Vegas on a Budget

Written By:

shutterstock_435780949Vegas has become a very popular place to go for groups looking for a good time. Before going to Vegas, you want to have plenty of time to save money for shopping, bars, buffets, and of course nightlife.

I went to Vegas for a friend’s Golden Birthday, which means she turned 26 on the 26th. We had been planning this trip for several months and decided to book far in advance.

Booking Sites  

Once you have made that final decision to travel, be sure to do your research and compare your different booking options. Go with a brand or travel company you are familiar with so you don’t walk into any surprises. In this case, we booked with Vegas.com and there are also other great travel sites such as; Bookit.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak and Booking.com. A great thing about Bookit.com is they now have a program called Pay Delay which allows you to book your travel and make monthly payments towards your trip instead of paying the full balance at one time. This program is exclusive to select hotel + flight packages.

When booking with a group make sure everyone is reliable and responsible enough to hold up their end of the deal. Usually, when booking a package deal you can only use one credit card. So, be sure everyone can pay their part and knows what to expect. When booking months in advance, you generally save more than the last minute traveler.

Discounts

We booked our hotel + flight package with Vegas.com and paid $530 per person.

The package included a round-trip flight with a discount airline and a 3 night stay at The Venetian Hotel. With the airlines,  you want to be prepared to pay for the “extras”, such as; bags, seats, and your boarding pass. However, when printing your boarding pass ahead of time with your own printer, it’s free. Also, when you allow the airline to select your seat, there is no charge. The only extra fee we incurred was a $80 fee for checked bags.

Once in Vegas, we took a $10/person Super Shuttle to the hotel from the airport. Since we arrived to our hotel way ahead of check in time, we mentally prepared ourselves to roam the Vegas Strip. Thankfully, there was an early check-in package which allowed you to check-in before 10 a.m., 50% off casino bar drinks, and a free grab & go breakfast for 2, for an extra $40/person.

When booking flights and reserving hotels it is important to read all the fine print. We made a mistake by skipping that part and were told about the extra hotel resort fee at check-in.

Preparing for the Trip

After you have paid for your trip, you want to start thinking about what you will need. Shop sales ahead of time and you won’t be forced to make last minute online orders at full price. If traveling with a group of close friends, and especially if you are staying in the same hotel room, designate someone to bring the sunscreen or curlers to avoid bringing duplicate items. When packing your luggage, always perform the roll method to allow for extra room and lighter weight of your bag. If you are unfamiliar with the rolling method, this youtube video should help https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17smmlESBls. If you have a scale at home, weigh your bag to be sure it doesn’t exceed 40 lbs to avoid an extra fee with the airline.

Having fun without spending major bucks

The #1 one advice I can give to those that want to have a great time in Vegas without spending tons of money would be, DON’T GAMBLE. If gambling is new to you or not something you would normally partake in, then just don’t do it. This will save you so much. Be sure to buy any tickets for shows/events online ahead of time. Our trip was booked through Vegas.com and we constantly received offers for different deals. While walking the strip in Vegas, take any hand-outs. It is usually a map full of coupons and discounts for shows and dining. Plan out your day by deciding on what your group wants to do based on the coupons you have. Buffets and refillable drink places are the best ways to get a lot of food for your money and spend less on alcoholic beverages. If your hotel offers a continental breakfast, take advantage of it. Another great thing about Vegas is that you don’t need a rental car, because everything is within walking distance. This way, you avoid hotel parking fees and save on gas.

When it comes to nightlife in Vegas, you ALWAYS want to plan ahead versus just showing up, not knowing what to expect. Entry fees are half the price for a group of women then it is for guys. There will be tons of party promoters on the strip trying to get girls deals to go to certain parties and nightclubs. Make your best judgement on which “Strip” promoters offer you choose to take advantage of. My group went with a two night club, open bar, and skip the line package for $20/person. Since we were only there for 3 nights this was perfect for us to have two nights at a different club.   

Lastly, make sure to be realistic with your budget to be sure you don’t set yourself up to fail and end up with not enough money to finish your trip or in the red when you get home. The worst souvenir from a vacation is debt!

Key things to remember when planning your trip to Vegas

  1. Book far in advance
  2. Compare travel sites
  3. Read reviews and the fine print
  4. Book as a package (Flight + Hotel)
  5. Take advantage of coupons
  6. Use cash for almost everything
  7. Beware of scammers
  8. Plan out day to day activities