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Travel tips for winning big in Las Vegas

These travel tips ensure that an elusive jackpot isn’t the only way to go home a winner. | By Matt Villano | September 28, 2022

With glitz, glam and countless opportunities for visitors to reinvent themselves, Las Vegas continues to be one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States. Like most places these days, however, prices in Sin City are higher than they’ve been in years. That means visitors must get creative to get the most out of the time — and money — they spend in Vegas.

The good news is that you don’t need to hit a jackpot to score budget wins on your next trip to Las Vegas. Here are some winning travel hacks that will make you feel like a million bucks:

  • Book strategically: Improve your Vegas stay by booking during the week

  • Get on the list: Expand your dining horizons through mid-week reservations

  • Be loyal: Earn freebies from the casinos that offer loyalty programs and players’ cards

Freemont Street Experience
Every night, except New Year’s Eve, the Freemont Street Experience offers free live music from their three stages.

Money on your mind

When booking your Las Vegas stay, remember that hotels pack the house on weekends and offer discounted rates Monday through Thursday nights. This means you can stick to your budget (and still have all the fun) by booking mid-week stays.

And if you plan to gamble while in town, consider setting a budget for yourself and spacing it out over the course of your Vegas trip. This strategy is a great way to ensure you can enjoy time on the casino floor without over-spending. Who knows, depending on how the dice and cards fall, you could walk away even more of a winner.

Think strategically elsewhere in Vegas, too. Shows, restaurants and even some lounges are less-crowded during the week, making it easier to secure coveted tickets and tables. One place you won't ever need a ticket for, however, is Fremont Street. Lined with glittering neon, Fremont Street brings the energy with free live music every night.

Group at SkyBar in Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas
Ask about happy hour deals on food along with your drinks for a budget-friendly meal.

Hit the happy hours

There are literally hundreds of great restaurants in Vegas. The downside: Full dinners can cost you some serious coin.

Happy hours are a great way to dine (and drink) for less in Vegas. Inside Resorts World Las Vegas, both Brezza and Wally’s have late-afternoon/early-evening specials during the week. While Kassi Beach House, located in Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection By Hilton, offers bottomless rose every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other restaurants around Vegas have become beloved for their budget happy hour vibes. The Downtown Cocktail Room, for instance, offers discounted seasonal cocktails and half-off well and call spirits, beer and wine from 5 p.m.–7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Meanwhile, Rosa Ristorante in Henderson, has a daily happy hour with specials on chef’s choice food options, cocktails, draft beers and select wines by the glass.

Older couple sightseeing on the strip in Las Vegas. 
Walk along the Las Vegas Strip to enjoy 4.2 miles (6.8 kilometers) of vibrant city sights and sounds.

Ditch the car, grab your cards

Most Las Vegas Strip resorts charge for parking. This means visitors must pony up extra cash if they arrive on property with a car.

Sure, sometimes rental cars are a necessity — especially if you’re road-tripping or continuing on to Utah, California, Arizona or beyond. But if you don’t absolutely need the wheels for the duration of your Vegas stay, consider using ride-hailing services, taxis or walking (depending on where you’re headed).

Another inside tip? Many Vegas casino companies offer loyalty programs in the form of players’ cards. These cards let the companies track your gambling, and how much you’re spending at food and beverage outlets at their respective properties. The more information the companies collect, the more likely they are to give you discounts and freebies down the road — a great way to stretch your budget, especially if you're a frequent Vegas visitor.

Enrollment is free and easy – all the casinos need is your driver’s license. Most casinos have digital kiosks where you can see what kinds of offers they give you. Savings can include a free meal, a free spa treatment or free money at the gambling tables. All these perks reduce your bottom line while increasing your leisure time.

Woman with backpack in desert
In the cooler months, venture out within an hour of the city where you can find plenty of trailheads for a day of hiking and fresh air.

Get the inside scoop

Las Vegas is surrounded by ample outdoor adventuresto add a breath of fresh air to your stay.

Consider a hike in Red Rock National Conservation Area or Mount Charleston. Prefer to be on the water? Enjoy a half-day kayak trip on the Colorado River to Emerald Cave or take a bike ride on the 32-mile (51.5 kilometers) River Mountains Loop trail that links Boulder City and Henderson. Adventure outings give you an insider’s take on Vegas, introducing you to parts of the region that most visitors never explore.

Whether you’re in search of music, big winnings or just a good time, we’ve got you covered. Follow these easy travel tips and you'll be on your way to a Las Vegas stay where you can have your cake and eat it too.

Freelance writer and editor Matt Villano has covered Las Vegas for more than 20 years — he has authored and co-authored 13 guidebooks about the city.

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