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 gambling budget, there are ways to keep more money in your pocket when you’re in Sin City.
Click through to see insider tips on Las Vegas travel deals that can save you money.
Travel in the Right Month and Save a Bundle
Saving money in Vegas starts with avoiding the most expensive times to visit. A recent Hipmunk survey found that the three most expensive times to stay in Sin City — combining airfare and hotel rates — were:
- During a major boxing match, with a median three-night stay of $1,038
- New Year’s, with a median three-night stay of $982
- During a consumer electronics show, with a median three-night stay of $927
Special events aside, April is the most expensive time to fly into the city, with fares that are more than 25 percent higher than January, the cheapest month to fly. Hotel deals are a different matter. You’ll find the best rates in December.
The best time to score a combined airfare and hotel stay in Las Vegas is in December, January, February and June. In all four months, the total median price for a three-day trip is $100 less than the most expensive months of April and October, according to Hipmunk.
Pick the Right Days to Travel
Save even more money by booking your vacation on the cheapest days of the week. Traditional advice suggests you get the best hotel deals in Las Vegas by booking for Tuesday to Thursday. However, Hipmunk data shows Sunday through Tuesday are less expensive.
Remember to check to see if there are any Las Vegas events during your planned getaway, and adjust your timing if needed. Aim for booking in that sweet spot between events, when prices are lowest.
Every rule has exceptions, however. Trying to plan a bachelor or bachelorette getaway? Forget the savings and go when there are the most nightlife and entertainment options, such as holiday weekends and New Year’s.
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.
“If you want to save on flights to Vegas, you have to look to Southwest Airlines first,” said Clem Bason, CEO of goSeek.com. “They fly four times as many passengers in and out of Las Vegas as the next carrier, American Airlines. Look for their frequent fare sales and use their handy low-fare calendar to find the best dates to fly.”
Compare Booking Options and Sleep Cheap
How you book a hotel can have a dramatic impact on the price you pay. A recent check found that booking a room at the Flamingo Las Vegas during Monster Jam World Finals weekend at the end of March ran $125 per night through the hotel’s website.
Meanwhile, booking sites such as Expedia and Hotels.com offered prices ranging from $182 to $371 per night. And the same hotel cost just $90 when booked through goSeek. “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 Bason.
So, the next time you’re booking a trip, make sure you’re using the best booking sites.
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 beat 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
Being familiar 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.
Another insider tip suggested by Orloff: Take Dean Martin Drive. “It runs parallel to the Strip and I-15 and connects the southern edge of the valley with downtown Las Vegas,” he said. He said the road can connect you with attractions such as the Fashion Show Mall and Circus Circus Adventuredome.
Pick the Right Casino for Blackjack
You’ll get more money for a winning blackjack hand in some casinos than in others. The odds the casino pays out account for the difference. Most casinos 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 3:2 payoff instead. The odds pay out $3 for every $2 you bet for a blackjack winning hand, meaning you’ll make $15 on a $10 bet instead of just $12 at a 6:5 table.
In a recent article for Travel Weekly, Vegas Guru David Yeskel cited the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino as the best place to play 3:2 blackjack. The casino features the odds on all tables, even those with a $5 minimum.
Don’t Give Up on the Cheap Buffet
The days of the $5 Vegas buffet your folks talked about are long gone. You’ll pay as much as $90 these days for all-you-can-eat sumptuous feasts like Bally’s Sterling brunch buffet. However, you can help Mom and Dad remember the old days by visiting one of the few cheap and best buffets in the city.
Try Ports O’ Call Buffet at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. Get breakfast for $8.99 Monday through Saturday, and a prime rib dinner buffet for the modest price of $15.99 Saturday through Thursday.
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 rolls out upscale dining on white tablecloths tucked away in a mahogany-accented getaway.
A visit to the upscale eatery doesn’t need 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 baseball-cut sirloin accompanied by Caesar salad, spicy cauliflower and green olive mashed potatoes, followed by blueberry cheesecake. The sample menu priced out at $58 per person — around $3 more than the weekday dinner buffet at Caesars Palace.
Get Off the Strip
It’s not hard to spend all your Vegas time surrounded by the glitz and glam of the strip. But you have other options. “The Fremont Street Experience is just as fascinating as anything on the Strip,” said Joe Wareham, Worlds Away travel blogger. You’ll find the five-block entertainment district in the city’s historic downtown.
The district has a lot of free and cheap things to do when you’re trying to save vacation dollars. Discover opulent relics of the Vegas of yesteryear at Main Street Station, or marvel at futuristic light shows on the Viva Vision screen 90 feet overhead.
“For an insanely cheap night out, Tuesday nights are Nickel Beer Nights at Beauty Bar,” said Wareham. Just pay a $10 entry fee and enjoy as many nickel beers as you’d like.
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 on Las Vegas Boulevard, about 21 miles south of the Strip. Or grab a few shots in front of the colorful cylinders at the Pipe Dream sculpture at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. For something a little more quirky, head to Downtown Container Park, a three-story shopping center built from shipping containers, and pose as prey for a 55-foot praying mantis.
Stop and Smell the Cactus Blooms
Did you know that the largest botanical cactus garden in the Southwest is in 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 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 just behind the Ethel M. Chocolate 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 zero percent interest.
Although you can take up to a year to pay, you’ll only get zero percent financing for three months. Still, if you’re looking to book “The Hangover” suite — more formally known as the Forum Classic Emperors Suite at Caesars Palace — 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 Cher and Celine Dion. But you also can catch famous entertainers for free at the Fremont Street Experience. Past headliners include Melissa Etheridge, Smash Mouth and Night Ranger. Check out the Fremont Street Experience website for upcoming events.
If famous names aren’t a must-see, head to Masquerade Bar in Masquerade Village, where servers sing and dance their way around five casino stages.
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 just outside the city limits.
Wiggle your toes in the sand or rent a boat and head out on open waters at Lake Mead, 25 miles east of the city limits. If you’re more of a mountain person, breathe in pine-scented air at Mount Charleston, 15 miles outside the city to the west. If that scenery is not diverse enough, check Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area or Clark County Wetlands Park, both on the edge of the city limits.