There was a time when you could go to Las Vegas and after a little gambling, you might find yourself with free drinks, show tickets, meals, or perhaps a night or two of your stay comped. Unfortunately, those days are over for the most part. Local discounts don’t mean what they used to, and prices for everything from water bottles to Internet use only continue to rise. If you’re planning a Vegas vacation and you’re looking for ways to save money on your trip, check out some of these suggestions:
Don’t Stay on The Strip
The Strip is expensive, no matter which way you slice it. Even the “inexpensive” hotels will run you around 100$ per night, especially during a big event or on a weekend. Not only that, you have to include parking costs and resort fees into your vacation budget. If most of what you’re doing in Vegas is on the Strip, then it might be more cost effective for you to stay on the Strip. But if you’re planning on expanding your trip’s horizons, you might consider staying downtown.
If you stay downtown, you may still have to pay for parking. However, most of the downtown hotels will comp it especially if you’re staying at their establishment, or eating at one of their restaurants. While hotel room rates can vary depending on the time of year or event, you can expect to pay about 25-50% less than you would on the Strip.
But downtown isn’t your only option. The South Point is just a couple miles south of the Strip, and the M is a nice choice, especially if you’re coming in from California.
If the details of your travels dictate that staying on the Strip is a must, I would then suggest considering staying at either the north or south end. Prices on everything from room rates to water bottles tend to rise the closer to the center the Strip you get.
Don’t Drive Yourself.
If you’ve got to stay on the Strip, then my next best suggestion is – don’t drive. Just don’t do it. It’s a pain in the ass on a good day, and a bullet right between the eyes on a bad day (but still mild compared to California traffic, but I digress). You’ll save on parking fees, which can run from 10-20 dollars per day, and you won’t have to worry about gas, rental car fees, insurance, etc. If most of your plans are going to be on the Strip, Uber or Lyft is the easiest way to go. If that’s not your thing, a lot of the Strip is accessible via Tram, walkways, or shopping promenades.
And if you must stay on the Strip and you must drive yourself, consider staying at one of the hotels that don’t charge for parking, like T.I. or the SLS.
Take advantage of Happy Hour
Depending on where you go, bottles and cocktails can put a heavy dent in your wallet. But not to fear – here in Las Vegas we believe in happy hour, and sometimes more than one “happy hour”. You can catch happy hour at most bars around the usual time (between 5-7 p.m.), but it rolls around again sometime between 9-11 p.m.
Phone a Friend
If you’re coming to town and you’ve got friends that live there, ask them for help (or if you can use their local’s discount). The local discount doesn’t go as far as it once did, but you can still find discounted ticket prices to shows and museums.
Use the Rewards programs
If you’re in Vegas and you’re gambling, you might as well make your dollar stretch as far as possible. You usually need only a valid ID to sign up for any casino’s rewards programs, like the M Life Rewards at the MGM Grand, or Total Rewards through Caesar’s Entertainment. When you sign up, they give you a card to put into slot/poker machines any time you gamble. The money you spend earns you points, and those points translate into rewards. Those rewards can include discounts at the casino restaurants, or on drinks.
Drink before you get to the club
Cocktail prices are crazy inside Strip nightclubs. I’ve paid anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars for one drink, and they are made so weak that you need at least 2 or 3 if you’re looking to get crazy. And don’t get me started on buying entire bottles – you might as well set your money on fire. If you want to have a good time at the clubs but don’t want to spend crazy amounts of money on alcohol, get your drink on beforehand.
Buffets Are Your Friends
Part of the classic Vegas experience is hitting up a buffet. They may not be the buffets of yesterday, but you can eat to your heart’s desire at places like at Treasure Island or Red Rock for a fraction of what you might spend inside a restaurant. Buffets are great whether you’re traveling in large groups or on your own, but be sure and bring your appetite so you get your full money’s worth.
If you’ve been to Vegas and you’ve got some money-saving tips of your own, feel free to drop them down below.
P.S. Check out my guide on other budget-friendly activities you can find around Las Vegas.