Leaving Las Vegas with Money in Your Pocket

Planning a trip to Vegas and don't know how to make it more budget-friendly? Keep reading to learn how to plan a low budget trip to Sin City.

When taking a trip to Vegas, you can easily go overboard by indulging in one thing or another during your stay, which can add up quickly. Plan your days around free and low-priced activities, so you don’t spend countless hours in the casino. They will offset any shows, clubs and dining experiences that cost a significant chunk of your budget.

You’ll feel like you’re living large in Sin City even when shelling out less money than expected.

Vegas Freebies


Las Vegas has a lot to offer those who aren’t eloping or trying to “win it all back”. In fact, there are so many free activities that you could spend several days there where you only pay for lodging and meals. Keep your wallet closed by doing these things:

Sirens of TI show. The show at what used to be called Treasure Island now is hip and “with it” and has scantily clad lady pirates traipsing around a ship, sword fighting and walking the plank.

Fall of Atlantis. Behind Caesars Palace in the forum shops you can eat at a long list of restaurants and then watch this animatronic show that happens every hour that tells of the struggles between the Gods and how Atlantis ended up on the ocean floor. At least, I think that’s what it was about.

Lions at MGM. My favorite activity is totally free and amuses all day. Smack dab in the middle of the MGM is the Plexiglas home of the MGM lions, where they lounge about and sometimes yawn or play with trainers. Watch from outside or inside the tunnel and then peruse the gift shop.

The fountains of Bellagio. Every night you can be entranced by the dancing water that is put to lights and music. This can be romantic if you’re on a couple’s getaway. If the weather is uncooperative, you can always see the show well from the windows of the shops upstairs.

The conservatory and botanical gardens of Bellagio – If you’re biding your time until nightfall to see those amazing fountains, take a trip into the botanical gardens to check out some awesome plant life. Hold hands and marvel at flowers. Chicks dig flowers.

Volcano show at the Mirage. If fire is your thing, then check out the new volcano show, complete with water show, flames and rockin’ music. Don’t forget to duck into the front entrance to admire the hard work of four gardeners at the atrium’s indoor rainforest. Wow!

Hawaiian Marketplace. Get a dose of Hawaii at the Hawaiian Marketplace near Polo Towers. It’s modeled after the International Marketplace in Honolulu. You can find anything you could possibly want – and a lot that you don’t – at the vendors here as well as be entertained by live music, shows and dancing. If you’re looking for a cheap lunch, you’ll find it here.

Fremont Street Experience. Like shiny things, or travel with someone who does? Then make a point to visit Fremont Street. The entire canopy lights up and makes you dizzy after staring upwards for so long. This may also be the best time to spend some money and go for a zipline under the canopy of lights. Fun!

Sightsee in another city. Stroll through the “streets” of Paris or New York or along the Venice canal.

Live music. Most casino lounges have live music. You can just hang out and enjoy it.

Marvel Circus Acts. Circus Circus has something for everyone, including free circus acts throughout the day.

Party at Carnivale. Several times a day you can see this spectacular Mardi Gras-esque show on and above the casino floor of the Rio. If you hang out on the second floor where the shops are, you get a close-up view of the “floats” that travel the ceiling in this very unique parade. You don’t even need to get inappropriate to score some beads.

Discount Fun


Play pinball and relive the past with games you used to love or have never seen at Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame Museum. Admission is free, though it costs $.25-.50 to play each machine.

Use Broadway Box to find discount codes on many of the popular shows in Vegas. Sometimes up to 50% off and at times inclusive of dinner, netting you an even better deal.

If staying on the Strip, skip the car rental and book an airport shuttle instead. You could save $100+ on a week stay and can take the free tram from one end of the strip to the other instead. Your trip can be super budget if you need it to be.

Plan your trip to Vegas outside of the summer months. When school is in session the tourism in Las Vegas drops dramatically. This works in your favor, because the hotels there have hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of rooms they need to fill every night. Prices drop drastically and hotels offer more incentives than ever to entice you to stay at one place or another.

This is your chance to stay at a higher-end hotel for the same price as some of the other mid-priced options. Many will often give you a deal if you just ask and sometimes you can suggest a reasonable rate they will give it to you. Make sure you talk to a manager in order to get the best discount.

Sign up for Groupon Las Vegas and get 50-90% off dining, entertainment, activities and more. This can be the best way to do things that you’ve wanted to at rock bottom prices or discover new activities and food you didn’t know of.

Get a package deal by using a site like BookIt. You could get lucky and end up paying for accommodations, flights and even a rental car for the rate of just one of those components.

Hotel rates are always cheaper on Sunday through Thursday nights. Most people travel on the weekend. They know this, just like the airlines, so they make prices for Friday and Saturday stays more expensive. In some cases, they can be twice as much – or more – as on weeknights.

Eat for Cheap


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so load up on protein and carbs to get you through your morning activities at an affordable buffet like these:

  • The Fantasy Market Buffet at the Palms
  • Circus Buffet at Circus Circus
  • Studio B Buffet at M Resort
  • French Market Buffet at Orleans
  • Ports O’ Call Buffet at Gold Coast
  • Any of the Fremont Street casinos offer super cheap buffet prices, if you are willing to get up early enough to make it over there. Of course, if you’re staying in that area it makes it a lot easier.

Linger over a Parisian lunch at JJ’s Boulangerie at the Paris Hotel and Casino. Not only can you rest your feet, but you can also sit at a table on the “sidewalk” and people watch while you eat and relax.

Get off the strip and head over to Ellis Island on the street behind the Paris. You can get a delicious and hearty breakfast for just $6.99.

Duck into the Golden Gate Casino and get a $1.99 shrimp cocktail from the San Francisco Shrimp Bar & Deli, watch more cool stuff out on the streets in the Fremont area and then find dinner at the Four Queens Hotel and Casino’s Magnolia’s Veranda and get a prime rib dinner for just $8.95.

As you can see, there are many ways to make your trip to Las Vegas budget-friendly. Doing more for less is always a great thing and so is being able to splurge on a few things while still keeping from losing your shirt.

Packing your trip with fun activities can also prevent you from spending too much time in the casino. It gives you the chance to get out and explore Las Vegas and see things you may have missed on previous visits to the city. So, pack your bags and hit it big with a vacation deal to the desert.

Cover photo: www.wallsave.com

About the author


A self-proclaimed budget travel enthusiast, Shereen spends her days looking for fantastic travel bargains, watching great (and sometimes really bad) movies with her husband, planning theme parties and preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

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