Lifestyle: The Bargain Hunter
Bargains in Vegas? While Vegas has established itself as a luxurious, lush desert oasis, there are still plenty of cost-conscious deals to keep you on budget. Here are some great ways to keep your money in your wallet, while still enjoying all the great city has to offer.
Q: My friends are coming to visit and want to see Vegas inexpensively. Where can I take them?
A: Let's be honest here ... your friends are asking you to be their own free personal tour guide. Right? And because they're your friends, that's cool. Right? So, here's what you do -- get it all done in one shot. Start your day off with a cheap but tasty breakfast. Then head over to the Fiesta for blackjack. With its betting limits as low as $3 and single- and double-deck tables, it's a great deal. Take it from us, avoid the 5-cent slots. They may look like a bargain, but they're not. Outside of Megabucks, nickel slots keep the highest percentage for the house of any slots. Translation: more money for the casino and less for you. When lunchtime rolls around, feed your friends a $1.25 hot dog from the Gold Coast. When your friends are ready for dinner, take them over to Mr. Lucky's 24/7 and order the steak-and-shrimp special. It's an off-the-menu item -- ask for it specifically. And for the finale, take them for a walk on the Strip. Be sure to catch a free showing of the Sirens of TI along the way; from what we hear, they are a dangerously beautiful bunch of women.
Q: I'm looking to do Vegas on a very limited budget.
A: You're in luck. We've got something just for you. Book your stay through us and get a great deal on your room. Scan the ads in local magazines and you'll find a number of coupons to ease the cost of your Vegas vacation. For dining, check out our dining bargains list. If you don't mind being on the hotel's mailing list, sign up for any of the slot clubs. The hotel usually provides you with a free tchotchke just for signing up, and if you use your card while playing, you earn points toward other freebies. For your nighttime adventures, check out some of the great free lounge shows in Vegas.
Q: Are there any inexpensive (or free) shows in Vegas?
A: Vegas is all about giving things away. When you're in Vegas, check out some of the great free lounge shows, then head over to the Carnaval Court at Harrah's for live music all day long or check out one of these many free shows and attractions. Also, make a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and watch the Living Statues do their thing. If you want a photo with the statues, politely tug on their clothing, tell 'em you're a friend of ours and then snap your photo. Oh, and don't forget to do the customary Vegas thing, tip those statues a dollar -- it's how they make a living.
Q: What are the best buffet deals in town?
A: If you're looking for cheap, check out the Circus Buffet at Circus Circus. If you want something more middle of the road, hit the buffets at any of the Station Casinos. We also hear Garden Court Buffet at Main Street Station has good food for very little cash.
Q: What free (or almost free) things can I do with the kids?
A: So, the kids want to have fun, too? Don't fret. There's a reason they say Vegas has something for everyone. Here are a few free options: the Midway Circus Act at Circus Circus and the fountain shows and aquarium at the Forum Shops at Caesars. If you're still itchin' for more options, check out our list of free attractions.
Q: Can you share any additional ways to save a buck or two while in Vegas?
A: So you haven't hit the jackpot yet and you're looking to save a few bucks on expenses to cover your next bet at the tables. Worry not, we're here to help.
- Don't valet your car. While valet parking is free at hotels, it is expected that you tip the valet attendant. Save a few bucks and walk off that buffet dinner, park your own car in the free garage or lot.
- Don't order room service. We know, it sounds tempting, but room service includes all kinds of additional charges and fees, and you need to tip the room service attendant. Our suggestion: get out of bed and find an affordable 24-hour coffee shop.
- Skip the soft drinks and the bottled water at restaurants. With soda costing as much as $4 a glass, and bottled water (think Evian or Voss) even more, your drinks can cost as much as half your meal. Even if the waiter is trying to talk you into bottled water, just order ice water.
- Don't get gas on the Strip. While those conveniently located gas stations are great, take a few extra minutes to drive east or west to get cheaper gas. With today's gas prices, you will be happy you did.
- Order wine by the bottle. If two or more people are drinking wine and can settle on the type of grape that you like, you can save some money by ordering a bottle.
- Don't buy sundries in the hotel gift shop. Unless it's an aspirin/Band-Aid emergency, find the closest CVS or Walgreens pharmacy (there are several on the Strip) and pick up Vegas souvenirs at great prices while you are there.
Q: I'm coming to Vegas in my RV, is there anywhere on the Strip I can hook up?
A: Hooking up on the Vegas Strip is easier than imagined. We hear that Circus Circus' Circusland RV Park offers 399 spaces with full-service utility hookups.
Q: What are comps and how can I get them?
A: Comps are all about who you know. Comps are any sort of free stuff given out by casino management. They can include meals, show tickets, rooms and VIP treatment such as getting you into a sold-out show or getting you a room on a sold-out weekend. Comps are based on the amount of time you spend gambling and the rate at which you bet and/or win. Signing up for slot cards will help you get comps -- usually you'll get something just for signing up. At the tables you can ask the pit boss to "rate" you or keep track of your betting so you can receive comps.
Q: Where can I find the best drink prices?
A: So you want to get buzzed at a cheap price? If beer's your drink of choice, check out the one-armed bandits at Slots-A-Fun;
they offer several types of beer for $1. Some restaurants offer happy hour specials like 2 for 1 drinks. Ladies can catch
a break on drinks at many of the clubs in Vegas -- a number offer ladies' night where women drink free before 11 p.m. Of course,
every casino offers free drinks while you gamble, but avoid the nickel and penny slot areas where drink service can be spotty.
For other drink specials, check out our list of drinks.
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