Las Vegas

Information correct as of Dec. 2018.

Vegas likely has more information online than any other destination so I’m going to keep this blog short and sweet with my top tips.

The number one question people ask when you tell them you’re going to Vegas is “where are you staying?” The irony being that nobody spends any time in their hotel room anyway so ultimately your choice should be based on location.

Check my blog here on booking cheap accommodations but Vegas has some unique considerations.

– if you gamble, join the casino loyalty clubs. Last year I ended up playing a strange amount of Breaking Bad penny slot machine (I kept winning!) so when I logged into my TR points account, I was surprised to see I had two free nights of hotel comp’d to me! I actually didn’t gamble that much so this was quite an awesome surprise. Choices for my free hotel nights were for the cheaper options of the Caesars group hotels so I opted to stay at the Linq. The players clubs also have some small bonuses like free slot play which are worth signing up for as well.

– there are many ways to get a room upgrade without paying full price. If this is important to you, google to find out how as each hotel varies in practice. If upgrading isn’t important to you, enjoy the view of a concrete wall one foot in front of your hotel room window as we did at the Linq. On my most recent trip, we spent our third night at El Cortez and were upgraded to the cuper cute cabana instead of our cheap vintage room without any bribes required.

– beware of resort fees which often cost more than the hotel stay itself! There are a couple of good hotels that don’t charge resort fees – my personal favourite is Desert Rose Resort. A short walk to the strip and with all the extras (free happy hour, free breakfast, etc) they could charge a resort fee but they don’t.

As far as what to do when you’re in Vegas… there is something for everyone! Vegas has become crazy expensive recently so rather than listing the 7492 things there are to do (other blogs do a much better job with this) I will leave you with these tips:

– don’t pay full cover for club entry or full price for drinks in clubs. I always get free club entry and drinks by using this promoter’s site. It is legit and I have never paid a cent for club entry in Vegas over the last 10 years.

– don’t pay full price for show tickets. Unless you are going to some new, sold out show, check out the Tix4tonight booth, Groupon, or other discount ticket options online for better prices than the box office.

– while you’re checking those spots for discount shows, take note of discount admission to attractions and discounts on restaurants. Vegas is awesome for discounts/deals but it does take a little research.

– many of the hotel pools either have public pool parties (day clubs) or public access. We used to enjoy the Hooters hot tub while not staying there. The ability to use other hotel pools is always changing, but always worth a try.

– unless you rent a car, Uber/Lyft and the Deuce or public bus will be your best option for getting around. Cabs and the monorail are incredibly expensive.

My final, and possibly most important tip (I wish someone had told me before my last trip there!) is that downtown Vegas/Fremont street is the new trendy place to go. I’m not sure if the term gentrification totally applies but all the casinos have been redone (RIP mermaid casino with deep fried oreos, you were my favourite) and the streets surrounding Fremont are now lined with clubs, vegan restaurants, and craft beer hangouts. There is even a shipping container shopping centre because… hipsters. I would recommend spending more time in this area but really, it is a personal preference. Last tip: if you head to downtown, El Cortez has amazing rates, low resort fee, and a free shuttle to the airport. We ended up getting upgraded to their new cabana building but I was actually a little disappointed as El Cortez is the oldest hotel casino in Vegas still operational and I was kind of looking forward to staying in the old building. I’m not complaining though… the free water, fruit, and candy in the cabana side were a nice touch in a city where freebies seem to have gone by the wayside.

Last tip: for those who want a change of scenary, consider a visit to the valley of fire. Only one hour from Vegas you can do some easy hikes with stunning backdrops including slot canyons!

A wanderlust site for Canadian travellers with a focus on budget travel