Heading to Vegas? Try visiting midweek, making last-minute plans, and enjoying the buffets.
If you've chosen Las Vegas as your road trip destination, there's definitely some fun in your future. To help you make the most of your trip, try some of these money-saving ideas.
How to save money on a trip to Las Vegas
Follow some, or all, of these tips to save some money during your Las Vegas adventure.
1. Get a new credit card
If you're eligible, you might be able to score a nice welcome offer by opening a new credit card account. Look for one that offers a sign-up bonus of cash or points that can be used directly toward your trip. This strategy requires a bit of forethought, as most rewards credit card bonus offers depend on you charging a certain amount on the card within the first few months the account is open.
2. Use your points
Do you have credit card points that have been sitting around during this past year of little-to-no travel? Break 'em out. Cash in any free hotel room certificates you've got, as those may have an expiration date.
3. Avoid holidays
This is a golden travel rule. On and around holidays, more people have time off to travel. Popular destinations will be more crowded, and businesses have little incentive to offer deals or savings.
4. Visit midweek
For those same reasons, Las Vegas is cheaper on weekdays. Some hotels charge more -- sometimes double or higher -- on Saturdays compared to earlier in the week.
5. Set a gambling budget
You really don't have to gamble at all to have fun in Las Vegas. But if you're looking forward to taking a chance, set a budget. Decide ahead of time how much you're willing to spend on gambling, and then stop once that amount is used up.
6. Get a player's card
If you're planning to play, get a loyalty card at each casino. You might get a freebie just for signing up. Then, you can earn points toward rewards like restaurant or room discounts.
7. Gamble off the strip
You are likely to find lower minimum bets and friendlier player rules once you get away from the general area of Las Vegas Boulevard. Some people say the slot machines pay out more often off the strip, too.
8. Get a room off the strip
Hotels along the Las Vegas strip are often the most expensive places to stay. Of course, prices depend on the day of week and the time of year you travel. But when you do your research, be sure to compare the rates for off-strip and lesser known hotels. Many are of the same caliber as the more famous hotels and offer good food and entertainment without the high room price.
9. Re-book and re-book
Las Vegas hotels and resorts often offer free cancellation right up until a few days before arrival. Find out the cancellation policy for your reservation and then keep booking better deals until it's not an option any more. Canceling a prepaid or third-party reservation might be harder than canceling a reservation booked directly with a hotel. So be sure you understand the policy before you book.
10. Book a last-minute room
Does spontaneity thrill you? This strategy is for you then, especially if you live within driving distance of Las Vegas. Book your room on the day you want to go. Rooms sometimes pop up for as little as $20.
11. Watch free shows
All of the major casinos and many smaller venues offer free entertainment. They want you there so they can entice you to spend money. That's why they go to such great lengths to attract you. Much of the free entertainment is really quite spectacular. Some shows are outdoors like the volcano eruption outside The Mirage. And some are indoors like the amazing painted ceilings at The Venetian.
12. Buy half-price tickets
You'll find world class entertainment options in Las Vegas. From Cirque du Soleil to Taylor Swift, Vegas shows can leave you breathless and amazed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices can leave you gasping for air. But if you are willing to be flexible with your plans and open minded about what show you end up seeing, you might be able to score cheap tickets at the last minute. Discount resellers sell same-day tickets at a steep discount. Kiosks are located throughout Las Vegas.
13. Use public transportation
Find free parking and leave your car parked. Besides the challenge of finding free parking at other locations, traffic in Las Vegas can be brutal. Las Vegas has a bus that can shuttle you between downtown and the strip for a few dollars a day. Some hotels have free tram service to other hotels. The Downtown Loop shuttle is also free. If you need to, you can always hop in a rideshare car.
14. BYO drinks and snacks
Many hotel rooms come with a small refrigerator. Do a little bit of grocery shopping to save money on restaurant meals.
15. Eat brunch
Las Vegas hotel buffets are rumored to be reopening sometime in June or July 2021. Fingers crossed! If a buffet is an option when you visit Las Vegas, time your visit for a late breakfast/early lunch to save on one whole meal for the day. Another great option is to buy the Buffet of Buffets pass, which gives you access to a number of buffets for one price. Normally it's good for one whole day, but if you purchase it right before dinner it'll be good for 24 hours, giving you the chance to squeeze four meals in for one price.
16. Avoid using a casino ATM
Casino ATMs often charge very high fees for cash withdrawals. Get your cash ahead of time at a bank ATM outside the casino.
17. Protect your money
The world's best thieves are in Las Vegas, enjoying things right alongside unsuspecting visitors who come with money to spend. Think a thief couldn't take the wallet out of your purse or pocket? Think again. Besides the old-fashioned pickpocket, you'll find every kind of scammer. Be more defensive than usual, and be wary of any heart-tugging plea for help or golden opportunity.
One thing you SHOULDN'T do to save money in Las Vegas
We're all about saving money, and this list only scratches the surface when it comes to ways you can cut costs on a Las Vegas vacation. But you should also know about one money-saving strategy that could get you bad service, bad karma, bad luck, or some combination of the three:
Being stingy with tips. The people in Las Vegas work around the clock to provide you with a good experience. The personal finances of many of these workers depend on tips, as this may be their main or sole source of income. So be kind and plan to tip the workers who provide a service for your benefit.
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