Is Las Vegas expensive? How much do I need to save to be able to book a trip to Las Vegas? These are the two big questions I asked myself when we decided to add the Sin City to our USA itinerary.
The answer is simple: Yes! And no! Wait, OK so it’s not that simple. Las Vegas was much more affordable that we had thought it would be in many different ways. However, of course it is more expensive than other areas of the world. We were actually really surprised with some of the prices in Las Vegas and spent far less than we anticipated.
That being said, a couple I know (not mentioning any names but a wonderful couple that don’t listen to their travel blogging daughter) visited Las Vegas recently and spent way more than we did.
So, I decided to share some of the typical prices you will find in Las Vegas and some tips on how we saved money and how to avoid overspending.
Are Las Vegas Hotels expensive?
So for many people, hotels in Las Vegas can be the major expensive! We wrote a blog post comparing the best hotels here but here are some options you can choose from to find the best prices in Vegas.
- The Cosmopolitan – this is my favourite hotel! In all transparency, this was a splurge. It is actually where Calum proposed so he obviously planned an awesome suite with a beautiful view (we do love a view – see the Instagram shot below). We paid $1155 for 7 nights which averages around $165. We were able to get a deal (yes this was a deal!) on The Cosmopolitan websitewhich allowed 25% off if you book in advance.
- Most expensive Vegas hotel – There are certainly some expensive hotels on the strip but many of the expensive hotels will have cheaper room options. If you really want to splash the cash, check out some of the most expensive hotels in Las Vegas.
- Apartment – If you are looking to stay in Las Vegas with a large group or just want an extra bit of room, you can get some great deals on aparthotels (apartments within the major hotels). Favourites include The Signature at MGM and the Jockey Club Suites; both costing under $100 a night. You could also check our apartments to rent on Owners Direct.
- Moderately priced Luxury – If you are looking for luxury but don’t want to spend a fortune, Las Vegas has some great options for all types of visitors. Vdara Hotel offers fantastic value rooms costing around $131 and The Cromwell is in the centre of the strip and rooms cost as little as $90.
- Cheap and cheerful – Because of the excessive amount of hotels in Las Vegas, even the big named hotels on the strip itself have to push their prices down in order to sell. The Westgate, Treasure Island, The Linq, Flamingo, Bally’s, MGM and New York, New York all offer rooms for $50 a night or under.
- Supersaver – For those looking to get a hotel on (or near) the strip whilst saving a lot, you can opt for one of the lesser-known hotels or those that are further along the strip.
The Stratosphere offers rooms for as little as $22 but is some distance from the other hotels so you will be having to rely on taxis or buses if you wish to explore the rest of the strip.
Harrah’s Las Vegas is on the strip with decent rooms costing $35 a night whilst the Hooters Casino Hotel costs the same price and sits opposite MGM.
- Hostel lovers – For solo travellers or those on a very tight budget, Las Vegas, of course, has hostels to choose from. Hostel Cat is a top-rated hotel that organises big group nights out (ideal for party-goers) with dorm beds costing $22 a night.
- Hotels in Las Vegas on the strip: cheap options – Excalibur Hotel, The Linq and The Flamingoare all great options if you are looking for cheap hotels on the Las Vegas strip.
The cost of Las Vegas doesn’t have to be high if you are on a budget. Because there are so many hotel choices, prices are surprisingly low but check events in Vegas before you book your trip. Prices in Vegas can jump up during holidays or when a special event such as a boxing match or concert is happening on the strip.
Food prices in Las Vegas
Las Vegas has so many options for food you will want to spend extra time in Las Vegas just to work your way around the restaurants!
The cost of food in Las Vegas strip can range from incredibly cheap to big splurges, suiting all budgets.
So here are the best places to eat in Las Vegas on a budget!
- Buffets – There are some awesome buffets to check out in Las Vegas! Read about the 9 best buffets here.
Buffets in the popular hotels on the main strip cost around $40 for a dinner (on average) with our favourite (Wicked Spoon) costing $38 whilst the Bacchanal Buffet at Ceasar Palace’s costs nearly $60.
- Celebrity restaurants – Las Vegas homes many celebrity chef restaurants if you are looking to splash the cash.
José Andrés has three restaurants with The Cosmopolitan, all with contrasting concepts. His restaurant é by José Andrés is the most unusual, requiring a reservation, months in advance for small parties of guests; served a full menu of over 20 courses.
Joël Robuchon has a restaurant based in MGM, the only restaurant in Las Vegas to be awarded three Michelin stars.
French superstar chef Monsieur Guy Savoy has a restaurant with a view at Caesar’s Palace whilst Julian Serrano has a Picasso inspired restaurant in Bellagio, complete with a romantic view of the fountains.
For all these restaurants, expect to pay upwards of $100 per person.
- Gordon Ramsay – Yes, so he should be in the section above but I am a totally a Ramsay fan (maybe it’s the British thing?) so he gets his own section.
Hell’s Kitchen in Ceasar’s Palace will set you back around $75 per person, his BurGR restaurant in Planet Hollywood is a more moderate $25 per person similar to his Pub and Grill restaurant in Caesar’s Palace and his STEAK restaurant in the Paris Hotel will set you back around $90.
- Top affordable picks – Regardless of your budget, it is unlikely that you will want to eat out in buffets and expensive restaurants for every meal.
There are some affordable options too!
For pizza, head to Hidden Pizza at The Cosmopolitan, Grimaldi’s at Palazzo or A Slice of Vegas in Mandalay Bay.
Carlos ‘n’ Charlie’s at Flamingo Las Vegas and Tacos and Tequila at Luxor Hotel Las Vegas is great Mexican food options.
Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Caesars Palace offers delicious Chinese food.
These restaurants range between $20 -$35 per person but most offer big portions so you can always split the food with a friend.
- Breakfasts – One place and one place only; Hashhouseagogo Las Vegas! Portions are massive, the food is incredible and prices are reasonable. Head for brunch and stay full for hours!
- Las Vegas cheap eats – Just like everywhere else in the world these days, Las Vegas still offers your cheap chain restaurants.
Avoid eating in the hotels themselves and instead visit one of the eateries inside the shopping malls dotted around the strip to save money.
We enjoyed the Nacho Daddy restraint and Chipotle chain found in the Planet Hollywood Resort; meals costing as little as $10.
- Cheap places to drink in Vegas: As every Vegas veteran will say, don’t ever pay full price for drinks.
Yes, you can get free drinks in the casino, whilst you gamble. Or you can even take advantage of happy hours around the strip.
But for those looking for a cheap drink ($6 or under) at a decent bar then visit Ellis Island Casino & Brewery, Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall ($5 beer pitchers), O’Sheas and Carnaval Court Bar & Grill.
You can also opt to buy mixers from Walgreen or the smaller vendors within the malls on the strip and walk around with your homemade drinks; drinks on the street are legal in Vegas so you don’t need to stay in a bar to have a drink.
TIP: We saved money by ordering two appetisers to share, saving money on expensive mains but also sell feeling very full!
How much does food cost in Las Vegas? As little as $30 a day or as much as $300+
Transport in Las Vegas
If you are staying on the strip and want to spend your time predominately exploring the hotels and casinos also on the strip, then transport costs aren’t really a thing to worry about.
- Deuce Bus – This Double – Decker bus drives visitors up and down the Boulevard 24/7; stopping at all the major casinos. Two-hour passes cost $6, 24 hour passes cost $8 and 3 day passes cost $20.
- RTC Bus – Buses that don’t run up and down the main strip cost a more reasonable $1-$2 per trip.
- Free Monorail – There are two free monorails; one that runs between The Mirage and Treasure Island and the other than runs between Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay.
- Las Vegas Monorail – The Las Vegas Monorail runs along the back of the strip from MGM up to Bally’s. Tickets cost $5 one way or $12 for a day pass. Personally, we didn’t use this monorail because it is so pricey for the length you travel.
- Rent a car – If you want to explore the national parks like Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon or (further afield) the incredible Joshua Tree National Park, then you will want to rent a car. You can always do this for part of your trip.
- Taxis – Taxis are all over Vegas and of course, the cost varies depending on traffic and distance. When you arrive in Las Vegas Airport, you will see a list of all the Vegas hotels and the taxi rate; from the airport to The Cosmopolitan is cost us $22. Meters start at $3.30 and increase by $2.60 per mile.
Note: Taxis will often be lined up around hotels so head to the main exit to get a taxi. They can’t be hailed on the street in Vegas, you must be picked up from a physical address.
Las Vegas Attraction prices
One of the best and worst aspects of Vegas for your budget is the casinos! If you’re sensible you’ll go with minimum stakes and take your time; we spent around $200 in casinos over the space of a week in Las Vegas but did win back around $120 on our last day.
What you spend is entirely up to you but remember there is more to Las Vegas than the casinos:
Bodies: The Exhibit
CSI: The Experience
Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef
Eiffel Tower Experience
Marvel Avengers Station Interactive Exhibit
AdventureDome at Circus Circus
$31.95 all day pass
The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel
The Rollercoaster at New York, New York
Big Shot at the Stratosphere
Adventure Canyon at Buffalo Bills
Wet’n’Wild Amusement Park
Gondola rides at The Venetian
Slotzilla Zip Line
Fremont Street Experience
The Neon Museum
KISS: By Monster Mini-Golf
Helicopter Strip flight
Cheapest time to go to Vegas?
Las Vegas is good fun to visit all year round but visiting at certain times of the years can help you save serious money!
Jan – Feb: The holidays are over, children are back to school and most people are heading off to work after having time off over Christmas. This is the perfect time to visit Las Vegas because hotels will be cheaper, crowds are fewer and therefore shows and attractions are likely to offer better deals in the hope to attract those who are in Vegas.
Plus, it is much cooler at this time of the year and flights are generally a lot cheaper in these months than any other time in the year. This really is a cheap time to go to Vegas!
July – August: Las Vegas is incredibly hot during this time of the year so many people will avoid visiting in these months meaning you can enjoy the savings!
End of November – the start of December: The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a great time to visit Las Vegas because prices drop as the crowds thin out.
How much will my Vegas trip cost?
The price of your Las Vegas trip can of course vary but to give you a ballpoint, we have a few appropriate prices for you:
1-week in Las Vegas budget – cheaper hotel on the strip or hostel, cheap eats, free or minimal attractions: Approx $600 for a couple.
1-week in Las Vegas moderate – moderate but luxury hotel or apartment, a few top class restaurants or buffets and 2-3 more expensive attractions: $1200 for a couple.
1-week in Las Vegas Luxury – 5-star hotel/suite, top class dining, the majority of attractions and a show: $3500+ for a couple.
Romantics things to do in Vegas on a budget:
Save money in Las Vegas
America is not the best place to start if you are travelling on a budget but there are many ways you save money travelling the Las Vegas.
- Cheaper hotels – Staying in the cheaper hotels on the strip such as Luxor, The Strat and Excalibur for as little as $30 or stay on Freemont Street for $20 deals.
- Free transport – Use the bus to get around or take the monorail along the stripes well as the free tram between Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur.
- Discounted tickets – Use Vegas.com for discounted show tickets and check our Groupon for restaurant deals.
- Chain hotels – The USA has many budget chain hotels. These are basic and make sure to check reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor first, but you can save some serious money staying in places like Econolodge, Travelodge, Days in and Super 8.
- Hotels with kitchenettes – When booking a hotel or motel, check if there is a kitchenette. If there is a room or hotel with a kitchenette, then opt for that choice, especially if you are staying somewhere for an extended period of time. This means you can save loads of money cooking food yourself rather than eating out.
- Farmer markets – Heading to farmer markets or ethnic grocery stores can save you money on snacks and food.
- Early Bird – When eating out, either aim to have a big lunch or head to a restaurant before 5. Many places offer an early bird option, where you can save money when eating between 2 – 5pm.
- Coupons – Pick up the local newspaper to find coupons for attractions and restaurants each week. If you plan on visiting a chain restaurant or cafe (such as Starbucks), check for vouchers or gift certificates on Ebay.
- Reward cards – If you travel a lot, why not get a rewards credit card for your favourite hotel chain. Hilton and Marriott have great sign up offer, so you can collect points each time you spend money on the card and then redeem free stays and upgrades worldwide.
- Compare rentals – If you intend on road tripping, make sure you compare prices for a rental car on websites such as rentalcars.com or hotwire.com.
- Turo – Another option if you are looking to rent a car is by using getaround.com or turo.com. This is a similar concept to airbnb but for cars; you can rent a car from owners and this can work out cheaper than renting from a rental company.
- Avoid checked luggage – If you are flying in or out and visiting for a short period, avoid having checked luggage. You can book budget flights to save money but these don’t always include checked luggage.
- Hotel Tonight – This app can be used in the big cities such as New York, LA, Chicago, Miami and Vegas. It offers last minute rooms, particularly great if you are thinking of a weekend away.
- Download a Wifi Map – This map is fantastic at finding available Wifi Spots in your area. These aren’t just Free Wifi Spots too, they have a database of passwords to make your connection reliable and safe.
- Avoid Public Holidays – Hotel and travel prices rise around the 4th July and Labor Day, so avoiding travelling at this time. If you do want to travel at this time, book everything in advance.
- Avoid hostels – Hostels are a great way to save money accommodation everywhere else in the world but not in the US. There aren’t many hostels and most are overpriced. If you are travelling by yourself, you are better off using a budget hotel or look for a bedroom on airbnb.
- Free attractions – There are lots of free things to do in Las Vegas so spend your time visiting these.
Las Vegas Prices FAQ
Meals can vary in price but it is possible to eat on a budget in Las Vegas. Stick to restaurants off the strip or the chain restaurants to spend as little as $25 a day on food and drink. If you intend to try the buffets and restaurants on the strip, expect to pay around $30 per meal on average.
There are plenty of cheap and free things to do in Las Vegas, making Las Vegas cheap to visit if you use the budget options here.
Las Vegas is so cheap because of the amount of surplus hotel rooms. During holidays and conventions, the rooms do fill to capacity but when you visit Las Vegas outside of peak times, hotels are quieter and room rates drop. Hotels often lower their hotel prices in the hope you will spend money in their restaurants and casinos.
If you don’t intend on spending too much money on gambling, you can expect to pay around $70 a day if you: stick to the budget hotels on the strip, enjoy the free attractions, eat at chain restaurants and avoid room service.
Drinks in Las Vegas casinos are free if you are spending money in the casinos. However, it is recommend you tip the servers if you want them to come back and offer another round.
On a budget, you can expect to pay $600 for a week – $350 for accommodation, $40 per day on food and drink and a few paid attractions.
Staying at The Cosmopolitan, eating at moderately priced restaurants and enjoying most of the attractions on offer, we spent $2200 on a week in Vegas.
There are many free things to do in Las Vegas, including:
- Bellagio Fountains
- Ethel M Chocolate Factory
- Fremont Street Experience
- Seven Magic Mountains
- Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
- Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes
- The Mirage Volcano
The cheapest months to visit Las Vegas are January, February, April, September and October. Check your dates don’t clash with conventions or concerts to get the best price. Also, visit during the week to save money on hotels.
It is best to bring cash for cabs, tipping and gambling but remember to avoid taking all your cash out at once for gambling.You can use a credit card in most stores, restaurants and box offices.
Budget Breakfast – $5 – $10
Budget Lunch – $7 – $13
Budget Dinner – $10 – $25
Drinks are free in casinos if you are gambling, but the typical price of a domestic beer in a bar or restaurant is $4 whilst a beer in a nightclub costs between $7 – $10.
Apart from enjoying the free drinks whilst gambling, take advantage of the happy hours in the bars and restaurants and stick to domestic beer and house wine. Avoid mixers; these are absurdly expensive in most places.