Any tips on doing Vegas on the cheap, but with style? I'm planning a guys' trip to Vegas to celebrate a milestone birthday. We've secured permission from the wives with one caveat – don't blow the family budgets.
There are plenty of ways to do Sin City in budget style – tiger in the penthouse not included.
Hotel and flights are the big-ticket items, of course, and flights to this popular destination are competitive. There's also a ton of hotels, with the average room rate checking in at a reasonable $95 (U.S.). So where to start?
"Do your research and watch for sales," say Sean Shannon, managing director of Expedia Canada. "Frequently check your favourite sites and keep an eye out for limited-time deals." Those e-mails alert you to quickie sales. (Expedia's 12-hour "ASAP Deals," for instance, often promotes hotels at half price and its annual "Vegas Baby!" sale – starting Oct. 17 – offers 30-per-cent-off deals.) As well, consider bundling hotel and flights to save a few hundred dollars, says Shannon, who notes that the city is Expedia's top seller for Canadians year-round.
As for where to stay, it depends on what suits your group best. The city's tourism website – VisitLasVegas.com – lets you search hotels on and off the Strip, with some properties starting at less than $20 a night.
Now on to the fun stuff: How to have a good time without gambling away the diaper fund.
"Vegas isn't just big. Cheap is in, and style is relative," says Mike Prevatt, the arts and entertainment editor at Las Vegas CityLife ( lasvegascitylife.com).
Prevatt suggests these wallet-friendly guy-getaway diversions:
Visit the Pinball Hall of Fame ( pinballmuseum.org) with a pocket full of quarters. Grab a $4.50 slice at the retro pizzeria and check out a free indie rock band at Book & Stage at The Cosmopolitan hotel. Reserve in advance a tour of the Neon Museum (neonmuseum.org, $15 donation). Zipline under the lights of the Fremont Street Experience ( fremontstreetflightline.com, $15). Or head to Fremont East, the coolest part of Vegas now, says Prevatt, a long-time Vegas resident.
"All the bars and lounges have cocktail menus cheaper than what you will find at the Strip. There's also a throwback arcade [and] bar called Insert Coin(s), where you can rent a table with a big screen and video game consoles for $25 a head an hour – and that's drinks included."
Since men and steak and getaways seem to go together, you could settle into the old-school charms of The Steakhouse at Circus Circus ( circuscircus.com) or the celeb chef stylings of Wolfgang Puck's CUT at The Palazzo ( palazzo.com). Or you could opt for the Hard Rock Hotel's Mr. Lucky's ( hardrockhotel.com).
"Mr. Lucky's is a casual place for people-watching and late-night grubbing," says Prevatt. "And at $7.77 for steak, you're not going for quality, but merely something to sop up all that alcohol."
With all the money you'll save with these picks (not to mention happy-hour specials and free entertainment such as erupting volcanoes), I'm sure the wives won't mind you spending some coin at the craps tables.