Las Vegas is flashy. Lights, casinos, entertainment, food, alcohol, nightclubs…basically, Vegas is full of all the things that cost money. A lot of money. But you want to see Vegas on a budget, right?
Most people go to Las Vegas with the intention of splurging. It’s all about having fun and indulging. People go to Vegas because they want to feel rich and live in the lap of luxury for a weekend. Las Vegas businesses know that, which is why prices are often high. People are willing to pay the price for fun.
But that’s also why you won’t usually see Las Vegas listed as a cheap travel destination.
You CAN visit Vegas on a budget, though. I took a three-day trip to Las Vegas earlier this year, set on making it a super-budget trip. While I didn’t indulge in the partying and gambling, I did have a lot of fun. Vegas can be done on the cheap, and it’s actually a lot easier than you’d think.
Keep reading to see how I spent 3 days in Las Vegas for under $300!
Vegas on a Budget — How to Spend Less
Cheap Flight to Vegas
My short Las Vegas vacation began with a flash airline sale from Frontier. When I saw that I could get a cheap flight to Vegas and back for only $60, I booked a ticket immediately. There were only a few dates available for the lowest price, but I had flexibility on my side. If you’re looking for a cheap flight to Vegas, check Frontier first.
Tip: Check budget airlines first, subscribe to flight deal email lists, and jump when you see a good price.
Budget airlines are able to offer super low fares by charging you for “extras”, which are actually pretty basic stuff. I avoided all of the extra fees others usually accrue by leaving my seating fate up to the travel gods. More importantly, I saved on fees by packing light. Frontier charges for baggage, regardless of whether it’s a checked bag or carry-on. I packed everything I needed into a small tote bag that counted as a “personal item”, so I had no baggage fee.
Tip: If you’re traveling for only a few days, bring the bare minimum. You’ll survive 3 days without outfit options or extra shoes (but bring what you actually need). Also, read airline baggage rules carefully, or you might end up paying higher fees at the gate.
Las Vegas Budget Hotel
Instead of booking a hotel on the Strip, I chose to stay downtown. I found quite a few cheap Vegas hotels in the area that were super affordable. Ultimately, I chose to stay at the Cabana Suites at the El Cortez. For just $42 a night (for 3 nights total), I had a nice room in a cute & stylish boutique hotel.
Tip: Avoid the overpriced trendy hotels on the Strip and find something downtown instead. It’s pretty easy to find cheap Vegas hotel rooms under $60/night downtown, so don’t waste your money on the lure of luxury.
Spend Your Money Wisely
Most people go to Las Vegas to party. That means going out to nightclubs, drinking, and gambling. If that’s why you’re in Vegas, by all means indulge–but that will certainly hike up your budget. I personally avoided all of that stuff, which made it easy to keep my wallet shut.
Tip: If you’re going out in Vegas, set a strict budget. Limit your drinks, don’t let gambling get out of hand, and in the end…if that doesn’t work, at least you had a good time!
Find the Free Stuff
I spent most of my time in Downtown Vegas, but I did spend a day exploring the Strip as well. Like I said before, there was no gambling or drinking for me, but there’s still plenty of ways to keep busy without spending money. The hotels on the Strip are attractions in and of themselves; just walking through and looking at what’s on offer is a fun way to spend time. Check out the gardens at the Bellagio, watch the famous fountains show, and stroll along the LINQ Promenade. There are so many cool little things to see at the various hotels, so enjoy the fantasy world that is Las Vegas!
Las Vegas on a Budget
This is a list of everything I spent during my three-day trip to Las Vegas. My one splurge was the Neon Museum. I ate at restaurants for every meal, so there are cheap places to eat in Vegas.
$60 Round-trip flight from St. Louis to Las Vegas
$126 3 night accommodation
$8 Public transit (buses to & from the Strip + the Airport)
$75 All food & drink
$18 Guided tour at the Neon Museum
Total Spent: $287
Visiting Vegas on a budget like this might not seem realistic for a lot of people. If you are headed to Vegas specifically to enjoy the nightlife, gambling, and party scene, then consider this bare bones budget a starting point. If you can get all of the necessities (flight, accommodation, food) for under $300, that will free up the rest of your budget for the fun stuff!
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