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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

Is it hard to believe that Las Vegas is among the top travel destinations in North America? Glitzy strips of hotels, casinos, Elvis fakes, cabarets and thrills in the middle of a desert. Most popular among impulsive couples wanted to get hitched by The King, stag parties, gamblers at heart and the cougars who love a little luxury. Let’s do Vegas, on a budget!

Spending money in Vegas is, to say the least, very easy with dozens of high-rolling casinos, flashy musical shows and attractions for gamblers and non-gamblers alike. But there is hope for the budget traveller looking for the thrills of getting 21 at a Black Jack table or getting a snapshot with the best Elvis impersonator in America.

Unlike most travel destinations, Vegas doesn’t have an off-season so prices generally stay the same all year round. Being in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the weather allows for tourism all year round, although when summer hits most tourists stay indoors. Thanks to its popularity, you can find very cheap flights to Las Vegas in any season.

10 tips on how to save in Vegas:

  • Avoid travelling to Las Vegas during large conventions, poker tournaments or sports event like the NCAA Basketball Final Four Weekend which can easily book up the best hotels in the area far in advance, leaving few choices at high prices.
  • The water fountain show outside the Bellagio, as seen in Ocean’s Eleven, is free to watch and runs every 15 minutes. It’s even more stunning in the evening when the lights are turned on.
  • Head to Circus Circus for a free circus-style show with acrobatics and animals, just be forewarned that it attracts a large crowd. It runs daily at 11:00.
  • Stroll through the Venetian, with its replica St. Mark’s Square and Grand Canal, it’s hard to believe it’s not actually Venice. The boutique shops inside are out of most visitor’s budgets but window shopping is free.
  • When it comes to public transportation, ride it free when you can. There are two free trams. One runs between Mandala Bay, Luxor and the Excalibur while the other runs between Mirage and Treasure Island. There is also a free shuttle bus between selected hotels in Las Vegas, ask at your hotel concierge desk.
    It's just like Venice...almost!
  • When dinner calls, head to the buffets. Vegas is famous for its all-you-can-eat buffet dinners but they don’t usually appeal to travellers who want a memorable dining experience. For cheaper prices, find a restaurant off the Strip.
  • Be realistic when gaming, the chance of hitting it “big” is less than 5% in Vegas so determine how much money you can afford to lose before arriving and stop playing once its gone, simple. If you ask a slots guru, they’ll say your best bet at winning is at the Palms.
  • Visit the CityCenter complex museum for an afternoon of art appreciation. The Strip is in-your-face overwhelming and fine art and culture is not its strongest point but past the lights you can discover world-class paintings and beautiful architecture, all for free and open to the public. Some hotels and casinos also have art galleries worth check out.
  • Check out attractions beyond the limits of Las Vegas. The Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Zion National Park are all within easy reach from Las Vegas and are great and very affordable side-trips from Vegas.
  • When leaving give yourself more time than usual at McCarran Airport. The lines are notoriously long and although very close to the city’s attractions, many travellers think they have more time than they do. Missed flights are always expensive to replace.

What was your Las Vegas experience like? Did you hit the jackpot or meet Elvis? Share your stories!

Img: burningkarma / flickr cc

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