Getting Value In Las Vegas

June 20th, 2018 by


It is not a cheap trip anymore. It used to be going to Las Vegas was a very inexpensive and cheap trip. You could get a very expensive room for a very cheap rate, and eat good food for very little. Unfortunately as Las Vegas began to evolve into a world class playground, and destination, the cheap Las Vegas left the strip. Downtown is still one area where you can stay cheaply as well as eat cheaply, some of the more off strip and local resorts still have great bargains. The Las Vegas strip is no longer a place for the cheapskate. So, one has to get the most value for their money.

One thing anyone going to Las Vegas needs to be aware of is RESORT FEES. I bolded and capitalized this, because it is very important to understand, the resort fees can double the costs of the room if you are trying to stay cheaply. Stratosphere, Circus Circus, and Excalibur have some of the least expensive rooms on the strip, but they all charge a resort fee. You could get a $30 a night room in any of these hotels, but their resort fees are also $30 a night. This means you will pay $60 a night before taxes on the room. The advertised price of the room comes with the caveat that it does not include resort fee, and the resort fee is in fine print. This does not mean you cannot get good value for your money. The resort fee is fixed, so no matter what type of room you get, you pay the same resort fee. I have often used this to my advantage.


I enjoy luxuries, since I have been to Las Vegas nearly twenty times, I tend to spend time in my hotel room. If you are going for the first time, after walking the strip a nice room is good to come to. If you are a gambler, then it does not matter. Las Vegas offers a variety of rooms at a variety of prices. I have stayed in a variety of places and at various levels of comfort. My top ten list also has some information in regards to how I feel about the various hotels I have stayed in, and there are some really nice off strip resorts to stay in. Some of the off strip properties do charge resort fees, so check their website and fine print. Using various travel resources to get around Las Vegas, one can get good value for their money.

When I go to Las Vegas, I start with researching the time I want to go. Usually I will pick a target date, then look at a comparative website, like This gives me a good overall idea of pricing at that time. Some hotels will be vary high due to one reason or another. Then I will look at the week prior to my target time and the week after. If I find cheaper prices, I will change my target time.


Then I will decide at what level of pricing I want to stay at. If a night at the Bellagio is $291 a night, and I have no objection to staying there at that price, then I begin to delve deeper into other hotels. I use the Bellagio as a benchmark, since it is one of the more expensive hotels on the strip. If I find the room rate out of line, in my opinion, I will then look at the Wynn and Venetian for pricing. Sometimes the price of a room can be high due to a convention or other event. In this case, if the price is higher than I will not be staying at that hotel. Don’t pay convention prices, unless your company is paying for it.

Since I have a benchmark, as stated, I will now look at other hotels in a lower price range. I have stayed in a suite at the MGM Grand for far less than a night in a standard Bellagio room. Not only was the suite more luxurious, the resort fee was less. Just because you are staying at one hotel does not mean you have to enjoy all the amenities or gamble at that hotel. If you want to gamble at the Bellagio, take the monorail down to Bally’s and walk to the Bellagio or you can walk to Monte Carlo (now called the Park) and ride the monorail to Bellagio. Though the MGM does have some very nice restaurants and a food court.

Eating in Las Vegas has become more expensive. Many buffets are moving to higher end cuisine and world cuisine, wonderful if you are a closeted foodie like myself. When I am on vacation or eating at an expensive restaurant, I take pictures of my food.


McDonald’s used to be very abundant on the strip. Locations were in the food courts of Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo (now called the Park), and MGM Grand. Due to a dispute, McDonald’s from these locations were removed. Now all the food courts have restaurants that charge about $10-$12 for a breakfast that could be purchased at McDonald’s for $6-$7. Restaurants, coffee shops and buffets are considerably more expensive. There is one McDonald’s across from Mandalay Bay, and one in the Harmon Retail Corner.

The food courts are a less expensive alternative to many in casino restaurants, most are now being co-opted by celebrity chefs who then jack the prices up a bit, and try to give you something for your money. There are a large variety of restaurants on the strip, from high to low end, so you have to search for the best value.

Shows used to be very inexpensive to see, there are still some very inexpensive shows, which harken back to the old days of vaudeville, but major shows that are broadway type shows, Circe shows or big budget magic shows will cost money. Downtown casinos have shows at better prices, but you have to way the costs of transportation against that.

Many of the free strip shows, like the old pirate show, are being closed down in favor of turning the space into pedestrian malls. The Bellagio Fountains are being eyed to be removed in the next decade and the space converted to an actual pedestrian mall. If you want a free attraction, walking south from Mandalay Bay about fifteen minutes to the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Be careful crossing the street.

Las Vegas continually evolves, and that means catering to what a new generation wants. Gambling used to be a big money maker for resorts. People do not gamble as much these days, millennials are more about going to clubs. Because gambling is not as profitable, casinos raise the rates on tables and tighten slot payouts. If you want value for gambling, there are off strip casinos, and locals casinos like Sam’s Town, Boulder Station, Palace Station, Orleans, and Gold Coast, as well as downtown casinos. The casinos that cater to locals offer lower table limits, though the variety of gaming machines is not as large as strip casinos, and payouts might be smaller, you have better odds of winning.

Las Vegas is no longer a cheap place to go to, but if you play smart, do some research before hand, you can get great value for your money, and have a great time.

Thanks for stopping by.

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