Dedicated: How to Do Las Vegas on a Budget

A glamorous trip to Las Vegas doesn’t have to break the bank. Follow these tips for a fabulous, yet frugal, Vegas stay.

When to Go

It’s cheapest to go to Vegas in July and August, when flights and hotel rooms are at their lowest.  However, the temperature is at its highest, so it may be uncomfortable to be outdoors.  Weekdays offer cheaper flights and hotel stays all year, while a weekend Saturday to Monday stay is less expensive than a Friday to Sunday trip.  If those times just don’t work, don’t fret, there are other ways to save money in Las Vegas.

Where to Stay

First, figure out what section of the city you want to stay (the Strip, downtown or other areas) then find a hotel that’s maybe not as famous (or infamous) as Caesar’s Palace or the Golden Nugget, but is stylish and affordable. The further from the Strip’s center, the cheaper the hotel will be, but be mindful of where you want to spend most of your time, or else the savings could be lost with daily transportation costs. Two affordable Strip hotels are The Monte Carlo is the Rio. Both are near plenty of attractions but cost less than their neighbors.

If you’re heading downtown, consider staying at The Plaza, facing the Fremont Street Experience, which has recently updated its look and rooms.  The locale is perfect for fans of Vegas kitsch. Amenities include the Swingers Club lounge and Oscar’s Steakhouse.

Where to Eat & Drink

Vegas has a lot of places to eat, ranging from cheap to extravagant.  Want to eat good food, but still have money to see Britney Spears?  Then check out Vegas’ dining specials.  Look at Vegas.com or the discount magazines in hotels to find current deals.

Vegas is known for buffets but those can come at a ticket price of $50 each (or more). To save some cash and gain some energy for the day ahead, choose a buffet brunch.  It’s never too early to start partying in Vegas and drinks are more expensive later in the day.  One of the best buffets for the price is the Wicked Spoon in the Cosmopolitan.  The weekday brunch is around $30, plus there’s a bottomless beverage package for $15 to keep those mimosas flowing.

Looking for an afternoon of relaxed fun, food, and beer on the strip?  Check out Beerhaus Pub.  With its many selections of beers and games, like giant Jenga, cornhole, and ping pong, it’s a cool place to relax before your night on the town. You can also hang around Fremont’s bar district which offers a wide array of food choices at lower prices than the Strip.

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Free Things

There is plenty that won’t cost you a penny to participate in when you visit Vegas. No trip is complete without a pic of the Welcome to Vegas Sign to post on Instagram.  It is on the Strip, just a short walk from Mandalay Bay. Several casinos also offer free entertainment.  The famous Bellagio fountains move to the music all day, on the half hour.  Schedule a trip up Paris’ Eiffel Tower (not free but it’s under $20), for a bird’s eye view of the show.  Other casino freebies include the Mirage’s volcano that erupts hourly once the sun goes down and Treasure Island’s pirate show, complete with battles and fireworks.

Finally, don’t miss The Fremont Street Experience, a dazzling canopy light show above the street between the classic casinos of Vegas.

Getting Around

Whether you stay on the Strip or in Fremont, there are plenty of places within walking distance!  If it’s hot, walk inside and explore the casinos, many of which are interconnected.  If it’s cool, enjoy the fresh air and the flashy scenery.

Need wheels?  Save money by avoiding taxis; take an Uber or Lyft, or hop on a city bus or the monorail. These run regularly along the Strip and downtown.  It may not sound lavish, but it will leave more money to spend at the roulette table.

Gambling

If you plan to gamble when you’re in town, set a budget and stick to it. Consider it an entertainment fee and don’t expect to win anything. Consider joining slot clubs which give you points with each pull that add up to hotel perks, like free food or drinks.  Each casino has these to track play and offer comps such as free meals or discounted hotel rooms.  New members often get free slot play. You should also spend some time online playing the games you hope to play in Vegas. Perfecting your home poker strategy will give you an upper hand at the Vegas table.

There’s a lot to love about this city that truly never sleeps – and you can do it without running yourself into debt.

Are you a Vegas regular? What tips would you share?