Cheap Las Vegas
The following are a few suggestions for a cheap Las Vegas
trip, based on research from our trip there in early 2010.
Cheap Las Vegas Airfare
If you live in one of the cities that are served by Allegiant
Airlines, look them up online. Even better, if you are close
to the airport, buy your tickets there. Allegiant is just about
the cheapest way to go if you do it right. Their gimmick is having
the lowest base prices and charging extra for everything else,
starting with a $15 fee for booking online.
They also charge for snacks and drinks during the flight,
so bring something to eat if you have a long flight. Travel with
only carry-on luggage as well - my preference in any case. The
woman in line next to us paid $70 to check her suitcase - on
a flight that had a base-price of only $80 to start with. Don't
choose your seats when you purchase the tickets either - that's
another charge. If you are traveling as a couple Allegiant will
generally get you two seats together when you check in.
Of course any airline can decide to fill their seats by discounting,
so check online for whatever is available. Play with the dates
if you have some flexibility. The difference of a day can mean
paying hundreds of dollars more or less for the tickets.
We booked through Expedia and got a nice room at the Riviera
for $27 per night. Going off-season makes this more likely, but
check online and call a few laces in any case. You never know
when a hotel might have rooms they need to fill.
Watch for coupons - they are all over Las Vegas. Watch the
signs as well. As we left town we saw that Terribles casino
had a "Two for $9.99" dinner deal going. You also may
find that if you eat at one of the reasonably-priced buffets
you can get by with one meal daily (lunch is cheapest) and a
snack in the evening. Of course, if you really like to gamble,
sign up for the club cards at the casinos and you may soon have
enough points for a free meal or two.
The outdoor water show at the Belaggio is beautiful
to watch, and costs nothing. The pirate ship show (a couple times
each evening) at Treasure Island is also outdoors and
free. You can check out the lions and tigers in their enclosure
inside the MGM Grand without a charge too. Downtown you
can watch the awesome light show overhead at Fremont street.
Circus Circus gets special mention. Some of the best circus
acts you'll see anywhere can be found here for free. The shows
rotate among trapeze artists, contortionists, acrobats, and much
more. All of the six presentations we saw were world-class. They
are short - just ten minutes or so each - but they have a new
show every 45 minutes or so from 11:00 am until midnight. And
this is entirely free.
Shows can be pricey in Las Vegas, often over $100 per person.
But some of the lower-priced shows are excellent. Two my wife
and I loved are the magic show by Rick Thomas and the magic/comedy
show of Mac King. Buy the tickets for either show from one of
the discount booths that are all over town and you can get in
for under $15.
There are still nickel slot machines at several major casinos.
For the longest play, try the five-cent video keno machines at
the Sahara. There is still at least one roulette table
that sells 50-cent chips - at Hooters - but you have to
bet at least 5 per spin. Some dollar tables allow just a one-chip
minimum. Watch for specials and rewards for signing up for club
cards at various casinos as well.
Cheap Vegas Transportation
Taxis can be expensive because they charge by mileage and
time, and traffic makes every trip a long one. The busses are
a better deal unless you have a group to share costs (the taxis
allow up to five passengers). The Deuce line runs up and
down the strip and it cost us $7 each for a one-day pass. The
ass is not just for that day, but for 24 hours, so a good strategy
is to do some walking-distance things early in the day, and then
travel the strip later. That way you still can use the bus for
much of the next day.
For a cheap Las Vegas trip you have to be an opportunist.
Watch for the deals and change your plans accordingly. It can
be expensive (you'll spend over $60 for a meal for two in the
Rainforest Cafe, for example), but it doesn't have to be. The
McDonalds in Circus Circus even has a dollar menu.