Las Vegas is the “Entertainment Capital of the World” for a reason. There is no shortage of things to do in Sin City, but doing so isn’t exactly cheap. Vegas is one of the premier tourist destinations in the United States, but spending even a few days in town is going to cost you a pretty penny. You might try and make up for some of those losses at the slots, but your chances at offsetting your vacation costs via casino winnings are rather slim.
Wile you won’t get out of Vegas without spending quite a few bucks, it’s also possible to do so without going completely broke. The last thing you want to do is return from your trip with an empty wallet. Fortunately, you don’t have to. If you play your cards right (no pun intended), you can enjoy a 5-star trip to Las Vegas on a budget .
Here’s how to do it.
Hotel prices fluctuate based on the time of the year and days of the week. Most people go on vacation on weekends, which is why hotels are happy to jack up their prices on Friday and Saturday nights. Vegas, of course, is no exception. However, if you plan your trip during the week, the hotel prices will be much more affordable.
You should also try and go during a time of the year that isn’t associated with holidays. Summer months (when most kids are out of school) tend to be very popular, and plenty of people will also hit Vegas around the holiday season. Hitting Las Vegas during a random week in October, for example, will likely be much more affordable than trying to get a room during 4th of July weekend.
Hotel rates from Sundays-Thursdays tend to be quite a bit more affordable than weekends. Holiday pricing can also be cumbersome. So, going to Las Vegas in the middle of the week is an easy way to save on hotel costs right off the bat.
While Las Vegas is a popular vacation destination for families and groups of friends, keep in mind the fact that it is also a popular center for commerce. A number of conventions are held in Las Vegas every year, and things tend to get quite crowded as a result. Las Vegas may be the entertainment capital of the world, but it’s also fair to call it the convention capital of the world.
So, scheduling your visit during times that don’t overlap with a popular convention is another way to save money on your accommodations. Avoiding popular times is generally a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when you’re booking your Vegas vacation.
Hotels want to do everything they can to attract your business. As a result, most big-time hotel chains these days offer rewards programs to customers that include a number of benefits. For example, a certain number of stays at a specific hotel chain could eventually earn you a free stay. Others offer discounts on dining and other amenities to rewards program members.
Las Vegas hotels are particularly active when it comes to offering membership rewards programs, especially those that also happen to have casinos. Signing up for a program like this is typically free, and the aforementioned rewards speak for themselves. The vast majority of the money you spend in Las Vegas (depending on your gambling habits, that is) will likely come on lodging and dining. These types of programs help ease your financial burden, which helps you enjoy a better stay.
The vast majority of people that visit Vegas recreationally will want to stay where the action is. That would be the Strip, where most of the top-tier casino resorts are located. While you may want to spend most of your time exploring the Strip, you don’t necessarily have to stay there overnight. Opting to stay in downtown Las Vegas (or another suburb) is a good way to put a few additional bucks into your pocket.
Downtown Vegas (sometimes referred to as Old Vegas) has a couple of renowned resorts like the Golden Nugget and Four Queens. If you’d prefer to stay a little closer to the Strip without staying right on Las Vegas Boulevard, perhaps a spot like Rio Las Vegas or the Palms Resort Casino fits the bill. Both offer substantial per-night discounts compared to some of the spots right in the middle of the Strip.
As mentioned, you’re going to spend quite a bit of cash on food if you’re in Las Vegas for several days at a time. Taking advantage of happy hours and late-night food options is smart, and another way to save some money is to just eat at the buffet you can typically find right inside your hotel. Buffets are particularly useful if you’re traveling to Vegas with your family or another large group.
Rather than forking over, say, $40 per person at a 5-star restaurant, you can typically get an all-you-can-eat type of meal for $20-$25 if you opt for the buffet. Most buffets at reputable resorts feature phenomenal food, so you’re not settling for lower quality food by opting for the buffet option. Some buffets are more expensive than others, but generally speaking, hitting the buffet instead of a traditional restaurant is going to be cheaper.