Where else can you see the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and float beneath bridges on gondolas all in the same city?
Las Vegas, baby!
This is also the place known for the casinos, the A-list shows and fabulous parties. Sin City has plenty to offer – whether you are there to celebrate your birthday or to get married, this city is lively during the day and night.
Most people believe that in order to visit and have fun in Las Vegas, you need to have a lot of money. While this may be true to an extent, it is also possible to visit and enjoy Las Vegas on a budget.
If you are the type that likes to save money on trips, keep reading because there are a few things I learned while being in Vegas that may help you save money.
Enjoy Las Vegas on a Budget
Save Money on Airport Parking
Parking at the airport is not cheap. If you do not have someone to take you to the airport, I suggest using nearby parking spots. A good way to find these spots is by checking Airport Parking Reservations.
You can also find parking on Groupon for cheap. I bought a 3 day parking pass at a nearby parking lot with security for $3 on Groupon. Before you do buy, make sure to do your research and make sure the lot is safe.
Transportation in Vegas
When I boarded the plane to Las Vegas, I knew I was going to have a great time, especially after hearing the flight attendant introduce the pilot and co-pilot as Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. My flight wasn’t bad at all, in fact thanks to the entertainment on American Airlines, I was able to relax.
Flights to Las Vegas can be expensive, but using apps such as Skiplagged, Kayak and Google Flights helps find a cheap flight. The American Airlines plane tickets were a good deal. Of course, I could have gone cheaper, but keep in mind that some of those cheap planes charge for luggage and seats. Saving on flights will help tremendously in order for you to enjoy Las Vegas on a budget.
Shuttles, buses and share rides
When we arrived to Las Vegas, we did not take our hotel shuttle. Plenty of hotel shuttles in Las Vegas are free, but unfortunately the hotel I was staying in did not offer this service for free. That’s when my husband and I decided to take a Lyft. Both Lyft and Uber have a designated pick-up spot, which makes it easy to find your ride. On top of that, the Lyft only cost about $10 to the hotel.
While in Vegas, we got around by foot or by Uber/Lyft. Of course, had I planned the trip a bit better, I would have rented a vehicle for the weekend. When looking for rental options, I came across Turo, which allows you to rent a vehicle from other people. My husband didn’t like the idea of renting from others, but I’m the type that will try anything once.
What I like about Turo: Although I have yet to try it, I like the rates. I like the fact that the basic insurance is not costly and renting the vehicle is very easy. When I was doing the checkout process, the vehicle I was going to borrow for the day was going to come out to $39 + a $10 delivery rate, but with the $25 credit I have, it would come to $24 (much better than spending $10-$15 every trip you take on Lyft/Uber).
The hotels also offer rentals and some of them will give you a good discount. For example, my hotel was offering 35% off on rentals.
If you’re really not wanting to get a rental to get around, there is a free shuttle service called the Downtown Loop. This shuttle takes you to all the exciting attractions in downtown Las Vegas. Some of these attractions include:
- The Arts District – Art Way and Boulder Avenue
- Mob Museum – 300 Stewart Ave.
- Fremont Street Experience – Main Street, South of Fremont Street
There are plenty of other places it will take you to. Click here to check out the schedule. This is another great way to enjoy Las Vegas on a budget.
Vegas is filled with so much to do. From A-list shows to Gondola rides, there is a never ending list of things you can do in Vegas. However, not everything is cheap. Some of the shows can be about $65 each and some of the attractions are about $20-$50, depending on what you do.
There are free things to do, but if your heart is set on going up to the Eiffel Tower or riding one of the Gondolas, then check out Groupon. If you’re after show discounts, then you can find a few at the Tix 4 Tonight booths. While walking around the Las Vegas strip, I found a few of these booths around. Though I didn’t personally go to a show, I know I will be using Tix 4 Tonight the next time I do go to Vegas to watch a show.
If the Las Vegas strip is too crowded or you’re not a fan of buildings, get out of the strip and into the Red Canyon or Hoover Dam. During my time in Las Vegas, I took a tour to the Grand Canyon. It took a few hours since we crossed over to Arizona, but during my trip, I also got to see the Hoover Dam.
It was such an amazing experience and made the trip so much better. Not only did I see the Las Vegas Strip, but I also got to experience the outdoors and crossed over to another state.
Of course, you don’t have to get out of Vegas for a less crowded scene. There are other places such as Fremont Street or the Neon Museum.
I went to the Neon Museum and learned so much about Las Vegas. This museum has a huge collection of old signs and for one hour, we took a tour of the whole place. Our tour guide was wonderful and really taught us about the history of some of the signs. This is a neat place to check out and gives you a different perspective of Las Vegas.
Now if you are looking for some free entertainment, then check out the outside shows some of the hotels offer. To name a few:
- The Fountains of Bellagio
- The Mirage Volcano
- Fall of Atlantis fountain show at the Caesars Forum Shops
- The Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo
- Performances in The Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes
I was able to experience the fountains of Bellagio, The Mirage Volcano and the performances in the Venetian. It was so much fun to see the fountains and definitely gave us something to do. I was also very much pleased with the performances in the Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes, which was conveniently located next to a gelato shop.
There’s plenty of entertainment in Vegas that fits anyone’s budget. Whether you are looking for free entertainment or something on the cheaper side, you will definitely find it in Las Vegas.
Food & Drinks
Majority of our money, went towards food. Since our hotel did not offer free breakfast and didn’t have a buffet like most of the hotels in Vegas, we were spending a lot more on food than we did on entertainment. I did buy about two Groupons towards food, but since I didn’t really know where all these places were located, I decided not to look for anymore discounts.
It is possible to eat cheap in Las Vegas. They do have a few outside the strip restaurants that will save you a few bucks and there’s also In-N-Out Burgers, but I do recommend to splurge at least once during the trip. My husband and I are huge foodies, so we decided to go to Cañonita Mexican Restaurant, which was near the indoor canal inside the Venetian. What made this so special was the fact that we got to sit next to the canal, where we got to see Gondolas pass by. Although it was far from being Italy, I really enjoyed the effort they made in making it look similar to Italy.
If you are wanting affordable food, then try out the food courts. During my stay, we ate most of our meals in the food court, just because it was affordable and fit mostly with our budget.
Since our hotel charged way too much for liquor, we went next door to the CVS and got ourselves liquor. The CVS next to the Palazzo sells anything you may need, even wine and beer. Of course, we did decide that the best way to drink was by going to the casino. If you would like to drink for “free” then the casino is your best bet. You would need to tip the server and you would also need to be playing in the casino. So for a few hours, we played and drank to our hearts content.
We didn’t go to any bars, but we did end up going to an outside stand right in front of Caesar’s Palace. The Bacardi Mojito Stand served some amazing Mojitos. I’ve never been a fan of Mojitos, but this place changed me. I ended up falling in love with the Maliberry, which is a Mojito consisting of Malibu Coconut Rum, strawberry slices, blueberries, mint and soda water.
Although this drink was very costly – $40 for two drinks. It was definitely worth it. If you like good liquor and drinks, this is definitely a spot to check out.
Last, but not least – Hotels. My stay at the hotel was a birthday gift from my wonderful mother, but there are definitely some great discounts on hotels in Las Vegas. While roaming around the different hotels, I was offered a 4 day/3 night stay plus 2 show tickets for $150 total at the Luxor. I was very impressed with the hotel and almost did take the deal, but sadly we did not (I am somewhat regretting that we didn’t…). There are a lot of deals that are offered throughout Vegas, but one thing I should make clear is that you do have to attend a time share presentation to get some of the deals.
I actually did this in Mexico and got a lot of free goods. If you are fine with touring a new place, listening to a few sales men and really considering in investing in timeshare, then I recommend going this route. They will also feed you and it doesn’t hurt to listen to some of the deals they have going on.
Also, for good hotel rates, make sure to check their website and discount sites such as Travel Zoo. While looking in Groupon, I had found a deal for 3 day stay with buffet for 2 for $150 (this does not include the resort fee). It is possible to find a good deal on the strip, but it does depend on the days you book your stay.
My Overall Experience
My visit to Las Vegas was wonderful! It was also a great way to celebrate my 30th birthday. I would change a few things about my trip, such as renting a car, but overall the trip was great. Now that I’ve been to Las Vegas, I feel like budgeting would be much better since I now know more about Vegas.
It is possible to enjoy Las Vegas on a budget. After all, there’s plenty to do and see, that does not require money. So if you’ve been hesitant about visiting Vegas due to finances, don’t hesitate and go! Remember you only live once, so enjoy the time you have.
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Disclaimer: I did receive media passes for the Neon Museum, but all opinions are my own.