When we're on vacation, we want to experience the best of the best. After all, we work hard every day and invest a lot into these well-deserved excursions. Unfortunately, the "best of the best" usually comes with a high price tag. This may seem especially true in a city like Las Vegas, which is known as The Entertainment Capital of the World and is renowned for its over-the-top shows, high-end casinos, luxurious resorts, themed restaurants and exclusive nightclubs. Not only is Vegas home to some amazing attractions, but the city also never sleeps (most of its casinos operate 24 hours a day). This may make it seem even more expensive, since you may feel pressured to be doing something (and spending money) every hour of the day.
If you're planning a trip to Vegas, you're probably wondering how you can save some money. And if you're dreaming of visiting Vegas one day, you're probably wondering how you'll ever be able to afford it. Not to worry, we've got some life-saving tips and tricks that will help you to save on flights and accommodations. We've also searched high and low for the best free shows and activities in Vegas (yes, they do exist). So, even if you accidentally blow all of your money in the casinos, you can still have fun! You can thank us later.
20 Fly During The Week
The bulk of your money for a Vegas trip will go towards the flight and accommodations. So, how can you save big on both of these things? Fly during the week, instead of on (or near) the weekend! Fridays and Sundays are the most popular days to travel. So, airlines and hotel chains take advantage of this by hiking up their prices. To avoid paying more than you need to, travel when no one else wants to, which is in the middle of the week. If you look on flight comparison websites, you'll see just how much you can save by travelling on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
19 Try Cheaper Alternatives To Hotels
You’ve likely heard about Airbnb. Founded in 2008, this company has literally opened doors for people who can only travel on a budget. When you create a profile on their website, you can browse local accommodations which are up for rent by regular people. The options may range from spare rooms to houses and apartments, which are all rated by previous users. There are also filter options, so you can select whether or not you’d like certain amenities.
In addition to Airbnb, you may want to consider Couchsurfing. This service also connects travellers to locals, but what makes it stand out is that it’s free! Another big difference is that Couchsurfing involves spending your time with the owners of the accommodation, which can be an enriching experience.
18 Experience The Bellagio Fountains
If there’s one word to describe the Bellagio Fountains, it’s “iconic.” The fountains have been featured in Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” music video, Ocean’s 11 and countless other Hollywood productions. That fact alone makes it a wonderful attraction. But, in addition its history on the big screen, the fountains also dance and light up as music plays in the background. This show occurs every 15 minutes from 8 PM to midnight and is guaranteed to provide some entertainment. Of course, it also makes for an awesome photo opportunity and creates a romantic vibe if you’re travelling with your significant other.
17 Score Free Drinks At A Casino
You may already be aware that you can receive free drinks at the casino once you’re playing at a game table or a machine. But, you can also get these drinks if you’re simply watching a friend play or walking around the casino. Sometimes, the servers will call you out for not having played enough, though. So, the trick is to grab a seat at one of the cheaper slot machines and tip the servers two dollars (which will make them more likely to come back to serve again). When you think about it, this is much cheaper than going to a bar or club for drinks.
16 Visit The Wildlife Habitat At Flamingo Las Vegas
Zoos are typically a major attraction in big cities. They’re tons of fun if you love animals and taking photos. On the Vegas Strip, there’s a place called The Wildlife Habitat at Flamingo Las Vegas and its admission is free! Although the attraction isn’t huge, you’ll still have the chance to check out some cool creatures. The habitat is filled with freely roaming Chilean flamingos, Ring Tealed ducks, brown pelicans, parrots, koi fish, turtles and more.
While visiting, be sure to take your picture with a parrot, feed the fish and watch a live animal feeding.
15 Use Groupon
You really have no excuse for not using Groupon. There's no cost to sign up, it's filled with deals and redeeming your vouchers is super easy. Groupon offers discounts on activities (including guided tours), restaurants, hotels and flights. There are even packages which include everything you could possibly need on a vacation (at a fraction of the regular cost). In many cases, you’ll end up paying the price for an accommodation, but receiving free admission to tourist attractions and the majority of your meals. Does that sound too good to be true? Well, hop on Groupon to find out for yourself.
14 Share Your Space
This tip is so obvious that we sometimes forget to consider it. If you can share an accommodation with multiple people, the costs can be split, resulting in less spending on your part. Spacious rental houses and luxurious hotel suites are a great option if you’re travelling with a group of family or friends. You may not be able to afford such high-end accommodations on your own, but you will be able to when the cost is divided amongst four or more people! We realize it can be hard to coordinate a vacation with a group of people, so planning is required for this one!
13 Visit Hoover Dam
There's a reason more than one million people visit the Hoover Dam each year. The concrete arch-gravity dam is a sight to behold and is one of the seven engineering wonders of the world. Located across the Black Canyon, the dam towers 726 feet above the ground and was once the tallest dam in the world. If that's not enough to impress you, just know that it's also a location of a state line marker (where you can stand in two states at once) and it allows you to have breathtaking views of the picturesque Lake Mead. Admission is free for the Hoover Dam, but you will have to pay for parking.
12 Red Rock Canyon
If you're into wildlife, scenic drives and epic Instagram photos, then you must visit Red Rock Canyon. The canyon is located just a few miles west of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert. There is a 13-mile Scenic Drive through Red Rock Canyon, which allows visitors to explore the highs and lows of the canyon. And there's so much to see! Red Rock is filled with red-tailed hawks, bighorn sheep, burros and non-venomous gopher snakes (which can grow up to six feet in length!). There is also a variety of rocks found in the area, including limestone and Aztec sandstone. Additionally, dinosaur footprints have been found in Red Rock! Pretty cool, huh?
Although Red Rock isn't free to visit, the cost per vehicle is very low ($15) and can be split between you and your friends.
11 Take In The Art At CityCenter Fine Art Collection
On Las Vegas Boulevard, you'll find Vegas' first permanent art collection in a public space. The impressive paintings and sculptures are located within and throughout CityCenter's buildings, hallways and walkways. For example, the 84-foot-long "Silver River" can be found dangling above the registration desk at Aria Resort and Casino. And the stainless steel sculpture, "Typewriter Eraser" can be found between The Shops at Crystals and Mandarin Oriental. The entire showcase features works by 15 commissioned artists, including Maya Lin and Frank Stella. The collection is guaranteed to be unlike anything you've ever seen and it's completely free!
10 Grand Canal Shoppes At The Venetian Hotel
Perhaps you've always wanted to visit Venice, but just couldn't afford it (hence, the reason you're reading this). Don't worry, though, because you can experience a bit of Venice in Vegas at no cost! Simply take a stroll through one of Vegas' largest and most popular hotels.
The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas was inspired by the magical city of Venice and includes replicas of its famous landmarks. In the hotel, you'll find replicas of the Lion of Venice column, St. Mark's Campanile and of course, the Grand Canal (complete with gondolas and bridges). The replica of St. Mark's Square is surrounded by high-end shops, such as Coach, Michael Kors, Pandora and Barneys New York. Even if you don't purchase anything, it can still be fun to window-shop and pretend that you're in Italy.
9 Fremont Street
New York has Times Square and London has Trafalgar Square. Las Vegas, on the other hand, has Fremont Street. It really is the perfect place to go if you've blown all your money in the casinos or just didn't bring much money to begin with. There are tons of free things to do on Fremont! You can watch the Viva Visions light shows each night, take a free slot spin outside of Four Queens, get your photo taken with a million dollars cash, catch a show on one of the street's three stages and so much more. It's impossible to be bored when strolling this street!
8 Go To A Buffet During A Transition Period
You may want to try out some of the amazing buffets in Vegas for dinner, but are turned off by the admission price. Well, we've got a hack for you!
The first thing you've got to do is check to ensure that the buffet doesn't close at any time during the day. Then, check their lunch and dinner hours. Next, show up at the buffet about half an hour before dinner starts, so that you pay lunch prices. Finally, sit back and watch the food switch over to dinner items! You'll have to eat slowly at first, but once dinner rolls out, you're good to go.
7 Tix 4 Tonight
Vegas is the ultimate world stage, so you can expect the greatest singers, magicians, gymnasts and comedians to be performing here. You can also expect the ticket prices for these shows to be pretty high. There are several great ways to score discounted tickets, though. One such way is by checking out Tix 4 Tonight. This company sells tickets for shows happening that same day, for up to half the regular price. The list of available shows is updated every morning at 9:30 and tickets can be ordered by phone, online or in person at one of nine Tix 4 Tonight booths located throughout the city.
6 Get the Card...
Vegas is all about the nightlife and parties. But, admission to venues and costs of alcoholic beverages can put a huge dent in your bank account. The V Card is your pass to Vegas' hottest nightclubs, lounges and dayclubs. For just over $100, the card grants you VIP access to over 20 participating venues including Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub, Tao Nightclub, Hyde Bellagio and Sapphire Pool. So, you don't have to stand in the regular lines (which can get pretty long) or pay the cover price. The best part is that the card has no expiry date, so you can save it for your next trip to Vegas!
5 Or The Las Vegas Explorer Pass
Maybe the free attractions are nice, but you're craving more. That's understandable, as Vegas is one of the coolest cities in the world. If you want the full experience and don't mind paying a bit, get the Las Vegas Explorer Pass. This pass allows you to visit three, four, five or seven of Vegas' top attractions from a list of over 30. But, you won't be paying full price. The pass saves you up to 55%! That's a pretty good deal, if you ask us.
Some of the attractions from which to choose include: Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck at Paris Las Vegas, The Mentalist, V: The Ultimate Variety Show and Hop On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour. Passes start at $80 for adults and are valid for 30 days from the first use.
4 See A Free Circus Show
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to get discounts on entertaining stage shows in Vegas. But, what if you don't want to spend a penny? Fortunately, there are free shows in Vegas, too! Above the casino floor at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, there are free daily shows. You'll see jugglers, unicyclists and acrobats performing breathtaking stunts. And yes, there are seats. But, they start to fill up about 15 minutes before the start of the show. So, be sure to arrive early! Even if you don't, you can still watch the show from the other side of the stage.
3 Watch The Mirage Volcano Eruption
The Mirage volcano is one of the oldest curb-side attractions on the Strip. Since 1989, it has entertained tourists without fail. And in 2008, it received a makeover, rendering it even more impressive. Two or three times each night, the volcano mimics an eruption, spewing out flames and lava. There's even a dramatic soundtrack by Mickey Hart to accompany the event. It's such a cool sight that people of all ages actually line up to see it and we recommend you do so, too. After all, there's not many places where you can find a roadside volcano.
2 Visit The Ethel M Chocolate Factory
When you watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, did you dream of one day visiting such a magical place? Well, we sure did! And the Ethel M Chocolate Factory is as close as we'll get (as long as we're in Nevada, anyway).
This chocolate factory produces gourmet chocolates and allows for free self-guided tours. You can view the chocolatiers and machines at work. The facility also offers affordable guided tours with chocolate tastings. If you're of legal age, you can also add wine to your tour. Finally, the facility is also home to Nevada's largest cactus garden, which holds over 300 species of cacti and succulents. What more could you possibly ask for?
1 Walk, Use Lyft Or Hop Onto A Free Tram
Not only could transportation to Vegas get pricey, but transportation around Vegas could hurt your wallet, too. When you're in a novel destination, you want to see and do everything as quickly as possible. So, you may tend to call a cab or use the train. The costs for these methods of transportation do add up, though. A better option when you're in Vegas is to walk. It's free and beneficial to your body. The streets of Vegas are also an experience in and of themselves. If you're not into the idea of walking, you can use Lyft (or Uber). These companies are much cheaper compared to standard taxi services, especially when you share your ride with other passengers. Finally, you have the option of using free hotel trams, which travel to other hotels or major attractions in the city.