Vacationing on a budget is no easy feat. Even in the hometown of Vegas, it’s much more than playing the slots. Here are some suggestions to get the most out of your family vacation in Vegas on a budget. This one is actually a little embarrassing to share–but I’ll tell you upfront anyway. Two years ago we decided to take the family on vacation. Las Vegas was far cheaper than going somewhere else we’d been before, and what fun to have a mini-vacation in our own back yard… or so we thought.
If you want to spend some quality time with the family, Las Vegas is a great destination you can easily afford and enjoy. Even if it’s not your first vacation together, but you want to try something different, a great alternative exists outside of your destination. Take a look at the list of the best activities in Las Vegas without breaking the bank. If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas soon, you’re going to be delighted to find out how cheap your vacation can be. You don’t need to empty your savings account to experience one of the most wonderful cities in the U.S. This guide will show you everything that’s fun and exciting about Las Vegas without spending a lot of money.
Family Vacation On A Budget Las Vegas
Planning a trip to Las Vegas on a budget? Las Vegas isn’t as cheap as it used to be, but there are still lots of ways to save money on your vacation.
We have vacationed in Las Vegas with our kids (ages 11 and 14) a couple of times during school breaks. It’s also a convenient stop on Southern California road trips. We’ve stayed in a variety of hotels, tried a lot of fun family activities and eaten more delicious food than was good for us. We have picked up a few tips that help us save money in Las Vegas. I hope that they will help your family too.
Here are my top ways to save money in Las Vegas.
Stay Off the Strip
There are more family-friendly activities on the Strip than you might expect, and plenty of free things to do. However, we have found that hotel rooms, extra fees, food, and activities all cost more in this world-famous tourist district. You don’t need to get more than a few blocks away to start seeing prices drop.
We most recently stayed at Tahiti Village, a couple of miles down Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s a non-gaming, non-smoking resort with a lazy river that is popular among families. We had a full kitchen and complimentary parking, shuttle, and family activities, which gave us more control of our vacation budget.
Click the red button to check rates and availability for Tahiti Village on TripAdvisor.com.
Play Off the Strip
Activities tend to cost less off the Strip too – especially if you have your own car. Two of my favorites are Hoover Dam and the Pinball Hall of Fame. Both are free to visit and you can choose to pay for parking, tours or games. My family spent around $40 on both activities combined, which is less than we would pay for one ride on the Big Apple Roller Coaster at New York-New York on the Strip.
Plan a Mid-Week Trip
There isn’t a clear off-season in Las Vegas, but you can save 50% or more on the same room if you book in the middle of the week instead of a weekend. All those hotel rooms fill faster on weekends – especially long holiday weekends – so those are more expensive times to visit.
When is the best time to visit Las Vegas? Spring and fall. The weather was perfect during our mid-October trip. It was warm enough to swim in our resort’s heated pool, but not too warm for other outdoor activities. Summers are very hot. Winters are mild in Las Vegas, but expect cool weather.
Avoid Major Events
Las Vegas hosts major sporting events and conventions that draw attendees in the thousands. If you pick a week where nothing much is happening, your odds of finding a deal go way up. Major sporting events may include a big fight, NASCAR or the Super Bowl.
Las Vegas hosts a dozen or more conventions every week. Small conventions won’t make a big dent in demand, but a convention that draws 100,000+ attendees is a big deal. You can check the Las Vegas Convention Calendar at www.vegasmeansbusiness.com.
Book in Advance
I’m a planner, so I enjoy hunting down exactly what I want for the right price in advance. When you start shopping early, you have more time, more options, and more information to help you get the best prices.
I’d seen several recommendations for Tahiti Village before our trip, and that’s where I wanted to stay. I started watching rates early, but they were too high on my first search. I researched other places and then checked again a couple of weeks later. Rates had gone down significantly, and that’s when I booked the resort.
You’ll get the best available seats, plus more price options if you buy show tickets in advance. The least expensive seats for a must-see show will often sell out early, and you won’t find the most popular shows at discount ticket booths. Cirque du Soleil and others may offer an early booking discount.
Book at the Last Minute
If you’re more spontaneous, there are certainly last-minute deals to be had in Las Vegas – probably more than anywhere else. When a hotel has empty rooms, they’d rather give them to you for a discount than get nothing at all.
Same with shows and activities. We saw employees all over the casinos whose job was to hand out discount coupons for shows and activities. Your hotel concierge may be able to help as well. There are discount ticket outlets up and down the Strip.
Another strategy is to book your room directly through the hotel’s official website. Many hotel sites guarantee the lowest rate. Consider calling the hotel by phone. The front desk or reservations staff may be authorized to negotiate a better rate.
I wanted to try a few family activities on the Strip. I felt a little sticker shocked when I found that it costs $30+ per person to visit Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. It was going to be an expensive trip if we didn’t find a better way.
I found that there are at least three better ways to bundle and save on activities in Las Vegas. They include:
- Go Las Vegas Card – Admission to 30+ popular attractions. Choose number of days or number of attractions. Save up to 60%.
- Las Vegas Pass – Admission to 50+ popular attractions for one set price. Choose 1, 2, 3 or 5 days.
- MGM Resorts 3 for $57 Package Offer – Save 30% when you choose any 3 attractions on the list. You have seven days to use your tickets.