I know what you’re thinking, Las Vegas sounds like the last place you should go if you’re trying to be financially responsible. Please remember that Las Vegas doesn’t have to be all about gambling! There are a TON of amazing things to see in or around Las Vegas.
In this post, we’re going to outline our most recent 5 days/4 nights travel adventure to Las Vegas in January 2019. We’ll share information about our Flights, hotel, activities, how we got around, where we ate & of course gambling! Continue reading to learn more about travel hacking Las Vegas!
We booked our flights using only points! One of our big travel hacking goals for 2018 was getting a Southwest Companion pass. That means we only spent $22.40 on flights! (Roundtrip, Nonstop)
Interested In Getting A Companion Pass?
There are too many available options to list when staying in Las Vegas. We had extra Chase Ultimate Rewards Points collecting dust, so we decided to get an upgraded room at Caesar’s Palace. Our total bill came to $230.88 which included checking in early, taxes, resort fees and one movie rental for 4 nights. Without the unnecessary fees, the total would’ve been $44.22/night.
During our previous trip in May 2018, we chose to book through Total Rewards for discounted rooms. We paid a few hundred dollars for Fri/Sat nights and got the rest of our nights comped. This is best utilized during off peak seasons. Note: You can sign up ahead of time to get some discounts / rewards offerings at Caesar’s Website.
We’ve found the best hotels to stay at using Caesars Rewards comped nights are:
- The Linq
- The Flamingo (usually)
- Planet Hollywood (usually)
- Caesar’s (more expensive weekend rates, but the NICEST rooms)
For reference, here’s what 5 nights in off-peak season looks like at while Harrah’s (Sun-Thur) using their free rewards program.
The weekend rates vary based on demand, but as you can see it’s still very reasonable even on the weekends. Here’s an overview of an entire month’s pricing at Harrah’s.
The amount of things to do and see in Las Vegas is incredible. When you are travel hacking Las Vegas, there are a million shows to see and more free things to experience than you’ll manage to get to even in one week.
Here’s some of the things we’ve done in Las Vegas
Eiffel Tower at Paris
- Free to look at, need to pay to go to the observation deck
Forum Shops at Caesars
- Free to walk around, just don’t get caught buying a $2500 purse you don’t need!
Fountains at Bellagio
- Free shows every 15 minutes
- There are a lot of things to see and do here, read more here
Gondolas at The Venetian
- Free to see, a bit pricey to catch a ride
Omnia Night Club
- $215 for 2 People, but that includes $200 towards drinks
Pawn Star’s Shop (from the TV Show)
- Free to see, unless you would like a cool t-shirt or merch item
- Free (Resort Fees help pay for this)
Statue of Liberty at New York-New York
- Free to see, 1/3rd scale, but still impressive
Volcano at Mirage
- Free (Shown daily at 8, 9 and 10 pm)
Another fun thing we did last time was rent a car and visit the Hoover Dam & The Grand Canyon. (Yes, you can experience both in the same day, but you need to get up early). We recommend checking these out if you have not yet experienced the Grand Canyon!
If you want a more in-depth list of things check out in Las Vegas, here is one good article
There are so many delicious options for food, but being on the strip comes with a hefty price tag. You can charge meals back to the room which can be travel hacked if you’re using an eraser card like Capital One Venture. Being intentional and planning your meals ahead of time helps. We usually stayed up til 3-4am, so we never made it to breakfast (Budgeting win?).
Many restaurants offer coupons or promotions online you can sometimes scoop up. Searching online, we found an offer for $25 free with a $100 voucher purchase through leye.com for Mon Ami Gabi.
We kept lunch simple and quick, parlaying the savings into our more expensive dinner choices. Keeping to the Caesar’s Palace Forum Food Court, we averaged $20 per person per meal. These places usually have your food ready within 10-15 minutes during a busy lunch hour.
- The Halal Guys have great gyros / falafel
- Smashburger has delicious burgers and amazing fries
- Earl of Sandwich has a great selection of artisan sandwiches
- Difara Pizza has large slices and good garlic knots
- Tiger Wok & Ramen has a variety of Japanese and Chinese dishes
Dinner is where we splurged because it’s something we value. We focused on finding restaurants we wanted to go to based on reviews, others’ recommendations & menu options, while completely ignoring the prices. When we travel, we like to indulge ourselves a little bit. We’re not going to list every single restaurant that we ate at (Sushi Roku, Mon Ami Gabi, Mesa) but we budgeted approximately $150 for dinners each day. This is a personal choice, and one we don’t regret – who doesn’t love an amazing meal?
Pro Tip: Booze up for free (need to be gambling) before dinner, because drinks are expensive at every restaurant!
Getting Around Las Vegas
If the weather is nice, we recommend walking anywhere that’s less than a mile. The strip is so beautiful and is an experience all on it’s own. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s 110 degrees outside or raining, so you’ll need a ride.
One budget friendly way to get around especially if you plan on going to many casinos (or shows/attractions) is the Las Vegas Monorail. See the map below. Considering it’s an unlimited day (or days) pass, this is almost always a good value buy since the cost of one ticket is less than an Uber ride one way. Be sure to check Groupon for passes, because they often run deals on these.
As convenient as the monorail system is, sometimes it doesn’t get you where you want to go. Here’s where we’ll help you save 40-50%: DO NOT take a taxi. It’s so much more expensive than utilizing Uber. To and from the airport was $33 using a Taxi, $14 using Uber. (Lyft works too, but it’s more expensive than uber by about 5% – we price compared before every trip). If you haven’t tried Uber, we’ve got a referral code here that gets you $5 off your first ride. We spent $102.55 on seven Uber trips, averaging $14.65 per ride (including tip).
The least FIRE friendly activity is gambling, without a doubt. The key here is setting a budget per day and sticking to it. Only take the cash with you each day that you’re willing to lose, leave the rest in the room’s safe. $20 can last you 10 seconds or 2 hours depending on how well you’re playing and what bet level you select. There is no credit card point tricks here unfortunately, but you will earn rewards points at the casino you’re playing at. Those points earn you free food & free slot dollars.
Travel hacking Las Vegas doesn’t have to be painful, it should be a load of fun. Planning ahead and being responsible while you’re there is crucial. You can make this trip as cheap or as expensive as you’d like it to be. Remember: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but your budget WILL follow you home!
If you’re interested in a good deal, check out Las Vegas Perks Buy 1 Get 1 Free Deals (Food & Shows).
If you have any other suggestions or feedback on travel hacking Las Vegas, drop them in the comments below!
Hi, I’m John Hawrylack! I’m a husband, dog dad and FIRE enthusiast. My love and passion for personal finance started when I was a teenager. My goal is to help others discover their version of FIRE. I’m an admin of the ChooseFI Philadelphia group. I have a BS in Computer Science and MS in Software Engineering. Our blog has been mentioned in Forbes, MSN, Yahoo, Fox Business, U.S. News & World Report, Ladders, GoBankingRates, Debt.com, VOYA, ChooseFI and many more!