Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Ultimate Las Vegas on a Budget, Part One

Las Vegas City Lights

Okay, okay, ‘Las Vegas’, ‘Budget’ – they don’t quite make a Bonnie and Clyde-ish match. I hear your resounding pah’s and your yeah, yeah’s. But I did it. I ventured to Vegas, all out of my own shiny coin purse, and you know what? I did it in style!

So, you’re right, we’re not talking everyday budgets, we’re talking ‘I really wanted to go to Vegas so other things had to take a backseat’ type budgets, but a budget nonetheless. Here are my tantalizing tips for a Sin City trip that’ll knock your socks off without blowing the bank account.

Before You Go

As always, don’t waste good gambling money on a guidebook. Check out the strip on Google earth so you get your bearings before you even arrive. Map printing probably won’t be necessary unless you plan to seek out some fabled spot away from the strip.

A short break to Vegas isn’t all glitter and bright lights if you’re hailing from across the pond. It’s a long and frankly strenuous journey. The mistake we made was trying to do too much, meaning we were constantly tired... which led to crankiness... which led to a few girly fall outs...

Our general hypotheses on remedying this would be to decide whether you want a day time or a night time holiday, or alternate between the two on consecutive days. Not try and spend the whole day on your feet going from here to there, and then party hard at a club that’s probably a good 20 minutes walk away and you can’t afford a taxi – it’s just too exhausting! Of course, if you’re not coming from quite as far afield, go crazy!

How to Travel

There are currently hoards of great deals on travel and hotels in Las Vegas. Ours included flights from the UK and five nights at the Bellagio for just under £600 – not too shabby, we thought.

[Remember: Las Vegas is a place where you can’t take two paces without needing to pay someone for something, plus tax (which isn’t added until the point of payment), plus a healthy 15% tip. Food and play are going to cost you a lot in this fair city, so the better deal you get on travel, the better you’ll feel about your budget as a whole.]

Love Las Vegas
True story.

The airport is quite literally walking distance from the strip, if you’re up for it (it would probably take you an hour or so.) But you’ve come all the way to Vegas, kids, drop $15 on a taxi! Once you’re on the strip there is a bus that runs up and down for $3 one-way or a few dollars more for a day pass.

Where to Stay

Here’s where the real fun is... The strip offers a veritable sweet shop selection of nesting spots, each adding its own unique flavour to the type of experience you’ll have of bright light city. As I’ve mentioned, we stayed at the Bellagio, which is the dictionary definition of ‘fancy shmancy’ but there is oh so much more than this.

Vegas.com quoted from as little as $30 a night for two sharing a room in mid January staying at Fitzgeralds, including breakfast! If you fancy one of the bigger hotels on a budget, the Stratosphere is a great choice at $43.40 a night, due to it’s out of the way location in the slightly seedier end of town. Don’t let that put you off, though, as it’s a great hotel with heaps of entertainment on offer and it’s just a quick (and cheap) bus ride to the other end of the strip. If you want crazy and over the top, another cheap-but-out-of-the-way option is Circus, Circus, another bargain with prices starting from $44.15 per night.

Want to be a little more ‘in the action’? Then you could do worse than Flamingo, with prices starting from just $60 a night. The top names such as the Luxor, Caesars Palace or New York, New York will come at a price, but can really make your experience, and going off-season will bring costs down.

If you do find a bargain, but you’re not sure if it’s a bargain for a reason... then always give Trip Advisor a click to check.

That’s it for part one, what do you think? Are you itching to go? Have you been and loved it? Share your own thoughts and tips, cuties!

On Thursday I’ll have Where to Eat, Where to Play and What to Take.


She's no Plain Jane said...

Loving this Megan, I went to Las Vagas in 2006 for 2 nights, and I wish I#'d had longer there! Not enough time to see and 'do' Vagas. Highly recommend the Pussycat Doll club - awesomeness! xxx

ekerplay said...

Vegas sounds amazing - I love reading about it! My boyfriend went two years ago and I adore every story I hear... I plan on going there one day to explore all the crazy hotels. I'll file these tips at the back of my brain :)

haleywynn said...

love this post! thanks, megan!

Amelia M said...

This is a great guide! Finding the cheaper options for a holiday can be really hard work sometimes, so the fact that you're sharing some of the load is fantastic! Man, I want to go to Vegas, and I don't even gamble.

Megan said...

Everybody - :)

Amelia M - Don't worry, Vegas is far more than gambling, just like Disneyland is more than just rides. You'll love it!

Eli said...

I live in Vegas, so I'll just throw in my two cents :)

I honestly believe that it's nice to go once, but if you go again, please dont spend all your money. You should see all that is wasted here. Do it on the cheap. You can stay downtown right now for really low prices, the taxis up and down the strip arent that bad, neither is the bus. Dont come mid summer when its so hot youll wish youre dead. Because part of the whole vegas thing is about walking. If you do stay in a strip hotel, ask for a free upgrade. It could happen. theres lots of cheap eats, lots of shopping (which I think is the bigger attraction sometimes instead of gambling), lots of shows. If you had the time and money, I would actually recommend renting a car. Its really easy to get around here, and parking is 98% free. There are lots of things to see around the city, theres a lake at one end, a mountain at the other end. Lots of little secret places hidden around town. The really good food is away from the strip. Anyone should really do their research online first. The whole Vegas thing really isnt my deal. We mostly go out downtown where the young locals hang out because all douchebag locals flock to the strip - we stay away from it!

Sophie said...

Oh, this makes me want to got to Vegas soo much. Jealous.

Vanessa said...

I've never even considered going to Vegas. I'm not much of a party girl, I guess. Still, I liked reading about it from you.

Kat. said...

great post.. i so want to go to vegas!

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