and whether for business or for pleasure you’ll probably end up visiting at some point.
I’ve now visited twice and I’m getting the hang of how to get the best bang for my buck! If you’re anything like me and trying to cruise the strip on a budget, here are some pointers for pulling it off.
For me, staying right on the strip is important to save on transportation costs. Plus, it’s just fun to be near all the action!
Both times we have been to Vegas we stayed in the Flamingo. Make sure to request a GoRoom here, they’re more updated and clean. The Flamingo is a nice midrange cost hotel, and very centrally located. Wherever you end up staying, I would also recommend going to Vegas during the week. On both trips we avoided Friday and Saturday altogether, which can save you a lot on your room! We spent less than $100 a night Monday through Thursday.
If you want to feel like a high roller, plan on one or two splurge meals where you hit an awesome buffet or famous steakhouse. That way you can go all out on these and enjoy them as a special occasion without breaking the bank every day. Plan to eat simple and cheap the rest of the trip. It’s way too easy to burn through your whole budget in food because most restaurants on the strip are very pricey!
There are likely other options to explore, but we found two great places near our hotel that had plenty of affordable and fast food options.
An outdoor retail, dining and entertainment plaza, this little strip of businesses offers tons of different restaurant choices! We found ourselves at In-N-Out Burger one day, and also noticed pizza by the slice, fancy hot dogs, sushi burritos and ice cream. There’s also the new High Roller observation wheel, fountains, music and light shows - this was the place to be at night!
Many of these dining options are just an order window, with tables scattered around for eating outdoors. We hit up Blue Star Fried Chicken, which was delicious. This area also touted such famous bites as Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Sbarro and Wahlburgers.
On the day we arrived, we went to a CVS on the strip and purchased snacks, wine and beer. We ate granola bars each morning to skip the big breakfast buffet lines, and we had our own (very affordable!) beverages on hand in our mini fridge.
One great thing about Vegas is the open container rule, so you can bring your own drinks from your hotel room and walk nearly anywhere with them! You can also get free drinks if you sit at the tables or slots in a casino. We did occasionally buy drinks, but overall stocking our own fridge saved us a ton of money, because you can expect to pay $10-20 on ONE drink in Vegas.
You can also save on shows by visiting Vegas during the week. They are often trying to fill theaters on these less popular days, so prices may be lower and more deals are available. We visited a place in the Grand Bazaar called Tix4Tonight, and they let us know what shows in the next couple of days were discounted. We got our MJ Live tickets half off there, and that show was awesome!
I would also highly recommend a ride on the High Roller observation wheel. The Eiffel Tower has always been a great way to see the strip from above, but the wheel is even higher and it is really quite cool and different. My advice is to skip the overpriced open bar version and to go at night for a view of all the lights. If you go before midnight you can even see the Bellagio fountain show from the air!
It’s certainly fun to pull the lever on some slots or throw some dice, but don’t get carried away! These games have the worst odds and can really eat up your money. If you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, blackjack might be the way to go. Make sure you find a table with 3 to 2 odds, NOT the more common 6 to 5 odds which can really cheat you. Especially on weeknights, you can usually find some $10 minimum tables. We found several with the right price and right odds at the Cromwell casino next to the Flamingo.
In general, setting your gambling budget in advance and sticking to it is the best way not to overdo it. I decided on $100, and actually managed to leave with $150 after 3 days of blackjack!
Most importantly, have fun and remember to relax and take it easy just like any other vacation!
Have you visited Vegas before? How did you pinch your pennies and what was most worth the money? I’d love to hear! Join our Facebook group to start a conversation about travel!