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 budget 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!
How to Visit Vegas on a Budget
Find Cheap Flights to Vegas
My short Las Vegas vacation began with a flash airline sale from Frontier. When I saw that I could get cheap flights 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 cheap flights to Vegas, check Frontier and other budget airlines first.
Tips for Finding Cheap Flights to Vegas:
- Check directly with budget airlines like Frontier or Southwest
- Book your ticket immediately (you can cancel within 24 hours if necessary)
- Be flexible: the cheapest flights will be during times other people don’t want to fly
- Subscribe to airfare email lists
Las Vegas Budget Accommodation
People usually like to live in luxury while in Las Vegas. While it’s totally understandable to want that kind of Vegas trip, you don’t HAVE to spend a lot of money on fancy hotels. Instead of booking a hotel on the Strip, stay somewhere off strip. Instead of booking a suite, book a modest room. I found tons of Las Vegas budget hotels that are super affordable, so there’s no need to splurge. There are also plenty of Las Vegas AirBnBs and hostels you can stay in.
I chose to stay downtown during my budget trip to Vegas. There are lots of affordable hotels downtown so the choice was tough. But ultimately, I chose to stay at the Cabana Suites at the El Cortez. For just $42 a night, I had a nice room in a cute & stylish boutique hotel.
More Tips for Finding Las Vegas Budget Accommodation:
- Stay somewhere off the strip–Downtown is a great option
- Book a modest room instead of a suite (most of your time will be spent out & about anyways)
- Consider renting an affordable Las Vegas AirBnB (+$40 towards your first booking)
- Use the Dosh app to get cash back on your Vegas hotel (+$25 bonus for your first booking)
How to Be Frugal in Vegas
Most people go to Las Vegas to party. That means going out to nightclubs, drinking, and gambling. All of that adds up to A LOT of spending on unnecessary things. If you’re in Vegas specifically to party, then by all means indulge. But obviously that will empty your wallet pretty fast.
I personally avoided all of that stuff, which made it easy to keep my money in my pocket. I walked through the casinos, I had a couple of drinks, but other than that, I just didn’t engage in that side of Las Vegas.
Tips for Saving Money in Vegas:
- Set a strict budget before you go to Las Vegas and STICK TO IT.
- Don’t gamble. You will only lose money.
- Avoid those crazy expensive drinks you find at the clubs. Either have a few drinks in your hotel room before going out, or stick to a couple of cheap drinks for the night.
Free Things to do in Las Vegas
The biggest obstacle to visiting Vegas on a budget is finding a way to spend your time without spending money. I spent most of my time in Downtown Las Vegas, but I did take a day to explore 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 buying things. 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.
Here are a few free things to do in Vegas:
- Watch the fountain show in front of the Bellagio
- Wander through the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo hotel
- Get a picture in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign
- Check out the seasonal exhibit in the Bellagio Conservatory
- Be a part of the Fremont Street Experience & watch the light show
- Watch the nighty Mirage Volcano show
- Spend the afternoon at the Downtown Container Park
- Go street art hunting in Downtown Las Vegas
Las Vegas on a Budget
This is a breakdown of everything I spent during my 3-day budget trip to Las Vegas. My one splurge was a tour of the Neon Museum. I also ate at restaurants for every meal (which is unusual for me), so there are cheap places to eat in Las 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 Las 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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