I know that when I think of the city of Las Vegas, in and of itself, there is definitely a glittering dollar sign somewhere to be found in the montage of sensory imagery flooding my brain. Throughout its history, the majority of visitors have come to Vegas to try and attain riches. However, more and more Vegas is beginning to use the casino industry as a solid backdrop to give way to even more glamorous and alluring experiences. The nightlife and daylife scenes are definitely offering more permanent and less fleeting memories to the average consumer.
For the past decade or so Vegas has solidified itself as the entertainment capital of the world. But to the average consumer the costs associated with a weekend in Vegas can sometimes be daunting. However, with careful planning and budgeting, you can avoid money holes and tourist traps. In turn, you’ll get the best possible time without any guilt.
If you are the brave soul that decided to come to Vegas for your 21st birthday without any financial backing from Mom and Dad, then this article is for you. Maybe you’re experiencing major #postgradproblems and your job has you at your wits and a last minute Vegas trip is your only salvation. No matter your motivations, following these guidelines will help make your dollar go the proverbial distance, so you can focus on what’s important: letting the good times roll.
1) If you must gamble, avoid playing against a computer.
Ideally if you want to get the most bang for your buck in Vegas you’d steer clear of gambling and save your money for balling hard at the clubs. But this is Vegas we're talking about. Generally speaking, the odds are never in your favor, what with the whole "the house always wins" thing ... Common sense would dictate to not invest your money in such a losing battle. However, there are methods to the madness and there are ways to raise your chances of winning. Video slots, keno, etc. are money eaters and don't really offer opportunities for strategy. Before you know it you're heading back to the ATM to pull out another $100. That’s money that could go toward throwing in on a VIP table at a club. Check out casinos that offer low buy-ins like The Cosmopolitan (They even offer easy-peezy games like Casino War for total newbs), so you can try and build your stack of chips and cash out with some extra money for mischievous activities.
Depending on the level of drinking skills you’ve honed back home it would be to your benefit to buy a bottle at a discount liquor store close to the strip to keep in your hotel room. If you’re the type to chase a buzz then you’ll want to mitigate the damage your wallet will incur at the nightclub bar with plenty of pregame libations before stepping foot outside your hotel room. Don’t bother taking a flask though if you plan on getting into a nightclub or any other venues. Road beers are your friend.
3) Don’t waste money on a cab; Walk.
Shocking, I know. I can hear you in your head “Next thing you’ll be telling me is to take the stairs instead of elevators!” With the money you’ll save from taking multiple cab trips, you could splurge on a swanky hour limo cruise (unlike cabs, they have no problem with bringing alcohol onboard) and arrive in style for the main night out. I know it's one the greatest mysteries of our time ... how people managed to get anywhere before the advent of motor vehicles, but the walk from Mandalay Bay to Wynn is only 3 miles. Taking in the beauty of the Strip with a beer or yard long daiquiri is definitely an experience to behold.
4) Book your Vegas hotel 31-45 days prior to your desired check-in date
If you’re like the rest of mankind, chances are you wait until the last minute to do anything with any sort of importance attached to it. Even if the idea sprouted in your mind early on, it is easy to put off organizing and booking the important stuff early. Thirty days out from your check-in date and later is when most hotels begin to raise wholesale rates. Prior to that you’ll find the lowest rates until they hike they spike back up at the 45-day mark.
5) When it comes to dining, do your research.
Vegas is especially hard to determine where the tourist traps lie. Everything overwhelms the senses and seems so unbelievably awesome. When it comes to food, though, the ambiance and atmosphere can cause you to shift your focus away from actual food quality. Be on the look out for hotel properties that include breakfast with your room booking. Look for well-reviewed restaurants that don’t break the bank. If you eat like a lion (1 or 2 big meals a day) then you’ll definitely want to hit up the buffets or all-you-can-eat prime rib spots.
Vegas is certainly a shopping Mecca, and you can’t have the full experience without at least setting aside a time slot during the day for at least one shopping spree. Vegas boasts quite a number of premium outlets, which offer high-end brand for serious discounts. If you’re looking to pick up some gear then definitely hit up one of the premium outlets like, otherwise you might be tempted to spend that bonus check on that Saint Laurent jacket at the Forum Shops.
7) Set aside cash for each night, and leave the plastic at home.
If you haven't noticed yet, the majority of this article has consisted mostly of planning ahead. Balling on a budget isn't about winging it or "seeing where the night takes us." It is about maximizing your time and money spent while you’re in town. You simply can’t keep track of your spending if you hand over your debit or credit card to the bartender. Following this method will also keep you from losing you life savings while you’re out on the town.
8) Check out a multi-faceted venue that encompasses different forms of entertainment.
Vegas is constantly progressing when it comes to wowing visitors with entertainment options. I know that some nights I feel like bouncing from place to place and others I like to stay put. If you are a fan of live bands then definitely check out Brooklyn Bowl for a killer combo of food, booze, bowling, and live tunes.
9) Checkout Downtown Vegas
Too many locals are unfamiliar with this playground area, mostly because of distorted hearsay and old memories of downtown. We’re not talking about sitting in an ancient smokey casino. Fremont has been given a major facelift recently and offers endless options when it comes to cocktail lounges and shows. Container Park next door is the place to party outdoors.
10) Book in advance through a reputable company that is passionate about serving their customers and saving them money
Forgive the shameless plug, but there is a reason why the concierge business exists. Too many people are looking to make a quick buck here in Sin City, and obviously the hotel properties themselves want to do everything they keep your spending within their walls. We can help you plan the perfect itinerary, and give an objective and educated opinion on where to go and how to spread out your budget optimally. With rare and an almost old-world quality of customer service, Galavantier is here to help make your Vegas trip unforgettable.