When you think of Las Vegas, you might picture gambling as well as over the top hotels, parties, and people. Sin City is certainly a place to overindulge, but you can also have a fabulous time without breaking the bank. We just got back from a fun weekend in Vegas where we actually didn’t spend that much money. Here are our best tips for doing Las Vegas on a budget.
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Las Vegas on a Budget
Where to Stay
Because Vegas is such a popular spot, you can find reasonable flights here. We flew Tampa to Vegas on Southwest. Coincidentally, this was also the most fun flight we’ve ever been on. Going during the off season (July and August) means hotter temperatures and cheaper prices. Vegas is a cool place to visit because there is always something going on no matter when you plan your trip.
We went at the beginning of September and were able to score a really great hotel deal at the Strat (Stratosphere). We recommend staying at a hotel on the Strip for convenience. You might also get a good deal at hotels in the Fremont Street area, though. Just do a lot of research because there are so many hotels here at a variety of price points. We usually use Hotels.com along with the Rakuten (formerly Ebates) plugin to get some cash back.
We’ve been to Las Vegas many times, but this is the first time we decided to use public transportation. The taxi and Uber fares were getting a little ridiculous. We were pleasantly surprised at how nice and easy to use the bus system is in Vegas.
The RTC bus system has two lines that will take you up and down the Las Vegas Strip and to Downtown: The Deuce and the SDX (Strip & Downtown Express). We found that the Deuce was more reliable than the SDX. A two hour pass is $6 and a 24 hour pass is $8. We bought two 24 hour passes, which saved us quite a bit of money. You can also buy a three day pass for $20.
There is also a monorail ($5 for one ride) that connects the SLS to MGM Grand and a free tram that connects Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur.
Cheap Things to do in Las Vegas
The first Friday of every month, the Downtown Art District puts on a block party with live music and food trucks.
Circus Circus has shows rotating hourly from high flying trapeze artists to feats of strength and skill, and clowns, free of charge.
At CBS Television City in the MGM Grand, anyone has the opportunity to preview and judge potential new shows to air on CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon.
Go to the wildlife habitat at the Flamingo for their, flamingos, parrots, pelicans, and swans in a 15-acre reserve.
Harrah’s Piano Bar features an Elvis Impersonator that you can sing along with.
It is definitely worth leaving the Strip to visit the Fremont Street Experience. The drinks and souvenirs are cheap, and the people watching is prime. There is live music and plenty of entertainment.
Eat Chipotle. Okay, don’t just eat Chipotle. But doing more quick service meals is a great way to save some money. The prices are a little jacked up (at least compared to here in Florida) but it’s still a good money saver in Vegas.
Grab a couple of cheap drinks at the ABC store and sit on the promenade at the Paris hotel to people watch on the streets of Paris!
Spend an afternoon at your hotel pool with your own drinks and snacks.
Check Groupon, Living Social and utilize any discount programs offered by many of the chain restaurants up and down the strip. We belong to Landry’s Select Club, and we accumulated points throughout the year at Landry’s restaurants here in Florida that we could use towards meals in Las Vegas. There are a ton of Landry’s restaurants in Vegas, especially downtown.
Walk, walk, walk the strip! You never know what you might come across.
This was the first time we’ve been to Vegas where we didn’t see a show or go out for a fancy dinner, and we had such a great time! There is so much free or cheap entertainment to check out. Hotel hopping is one of our favorite things to do.
It’s probably worth noting that we don’t gamble, so that is a big money saver right there! If you are going to Vegas to gamble, have a set amount that you are okay with losing and stick to it.
What are your tips for doing Las Vegas on a budget?