It is possible! Check the various sections for the aspects of your vacation which are most important to you:
Let’s assume you have already booked your hotel and flight for a bargain deal (if not, further on I’ll tell you how to find great hotel deals), and that your budget for food and entertainment is very limited. How can you enjoy Las Vegas with only pocket change?
Before anything else, you must make sure you don’t go during a ‘high-priced’ phase: these are around New Year’s Eve and any major Sports Events, as well as some other major events Vegas may be hosting.
Eating in Vegas with Little Money
First of all, you can eat for very little in Vegas and you do not have to lower yourself to cheap fast food for that. Many Vegas buffets (off-Strip) run special offers very often; you can eat good quality, variety and huge amounts of food for 5 dollars. Amongst the ‘ultra-cheap’ are Palace Station, followed by Gold Coast, Stratosphere (if you are North Strip) and, if you want to go up in quality and variety, Main Street Station in downtown Vegas. Nowadays, the very best value buffet in Las Vegas is the Palms buffet: excellent quality and extremely low prices. Take a few minutes to go through local newspapers for all sorts of special buffet deals offered by off-Strip Vegas resorts. There are also 24 hour 4-dollar meal specials at off-Strip places such as at Ellis Island and Terrible’s, just off the Vegas Strip. More on this on ‘How to Eat Affordably in Vegas‘ and ‘Cheap Places to Eat in Vegas‘.
If you are in a rush and find yourself by the Venetian, you can just cross the road and eat at the huge food court, where you won’t have to spend more than around 5 dollars. You won’t enjoy the variety and the amounts a Vegas buffet offer, but it’s a good option if you are in that Vegas Strip area and don’t want to travel to eat.
Shopping in Vegas on a Very Low Budget
You can buy your basics at pharmacy and general stores such as Walgreens but, if you can, try to go to the ones away from the main Strip area, since there is a noticeable price difference. The further you are from the Vegas Strip, the cheaper anything is. There are buses which run often to main shopping malls away from the Strip (the shopping Outlet in the South area and the slightly expensive shopping outlet in downtown Vegas) and, if you invest some time in such a trip, make sure you buy as much as possible so that you don’t have to return too often. The shopping malls are big and frequented by locals, so it’ll be an interesting experience away from the tourist areas.
Free Entertainment in Vegas
This city offers an array of entertainment options which are completely free of charge. One of the top favorites is simply walking along the Strip at night, especially in the middle area, where Bellagio and Paris are. You will enjoy the spectacular fountain display, which is particularly breath-taking at night, and you’ll also soak up the Parisian atmosphere across the road. Then, one of the most recommended free activities, especially if you are a Vegas first-timer, is to enter the many ‘themed’ Vegas resorts, such as Paris Vegas, Bellagio and Venetian: here you will enjoy a feast of sensorial stimuli taking you from the picturesque streets of French villages to the elegant imitation of Northern Italian lakes and architecture, to the world-famous Venetian canals and architecture; 3 world-class holidays packed into one single, free Vegas experience. Many resorts also offer free shows and free entrance offers at popular shows, especially for matinees. For more ideas go to must-see things in Vegas, some of those require very little money. We also have a page on free Vegas attractions.
Gambling in Vegas with Little Money
If you are on a tight budget you will have to limit your gambling. A daily budget of 20 dollars will allow you to enjoy penny slot machines, as long as you don’t play max bets and you pace yourself. If you haven’t yet, signing up to the various Vegas casinos will provide you with free-play, usually between 5 to 50 dollars, with which (if you are lucky) you can even win decent amounts of money. More Gambling tips are on ‘How to Gamble in Vegas‘.
Cheap Hotels in Vegas
If you don’t receive players card’s comp/free offers from the many Vegas resorts, you can always book the cheaper-yet-good Vegas hotels for very low rates. Among the cheapest (and good) are El Cortez and Golden Gate in downtown Vegas, Gold-Coast (great location with free shuttles to the Strip and decent facilities) and, for weekend special low rates, the Las Vegas Hilton. The Stratosphere resort sometimes does run special low rate offers, as well as Main Street Station and Tuscany suites (all good Vegas hotels in that price range), so it’s just a matter of checking their websites directly, keeping in mind the fact that their rates change all the time according to the demand and booking rates. We have a page on Cheap Vegas Hotels and Affordable Vegas Hotel Options during Expensive Weekends.