In Sin City everybody wants your money. Remember though, the motto “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” does not apply to your credit card bill. And if you’ve headed to the bright lights of Vegas with the intention of gambling the night away, you’ll need as big a bankroll as possible. Maximise your betting money by getting the best deals while you’re there and avoiding the wallet-draining tourist traps. Here’s our guide to doing Vegas on a budget.
There are so many hotels on the strip and beyond that a little shopping around will be enough to save you a lot of money. Don’t write off the more luxurious hotels straight away – they sometimes offer excellent deals and the amenities and perks available can make rooms great value for money. Mid-week stays are unsurprisingly cheaper but there are no significant periods where rooms are heavily discounted as Vegas is busy all year round, especially so at New Year. You can also choose to stay in hostels though they might be inconveniently located. If you choose a budget hotel, you can get one of the perks of high-end resort hotels, without the price tag, by purchasing a day pass to one of the public pools.
Many of the big Vegas hotels offer free shows to draw the crowds so keep your eyes and ears peeled for them. You can enjoy many free attractions, from the tourist-heavy dancing fountains at the Bellagio and the Mirage’s Volcano, to the former’s Botanical Gardens and the Flamingo Hotel’s wildlife habitat. Just strolling down the strip is an attraction in itself. If there’s a poker tournament on, you might be able to go and see some action; and if you want to get involved probably best to brush up on your skills first with some online games like those at Grosvenor (http://www.grosvenorcasinos.com/Poker).
Food & Drink
Let’s start with the booze. By far the cheapest place is the casino floor, given that most casinos will serve free alcohol to gamblers no matter whether they’re playing high-stakes poker of thumbing dimes into the slots. Make sure you’re over 21 and to leave a tip. There are always vendors selling cheap drinks on the strip too. Where budget food is concerned, you could do a lot worse than Tacos El Gordo – steak and spicy pork tacos are only a couple of bucks with steak and chips topping the menu at $10. If that doesn’t float your boat, go for breakfast and lunch buffets which start at around $7; evening ones are double that price but still offer excellent value. And the choice on offer is extraordinary.
Most of the time you’ll only need to walk to get from one casino or bar to next. But especially for getting to and from the airport, you’ll need to take taxis or buses. Remember that it’s illegal to hail a cab in Vegas, you need to go to a taxi stand. The shuttle bus is far and away the cheapest option for getting to and from the airport. And once you’re on the Strip, avoid the monorail: it’s expensive and not that convenient.