Even if you never drop a penny into a slot machine, Las Vegas can be a costly vacation. The major shows are pricey and finding a $2 prime rib buffet on the Strip is near impossible these days. The “happening” night clubs, with their continuous parade of celebrities, have a high cover charge and even higher priced drinks. And…no matter how much stamina you think you have, you WILL need to sleep during a 2-night stay.
Planning a trip to Las Vegas means you must determine your needs. If you prefer to spend your money on a great show, dinner in a celebrity-chef restaurant, or on gaming, there are many ways to cut back on the costs of your room.
An internet search of “travel discounters” will give you the websites of many companies with their own search engines for travel deals. Compare prices among at least three of these companies. If you are flying into Las Vegas, be advised that the bundling discounts generally do NOT discount the room rate, but the airfare. In other words, the price of the package may vary, but the detailed cost shows that the room rate is the same in the bundle as it would be to reserve the room alone. You may be money ahead to reserve your airfare through one site, and the hotel through another. Compare these prices with www.vegas.com – this is the “official” booking site for the city of Las Vegas. This site will actually give you a larger variety of hotels to choose from, rather than only the “big boys” in the casino world who have cut deals with the discount sites. But, that reservation site has to be paid for somehow – sometimes with a slightly higher rate.
Official property websites can often have “web-only” deals that are not available through the major booking sites. Again, you must shop around to make sure you actually are getting a better price. It is also possible to call the property direct – not a national reservation number – and find unpublished discounts.
If you are driving into Las Vegas, stop at a rest area or truck stop along the way. Many times, there will be travel discount magazines available for free. These coupon books have provided some of the best hotel deals I’ve ever had. Be sure to read the small print though: many of the properties include language such as “limited rooms available” or “walk-ins only”. On an impromptu side-trip to Las Vegas while traveling on business, we stopped at four properties before finding one that would honor the coupon. Choose a non-casino hotel from these discount coupons and walk, take taxis or drive your own car. If you are just looking for a place to shower and change your clothes, there are many discount hotels near the Strip that are very affordable. During this particular trip, we stayed in a hotel less than a half-mile from the MGM Grand – a very easy walk
Visit during “off-peak” times. Prices are always higher on the weekend, so if it is possible, plan your stay for midweek. Another very slow time for Las Vegas is the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A couple of years ago, it was necessary for me to fly through Las Vegas on a business trip the week before Christmas. I had one evening, a Thursday, to spend in the city and was able to secure a room at a major name casino on the Strip for $40. Additionally, the prices mid-week can be anywhere from 33% to 65% less than weekend rates.
If you plan to visit Las Vegas again in the future, join your favorite casino’s player’s club. I am not a “high roller” – I generally play quarter slots, with the occasional penny and nickel slots thrown in for good measure. Yet, I received an e-mail offer from a major casino that I’ve never stayed in for three free consecutive nights. There were no strings attached, no “sale pitches” involved. I only needed to pay my transportation to and from Las Vegas.
Hotel discounts can be had in Las Vegas. But, you must be willing to commit some time and be flexible to find them.