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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 better time
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
for 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
start at $40 roundtrip (GoVegasBus), $55 (Greyhound),
or $125 (LuxBus,
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; 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
This one is easy: Just stay on the Strip.
That's where most of the
sights and sounds are, and you won't pay extra to stay there.
Strip casinos offer rates as low
as $24 a night
mid-week, and $50 on weekends. And every
hotel/casino on the strip is very good quality. The catch is that
most strip hotels charge a "resort fee" of $6 to $20 a night. The
two value hotels without a resort fee are Imperial Palace and Bill's Gamblin' Hall.
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
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 high-end hotel.
See our list of Vegas
casinos too 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 Sahara, the Stratosphere, and Downtown. Either
bus $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.
SHUTTLES. The 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
baggage claim areas and face the direction of the escalators that are
coming down from the second floor. Go right past the escalators,
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.
TAXIS. Taxis 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
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
survival guide will make it a lot easier.
Walking the strip is a viable
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 transportation page.
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.
Top 10 Tips
- 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 Vegas casinos.
- Don't lose your shirt. Don't bet more
than you can afford to lose. Set a budget for
each playing session and if you lose it, stop
- 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 of
- 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
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
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
- 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 Four Queens).
- 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 4 Tonite
Current shows. Destination 360.
Comedy clubs: Las
Vegas Online and Vegas.com.
Dance Clubs: 10Best, LV
Lounge Acts: Vegas.com and Review-Journal.
Free Stuff in Vegas
tells you what you can get for free, and where.
Las Vegas Leisure Guide offers many printable
coupons for casinos, shops, and shows, but their selection isn't
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 up with.
Social Clubs &
See the list at the Las Vegas
Here's an excerpt: 39k yearly
visitors, spending an average of $952 each, in 133k hotel rooms with
89% occupancy and an average rate of $103/night. (more tourism stats
Here's a complete list of
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
Free Gaming to try to get casinos to ban smoking.
of the Strip
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
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.
|a d v e r t i s e m e n t s
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Most online casinos
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On the whole Internet, I found exactly one
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Here's what I mean by no hassles:
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That's not just a hassle: after you do so you
can expect them to badger you by email trying to
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Bottom line: If you want to play for free
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Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.
Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.