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Las Vegas on a Budget
by Sheena Knox
The glitz, the glamour, the showgirls, the shopping, the cuisine – Las Vegas is known for all of these things. Credit card in hand, you can do a lot of damage in just a weekend in Sin City, from stays in sumptuous five-star hotels to full-service salon packages to opulent meals from James Beard Award-winning chefs. Wouldn’t it be nice to plan a trip to Las Vegas that won’t break the bank? Believe it or not, there just as many opportunities to save as there are to splurge; chances are, the deals are so good (and the city’s entertainment is so hot) you won’t even feel like you’re visiting on a budget!
Keep a watchful eye for deals and sales. Speaking of eyes, some of the cheapest flights available are red-eyes, so consider being flexible on take-off time. Planning your trip around holidays (New Year’s Eve and July 4th, for example), spring break and the NCAA Final Four games will increase the chances that you find both airfare and hotel accommodation at the best price. Further, avoiding summer months will spare you the skin-scalding heat of the Nevada sun in full force.
Even if you’re close enough to make the drive, consider going Greyhound. The bus trip might tack a few hours onto your travel time, but it will save both your sanity (the deadly hot highways going into Las Vegas can be overcrowded with aggressive, anxious drivers) and your gas money. Plus, the newly redesigned buses come equipped with power outlets and free Wi-Fi.
If you’ve opted to budget your trip, then you can’t reasonably expect to get a presidential suite within your price range in a luxury hotel. What you can find, however, are knock-down prices for modest rooms with a lot to them. Consider booking your stay during the week, as weekend prices can skyrocket, especially on the Strip. If the thought of tweeting baffles you, find a more tech-savvy friend and ask them to help you set up an account; hotels are more and more offering exclusive deals via Twitter, with some rooms going for as low as $35.
Some great deals, Twitter or not, include the West Tower at Circus Circus (be specific), the Paradise Tower at Tropicana and the Hooters Casino Hotel, across the street from the MGM Grand, with rooms as low as $20 a night.
You should be aware of the Vegas resort fees, per-night prices tacked onto the final bill. In essence, the resort fees are the charge which usually covers amenities like water bottles and use of the pool or fitness center, although sometimes the resort fees don’t even cover that and internet is almost never included.
Going Out There
If you’d like to keep your stay as paltry as possible, consider taking a break from the slot machines to visit the abundant free attractions in Las Vegas, like the Aquarium at the Silverton, the gorgeous Conservatory at the Bellagio, the Neon Museum – and what trip to Vegas would be complete without a picture in front of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign?
Despite the haute cuisine and fine wines available for high rollers, there are affordable food and drink options throughout the city. The California offers tremendous $2 beer specials 24 hours a day, while the Bellagio and Mirage casinos serve up $5 cocktails from 10 p.m. until midnight; some clubs even let women drink for free during promotional “Ladies Nights” until a certain hour. Happy hours are popular and cost-friendly; if you can reframe your eating (and sleeping) schedules, consider getting a late, late supper (or super-early breakfast) from any of the myriad of “graveyard” specials offered between midnight and 6 a.m., where you can pile your plate sky-high with eggs, pancakes and sometimes even steak.
If you can’t stay away from the gaming tables, consider the Casino Royale with its $3 craps and $5 blackjack tables. Know that the further away from the Strip you go, the more likely you’ll find cheaper games, like at the Boulder Station, with its 50 cent roulette chips and the Nevada Palace, which offers $1 craps and blackjack.
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|Print article||This entry was posted by Barbara Kingstone on August 15, 2012 at 7:35 am, and is filed under Destinations, North America. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|