It may come as a surprise to those uninitiated, but Las Vegas can be an expensive town to vacation to. I mean, let's be honest, vice and debauchery come at a price. But there are ways to live it up in the city of sin without breaking the bank. While the big draw for Vegas has always been “The Strip,” which features a bevy of sprawling casinos with lavish décor and trendy nightclubs, there is a whole city to explore, and plenty of other places to have a great time off the beaten path. Below are a few tips to consider when preparing for a trip to the entertainment capital of the world.
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Nothing kills a trip like a costly flight. Always do your research before committing to a website or airline. Brand loyalty is only going to get you a few extra peanuts in the travel game. Be sure when checking prices that you always view multiple airlines as well as multiple travel websites. Google Flights is actually one of the best websites to use when shopping for airfare. While sites like these often have the best price, there is always the possibility that specific airlines will have special deals that may garner better options. For instance, Southwest Airlines doesn’t post their fares on these shopping websites. Make sure to visit their website directly for additional low fare possibilities. Also, consider Vegas’ slow seasons when planning your trip: July, August and mid-December. Ticket prices are typically lower not only for flights but also hotels and entertainment during these times.
Stay off The Strip
While no trip to Vegas is complete without spending some time on The Strip—it is a lot of fun and really highlights the glamour of Las Vegas—it doesn’t come cheap. Staying in this area can really cost you. Thankfully, Vegas provides a variety of options off the main drag to have a good time. While the flashy casinos are appealing, there are nice hotels off The Strip that provide equal levels of comfort and luxury for a lower price. Also, consider Fremont Street as an alternative spot to stay. Located further North of downtown Las Vegas, Fremont is a burgeoning cultural center that provides a variety of experiences. Situated as both a modern city-center with great food and shopping and a historic district, it provides a diversity of options for a good time. Free concerts, great local bars, old-school casinos and cheap gambling are only a few of the benefits gained from spending your time in this part of the city. As usual, sites like Priceline and Hotwire can save you big money on your hotel booking.
Take advantage of happy hour specials
While those swanky drinks and cool millennials in the nightclubs look enticing, hold off jumping straight into the club scene when planning your night (or day) out on the town. There are tons of great bars and pubs around town that provide excellent happy hour specials every day of the week. Websites like Las Vegas Happy Hour provide an excellent breakdown of great places to get some cheap drinks and an appetizer before really cutting loose. If you are looking to take in a show, you might actually be able to score some great discounts buying tickets last minute at a Tix4Tonight booth.
Take Uber and Lyft
Do not take a taxi! For years Vegas has been at the mercy of the cab company, but with Uber and Lyft now in Nevada, an easier and cheaper way to get around town is available. The bottom line: Taxis hate getting off The Strip because it is where all the money is, so they often charge exorbitant prices if you’re going anywhere else in the city. Uber and Lyft typically provide lower fares, and are much easier to get considering rides can be arranged through their proprietary app system anywhere.
Visit interesting historical sites
While Nevada is relatively young in the grand scheme of American history, there are still some interesting historical places to visit that provide a break from the more commercial aspects of Las Vegas. A few great museums to check out while staying in the city include: the Neon Museum, the Mob Museum, the National Atomic Test Museum and the Pinball Hall of Fame. All of them are great ways to learn a little something about the area, and they all charge a fair price. But, tours should be planned in advance, as several of them often sell out the day of.
Vegas is a great destination. But don’t forget to set a limit on how much you feel comfortable losing at the tables. Consider putting the amount you are willing to part with (should luck not be on your side) in an envelope and leaving your debit card in the room. If you are traveling with friends or a significant other, ask them to hold you accountable so that you don’t blow past your limit. Because there’s not much worse than leaving a fun city with a giant money hangover.