Thursday, March 22, 2018

15 minutes for tips on how to go about saving a few bucks on a trip to Vegas

Occasionally I get a request for advice on things to do, ways to save money, etc., regarding Vegas. You go annually, people notice.

I received a request from Randi for some advice today. Randi and her husband Luke live here in Minnesota and are looking to go for 2-3 nights, and like most people, their budget isn't unlimited, so they're looking for ways to save a few bucks. Randi has been to Vegas for the past few years, attending an annual conference. But that hasn't afforded her a lot of time to see Vegas for herself, but I suspect it gives her a few ideas of what she might like to do. All I know is that she doesn't have a strong preference for her hotel. So I'm going to make a few recommendations without the benefit of knowing ultimate preferences. I'm also going to see what I can come up with in only 15 minutes of typing. So here it comes, unedited. Start the clock:

When booking airfare and hotel, there are two ways to go about it. There are packages that you can book, thru Travelocity and other providers, and you can book air and hotel separately. Spend time comparing costs for your chosen hotel and nights, both ways, and do it a few days in a row, at minimum, so you can get an idea of what a deal is for your itinerary.

If you book airfare, consider Southwest. Bags are free, and they're competitive. It's a bit goofy of an airline, and you can't fly direct, but if you can afford the extra 90 minutes or so on each leg of your trip to fly through Denver, you can save $100 or more on your trip. That pays for a fancy dinner. Sometimes you'll even find a good rate via a direct carrier, such as Sun Country. I say avoid Spirit airlines.

Hotel deals are hard to find. YOu can find them, but not as easily, and not as spectacular. Figure out what property you want, more or less, on the strip and downtown. Then watch and pray.

My philosohpy, if you paln ahead, you can buy airfare at the lowest rate, and get a godo deal on a hotel, probably at a time when the airlines aren't having sales.

As for your costs once you get there, every casino wants to make money any way it can, and will charge you plenty if you dont' care. Since Luke is a culinary master, he'll be keenly aware of cost versus quality. When it comes to quality and fine dining, there aren't many corners to cut, but when it comes to eating decent food at a good price, there are options. There are more options downtown, and I can list a few if you stay downtown. If you stay on teh strip, there are options, too. Assume you're going to watn to spend cash on a fine meal somewhere. You'll pay plenty for a restaurant with Giada's name on it. But if you want good meals at low prices, we can point you to a few. You're not going to eat a fancy steak for $10 at dinner, but you need not pay ridiculous prices for a lot of meals, if you're willing to sacrifice a few minutes or more per meal to get a good deal. AGain, that's something I'd speak more to once you have an itinerary.

TRansportation: No matter where you're staying, if you need to get back and forth, use Uber or Lyft. Most casinos make it easy to access them somewhere on the property, and so many people report such significant savings that it's crazy to use a taxi. Since yoru time is limited, I don't recommend using the bus very often. It's slow when teh strip is busy. In the morning, if you're going north from MGM to the the Wynn, it might not be so slow, but don't rely on the bus to get you places otherwise.

There are food discounts avialble, the best of those is in a coupon book I wrote extensively about. Here's the link.

This isn't a way to save thousands on your vacation, but it will easily save you $40, or more. I'll skip my speech about gambling benefits of the book. There are benefits, but don't factor that into your equation.

Show tickets. If you want to go to the biggest name shows, you'll pay plenty, and deep discounts are typically tricky to see. Most evening shows don't come cheap, but there are some decent, entertaining shows that do rely upon selling discount tickets around Vegas on teh day of teh show. This is tricky, you have to get up in the morning and go stand in line at one of the many ticket broker booths, but some people are happy with teh savings they get. I think you can get 2-for1 to Zombie Burlesque pretty easily without a lot of work.

I'm out of time. I'll provide better suggestions as yoru planning dictates.

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