Big bets, fun in the desert, and partying until the sun comes up, Vegas is a great place to take a quick weekend trip to get away from it all and it doesn’t have to come with an insanely expensive price tag.
Trains, planes and automobiles; what is the best way to get there? Depending on where you live will determine the best means of travel. If you live in Utah or California, your best bet will most likely be by car. Vegas is just about 6 hours from LA, but if you are going during a major holiday weekend, your time could be significantly increased due to an increase in traffic so make sure you give yourself plenty of time and make sure you carpool.
If you are planning on flying, you should fly into McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. McCarron International Airport accepts most well-known airlines including major airlines such as Delta and American Airlines to discount airlines such as Southwest and jetBlue and most everything in between. After you arrive, gather your bags and head off to catch a ride to your hotel. Unless you plan on taking day trips, avoid renting a car as most sites are within walking distance or a simple bus or taxi ride away.
From the airport, you have multiple transportation choices to get you to your hotel; anything from taxis and shuttles to limos and town cars. The best choice if you are staying on the strip and arriving solo is to take a shuttle to your hotel which generally cost about $10 - $12 one way per person. If traveling with 2 – 4 additional people, grab a taxi and head to the strip but make sure to tell the taxi driver to NOT take the airport tunnel or freeway as it will add time and cost to your trip. If you are feeling extravagant and have a large party or can find other travelers to split the costs with you, limo and town car rentals are available. A limo from the airport to the strip will cost about $120 - $225 with the max person capacity around 6 – 12 depending on the limo available. So if you have a large group, this might be the most effective means of travel instead of taxis.
If you arrive before you can check into your room, do not fret, simply ask the concierge or hotel services to hold your luggage and go off and enjoy Vegas until you can get into your room. You can also ask the hotel staff to bring your luggage to your room once it is available and then you don’t have to worry about your luggage sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for you to get back from exploring. At check in, also ask staff members if there are any deals for clubs or restaurants available. Most likely the answer will be yes but many do not ask so you stumble upon free entry to nightclubs, discounts to shows, or free meals. You may also want to ask if you can upgrade your room, if the hotel is particularly empty while you are there, an upgrade could be as little as $10. The key in Vegas is to ask the question, the worst thing they could say is no.
Getting Your Eat On
Vegas is home to some amazing restaurants on and off the strip. If you are planning on sampling the celebrity chef scene, make your reservations well in advance of arriving in Las Vegas. Many of these restaurants have online reservations available but after making your reservation, call and confirm that the reservation was received. While ordering, make sure to ask if they have a sampling menu available. With the sampling menu, you can generally get a 3 course meal (appetizer, entrée, and dessert) for about $50 - $70 and it includes the freshest seasonal ingredients generally. If high class celebrity dining is not for you and you want to experience life off the strip, ask the casino and hotel workers where they generally eat. If a local recommends it, generally you are in for a treat.
Party It Up
Whether you’re staying on the strip at Caesers Palace or The Palms off the strip, the nightlife is everywhere. If you are planning on going out for the evening, you may want to stop by the club earlier in the day to get on “the list”. Adding your name to the list can significantly cut down your time waiting in line and you may also receive free admission coupons. Also, if you are NOT an American citizen, make sure to ask what the ID policy is for the club. Some clubs will not allow IDs such as Canadian driver’s licenses so before you get there, know the policy. Speaking of policies, dress to impress if you are heading out for a night on the town. Most clubs have strict dress codes for men and women, make sure you are aware of it because they will turn you away with no guilty feelings at all.
If you plan on staying at a single club all night and you have a large group of people, you may want to rent a table with table service. Be aware that prices on weekdays are quite a bit less than on weekends. On weekdays, table service begins around a $300 minimum (for a table of 4) which will include a bottle of liquor and mixers with gratuity and taxes added at the end of the night. On weekends, table service can range from around $800 minimum (for a table of 3 – 6 people) which would include about 2 bottles of liquor and mixers with gratuity and taxes added at the end of the night to $2500 minimum (for a table of 6 – 8 people) which would include about 4 bottles of liquor and mixers with gratuity and taxes added at the end of the night. (NOTE: gratuity is calculated at approximately 20% of the total bill so if you add additional beverages to your bill, gratuity will increase with each purchase).
The Morning (or Afternoon) After
After a night of dancing, drinking and partying, the best way to chase away the hangover blues is to indulge in a great Las Vegas buffet and then cozy up next to the pool. Breakfast buffets generally range from $10 - $20 per person and each hotel generally has some sort of buffet to indulge in (Suggestion: The Buffet at the Bellagio). If you have slept through the morning hours but are still looking for your buffet fix, lunch buffets are still in ample supply. Generally ranging from about $13 - $25 per person, lunch buffets are a lighter version of the dinner menu and can be used as an early dinner to get a little more bang for your buck. (Suggestion: The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas). Again, before heading off to the buffets, check with your hotel concierge for coupons and also check local publications or websites such as Groupon for deals.
After eating until your heart is content, hit up one of the many pools located on the strip or even off the strip. You don’t have to stick to the pool at your hotel, most hotels will allow non-guests entrance into their pool areas for a small fee (or sometimes even free). So if you’re pool is packed to the brim, head over to a neighboring pool to soak up the rays. If you plan on drinking at the pool, the best way to get the bang for your buck is to go for souvenir cups or bottles, this way if you do need a refill, you will get a price break and if you decide to switch to water, you can simply fill up the bottle inside of spending $5 on bottled water.
With all this said, Vegas is what you make of it. It can be an inexpensive weekend trip or a decadent splurge but the key is to know where to spend your money and where to cut back. So take these tips into consideration when you plan your next trip to Sin City.
© 2011 UnderstatedMoment
Anna Christie from London, United Kingdom on May 23, 2014:
Thanks for this useful holiday info when planning a trip to Las Vegas.
UnderstatedMoment (author) on August 23, 2013:
Thank you for reading!
VegasVacation from San Diego, CA on August 09, 2013:
Thanks for sharing this!
Eclectic Travel from Los Angeles, California on May 27, 2011:
Great advice, totally informative hub. Voted up!