Cheap Travel USA: Las Vegas

Las Vegas hotel pool

It feels kind of bizarre, but often lately when journalists interviewing me have been asking for the best travel bargains, Las Vegas is at the top of my list on the domestic side. This was a given many years ago, when hotels and meals were cheap because they wanted you to come gamble. Then the whole city got affluenza and everyone decided the city should be a playground for the rich and glamorous. That worked great for a few years until suddenl… hardly anyone was rich or glamorous anymore. Those that were didn’t want to look gauche blowing two million bucks on a weekend of debauchery.

Hotel projects take time to build, however, so while business was imploding like a demolished old casino, new and more spectacular hotels were rising up on the strip. During the worst part of the recession, Las Vegas added nearly 7,000 new hotel rooms. Most cities don’t add that many in a decade. A booming decade!

So there are some amazing deals right now on Las Vegas hotel rooms, especially if you go mid-week. You can splash out in a fabulous suite for what it costs for a blah business hotel room elsewhere. Or you can get a regular room at a good hotel for under $50. Flights aren’t a screaming bargain due to tight capacity, but because rooms are discounted even more under the table, you can often find terrific package deals.

Here’s a post on free things to do in Sin City. Some of them are pretty lame, but I agree that the fountains at Bellagio are impressive. Not on that list is one of the best freebies around—the downtown light show on Fremont Street. It’s pretty trippy and you can catch a bus to there from the strip. I like that area a lot better for gambling too, with lower table limits (especially during the day) and casinos that don’t seem to go on for the length of six football fields. You can still get cheap eats in that area too. All over Vegas, track down the coupon books that are packed with deals and at many casinos they’ll give you one that provides some free bets if you sign up for their card.

Here’s a list of other cheap things to do in Las Vegas. I didn’t even know about one that will be on my list next time: the Pinball Hall of Fame. Sweet!

If you have a car (you can rent one for cheap), then head out to Red Rock Canyon State Park and go hiking. There’s some amazing scenery and it’s right outside of town.

Last minute Vegas values at!

  1. rubin pham

    i had the unlucky timing of visiting vegas in july 4 not too long ago. i thought i landed in hell!
    it was 120 degree f and even at midnight the temperature still hovered around
    110 degrees.
    finally i gave up and decided to go home early.
    tropical vietnam is nowhere as hot as vegas in the summer.

  2. Ron Mader

    Viva Las Vegas! There are so many ways to enjoy this city, it’s hard to know where to begin. I’m planning on doing a full-scale review later this year, so many thanks for sharing your insights.

    TIP – My fave freebie – the cactus garden in nearby Henderson

    • tim

      Rubin, you’re right. It’s an oven in July. But surprisingly cold in December when I was there last.

      Thanks for the cactus garden tip Ron. Will have to check that out next time.

  3. Holiday Destinations

    We stayed at the MGM Grand while my husband was on a business trip. I got to tag along and enjoy the pool and the spa while he worked. The beds were very comfortable and the hotel and casino were very clean and well-maintained.

  4. Montreal Attractions

    I’m planning a trip to Vegas and don’t want to pay through the nose for airfare for two seats. I don’t want to go in the summer (obivously), so, when would be the best time for me to travel?

    • tim

      Any time when you can avoid the weekend and avoid the huge conventions like CES that are big draws. Keep an eye on Southwest as they’re usually leading the way with sales.

  5. Bernd

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time
    a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment.
    There has to be a way you can remove me from that service?
    Appreciate it!

    • Tim Leffel

      There should be some kind of link or button in the e-mails to turn it off, from WordPress. I don’t control that from the admin side.

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