We just enjoyed a champagne anniversary getaway … on a beer budget. It's easy to do in Vegas … there's always a deal to be had if you research a bit and you're patient. Our 2-night/3-day stay at Paris on the Las Vegas Strip cost us about $250 … a nice hotel, meals, a first rate show and a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower all included. Here are some tips for saving money and enjoying your time to the max.
1. Check out the current promos on rooms at the hotel of your choice.
We chose the Paris because of the ambiance and good reports we'd heard about it, but there are 62,000 rooms available in Las Vegas. It's guaranteed that one will fit your style and your budget. Some hints? AARP or AAA member? Discounts might apply. Be flexible. Plan your stay during the week and not on a weekend or during a holiday peak season. Most Las Vegas hotels charge a “resort fee” from $20-$30/day which includes use of the pool, internet, etc. Keep this in mind when you see a room for $40/night … it's really more like $70 with the resort fee and taxes included. Our promo charged a $20/night fee, but included a $25 food/beverage credit per day which offset the fee.
2. Consider using some of your flight miles or credit card reward miles for a hotel room.
Several airlines and credit cards offer hotel nights as rewards. I was able to use expiring United Airlines miles for one of our nights at Paris.
3. If you want/need to fly to Vegas, consider a package deal with flight and room.
Las Vegas is a popular destination, so you might snag a special. Watch out though because you might pay extra for the room at the per/person cost. It might be better to plan your trip “a la carte”. Also remember that sometimes, two one-way air tix are cheaper than a roundtrip.
4. Get a “player's card” as soon as you arrive or if you have time in advance, sign up for it on-line.
Each hotel group has its own card offering discounts on foods, shows, drinks, etc. Have yours ready when you check in and have it available whenever you eat or drink at the hotel of your choice or associated hotels. By the way, there's no harm in getting a card at several hotels and taking advantage of the discounts wherever you are.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for an upgrade or a room with a view.
The worst they can say is “NO”, but if there's something available, you might be able to upgrade for free.
6. Remember those old timeshare presentations?
Well, they're not called timeshares any more, they're called “vacation ownerships”. We think of them as gimmicks, but if you're willing to sit through the spiel, you can snag first rate show tickets and probably some meal vouchers. If you opt to do this, be sure to ask for top show tix; don't settle for Legends or Jubilee. Yes, we did sit through one and received two tix to Jersey Boys plus $50 in meal/beverages at the Paris. Value: ~$200 for sitting through 2-3 hours of hype. We think it was worth it. If you're too time-challenged to sit through one, consider buying your tix at a discount at Tix-For-Tonight from several locations along the Strip.
7. Look for Two-for-One opportunities everywhere.
Drinks at bars especially during happy hour, two-fer meals, especially buffets. We found a 2-for-1 Eiffel Tower coupon and used it for our trip to the top. Nevada residents, by the way, get even better deals.
8. Buffets in Las Vegas are not your usual buffets.
They range from $5.99 for a breakfast buffet to $50+ at Caesar's Palace for the Bacchanal Buffet, rated #1 buffet in Las Vegas. If you have a hearty appetite or like to try a variety of offerings, this might be worthwhile. There are also opportunities for a 24-hour Buffet of Buffets pass at several participating hotels, and if you time it right, you can have four pretty sumptuous meals for the cost of a buffet pass.
9. Watch out for the extras.
There seem to be little extras thrown in here and there … at a cost. The daily resort fee I mentioned is one example. There are also “service” charges associated with show tix, and then hotel taxes and surcharges add another 12%+ . Several hotels also charge an early check-in fee. We opted to have lunch and wait till the 3pm check-in time.
10. Bring your own wine and champagne.
Hotels are notoriously expensive if you purchase on room service or through a casino bar. If you can't pack it, consider buying it at one of the many liquor/wine stores along the Strip, all significantly less expensive than a hotel purchase. Need water? Buy it ice cold from a vendor on the Strip for $1 versus $4 in the hotels.
Remember, Las Vegas isn't just about gambling although you'll have all the opportunity you want to win your fortune. There are lots more things to do here that are interesting and fun. Just walking down the Strip and exploring the casinos and themed hotels and shops can be a full day's inexpensive and fun excursion … depending on what you buy, of course!
Here's a breakdown of our costs:
|Paris Hotel 2 Nights in a Luxury Room with a View||$72|
|Same room, back-to-back reservations using United miles||$0|
|Jersey Boys Tickets for 2||$0|
|Meals – 2 lunches/2 dinners/2 breakfasts: This included $75 in food/beverage credits,10% discount on most meals using our player's cards, and various 2 for 1 meals, prix fixe, etc.||$102|
|Top of the Eiffel Tower – 2 for 1 plus local discount||$21|
|Champagne/wine (from home)||$35|
|Miscellaneous snacks, drinks, $ for pic opps||$20|
Note: Some folks consider us cheap. Cheap is when you don't tip for services rendered or avoid paying your fair share. We consider ourselves parsimonious … frugal. We think of living on a budget as a challenge rather than a hardship. We don't budget our enjoyment … just what we spend on it.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that we get a few nickels for bringing you good deals. Thanks!