When it comes to excitement, variety and “over-the-top” entertainment, Las Vegas, Nevada can’t be beat. Millions of visitors hit “Sin City” every day to try their luck in the casinos – but most go for more than just a turn at the roulette table. With hundreds of shows ranging from the racy to the awe-inspiring, world-class restaurants and bountiful shopping, plus some of the most unique hotels and resorts you’ll find anywhere in the world, there’s basically everything your tourist’s palette desires in Vegas.
The thing is: a trip to Vegas can put a pretty significant dent in your wallet – but it doesn’t have to. It is, yes, totally possible to have fabulous Las Vegas holidays without spending thousands, if you follow some of these simple tips and guidelines.
Sure, a weekend in Vegas is fabulous, but the best deals on the Strip can be found Monday through Friday. Hotel rooms in some of the top casino hotels can be had for less than $50 per night midweek, and even the more high-end properties like Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand have substantial discounts for weekday travelers. Before you book, check to make sure there aren’t any major events happening around the time of your visit. When major sporting events or conventions come to down, hotel prices downright skyrocket.
One of the greatest pleasures of a trip to Vegas is the food. Celebrity chefs from all over the world have outposts in the city, giving visitors to chance to experience gastronomic pleasures at every meal. Unfortunately, many of these restaurants are on the higher end of things – it’s not unusual for a meal for two to run $200, $300 or even more. So what’s a budget traveler to do?
One word: prioritize. Choose one or two meals to splurge on (remember that lunch is often a similar menu with lower prices) and the rest of the time, eat more budget-friendly meals. Las Vegas is full of buffets serving everything from steak to seafood; you’re bound to find something you like to eat at a good price. Look for advertised specials, coupons and deals offered by hotels.
For the budget-conscious traveler, there is no better, sweeter-sounding word than “free.” And Vegas is the capital of free entertainment. Just exploring the Strip and the amazing architecture of the casinos is a great way to fill a few hours. Catch the fountain show at the Bellagio, the pirate performance at Treasure Island or visit the lion habitat at the MGM Grand – all without spending a dime. In the evening, visit the Fremont Street Experience for a dazzling light show while you shop and explore the casinos – and then stop by Circus Circus to watch the free circus acts. Almost every resort has free activities to draw in visitors, so check listings to see what appeals to you.
If you have a little more money to spend, there are some relatively inexpensive, quintessentially Vegas activities you can try. Take a ride in a Venetian gondola at the Bellagio or ride a replica of the Coney Island rollercoaster at New York, New York. Or, here’s an idea: head out of town. Las Vegas is not far from major attractions like the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon; if you book ahead of time, you can often get great deals on helicopter or small plane tours of the areas surrounding Las Vegas.
With everything else there is to do in Las Vegas, it might be easy to forget the main attraction: the casinos. While it’s possible to go to Vegas and not gamble at all, if you do decide to try your luck, do it intelligently. Set a limit and walk away if the chips aren’t falling in your favor. It’s easy to be seduced by the games, the free-flowing drinks and the excitement, but it you aren’t careful, you could blow your whole vacation budget on a game of blackjack. Be cautious, leave the credit cards in your room and have fun – who knows? Maybe you could win enough to pay for that fancy dinner!
Visiting Las Vegas is a chance to indulge in some of the finer things in life and experience some of the most exaggerated spectacles in the world. With careful planning and research, it can actually be an economical holiday as well; you won’t have to miss one second of the fun.
This article was written by Jenny Dowling. Jenny has been living in Las Vegas for over five years now and is still amazed by the sights and sounds of the city.