, such as The Fountains of Bellagio or The Fremont Street Experience. Window shopping in many of Vegas’s shops can also be a fun and exciting way to pass the time.
Utilize Cheap Transportation
Do not use a taxi. I cannot tell you how many people I know that have been ripped off by the cab drivers in Las Vegas. It’s usually the same scam. When leaving the airport they will take you down the freeway in heavy traffic. Depending on where you are staying, there is absolutely no need to get on the freeway. Monte Carlo and all the hotels south of it are super close to the airport.
Monorail – Taking the monorail is a great option when attempting to save money. The Las Vegas Monorail makes seven stops around the strip: MGM Grand, Bally’s/Paris, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, Harrah’s/The LINQ, the Las Vegas Convention Center, Westgate and SLS Las Vegas.
Contrary to what the casino owners would want you to think, Las Vegas can be a very fun travel destination without spending a fortune. By following these simple tips and finding the best deals, you can have the trip of a lifetime and still be able to pay your mortgage at the end of the month. Viva Las Vegas!