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The Ultimate Las Vegas Budget Travel Guide

The Welcome To Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas Nevada sign with the words "The Ultimate Las Vegas Budget Travel Guide" digitally written on top.

It’s no surprise that I love Las Vegas. It’s one of my favorite vacation destinations. Sin City can get expensive, but it won’t be if you plan your Las Vegas trip using this The Ultimate Las Vegas Budget Travel Guide.

This Las Vegas travel guide is the perfect way to plan your Las Vegas trip, fill it with fun activities, and save enough money during the trip that you can plan a trip back.

The Ultimate Las Vegas Budget Travel Guide

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Save on your flights

Plane tickets are generally the bulk of your vacation expense, so saving on your flights is a great way to save before you even step foot in Las Vegas.

We’ve all heard the tip to book flights on a Tuesday, but that’s a rumor according to my anecdotal data and according to the (perhaps more reliable) Thrifty Traveler. The best time to book a cheap flight is when you see a cheap flight.

With that being said, though, always check various booking websites before booking your flight. Check Orbitz.com, Booking.com, or other similar sites to see flight prices. Then, when you found one that fits your budget, check that airline’s website directly, just to make sure the price isn’t cheaper there.

Sometimes, you can get additional perks when you book through a third party site (like price matching) and sometimes, you can get more perks booking through the airline itself. So just choose what’s best for you.

If you’ve never flown before, be sure to check out our tips for first time flyers.

Kitchen in a hotel.

Save on your hotel

The easiest way to get a good deal on a hotel in Las Vegas is through a casino’s loyalty program. Almost weekly, I get an email from MGM International with an offer for three free nights at the Excalibur. And that’s because I play the MyVegas Slots game, which is connected to MGM Resorts properties.

If you gamble at casinos outside of Las Vegas, but have ties to Las Vegas properties, you can probably get complementary hotel offers in Las Vegas too.

Keep in mind that you will still have to pay resort fees at most hotels. The resort fee often includes things like WiFi, access to the pool and fitness center, shuttle access, and more.

Resort fees are an additional fee on top of the hotel cost. The fees vary from no fee to $45 (plus tax!). So definitely factor the resort fee in when you’re choosing your hotel. The cheapest room rate might not be the best value when you add in the resort fee.

A sweatshirt in a luggage bag.

Pack what you need

Things are more expensive in Las Vegas, even in the drugstores on The Strip. Suntan lotion, nail clippers, phone chargers, and sweatshirts are all marked up because stores know tourists come with disposable income.

So make sure you pack using our Las Vegas Packing List — and then double and triple check that you have everything. You don’t want to land and then immediately run to the drugstore because you forgot deodorant.

Dolphin tail above water.

Check out the free entertainment

There used to be a ton of free shows in Las Vegas. There’s a little less now than when I’ve gone in the past, but some of that has to do with the current state of the world and what can and can’t safely open at this time.

But there are still a bunch of free shows in Las Vegas.

The most popular is the water show in front of the Bellagio. We’ve seen it so many times, and even still, when the show starts and I’m walking by, I’ll stop to check it out.

Circus Circus has circus performances throughout the day, which is my favorite free show on The Strip. And downtown has the Fremont Street Experience, which is a gorgeous light show that’s a must do in downtown Las Vegas.

We’re in the process of putting together a long list of free shows in Las Vegas, but until then, you can check out this list.

You can also get free tickets for shows through the free MyVegas Slots app. We did that and got free tickets for the Shark Reef Aquarium At Mandalay Bay Las Vegas and Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden And Dolphin Habitat.

Sign advertising a stop for the Downtown Loop shuttle in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cheap transportation in Las Vegas

Rideshare is really popular in Las Vegas. It’s super easy to open the apps and request a ride anywhere you want to go. Depending on how often you’re riding versus walking, rideshare may be an affordable option.

But, there are budget-friendly transportation options in Las Vegas. There’s the Downtown Loop, a free shuttle service in Downtown Las Vegas. And there’s the RTC bus, which is very cheap when you purchase a daily pass. Plus, some of the hotels offer a free shuttle for its hotel guests and Las Vegas visitors.

Check out our Complete List Of Free Las Vegas Shuttles, which also includes information about additional Las Vegas transportation options.

Praying mantis statue at the Downtown Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas.

Leave The Strip

The majority of Las Vegas tourists will stay on the iconic Las Vegas Strip. And you should definitely experience it when you’re in Las Vegas because it is the heart of Sin City.

But downtown is where Las Vegas started, and you should check it out as well. Visit for the history, but also to help your budget. Meals and gambling are a little bit cheaper downtown than they are on The Strip. So your dollar goes a little further.

Plus, there’s so much to do downtown, from the Downtown Container Park to the Fremont Street Experience.

For ideas on planning a downtown Las Vegas itinerary, check out our 10 Must Do Things In Downtown Las Vegas post.

A plate of flautas at Pinches Tacos in Downtown Las Vegas.

Eat Locally

So much good food is served in restaurants in casinos in Las Vegas. And so many of the big name chefs have restaurants there. So you can definitely get great meals within the casino hotels.

But, you can eat well outside of those restaurants too. And you can save some money while you’re doing it.

Of course, we’re not local to Las Vegas, so we don’t want to recommend where you should go. But, we trust this article — Best Las Vegas Restaurants: 25 Secret Spots Where The Locals Eat — to send you in the right directions.

After you decide where you want to go, check out Restaurant.com. There are a ton of discounted restaurant certificates you can use at Las Vegas eateries. If you can find one for the restaurant you want to try, that’s a great way to save money.

A players card in front of a slot machine.

Use a player’s card when you gamble

Each casino in Las Vegas has a players card. Some of them are connected with other casinos, which means you can earn perks quicker.

Use the cards when you gamble, at either the slot machines or at the tables. You can acquire comps based on your game play. High rollers gamble a lot, so they get comps for things like hotel rooms and flights. But casual gamblers can get comps as well.

Often, casinos will offer free play to even casual gamblers. Plus, when you gamble, you earn points. Those points can be redeemed for items like food in the casino’s restaurants, drinks at its coffeeshops, and even towards sundries and souvenirs in its stores.

Definitely don’t leave Las Vegas without cashing out all your comp points.

A man gambling at a slot machine in Harrah's Murphy North Carolina.

Drink on the casino floor, not in the bars

While you’re gambling in Las Vegas, you are allowed complementary drinks. That includes alcoholic beverages, beer, coffee, soda, and water. Cocktail waitresses walk around, take your order, and bring your beverage to you.

The drinks are free as long as you’re gambling (although you should absolutely tip your waitress).

Drinking this way is a lot cheaper than getting a mixed drink in the bar or getting a coffee in the coffeeshop. And that can definitely save you some money while you’re on your trip.

Now, this tip is for people who are already planning on gambling. You have to be actively gambling to get the complementary beverages. You can’t just sit at a slot machine, order a drink, and then play on your cell phone until the waitress comes back.

Do you have any budget-friendly Las Vegas tips to add to our The Ultimate Las Vegas Budget Travel Guide? Let us know in the comments.