Las Vegas continues to be a preferred destination for Canadian travelers looking to have some fun, do some gambling and see some shows. But Sin City can also be expensive. Here’s how to enjoy Vegas on a budget.
Getting There Cheap. Many travel websites offer regular discount travel offers to Las Vegas. Most include flight and hotel, but no food or drinks. For instance,redtag.ca offers a 3-day trip to Las Vegas from Ottawa for under $500, including taxes and fees. The redtag deal includes accommodation at Circus Circus Las Vegas, considered to be one of the best value hotels on the strip.
Getting Around Cheap. Vegas taxis are notoriously expensive and the drivers don’t have the best reputation. Uber or Lyft can get you around for much less than a taxi. But the best way to get where you’re going is public transportation. A seat on a double decker bus (known as the “deuce”) will cost $6 and includes 2-hour access. For an extra $2, you can ride for up to 24 hours. A weekend pass costs just $20. The Deuce runs 24/7 and buses arrive every 20 minutes or so. Another option is to rent a car. redtag.ca provides a $42 per day deal, picking up at the Las Vegas airport.
Gambling – be smart about it. Your gambling can include $20 on the slots, which lasts about five minutes and provides very little entertainment. More experienced gamblers can have fun playing craps or poker, both of which offers cheap tables ($5 or $10 minimum), and you can play for as long as you like. Another option is bingo. A bingo card costs just $4 and the games last about one hour. As with most games in Vegas, you drink for free while playing.
Skip the buffet. I know what you’re thinking: Vegas buffets are famous! True, but they are also expensive and let’s face it, when have you ever enjoyed really good food at a buffet? It’s an assembly line set up, and the final product often reflects that approach. Instead, opt for a meal at one of the city’s numerous good restaurants. You’ll pay about half the cost of a buffet and your taste buds will thank you.
Drink Cheap. As mentioned above, you drink for free when you’re gambling in Vegas. But wait staff can be hard to find and often won’t come back after the initial visit, even after a decent tip. Look around for happy hour specials at the city’s numerous bars. Avoid expensive cocktails at nightclubs and high-end restaurants.
Discount shows. Vegas is all about live entertainment, but many of the city’s popular shows can be expensive. Look online for show discounts, there are plenty. The city’s performing arts September calendar includes Kenny Loggins, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Jerry Seinfeld and Santana. And there are always several Cirque de Soleil shows on the go.
In addition to the ideas mentioned above, the city offers art displays and live music in the Arts District the first weekend of each month. Popular (and free) Vegas sights include the Bellagio’s water fountain, as well as a volcanic eruption at the Mirage and a pirate show at Treasure Island.
Las Vegas is all about having fun, but that fun doesn’t always have to cost lots of money.