You have a tight budget, but you don’t want to sleep in a sleazy off-strip hotel and eat generic buffet food. You want to indulge, you want to gamble, and you want to have enough money left to get home. If you’re going to be able to accomplish all of these things, you have to be frugal and you have to plan ahead. Learn how I accomplished all my goals and hopefully you’ll be able to do the same.
1. Determine what you really want to do in Vegas and roughly prioritize these activities.
-eat really good food at non-franchise restaurants
-stay in a hotel room that will make me FEEL like a big spender
-experience some happening nightlife
-see the free attractions
-check out all the main hotels
2. Research prices and their fluctuations to learn when an activity costs less than normal.
-The most off-peak time of the year: the 10 days before Christmas. Peak times: Christmas to New Year’s Day, Evander Holifield fights, and the September-to-October convention season.
-Be patient until you find a deal on your hotel room and airfare (usually cheapest 2 to 3 months before travel). Look for great deals in exchange for attending timeshare sales presentations.
-Save money by not renting a car and using the free and cheap shuttles. However, if you stay off-strip, be prepared to spend about $8 each time you need a late-night taxi ride, because some free shuttles only operate till about midnight.
-Find restaurants with the type of food at the prices you want to pay– don’t forget breakfast like I did!
-For nightlife, cover prices, music genres, and activities vary by the day of the week. For instance, Studio 54 only does their Dollhouse on Thursdays and Club Rio has Latino night on Thursdays and Top 40 on Fridays. Research to find out which night is best for you!
3. Learn how to play the table games and your odds of winning—before you go to Vegas.
-Play games that take more time. This strategy keeps your money in your pocket longer.
-Play off the Strip. Most of the Strip hotels have higher table minimums than smaller casinos, and downtown, the difference is about $10 vs. $3.
-Sign up for comp cards before you gamble. You might get freebies for signing up and you will get freebies the more you play.
-Know when to stop gambling—at least for a little while. If you get ahead, stop playing for a few hours and enjoy the euphoria of being richer. Also, if you aren't having fun (i.e. the atmosphere is stuffy or your table mates are too rowdy), walk away for awhile and try again later.
How I won:
-I went to the Travel Channel's "Best Place to Strike It Rich," the Casino Royale, right on the Strip next to Harrah's. I did 90% of my gambling here, and with proper blackjack strategy and a bit of luck, I about doubled my money over a few hours of play. However, I more than doubled my money at the $10 minimum tables at Bellagio in 10 minutes.
Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, where you can pinch pennies, and how to gamble with the proper strategy, you’ll be able to get the most out of your money, too!
Good Vegas Research Resources:
Travel Channel Viva Las Vegas
The Official Vegas Travel Site