I feel that most of the posts that I make on this blog are dedicated towards the stock market and the inner workings of my portfolio but I want to remind myself that the blog wasn’t just meant for that purpose. It was also made to discuss topics of personal finance that can lead to better money handling which then translates to more to invest with. That being said, there was a post on Mr. Money Mustache’s message boards today that was discussing frugal people’s views on Las Vegas.
Most of the replies were centered around “oh my God, I hate Vegas! (insert silly reasoning about how expensive it is or how bad some of the people can be there)”. On the other hand, there were a few who replied that saw it in a different light – a much more positive one. I myself am of the positive stand point on Vegas. In fact, in the last year, the wife and I have been several times (me three times and her twice).
Where some have found the city to be a money pit and the land of bad decisions (the capital?), I have found Vegas to be one of the most unique cities in the United States and I think that it would be a crime for anyone to not experience it at least once. I write this post today then to describe how one can go about visiting and enjoying Las Vegas without dropping thousands of dollars on the trip.
First off, Vegas has many hotel options. If you’re going to stay in Vegas, you’ll likely be choosing one of those hotels as a main point or at least you should if you want the whole experience. If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to stick to one of the tips of the strip. I recommend staying at the Luxor as it is the cheapest hotels that still provides good amenities. The hotel is clean, reasonably priced, and has good options for food. If you don’t know already, Vegas is one of the best places to negotiate room rates. For us, I simply reserve the lowest room rate possible when I book before going. Once we arrive at the hotel, I talk to the front desk about any available upgrades. They will generally respond with a rate that is lower than what was listed online for a sizable upgraded room. At this point you can either give them a story about why you’re there (for us, it was for our first trip to Vegas as a couple) or you can just try and smooth talk your way further. Most times they will “speak to their manager” about an even better rate and they will come back with an even better price. By doing this, you can get the Vegas treatment with a really nice room but for only a few bucks more than the basic room. For us we were upgraded to the two bedroom suite for only $20/night more instead of the $150/night difference that was listed online.
The other reason that I recommend the Luxor is that it is well positioned for cheaper food options. It is attached by indoor walk way to the Excalibur. The Excalibur is a pretty run down hotel that has seen and run past its prime. Lucky for you however, this provides better and cheaper food options. The last time we were there, they currently had a 24hr Krispy Kreme, McDonalds, KFC, and other cheaper options. This can help keep costs down so that you can see some shows or experience the free attractions.
Speaking of free attractions, Vegas has tons of them. Almost every hotel on the main strip has a free show somewhere inside or outside of it. Look for them – they’re there. Bellagio has the free fountain show. Caesar’s Palace has the Atlantis show in the shops. Walk up and down the strip and you will find them. If you’re looking to experience the real shows for a budget however, head to the Luxor’s ticket counter. Don’t get confused with the scalpers that you see at hotel entrances- those aren’t the real ticket booths. Luxor had their ticket booth on the second floor by the museums. You can get cheaper tickets to see Carrot Top (really funny stand up!) and other shows. Luxor also offers a triple offer where you can pay one price and get three tickets.
These were the most money savvy tricks that we used to go to Vegas on a budget. There are tons of others but this should get you all a great start. If you have others, please comment below as the wife and I would love to hear about them from others who also enjoy visiting the city of sin!