What happens in Vegas might well stay in Vegas, but you don’t want that to include more of your money than necessary. Although you’ll have to set your own budget for gambling, there are things you can do to keep more money in your pocket when you’re in Sin City.
If you plan to visit Las Vegas, you can find a number of ways to ensure that the parts of your trip you do control will cost you less by booking cheaper flights and taking advantage of a myriad of Las Vegas deals.
Travel in the Right Month and Save a Bundle
Saving money in Vegas starts with going when it’s cheapest to visit. In addition to being a tourist city, Las Vegas is a hot spot for trade conventions and festivals. Before planning your trip, check to see when the major conventions are so you can avoid going on those weekends, as hotel prices will be higher. You can specifically look for the dates of the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the music festival Electric Daisy Carnival in May, and the National Finals Rodeo in December.
The best weather for Vegas is in the spring and fall, as it’s not too hot. Unfortunately, this is also when the most people end up visiting as well, so hotel prices surge. August is a good time to visit Las Vegas if you want to save money. Though you’ll experience hotter temperatures, hotel prices will be lower. December is also a great month to go for the same reason, provided you don’t go for New Year’s or during the National Finals Rodeo events.
Pick the Right Days to Travel
Save even more money by booking your vacation on the cheapest days of the week. The best days to find cheap flights are going to be Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, providing there are no events or trade conventions occurring.
Don’t Overlook Southwest Airlines
After you’ve narrowed down the timing to take advantage of the best Las Vegas hotel deals, try to match those low rates with reduced airfare.
Southwest offers a low fare calendar where you can check what days flight prices will be cheapest. Plus, you don’t have to pay for your first two checked bags.
Compare Booking Options and Sleep Cheap
How you book a hotel can have a dramatic impact on the price you pay, and Las Vegas hotels are no different. GOBankingRates did a recent check on booking a room at the Bellagio during Labor Day weekend. Booking sites Expedia and Hotels.com both offered prices starting at $486 per night.
The same hotel cost just $396 when booked through goSeek using the Premium membership. “The site takes the best prices on the market and then beats them by 20 percent or more by finding hidden discounts that most travelers aren’t aware of, like coupon codes, special rates on your smartphone and membership rates,” said Clem Bason, CEO of goSeek.
Even better, rooms started at $485 a night when booked directly through the hotel’s website. So, the next time you’re booking a trip, make sure you’re using the best booking sites — which can sometimes include the hotel’s own website.
Think Outside the Box When Renting Wheels
You naturally think about Costco when stocking up on vacation snacks. But don’t overlook the warehouse club when booking your next car rental. “They have rates that can’t be beaten on major car rental agencies like Avis, Budget and Alamo,” said Bason.
If you’re not a Costco member, Bason advised using AAA. They have great discounts on the high end (Hertz) and low end (Dollar and Thrifty), he said. “So you can often meet your needs at a great price no matter the level of car and service you desire,” Bason said.
Uber and Lyft are also great options for getting around by car in Sin City. Just a touch of a few buttons on your smartphone lets you order a car and pay for it.
Keep Off the Beaten Path
Familiarizing yourself with Las Vegas streets and taking roads less traveled can save you cash.
Glenn Orloff, travel expert and CEO of Metropolitan Shuttle, offered this money-saving and time-saving tip: “If you’re taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel, be sure to tell the driver that you want to go via Swenson Avenue and not through the airport tunnel,” he said. The airport tunnel seems faster because it connects to the freeway and has fewer lights. However, “it’s several miles longer, and your cab fare is going to be more costly,” he said.
Pick the Right Casino for Blackjack
You’ll get more money for a winning blackjack hand in some casinos than in others.
Many casinos now pay out on a 6:5 ratio, meaning you’ll make $6 for a winning blackjack hand for every $5 you bet. Raise the payout by heading to casinos with a traditional 3:2 payoff instead, paying out $3 for every $2 you bet for a blackjack winning hand. That translates to $15 on a $10 bet instead of just $12 at a 6:5 table. VegasAdvantage.com recently listed The Strat as a casino with a 3:2 blackjack payoff for $5 bets.
Dare to Step Out of the Buffet Line
Las Vegas might be famous for its buffets, but eventually, you’ll want a real dining treat. Award-winning Charlie Palmer Steak at Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas rolls out upscale dining.
A visit to the fine dining establishment doesn’t need to break your wallet. “Ask for the Cut of the Week menu when seated,” suggested Christa Weaving, Charlie Palmer Group’s vice president of marketing.
A recent menu included a dry aged ribeye, spinach salad, with two sides and honey toast for dessert. The sample menu priced out at $58 per person — just $3 more than the weekday dinner buffet at Caesars Palace.
Get Off the Strip
When people think of things to do in Las Vegas, their plans usually begin and end with the Strip. Most of the biggest Las Vegas shows are right there along with the biggest and most recognizable hotels and casinos.
But you have other options. “The Fremont Street Experience is just as fascinating as anything on the Strip,” said Joe Wareham, who has blogged about the travel experience. You’ll find the five-block entertainment district in the city’s historic downtown.
The district has a lot of fun and free things to do when you’re trying to save vacation dollars. Discover opulent relics at Main Street Station, or marvel at futuristic light shows on the Viva Vision screen 90 feet overhead.
Get Artsy With Your Pics
Snap edgy vacation pictures and save money by visiting free works of art missed by many visitors. Although you’ll want to include a picture in front of the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, there are other locations you also won’t want to miss.
Start at the colorful stacked boulders known as Seven Magic Mountains, which is located about 10 miles south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway. Or grab a few shots in front of the colorful cylinders at the Pipe Dream art piece at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. For something a little more quirky, head to Downtown Container Park, a shopping center built from shipping containers, and pose as prey for a praying mantis.
Stop and Smell the Cactus Blooms
Did you know that the largest botanical cactus garden in the Southwest is near Las Vegas? But plants aren’t the only green you’ll be seeing when you visit the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden. There’s no admission fee, so you’ll see more of that color when you peek into your wallet.
Meander through over 300 species of plants that include cacti, succulents and drought-resistant plants native to the U.S., Australia and South America. Spring is the best time to see colorful blooms in the four-acre garden, located near the Ethel M Chocolates Factory in Henderson.
Book a Once-in-a-Lifetime Suite Through Suiteness
Do you want a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon suite, but find yourself strapped for cash? Book your dream suite through Suiteness and you might qualify to finance your adventure for as little as 0 percent interest.
There are payment plans over three months, six months and a full year. Still, if you’re looking to book a suite, you’ll free up more cash to spend wisely on your wedding day.
Enjoy Free Entertainment
You can spend hundreds of dollars on tickets to see Vegas shows starring famous entertainers such as the Backstreet Boys and Jennifer Lopez. But you also can catch famous entertainers for free at the Fremont Street Experience. Past headliners include Melissa Etheridge, Smash Mouth and 3 Doors Down. Check out the Fremont Street Experience website for upcoming events.
Go Where the Wild Things Are
If the constant clanging of one-armed bandits makes you want to run screaming into the warm Vegas sunshine, do it. You’ll find a bounty of places to drink in nature within driving distance of the city limits.
Wiggle your toes in the sand or rent a boat and head out on open waters at Lake Mead. If you’re more of a mountain person, breathe in pine-scented air at Mt. Charleston. If that scenery is not diverse enough, check Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area or Clark County Wetlands Park.
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