How to do Las Vegas on a Budget

by Meg Massie 
Posted Oct 19th 2010 11:08 AMUpdated Oct 19th 2010 12:56 PM

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Las Vegas on a Budget

In a city where you can gamble your life savings with one roll of the dice and luxury hotel suites go for five figures a night, it's hard to imagine anything being budget-friendly. But you really don't have to be a high roller to enjoy a great Vegas vacation. You can plan a trip to Las Vegas on a budget and still see all of the best things the city has to offer. From start to finish, we'll help you find all the best deals so you can have a great getaway on a modest budget.

Enjoying Las Vegas on a Budget - Your Flight

If you can't find a cheap flight to Las Vegas, you're not looking hard enough. Airlines constantly offer deals for trips to Vegas, so get on airlines' mailing lists to hear about special offers, and check online through airline sites as well as discount travel sites. A little persistence will go a long way -- don't settle for anything that doesn't seem like a great deal. You'll get the best prices when you fly mid-week or overnight, and you should be able to find tickets for under $100 each way, sometimes way cheaper, even.

Enjoying Las Vegas on a Budget - Your Hotel

Let's be honest -- if you're trying to do Las Vegas on a budget, you aren't going to be able to stay at the fanciest hotels. But that doesn't matter! You don't go to Vegas for the hotel room -- you're probably going to spend all your time out on the town anyway, right? You can always hang out at the Bellagio or the Venetian while catching your Z's at the Sahara or the Riviera. If you're willing to settle for a no-frills room, you'll be able to find some things for under $20/night, and you can get a perfectly comfortable room for under $40/night in some of the older hotels on the Strip. If you tend to stay at the same place each time you visit Vegas, sign up for their free rewards programs. You'll get special offers in the mail as well as discounts and freebies while you stay.

Enjoying Las Vegas on a Budget - Your Meals

The all-you-can-eat buffet is a Las Vegas institution. They've gone up in price in recent years, but every major hotel on the Strip has a buffet, and it's a good way to fill your belly in Las Vegas on a budget. You can often get discounts when you have a casino comp card, too. In addition to the hotel buffets, there's no shortage of great restaurants for any budget all over Sin City. In-N-Out Burger is a favorite fast food stop that won't set you back much, and the Peppermill restaurant offers huge servings at moderate prices on delicious items like burgers, steaks, and all-day breakfast options. Casinos with lower limits like Slots-A-Fun and the Sahara also tend to have cheaper dining options, like $1 or $2 foot-long hot dogs. Maybe not the most delicious meal you'll ever have, but definitely a good deal for a cheap, filling lunch on the go.

Enjoying Las Vegas on a Budget - Your Entertainment

Some of the best entertainment in Las Vegas is free -- just walk through the beautiful water fountain displays at the Bellagio, or take yourself to a romantic Italian village inside the Venetian. You can see a lot and get great photo ops in Las Vegas for no cost at all. But you'll want to dip into your budget at least a little to see one of the fabulous Las Vegas shows. Ticket prices may seem steep, but not to worry -- there are lots of ways to score cheap Las Vegas show tickets. As with all choices in Las Vegas on a budget, never pay full price!

Enjoying Las Vegas on a Budget - Casinos

Casinos are the real wild card in your Las Vegas budget. Maybe you'll hit it big on the first slot machine pull, and you won't ever have to worry about your budget again! But more likely, if you gamble, you're going to lose some money. Set aside a gambling budget before you enter a casino. Think of this as entertainment money -- never gamble more than you're willing to lose. Those losses are the price you pay for the fun you have at the tables. To stretch your gambling budget farther, stick to casino games with low limits. One of the best low limit casinos on the Strip is Casino Royale. Play games like $3 craps or their unique spin on Blackjack, Blackjack Switch. Casino Royale has a generous comps program with lots of free plays, so you can really stretch your budget for maximum gaming fun.


We all know that it's easy to lose big in a place like Vegas, but not if you are smart with your budget. Plan ahead and avoid stupid risks at the casinos, and you can vacation like a high roller in Las Vegas on a budget. The tips above will save you money on your trip to Vegas, but you can also find great savings with Las Vegas package deals. The more flexible you can be with your travel plans, the more you can save.

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