Who doesn’t love a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada? Casinos, liquor, strip clubs, liquor, gambling, nightclubs, and even liquor- we have it all! But, sometimes experiencing it all can come with a high price tag. Let’s face it: visiting Las Vegas can be really expensive especially for a large group of people, a big family, or even just one person who wants to eat and drink like a king while they’re on vacation.
I’ve lived in good ol’ Sin City for eleven years, and I’ve learned a lot about The Strip and how to have a fun time inexpensively. Trust me when I say, you’ll rarely ever see a local on The Strip paying $15 for a drink and $100 to get into a club, yet tourists do it all the time. Though some expensive stuff on The Strip is unavoidable, there are ways to have a good time in Vegas without spending a ridiculous amount of money.
Some tips about how to visit Vegas on a budget
Sleep off The Strip.
Yes, some of the newer casinos and hotels on The Strip are fancy, but fancy means expensive. There are a ton of perfectly good hotels off The Strip that have the same amenities, but at a lower price. Some of those properties include The Westgate Hotel, The Palms, The Rio, The Orleans, Red Rock Casino, The South Point, The Silverton, M Resort, and more.
Hey, if you absolutely need to get your fix of being in one of the more expensive hotels, consider just having dinner or drinks in one; you can even just visit and take selfies in front of one to make your friends think you stayed there – and don’t worry, I’ll never tell!
Consider stay in an older casino or a casino with free parking.
If you just absolutely have to stay on The Strip, consider one of the older properties to save some money. Circus Circus, Tropicana, Hooters, and Stratosphere are just some of the older vintage hotels you should consider staying at.
A lot of The Strip hotels have recently started charging for parking- which is the worst- but staying in one with free parking can keep extra money in your wallet. Hotels that haven’t started charging for parking yet include Circus Circus, Treasure Island, and Hooters.
Learn which restaurants have happy hour.
The Strip has some of the nicest restaurants in the world, but eating at them for every meal on your visit with kill your wallet. A great way to experience some of the cuisine at a discount is to visit restaurants during their Happy Hour. It is the same food, but at a fraction of the cost.
I also always tell people visiting to eat at the Fashion Show all on The Strip to save money. They have great restaurants and all of them have killer Happy Hours. Most of them also have nice outside seating that faces The Strip so you can people watch. My favorites spots include Strip Burger, El Segundo Sol, and Ra Sushi.
Eat at casual restaurants or fast food chains.
If you don’t eat at fancy restaurants at home, why do you need to do it on vacation? There are a ton of inexpensive options on The Strip including Buffalo Wild Wings, Taco Bell Cantina, In and Out, White Castle and more.
Consider Fremont Street.
One way to save a TON of money is just to say “screw The Strip” and avoid it all together. Freemont Street – located in Downtown Las Vegas – is just as weird and awesome, but it’s a fraction of the cost. I’ve gotten rooms on Freemont Street for $25 a night before.; it’s glorious. The drinks are cheaper, it’s more laid back, and it’s not as crowded.
Freemont Street Bonus: No stuffy ass dress codes! I like to visit Freemont in my finest yoga pants and flip -flops.
Don’t visit during the weekend.
You can save so much money visiting Vegas by coming Sunday-Thursday. Rooms are cheaper, clubs entrance fees drop substantially, and you deal with less people. If you visit during a three-day holiday weekend, you are a sucker because you are getting overcharged for everything. Don’t be a sucker!
Other times you should avoid visiting to save some money: March Madness, Super Bowl weekend, UFC fight weekends, and Spring Break.
Come during the off-season.
If you visit during the hottest months of the summer, or if you come around the holidays, you will save money because it’s the slowest time of the year for visitors.
December is a ghost town in Vegas. If you can pull off a trip then, do it!
Even though I live here, I always look on Groupon just to see what kind of deals are out there, and there are a ton of them. Check Groupon before you visit for cheap hotel rates, and when you get here look for deals on fun things to do and nice places to eat.
Make friends with a cocktail waitress.
Drinking on The Strip is expensive! Most places are going to charge you at least $12 for a drink. At most casinos you can sit and gamble, and get complimentary drinks; But if you’re gonna do this, you better tip the cocktail waitress, and tip her well, or she’ll never come back. Also, don’t try to cheat the system thinking it’s okay to just sit there and try to score free drinks without gambling. It’s never gonna work.
Eat and drink at a local bar.
Another way to save a ton of cash is to leave The Strip all-together. Most locals avoid it down there because it is expensive. There are a ton of local bars that have the same gambling, great food, and drinks as The Strip. For example, PTs, Timbers, and The Lodge, are local chains that have bars all over with great food and prices. Just ask around when you’re here, and a local can suggest a great bar for you to visit.
Try free Activities.
There are a lot of free activities on The Strip that are just as fun as the paid ones. Try visiting the Bellagio Fountains, taking pics in front of the “Welcome To Las Vegas” sign, going to Downtown Container Park, watching the light show on Freemont Street, or the random fashions shows that pop up at the Fashion Show Mall. All these activities- and more- are free and fun!
The key to visiting Vegas is just to be smart. Bring money, but know the smartest way to use that money. If you’re on a budget, know when to splurge and when to save. Following some of these tips can save you money and help you experience Vegas without breaking the bank.
If you are ever visiting Vegas and you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
I’m Drea and I am a freelance writer, bartender, and professional napper. Although I live in lovely Las Vegas, you can usually catch me on my couch eating Taco Bell and cuddling with my animals. Check out my blog at ImDrea.com and portfolio at Clippings.me/ImDrea. I also have an awesome Twitter account with fun travel memes and content @ATravelMeme. Drea@ImDrea.com