The Las Vegas lifestyle is, admittedly, insanely outrageous and, to get a taste of it, one needs to pay through the nose for it. Or do you? Below are some surefire ways to enjoy a Hangover worthy weekend in the City of Lights while staying on a low budget (and still live like a high roller!). This guide includes tricks to stay, eat, and party like an A-list without emptying your pockets!
Staying in Posh Hotels on a Budget
1. Come to Vegas Midweek or Saturday
Knowing where to look for luxury hotels in the Strip and how to score some serious discount and deals to stay on the cheap are critical skills you can sharpen easily. For example, you can plan to visit Vegas midweek (from Monday to Thursday), when room rates are ridiculously cheap, with Tuesday and Wednesday usually being the cheapest.
If visiting Vegas is a weekend getaway dream for you, then do consider coming Saturday, rather than Friday, and leave Monday, instead of Sunday, when room rates drop significantly, compared to Fridays and Sundays. Plus, you save some extra bucks when you are flying out on a Monday, due to cheaper flights.
2. Check for Conventions or Other Major Events
Always check if there is a conference or convention taking place during the week you are planning to visit Las Vegas (which means increased hotel rates and more expensive vacation as a whole) and book a room when there is no major Vegas event going on at that time. Here is a calendar with all Vegas conventions.
The same applies to big music festivals and sporting events, including, of course, the Super Bowl (check out the main sports events here).
3. Join a Hotel’s Membership
There is always a “gaming” club offered by high-end hotels that will get you instant access to exclusive promotions, strong discounts on room rates, and deals. Below are some of the programs you could join:
4. Benefit from Special Discounts and Deals
You can get a 10% discount on room rates (usually food, too), among others, if you are:
- Active Military Personnel or Veteran (includes hotels on the Strip and beyond).
- First Responder (including firefighters, EMT, and police offices).
- Teacher (if you visit during the Teacher Appreciation Week, discounts and deals flow in greater abundance). Students also get a 10 percent discount on their room rates at Ceasars properties.
- AAA member (MGM Mirage properties).
Note: if you have Marriott Rewards, you can use them to book a room at the Cosmopolitan, which is also part of the Marriott Autograph Collection.
5. Check for Resort Fees & Compare Rates
Just about any major hotel near or on Vegas Strip has resort fees that can range from $20-$39 per night (usually NOT included in the hotel price). However, there are some hotels that charge nothing but the room rate plus tax, such as Bluegreen Club 36 Resort, California Hotel, ELARA, Emerald Suites Cameron, and Main Street Station (check out this list with hotels that charge zero resort fees).
Needless to say, doing your own research and getting the best idea on how much you will be called to pay is necessary. So, make sure you check sites like TripAdvisor, Trivago, Expedia, and Booking.com, see what past guests have to say about the hotel you are considering, watch YouTube videos, and compare amenities.
Tip: Check hotels’ promotions and deals page before you add in your dates on their website. You will, most likely, find free buffet passes, free nightclub line passes, free show tickets, and significant discounts, to name a few. Your research will help you find the cheapest time to stay in Sin City!
6. Stay on the Strip…or Not
Staying in the middle of the Strip will give you a wealth of cheap hotel rates and also save you money when getting around the city (shorter or less taxi rides and proximity to cheaper eateries too). Some of the hotels you could consider include Cosmopolitan, Harrah’s, Aria, Bally’s, The LINQ, Planet Hollywood, and Ceasars Palace.
If you want to feel the real Las Vegas experience (the genuine one, before the Strip came along), then head towards Four Queens or Golden Nugget (Downtown Vegas) or Rio Las Vegas and Palms Casino Resort, just a few blocks off the Strip. Now, if you wish to book a room in Las Vegas that would cost you more than $5,000 a night anywhere else, you should probably check out The SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand, and spend 1/5 of the money!
Extra Tip: If you don’t like the resort experience (i.e. the room is dirty or the food is not good), DO complain (always respectfully). Chances are you will not only get an apology accompanied by a better room or food, but also some nice perks, such as free drinks, resort credit, and vouchers!
Dine Like a King (or Queen) For Cheap!
Sites like Groupon are great places to help you land on a significant deal or get coupons to some of the best restaurants and eateries in Las Vegas. You can find amazing deals at Travelzoo and DestinationCoupons too.
Other ways to eat great quality food at a low/cheap price are:
- Dine on the Pre-Theater Menu – This is usually food offered at nightly shows by all major hotels. Here is a list of all restaurants that offer pre-theatre menus in Las Vegas.
- Consider Happy Hour Specials – You will find lots of Strip restaurants and bars, where you can get cheap drinks, yet, less crowded experiences.
- Check for Reverse Happy Hour Specials – For those that want to eat after 11pm, there are a few places that offer cheap eats and drinks, such as Buffalo Wild Wings (near Elara), Press Lounge (Mandalay Bar), RA Sushi (Fashion Show Mall), and Rockhouse (Venetian Hotel).
- Eat at Resort Buffets – Even the smallest discount on food can make a great difference in your overall spending. A resort buffet can serve you quality food and give you the best bang of your buck (i.e. Bacchanal Buffet at Ceasars Palace, Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan or Studio B at the M Resort). For unlimited lobster tails, king crab legs, and filet mignon during the weekends, Sterling Brunch at Bally’s is your place (if you are willing to spend around $100 per person). A good trick for even better deals is to come to the buffet around the time when they swap brunch out for dinner food to get dinner buffet at much-cheaper brunch prices!
- Join Hotels’ Gaming Rewards Programs – The overwhelming majority of hotels in Las Vegas offers a gaming program that allows those that join them to earn benefits and rewards, such as discounts at restaurants and buffet line passes, where you can eat a big dinner or (the much less costly) breakfast and skip lunch (and save some extra money)!
- Avoid Room Service (unless it is complimentary) – This will save you a great deal of money.
- Choose Restaurants with Huge Portions – Tom’s Urban (New York New York) and Five50 Pizza (Aria) are both great places to have delicious food and pizza slices respectively in huge portions. Also Hash House a Go Go (LING & Rio All Suites) is another eatery with colossal portion sizes.
- Download restaurant apps to get the best deals and make your reservations.
- Benefit from restaurant credit card rewards.
Enjoy a Las Vegas Show Without the Hefty Price it Comes Along With
All Tix 4 Tonight booth locations and shows offer 50% off show tickets. Just make sure you get there early as it can get quite crowded!
Military and student discounts for some shows, such as shows on MGM properties and the Cirque du Soleil Shows (“O” not included) are also available. For students, particularly, big Blue Man Group production shows tend to have the best discount offers. And, don’t forget to check the promotions page of the resort a show is located in, for special offers.
Finally, booking either online or through a 3rd party travel site, such as MDC Las Vegas, can help you score some of the best and cheapest show ticket deals in Las Vegas. Check out the Las Vegas Calendar, choose your favorite show, and book your tickets at super special price!
Get HALF PRICE Tickets for the following MDC & V Theater Group shows:
- Vegas! The Show
- V Ultimate Variety Show
- Zombie Burlesque
- The Mentalist
- Beattleshow Orchestra
- All Shook Up
Party Like a Rockstar Without Breaking the Bank
Some of the world’s most famous nightclubs are in Las Vegas. One of the cleverest ways to get the VIP experiences and save money at the same time is to get the V Card and gain VIP access to more than 30 dayclubs, nightclubs, strip clubs, and lounges. Plus, you get free admission at venues, such as Rehab, VENUS, TAO, RockBar, Hustler Club, Hyde Bellagio, and Marquee.
Tips for Ladies:
- Find a club promoter that could provide you with free entry to clubs (there are people whose job is to try to get as many ladies in the clubs as possible. For that reason, they hand out free club vouchers). Get on the list (both you and your girlfriend(s)) and have lots of fun for free.
- Ask the host if any group of men are looking for a group of women to hang out with. You could either be paired with a group of guys also waiting in line or send you directly to a men’s group table. A great way to get in fast and get the party started.
Tips for Guys:
- If you are not going solo, prefer bottle service. Although it is pricey and expensive, it is the cheapest way for a large group of men to get into a club (if you have no girls accompanying you). Most Las Vegas nightclubs have amazing bottle services. You will also get anything from private seating areas to special attention and drinks.
- Make sure you arrive before 10pm to get in and find a table if you have not booked one, because club lines fill very quickly.
- Follow the dress code required to ensure you will be allowed to enter the club.
Dining at restaurants associated with a nightclub, such as Lavo at the Venetian, will get you free access to that club. Furthermore, playing slots on the casino floor (don’t overdo it, though) can help save money on drinks (most casinos offer free drinks); money you can spend someplace else other than paying the ridiculously over-priced drinks at nightclubs.
And, if you want to skip the long lines, better bring your room key with you (if you are planning to party at the hotel’s own club). Another trick for quick, and often free, entry is to have a 2:1 girl ratio (doesn’t matter if you are all friends visiting Vegas or people that have just met in the nightclub line). This might also be enough to avoid paying a cover! (Hey, we don’t make the rules.)
- Get the Las Vegas Explorer Pass or the All-Inclusive Pass and get up to 55% off vs. paying at the gate (for up to 7 and 26 attractions respectively).
- There are many great, totally free things to do and see in Vegas, such as the Aquarium (Silverton), Bellagio Conservatory, Circus Acts, Ethel M Chocolate Factory, and Fall of Atlantis (Caesar’s Palace). More free attractions here.
- Don’t rent a car to get around the city as rental car rates (and parking garage fees) are over the roof. Also, prefer to use Lyft or Uber rather than taking a taxi to avoid the overprices services they offer in Vegas. You may also use the free trams to get between hotels (from Monte Carlo to Bellagio).
- Book your flight, at least, one month in advance to score the cheapest fare. Also, try booking from a “fake” location (countries with lower costs of living usually have cheaper international flights) or flying from an alternate airport nearby.
- Always compare flight prices across every airline with sites, such as Skyscanner.
- Avoid buying toiletries, snacks, and bottled water from the hotel. Instead, go to the nearest pharmacy and get them much cheaper.
- Hotel lobbies are full of coupon books. Grab them, and benefit from the amazing discounts.
Last, but not least, try to stick to your budget, as much as possible, and don’t gamble. Leaving thousands of bucks in the hole is certainly the last thing you would want, right? With all these tricks and tips, you are bound for a fantastic time in Sin City that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to taste to the fullest!
Have fun and be safe!