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When to visit
Visit mid-week if you can! Hotel
rooms often cost three to four times as much
on the weekends as during the week! Plus, with weekend
crowds you'll wait in line for everything.
Mid-week visitors save tons of money and have a much
Vegas rarely gets below freezing in winter, but it
will bake you in summer with average highs of 100°F+
(37°C+). See average temps at right, or the forecast
the next week.
Getting to Vegas
will get you the cheapest airfare most of the time.
Use the "Flexible Dates" feature to save even
more. For more tips see my guide
to cheap airfare. Though I actually hope
you won't fly. If you will fly, here's the
shortcut to the lowest fares:
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Here's a link to the McCarran
Airport website to check flight times.
Buses from Los Angeles take 5 to 7 hours and
roundtrip prices start at $8 (Megabus),
the "luxury bus").
Rideshares can be found on Craigslist.
Vegas isn't served by train, but Amtrak
(the train company) lets you book a trip to Vegas on
their site; they take you on a bus for the last leg of
the trip. The closest the train gets to Vegas is
Los Angeles or Kingman, AZ, which are 6.5 and 2.5
hours away from Vegas by bus respectively.
Where to stay
The Strip is usually your best bet, because it's
where most of the sights & sounds are, and you
usually won't pay extra to stay there. The
catch is that every strip hotel charges a resort
fee of $5-25/night, but some of the downtown
casinos don't (Four Queens, Fremont, California, and
El Cortez). So those non-fee hotels will usually
be your cheapest bet, though sometimes a strip hotel
will be cheaper even with the resort fee. Before
the resort fee, strip casinos sometimes have rates as
low as $24 a night
mid-week, and $50 on weekends. Every
hotel/casino on the strip is very good quality, too.
Find Vegas hotels with a single click:
I picked that particular search engine because it
clearly identifies which properties are on the Strip
and which aren't.
If you're coming on the weekend and need to pay
less than $50, you can do so be staying dowtown
or near the Strip (rather than on the
Strip). See our cheap
hotels page for more.
If this is a special/romantic trip and you want
luxury, the classiest hotels are the Four
Seasons, Venetian, Bellagio, and the Wynn. But a
better value is to get a suite at one of the lesser
properties. You can get a massive suite with a
hot tub at places like the Luxor and Stratosphere for
a fraction of what you'd pay for just a room at a
See our list of Vegas
casinos to see which are on the strip,
downtown, and elsewhere.
Getting to your Hotel
THE BUS. The
Westcliff Airport Express goes from the airport
straight to the South strip (MGM Grand, Tropicana,
NY NY, Luxor), and then to downtown. The #108 bus
goes from the airport straight to the Stratosphere and
Downtown. Either bus is $2. If you're going
elsewhere, you can take the #108 or #109 and then
transfer to a Strip bus. (If you're making a
transfer, buy a $7 day pass when you get on the first
bus.) See our bus
page for more.
private shuttles are $6 (to the Strip) or $8 (to
downtown) per person. They're a
great deal if you're traveling solo, a kinda good deal
if you're traveling as a couple, but no cheaper than a
taxi if there are 3+ in your party, since taxis are
the same cost for 1-4 people. To find the shuttles, go
to the space between the two big baggage claim areas
and face the direction of the escalators that are
coming down from the second floor. Walk past the
escalators, walk out the door, and look left or
right. Note that your hotel likely doesn't have
its own shuttle service, unless you're a high roller.
will run you about $17 to the Strip or $23 to
downtown, plus the (recommended) 15% tip. See
our guide to taxis.
CAR RENTAL. There's
no need to rent a car. Buses go up and
down the Strip and to downtown 24/7, and walking is
also an option.
Here's a map of all the
Get a free room upgrade when you check in
When you check in, sandwich a $20 bill
between your credit card and ID and casually ask if
there are any complimentary room upgrades available.
Nine times out of ten you'll get it, and if you can't
then the clerk will return your $20. See FrontDeskTip.com
If you're a vegetarian or vegan you're
gonna be shocked at how little is available for you on
the Strip. But our vegetarian
guide will make it a lot easier.
Walking the strip is a viable option.
Cabs are expensive, and you often have to wait in a
long line at the hotel to get one. (They can't and
won't stop on the street.) The entire strip is
only four miles long and you could walk the whole thing
in an hour and a half.
Two buses serve the Strip: The Deuce, and the
"Strip & Downtown Express" (SDX).
There's no such thing as a single-ride fare, you pay
either $5 for a two-hour pass, or $7 for a 24-hour pass
(good for 24 hours from the time of purchase). Get
the $7 pass for sure. The Deuce stops at every
casino, so it's slow. The SDX makes only a few
stops so it's faster, but it might not pick up or drop
off exactly where you like. Both buses run
frequently, 24/7. See more about the buses on our
Up to four people can ride in a taxi for the price of
one, so if there are 3+ people in your
party then a cab ride could be competitive with the
bus. Personally, I usually boycott taxis because
so many of them drive so dangerously. Taxis cost
$3.30 to get in, $2.40 per mile, and a $1.80 surcharge
for airport service. See our taxis
page for more.
- Visit mid-week. Hotel
rooms often cost three to four times
as much on the weekends as during the
week! Plus, with weekend crowds you'll
wait in line for everything.
Mid-week visitors save tons of money and have
a much better time.
- Get a player's card. Go to the
Player's Club desk at any casino you visit and
sign up for a free player's card, even if you
don't plan to gamble there. Then the
casino will mail you offers for discounted or
even free rooms on your next visit. You
can also sign up for the MGM/Mirage
and the Harrah's
cards online, which combined will work at 23
- Don't lose your shirt. Don't bet more
than you can afford to lose. Set both a budget
your whole trip and one for each playing
session, and if you lose it, stop playing.
- Don't play slot machines. They suck
your money away hand over fist. Compare
$600 lost over 16 hours on a $0.25
machine compared to just $40 lost at
blackjack or craps @ $5 a hand. See our
crash course on
table games to have a much better chance
- Tip the dealers $5/hr. and the cocktail
waitresses $1 every drink or two.
- Ask for comps. When you play either
slots or table games the casino will reward
you with buffets, show tickets, or room
discounts. Ask at the player's club booth
(slot players) or at the tables (table
players) for how to claim your goodies. (more
- Use the buses. The Westcliff Express
bus goes straight from the airport to the
South Strip (MGM Grand, NY NY, Luxor,
Tropicana) for $2. The #108 goes from
the airport to the Stratosphere and then to
downtown, for $2. Pay $7 for a 24-hour
pass when you get on any bus, and then ride
any bus in the city for free for the next 24
hours, including the Deuce and Strip/Downtown
Express buses. See our special page that
tells you all
about the buses.
- Don't try to get taxis on the strip.
Taxis can't stop directly on the strip; that's
why they're passing you by. Go to the taxi
area of the hotel to get one. Up to 4 people
ride for the same price as 1; if there's just
2 of you, don't be afraid to yell out, "Anyone
want to split a cab to [some casino]?" It
doesn't just save money, it's eco-friendly.
- Walk. The whole strip is four miles
long and you could walk the whole thing in an
hour and a half. Plus, it helps work off
the calories from the buffets.
- Get Half-Price Show Tickets. You can
tickets for most Vegas shows at one of
the several booths on the Strip (just S. of
the Riviera, outside the Fashion Show Mall
across from the Wynn, in the Hawaiian
Marketplace across from the Monte Carlo, and
next to GameWorks), or downtown (outside the
- Bank your winnings. Set aside half
your win when you win big, and never gamble
it, so you have a guaranteed win.
Half-Price Tickets: Tix
Current shows. Destination
Comedy clubs: Las
Online and Vegas.com.
Dance Clubs: 10Best,
Lounge Acts: Vegas.com
Free Stuff in Vegas
tells you what you can get for free, and where.
Las Vegas Leisure Guide offers many
coupons for casinos, shops, and shows, but
their selection isn't that large.
offers a larger selection, but his list isn't
formatted and is cumbersome to read, you have to
pay for the coupons, and when we signed up for
his newsletter we started getting spam from
another company to the special address we signed
Social Clubs &
See the list at the Las
• 39k yearly visitors, spending an
average of $952 each
• Avg. gambling spend per visitor is $480, down
from $650 before the recession (2013)
• 133k hotel rooms with 89% occupancy and an
average rate of $103/night.
• See more tourism stats from UNLV
Here's a complete
list of upcoming conventions.
Every single casino in Las Vegas allows
smoking, though most poker rooms are smoke-free.
Sometimes some of the table games have
no-smoking signs, but those are the exception
and not the rule. A former casino employee who
got lung cancer from secondhand smoke started Smoke
Gaming to try to get casinos to ban
West-side Hike &
If you're staying on the west side of town
(e.g., with a friend or in an Airbnb rental, or
maybe you live there), then here's a nice map of
trails in west Las Vegas.
Photos/Virtual Tour of
Photos, movies, and 360-degree
virtual tours of casinos and the Strip from LasVegas.com.
And here are some more 360-degree movies from LasVegas360.
Historical Map of the
map shows what hotels used to be
on the Strip, and what's there now. Also check
out our Vegas
Las Vegas on $19/day
This isn't a how-to guide, it's an
incredibly funny story of how two guys managed
to spend less than $19 a day on their Vegas trip. (The
rest of their site has how-to tips for saving
money.) Note this is circa 2000, so lots in the
story -- like the prices -- are rather dated.