Kalin’s Chronicles: How not to blow all your money in Vegas

LasVegasSign I love visiting Las Vegas. I’m not a big gambler – I usually hang out at the slots and stop after I’ve spent $20. But Vegas has so much more to offer than gambling. If you want to plan a trip to Vegas without losing your shirt, here are a few tips for Vegas fun on a budget…

  • Walk through the hotel lobbies for free entertainment and eye candy. Each hotel has its own style and opulence, and you’ll stay cool in the air conditioning as you make your way down “The Strip” (Las Vegas Boulevard). Don’t miss the indoor Gondola Rides at The Venetian Hotel, or the Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand.
  • When you check in at the hotel, ask for a booklet of coupons which includes discounts on activities and buffets. Better yet, email the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau ahead of time for a packet of maps, hotel info, and coupons to be mailed before your trip.

  • Book your trip before the summer or after Labor Day for the best rates. I always stay at the historic and inexpensive Flamingo Hotel and ask for a view of The Strip. The last time I went I could also see the fabulously free water show at the Bellagio Hotel from my hotel window.
  • Eat most of your meals at the hotel buffets. You’ll have to test them out for the best ones, but I though The Flamingo had a good lunch buffet, while the Rio Hotel had a great dinner buffet.
  • Catch the monorail as much as possible. Taxis can be expensive. However, the cost of a limo to or from the airport is about the same as a taxi, so why not ride in style?
  • If you plan to gamble, hang out at the slots – you’ll probably spend less money, and you’ll get free drinks just like the high rollers.
  • Instead of splurging on the overpriced, a la carte dinner at the top of the Stratosphere (which rotates with a fabulous view of The Strip), just go to the top for drinks and eat dinner at one of the hotel buffets.
  • If you’re going to splurge, spend your money on one of seven shows produced by Cirque Du Soleil – about $100 per ticket.

The saying goes “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” — but you don’t want that to be all your money! For more information on discounts and deals in Vegas go to www.visitlasvegas.com. And remember: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness” – Mark Twain.

Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.

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  • Tana W.

    Thanks Kalin, I thought that this article was full of information. I have always gone with someone who basically knew there way around but not around my budget. I like, because now I can suggest somethings if we go back.