Save Money in Las Vegas: Sin City on a Budget
A Las Vegas holiday can be the trip of a lifetime, but long-haul flights and luxury hotels don’t come cheap. Or do they? There are a few ways to save money in Las Vegas, and some of them begin before you ever set foot on US soil.
So if you want to take a step away from your usual Canadian casino and head to Sin City without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a few of our tried and tested tips for spending less on your Las Vegas holiday but enjoying yourself just the same.
Save on your Las Vegas hotel
Hotels in Las Vegas cost from as little as $20 a night to luxury suites running into the thousands or tens of thousands per day. If you’re serious about trying to save money in Las Vegas, this should be the first place you look to do it. Here’s a few tips to spend less on Vegas hotels.
A $20 at the front desk goes a long way…
It’s a classic bit. So classic, in fact, that Friends had a scene revolving around it in 1999. However, it worked then and it still works now. Of course, that’s assuming that you’re more of a Richard than a Chandler when it comes to being slick.
When you’re paying your hotel fees and resort taxes at the check-in desk, they’ll take your card to charge the room. At that point, you should ensure there’s a $20 bill “accidentally” slid across the desk with your card. You can then ask if any complimentary upgrades are available. If there aren’t, your $20 will usually come back with your card.
Stay off the Las Vegas Strip
The hotels on the Strip are the classic ones: the MGM Grand, Caesar’s Palace, the Venetian…
They’re also very expensive. Downtown, a short bus journey away, is significantly cheaper. There are also buses running to the Strip every 30 minutes. If you’re serious about saving money on your Las Vegas holiday, stay downtown.
Waive the resort fees
The resort fees are the daily charges that the hotel levies for you to use the internet, swimming pool and other hotel amenities. You’re charged for these whether you use them or not, so here you have three options:
- Don’t use them and ask to waive the fees. This may or may not work, but it also deprives you of some luxuries.
- Be sure to use everything the fees pay for. You won’t save money, but you get bang for your buck.
- Ask to have them waived before you check out. If you’ve been a significant player at the tables, the hotel might well waive them for you in order to entice you back for another stay.
Save money on Las Vegas flights
When you want to save money in Las Vegas, you should start as you mean to go on. Save money in the airport first. Unless you’re saving money specifically to afford Business Class flights, you can start the holiday off with some big savings by being smart about your travel in the following ways:
Time your flights wisely
A little bit of research goes a long way to find the cheapest flights to Las Vegas. Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you.
The cheapest months to fly to Las Vegas are July, August, and December. You shouldn’t be shy of booking late or early flights either: a 3am alarm is well worth it if it gives you an extra $200 spending money.
General advice is to book on a Tuesday no closer than 21 days and no further than 90 days from the date of departure. The jury is out on how effective this strategy is, though.
Consider connections to save Vegas money
Flying direct is preferable, but it might be significantly cheaper to get to Las Vegas if you’re willing to add a few hours to your journey. Changing planes, or even airlines, somewhere in Canada or the US could knock hundreds off the cost of your airfare. Just make sure it’s a connection you won’t miss!
Try the “hidden city” trick
One possible way to save money on an airfare is to simply not get on the plane. Sounds crazy? We’ll explain.
We mentioned already that connecting flights are cheaper. Well, the “hidden city” trick is a way to exploit this. To get to Las Vegas on the cheap, you book a flight to Los Angeles with a layover at Las Vegas. Then, simply leave the airport at Las Vegas and don’t go to Los Angeles.
Once you do this, your remaining flights are cancelled – so be sure to book the return trip separately!
Pack light for your Las Vegas trip
Look, we know you think you’re James Bond, but do you really need to pack the tuxedo and the velvet dinner jacket and the three pairs of formal shoes? It’s going to cost you upwards of $80 to bring that suitcase over and back and you can probably fit all your clothes into a carry-on bag. Not to mention that $80 can be used to pick up anything you need over there.
Save money in Las Vegas by eating cheap
Everyone knows that you can drink for free while you’re playing, so a stint at the blackjack table can be a good way to get a few double vodka and cokes in for free. Of course, you have to win to really get ahead, here. You might find those free drinks on the gaming floor are the most expensive free drinks you’ve ever had. On the food front, though, we’ve a few handy tips:
Make the most of buffets
Buffet dining is a quintessential Las Vegas hotel experience. You can use this to your advantage to ensure you save on the cost of food – besides doing the obvious thing of stuffing yourself to bursting and eating nothing else.
Breakfast is the cheapest meal, so getting an early lunch at the end of breakfast is often a good idea. The same advice goes for eating your dinner at the end of lunch hours. Time it right, and you can stay for the transition to score some fresh food.
Eat off-peak & get specials
Just as you would do in Canada, check out the restaurant early bird menus and pre-theatre deals. They’re a dime a dozen in Vegas, a city with tons of different entertainment options on every night.
Many restaurants in Vegas will also offer discounts and specials that they don’t advertise. It’s worth checking out some local Las Vegas newspapers and forums to see where the residents eat. After all, people living in Las Vegas can’t afford to eat like tourists every day!
Snack at stores
CVS and Walgreens both have large stores on the strip. Both sell a range of snacks, toiletries, and booze for significantly less than the casinos and hotels will.