Sin City on a Budget: Las Vegas, USA

If you were to say three words about Vegas, they would probably be gambling, money and madness. But there’s more to Vegas than standing at the blackjack table, and it doesn’t have to be a hugely expensive trip to go and soak up Sin City. Backpacker’s certainly shouldn’t cross it off their list of potential destinations when visiting the USA as there is more than enough to see and do on a budget, without getting (too) involved in the madness of it all.


Ok, bear with me! I’m not talking about propping up the card tables for 12 hours and losing every last dime. Vegas obviously isn’t short of a casino or 2 and wandering around them all is an activity in itself. With all the different themes, from Venice to Egypt, each and everyone is absolutely mesmerising, with tiny details included to make you feel like you’re in Little Italy or visiting the Pharaohs.  And that’s not to mention the people. I don’t think there is a better place in the world to people watch! With folks from all walks of life, you see the best and worst of them at a casino table as their luck turns on a sixpence. Just don’t get too close. If you do fancy a little flutter, but away from the pressures of the pros and those willing to put their life on it, you could try somewhere like to pick up some practice in advance of the real experience.


Forget paying hundreds of bucks for Cirque de Soleil tickets, there are plenty of freebies flying around in Vegas to keep you busy for a week. Instead of shows head to the Volcano at the Mirage which erupts every hour from 8pm until midnight. It’s a true visual and audio spectacle, as is the Fountains at the Bellagio which dances around to a variety of musical accompaniment every 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re want your breath taken away and still have full pockets this is for you.


In most situations people are fairly uncertain about giving their details away. In Vegas you need to bin that habit and sign up for everything! There are freebies everywhere, all you need to do is find them. When you first arrive take some time to trawl through all the free mags and flyers and you’ll find some amazing deals. If someone stops you in the street give them your details. You’ll end up saving a goldmine. This extends to getting this insanely cheap as well. You can go to restaurants and pay $5 for a steak, side and a beer if you have the right flyer, or enter attractions for a fraction of the advertised price.

Hit the Pool

After late nights and lots of drinking you’ll need some down time, and with Vegas’ intense heat, the pool is the perfect place to kick back, shake off the hangover and get ready for the day ahead. When you’re booking your hotel this is a worthwhile consideration, as you might save a few dollars on a cheaper hotel, but if it doesn’t have a pool you’ll spend more time out and about spending money.

Eat and Drink on the Move

You’re in Vegas. Obviously you’re going to have some big nights on the town and soak up everything it has to offer. Instead of propping up the bar in expensive hotels, get some drinks for the street. Everyone out on the strip is suppin’ on something, so why not join in. You’ll save a heap and be able to invest that later on! And I know what you’re thinking, you get free drinks if you’re in a casino gambling right? They’ve well and truly cottoned on to that one – if you’re not throwing enough in their coffers at the table or the slot machines then the waitresses will sail right by you. Tried that one…

There’s just a few tips on how to survive in Vegas on a budget, but there really are countless ways to do it. Beyond the gambling and expensive shows there are deals and freebies everywhere. Keep on the lookout and this can be the cheapest stop on your trip!

5 Things Not to Miss in Vegas:

  • Wander the Strip and take in every piece of madness going on around you
  • Explore the casinos and all their garish beauty
  • Play the slots
  • Enjoy the audiovisual show at the Bellagio Fountain
  • Go and enjoy the Fremont Street Experience

For more great tips on what to do in the US check out our USA Travel Guide.