How to Do Las Vegas on a Budget

Las Vegas is one of the most popular tourist cities in the United States. Sin City welcomed more than 32 million visitors in 2021, generating billions in tourist revenue while enjoying Vegas’s shows, shopping, and casinos. 

Many associate Vegas with opulence because of the lavish casinos lining the Las Vegas Strip. While Vegas attracts plenty of affluent guests, many tourists want to enjoy Las Vegas on a budget. Let’s explore ways to make the most of your trip to Vegas without breaking the bank.

How to Get to Vegas

Harry Reid International Airport is just a few miles from the city center. It can accommodate over 4 million monthly visitors. Travelers can save money with a direct flight because they won’t be tempted to buy airport food while on a layover. Vegas is also one of the most affordable flight destinations around the globe, making it easier for budget-conscious travelers to save money before they arrive.

Visitors can also access Vegas by land. Several interstate highways pass through Vegas, including the I-15 and I-515. The I-215 connects to the I-15 south of Paradise, and U.S. Route 95 connects Vegas to Reno. It’s just over six hours by car from Vegas to the California border, and it takes less than five hours to drive from Phoenix to Vegas. Nevada also borders Oregon, Utah, and Idaho, offering easy access to visitors from the Northwest and Mountain West regions. 

Visitors can also access Vegas by road without driving. Vegas is a popular destination on major bus routes. Transport companies offer affordable fares if you’re heading to Vegas from the East Coast, California, or the Northwest. 

How to Get Around Las Vegas

Las Vegas Monorail Map

Those wondering how to get around in Las Vegas without a car can check out the Las Vegas Monorail. Traveling with a large group, you can take advantage of the Las Vegas monorail discount tickets, available for 12 or more people. The monorail’s website provides the Las Vegas promo code for this discount. 

Multi-day passes are cheap Las Vegas monorail tickets for individuals and smaller groups. Monorail stations are open from 7 a.m. until 2 or 3 a.m. every day except Mondays, when they close at midnight. The long service hours make it easy to use public transit for any outing, even if you plan to visit a club or take in a late-night show. 

Nevada residents can save money by purchasing Nevada Resident Discount Tickets. Las Vegas monorail discount tickets are available for out-of-state guests. A seven-day pass is just $56, providing unlimited monorail service for an entire week. The monorail route runs parallel to the Las Vegas Strip, stopping at popular Vegas destinations such as Caesars Palace and the Las Vegas Convention Center. You can buy Las Vegas monorail tickets online, at customer service offices, or via the ticket vending machines at monorail stations.

How to Get Around in Las Vegas By Car

Having a vehicle can be convenient, but there are extra costs to consider. Parking and fuel costs can add up quickly. You’ll also need to navigate Vegas roads. Using public transit eliminates these obstacles.

Uber is another option when visiting Vegas, but these fees can also add up. You may want to use Uber to get to and from the airport and utilize the monorail system for daily ventures.

You can skip Uber and rent a car if you don’t bring your own, but you’ll have rental and insurance fees to add to your parking and fuel costs. Rent a car if you’re planning a day trip to one of the National Parks in the area and use public transportation in Vegas to curtail rental costs. 

Where to Eat in Vegas on a Budget

You can dine for less than $10 per person at popular eateries such as Tacos El Gordo and Viva Las Arepas. Both venues are conveniently located on the Las Vegas Strip. Other affordable options near the Strip include Monta Noodle House and In-N-Out Burger.

Preparing your own simple meals can reduce your food costs. Stay at a motel with a kitchenette and stock up on cereal, milk, bagels, yogurt, and other breakfast items. Bring granola bars, protein bars, and other snack food items you can carry in a purse or backpack while sightseeing. A kitchenette also allows you to store any leftovers when you do eat out.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas on a Budget


Staying in a hotel on the Strip is convenient because you won’t spend as much time traveling to attractions. However, hotels on the Strip are among the most expensive options in the city, costing guests hundreds per night. Staying in a motel near the Strip is an excellent option for budget-conscious travelers, reducing nightly accommodation costs to less than $100 per night.

You can save money if you have a motorhome and opt to stay at an RV park. Vegas is home to multiple RV parks, including Main Street Station RV Park, just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Staying in an RV also saves money on food costs because you’ll have a place to store groceries and prepare meals.

Airbnb’s 2007 launch changed accommodation options, giving tourists more privacy while traveling. Staying at an Airbnb allows you to cook meals, but costs can add up. This is an excellent option if you’re traveling with a group that shares the rental fees.

What to Do in Vegas on a Budget

Fountain of Bellagio

Although you might want to set aside a gambling or shopping budget for your Vegas trip, you can enjoy sights and shows without spending money. Taking advantage of free activities is a great way to stay busy and use your limited funds to cover activities that have fees.

Free activities and sights in Vegas:

  • Aria Fine Art Collection. Enjoy the impressive collection of paintings and sculptures displayed in the Aria.
  • Bellagio Chocolate Fountain. Visit the largest chocolate fountain in the world, a whopping 14 feet tall. While at the Bellagio, you can also visit their chocolate river.
  • Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The displays draw inspiration from special events and holidays throughout the year.
  • Big Elvis. Big Elvis puts on a free show at The Piano Bar.
  • CBS Screeners. Head to the MGM Grand to pre-screen upcoming CBS shows. Screeners are free in exchange for filling out a survey.
  • Circus Circus. Enjoy a free circus show featuring a trapeze act, sky dancing, and more.
  • Cosmopolitan Art. The Cosmopolitan has a digital art display in its lobby and hundreds of art pieces throughout its facility.
  • Craps Lessons. The Cromwell and other casinos offer free craps lessons. Whether you plan to gamble or not, taking free lessons is a great way to enjoy a popular Vegas activity.
  • Dueling Piano Shows. Some bars on the Strip, including The Piano Bar, host dueling piano shows you can enjoy for free.
  • First Friday. This monthly event features live music and art exhibits.
  • Fiori de Como. This is a stunning glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly.
  • Fountains of Bellagio. Over 1,000 fountains put on a show two to four times per hour.
  • The Grand Canal Shoppes. The Venetian transports you to Venice without the flight costs and jet lag. Visitors can walk the cobblestone streets and take a ride in a gondola.
  • Pinball Hall of Fame. Enjoy free admission to this museum. You can also opt to pay to play some of the games on display. 
  • Shelby Heritage Center. Check out the race cars Carrol Shelby designed.
  • Silverton Aquarium Mermaid Experience. Enjoy a mermaid performance several days per week. You can also watch marine biologists feed the aquarium’s sharks and stingrays.
  • Streetmosphere. Enjoy a free performance by actors and musicians at St. Mark’s square.
  • Luxor’s Atrium. The atrium inside Luxor’s pyramid is free to enjoy.
  • Mirage Aquarium. The aquarium is 50 feet long and features more than 450 different types of fish.
  • Mirage Volcano. The volcano erupts nightly, and viewing the spectacle is free.
  • Planet Hollywood Rainstorm Show. Enjoy an indoor storm at this free show.
  • Topgolf Swimming Pool. Enjoy this pool for free. No purchase is required for admission, although you may want to bring some money and take advantage of their swim-up bar.
  • Treasure Island. Check out the siren chopper, a pirate-themed motorcycle, and a carved wooly mammoth tusk. 
  • Tropicana Stained-Glass Ceiling. The casino is home to an impressive domed stained-glass ceiling.
  • Wynn Botanical Gardens. It’s free to visit this indoor botanical garden.
  • Wynn’s Lake of Dreams Show. This free show runs nightly and features lights, puppetry, and holographics.

What to Do Near Vegas on a Budget

While Vegas offers dozens of affordable attractions to enjoy, it’s also a gateway to multiple destinations throughout the state. Depending on your interests, you may prioritize an out-of-town excursion during your Vegas trip. 

Here are a few day trip options to consider:

  • Grand Canyon bus tour
  • Sightseeing at Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Hoover Dam day trip
  • Watersports at Lake Mead

With some savvy planning, you can maximize your travel budget in Vegas. Make the most of free and low-cost shows and activities and enjoy all that Vegas has to offer without overspending.


Number of Visitors to Las Vegas in the United States from 2000 to 2021. (2022). 

Matthews, W. (2022). 20 Cheapest Places to Fly Around the World.

Velotta, R. N. (2022). Reid international breaks record for monthly passenger numbers.