We’ve all heard the much repeated maxim at one time or another; that whatever happens in Vegas should stay there. But as well as leaving your dignity behind in the City of Sin, all too often it’s your bank balance which doesn’t board the flight home in tact.
Vegas on the cheap; it seems kinda counterintuitive, right? A jarring juxtaposition, that. After all, when you’re so close to all the glitz and glamour that you could reach out and touch it, the last thing you want is to be sitting on your hands. The good news is this; Vegas can be done, more than that, it can be fun, with thrift at the forefront of your mind. We’re here to help, with these; our 7 IDEAL tips for doing Vegas on a budget.
Vegas is spread out and the mercury pushes 40 degrees regularly; walking the strip and beyond just isn’t the done thing. Those who still take their chances after hearing this advice have only themselves to blame when they end up with heatstroke, sunburn and a worn out, weary soul.
Caution should also be exercised when taking taxis in the City of Sin. Firstly, be aware you can’t simply hail taxis here; they’re not allowed to stop and pick you up, instead you need to wait in line for one outside a hotel or casino. Kind of defeats the point, right? Anyway, these obstructions are actually doing you a favour; taxi drivers here are notoriously bad. Skipping red lights, distracted, ranting….we’ve heard it all. Instead, use Uber or Lyft, which generally cost at least half the price of conventional taxis, maybe more.
Cheaper still are the buses and shuttles which serve the city reliably. The Deuce, a double decker bus which runs 24 hour a day, is the cheapest mode of transport and is a great way to see the strip at your own pace, sitting comfortably and taking in the sights. A three day pass (ideal for anyone on a weekend break) only costs $20 and you can use it limitlessly. There’s also the Las Vegas monorail, which stops at seven points on the strip; a day pass is $13.
HOTEL ROOM KNOW-HOW
There are a few things to bear in mind when booking a hotel in Las Vegas, to prevent things getting expensive, fast. Firstly, we need to talk about resort fees. Unlike most hotels, where the rate you see is the rate you pay, in Vegas (and this doesn’t only apply to hotel rooms) there is more often than not an extra charge – anywhere between $10 and $40, for wifi, tea and coffee in the room, a daily newspaper; that kind of thing. It’s compulsory and non-negotiable, so factor the fee into your logic when you think you’ve stumbled across a great accommodation deal.
It’s also important to be aware that room prices change daily, due to demand, so keep your eye out for bargains (and rip-offs, equally) when booking. One final piece of advice; this is Vegas, and you’ll likely not be spending much time in your room. Therefore, it’s probably silly to go all-in on the hotel. Instead, consider foregoing the amenities you usually fork out on, and opt for somewhere cheap and cheerful.
LAS VEGAS FREE ATTRACTIONS
There’s probably nothing more entertaining in Vegas than strolling the strip, taking in the pageant of larger than life characters and even the larger spectacle looming over the streets. The Brooklyn Bridge at New York New York or the gondolas at the Venetian are just two of the absurd visual treats on offer. Towards the south end of the Strip, outside the Mandalay Bay Resort, is the famous Las Vegas sign, which is certainly worth a selfie and a prod of the green eye monster in friends back home.
Beyond the strip there’s also plenty to keep you busy that don’t require you to dip into your purse. The Downtown Container Park houses bars and restaurants, but the structure itself is definitely worth checking out; a massive playground for adults and kids alike with a slide and interactive games. There are also loads of art galleries and museums which are either entirely free or charge just a small fee to enter.
FREE FLOOR SHOWS
Inside the casinos you don’t necessarily have to spend big to have a good time, either. The Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat sees 15 acres devoted to flamingoes, pelicans, tropical birds and fish. Equally as impressive, The Silverton Casino boasts a massive, 117’000 gallon aquarium complete with swimming mermaids.
The casinos also put on regular, free to view floor shows for gamblers, punters and curious members of the public alike. At Circus Circus, the world’s largest permanent circus, you can watch some pretty incredible, gravity bending stunts, and at the Rio Hotel you can get stuck into the carnival atmosphere with floats, costumes and boundless energy.
LUNCH HARD, DINNER LIGHTLY
Vegas isn’t all about the gambling, and there’s enough food to satisfy even the greediest appetite here. And since Vegas is full of them, that’s a good thing. The buffets, of course, are world renowned but be warned, dinner can get seriously busy and expensive.
Instead, hit up the all-you-can-eats for lunch, when it’s generally less crowded and more reasonably priced, too. Hotel rooms and taxis often have discount coupons for specific restaurants, which although it dictates your day, can save you a fair bit of dollar. We’ve written more about tips for eating well for less in Vegas over here; check it out.
PRACTICE YOUR POKER FACE EARLY
Fishes fear not. We were all new to the table once upon a time, so before you start staking big bucks and acting the whale, it’s important to get to grips with the rules and nuances of each game. Most of the heavyweight casinos on the strip offer gaming lessons, so get yourself prepped and primed or you’ll be fluttering like a pigeon.
You can get ready for the fun and games even before you touch down. If you’re feeling intimidated by the table, do yourself a favour and put in a little practice in advance at an online site like 21.co.uk so you’re not going into the gambling artless and going out broke.
LEAVE THE LOCALS TO IT
It’s best to avoid a table occupied by a set of faces which seem familiar to one other, the dealer, but not you. As suggested in this handy list of casino secrets, ‘If you sit down to play poker and the dealer greets everybody at the table by name, leave. These players are locals. They play every day. They make their living off chumps like you’. We couldn’t agree more. Steer clear.