Sin City aka Las Vegas – it’s one of the most debaucherous and most notorious places in the USA. It’s often portrayed as a den for gangsters, gamblers, and runaways. The parties here are legendarily wild, and those promises of “having anything that you want” are rarely broken.
In this Las Vegas Travel Guide, you won’t find out much about how to play blackjack, about where the best pool parties are, or anything about picking up in the clubs. But if you want to participate in these, all you have to do is simply show up.
We’re going to be talking about some of Las Vegas’ more conventional attractions – the amazing hikes, the interesting museums, the local restaurants; all the things that make a city worth visiting.
Granted, we will be spending some time on The Strip and you will still have plenty of opportunities to shoot craps. At the end of the day, this is a Las Vegas travel guide for first timers and these things are, admittedly, a right of passage.
We will also cover important topics ranging from where to eat to where to stay in Las Vegas. Crucially, we will be sharing lots of tips for visiting Las Vegas on a budget.
By the end of this article, you know when, where, and how to get free stuff in Vegas, which will practically make you a local.
So grab your tacky Hawaiian shirts, your one-piece suits, your Elvis costumes; whatever it is you want to wear. We’re heading to bat country!
Visiting the USA on a budget is tough, and in Vegas, it can downright impossible. Las Vegas is marketed as one of the most luxurious, most lavish places in the entire US. It’s a city where people with too much money visit to throw away their hard-earned dollars, simply because they don’t know what else to do with them.
That being said, Las Vegas can still be cheap! This city offers a number of affordable options, and you don’t necessarily have to be a high roller to visit. Las Vegas will take your money, no matter how little it is.
In order to travel to Las Vegas on the cheap, you must have very strict spending habits. We have our own ways of saving money and are here to share them with you now. Take note of what we say in this Las Vegas travel guide and y’all will be fine.
A lower daily budget for Las Vegas will be around $60-$80. This will get you a dorm bed, groceries, tickets to some local sites, and beer money.
Hostels in Las Vegas are kinda cheap but their quality is not what we’d call extraordinary. They’re usually built from former motels, which may or may not irk you. Prices spike if you visit Vegas at the weekend.
Hotels in Las Vegas often appear expensive but don’t feel discouraged. There are plenty of affordable lodging options in Las Vegas. Be aware that many hotels deals may neglect to provide certain amenities, much in the same way budget airlines do. Keep this in mind when planning a trip to Vegas.
Airbnbs in Las Vegas are plentiful and generally of high quality. You can also save some cash as you can use the kitchen to cook your own food.
The average daily cost of food in Las Vegas can vary widely. Las Vegas has some crazy restaurants, run by some of the most famous chefs in the world, and eating at these will assuredly cost a lot. If you stick to cooking for yourself and dining at local places to eat in Las Vegas, then your dollar will go much further.
For that matter, eating or drinking anywhere near The Strip will cost way more than the Downtown area or the burbs. If you want to truly do Las Vegas on a budget, limit your spending near the casinos and popular areas.
Below is a breakdown of a daily budget in Las Vegas including average costs of each expense.
Cost Breakdown of Las Vegas
Hostel Dormitory: $15-$20
Basic room for two: $100
Cheap Airbnb: $50-$80
Average cost of public transport: $2-$6
City-Airport transfer: $2-$6
Beer at a bar: $4-$8
Bottle of whiskey from the market: $20
Dinner for two: $40-$100
Las Vegas Travel Guide Budget Tips
Las Vegas can be one of the most expensive cities in the USA, but as a local told me once, “only idiots pay full price.” If you’re looking for more ways to do Las Vegas on a budget, then try using one of these money-saving techniques!
- Find cheap drinks during happy hour – Las Vegas has some crazy drink/food specials that could seriously sustain you for a while. Check out some of the best happy hour deals in Las Vegas.
- Take advantage of Vegas “freebies” and visitors coupons – There a ton of offers floating around that can get you everything from 2-for-1s to free buffets in Las Vegas. Women can usually get into all of the pool parties and clubs for free too. Check with your hotel or casino to see if you’ve earned any, sign up for local memberships, and use Las Vegas Visitors coupons.
- Look for discounted or free shows in Vegas – A big thing to avoid in Las Vegas is a full-priced ticket. For whatever reason, there are a ton of leftover tickets or cancelations, which means that there are always discounted offers. Drop by a hotel concierge or ticket office and see if you can get cheap Vegas show tickets.
- Hustle – At the end of the day, Las Vegas is all about taking advantage of a situation. One of the best ways to get free stuff in Las Vegas is just by being smooth – pretending to be a high roller, tipping waitresses well to get free drinks, convincing show-goers to give you their extra pair of tickets; it’s all a part of the game.
- Get free lifts – If you’re going to a club, particularly a strip club, don’t take a taxi. The club will provide free transport, just because they want to stick it to local taxi companies.
- Use a water bottle – Save money by investing in a good water bottle and then drink from the tap. Las Vegas’s water is totally fine to drink.
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Accommodation in Las Vegas is very different than any other city in the USA. Casinos are the primary players when it comes to lodging in Vegas and these create a lot of incentives in order to attract guests, who will then waste their money at the tables.
While hotels and casinos in Las Vegas (the two are practically synonymous) are often marketed as including a lot of “freebies,” these are not necessarily inherent. A lot of hotels in Las Vegas charge extra for little things, like using the phone or on-site gym. Many guests, in turn, complain about hidden fees.
Honestly, I don’t really understand how the hotels/casinos are set up in Las Vegas because I’ve never really had the desire to actually stay at one. They’re loud, gaudy, and often the furthest things away from relaxing, for me at least.
I will always, always choose to stay somewhere peaceful off The Strip and then, should I so choose, visit at my leisure. There are plenty of boutique guesthouses and lodges in Vegas that are far better than a casino. That said, if you plan on spending every night on the strip, you can find some good hotel deals and split a room with friends.
I always prefer Airbnb because they are more personable and intimate. Vegas Airbnb apartments are just like anywhere else, although there is a fair share of wild Airbnbs in Las Vegas.
There are plenty of hostels in Las Vegas but I will warn you they’re more suitable for partying. Expect lots of drinking games but don’t expect a lot of luxury. Note that hostels are still subject to local accommodation taxes and fees.
Overall Best Hostel in Las Vegas – Hostel Cat
It’s close to The Strip, it’s got a gym/yoga area, lots of shops nearby, and a great social atmosphere. The hostel organizes tours to the Grand Canyon and Zion and also gets great discounts at local clubs.
There are also lots of cat paintings around (if that’s any consolation). The lack of a pool can be a bit of a turn-off, especially if you’re visiting Las Vegas in the summer.
Best Party Hostel in Las Vegas – Sin City Hostel
This hostel is located a bit closer to Downtown and Fremont Street, which means that it’s much closer to the local bars. Granted, if you wanted to drop a load at the club, this hostel will still tickle your fancy.
Two huge pluses are free city tours organized by the hostel and free breakfasts. The latter bit is really great for getting a good base before partying.
Best Cheap Hostel in Las Vegas – Las Vegas Hostel
It ain’t pretty but it’s the best deal in town. The hostel inhabits a former motel so if you’re into vintage stuff or getting the full seedy Vegas experience, this is the place for you.
In its defense, the Las Vegas Hostel does have a gaming room and swimming pool. Enter the hot tub at your own risk.
Best Airbnb in Las Vegas – Brand New Apartment in the Center of Vegas
Just 2 minutes from the strip is this swanky apartment on the 9th floor. Features the view of the world-famous Bellagio Fountain: must-see for the first time in Vegas. With 24-hr check-in, your on your own time here. Or should we say time doesn’t exactly exist on this vacation?
1. Give Chinatown a chance
Often neglected, Las Vegas’ own Chinatown is actually really good. Some of the best places to eat in Vegas are in this plaza because the restaurants can be very authentic. You can thank all of those Chinese businessmen who just made a quick million at the slots and want a hot pot to celebrate.
2. Be knighted
Ironically, the most popular pro sport in Las Vegas is hockey. The Las Vegas Golden Knights have only existed for a couple of years and yet they have already won a Stanley Cup! Obviously, the locals love their team but the Knights are gaining fans from all over the country now.
3. Must go faster
If you’re a fan of speed or anything turbo-charged, there are two activities that you must do in Las Vegas: one is driving a souped-up race car in the other is going for a ride in an acrobatic plane. Both are huge thrills and will leave you breathless (quite literally sometimes).
4. Get outdoors
Vegas may be most well known for its casinos and gambling, but one thing that is often overlooked about the city is its location.
Las Vegas is very close to some amazing national parks, including Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Death Valley. For outdoorsmen, Las Vegas is the perfect base for exploring the Southwest.
5. Double down at a blackjack table
It may not be the cheapest things to do in Las Vegas, but you simply have to sit at a blackjack table, if only for the experience. Feel free to set whatever budget you’d like; just try not to get sucked into the game. Vegas profits off of saps with bad luck.
6. Walk on The Strip
It may be cliche but walking the Las Vegas Strip at night is still one of the best things to do in Las Vegas. Here, you’ll find all the Las Vegas’ top attractions, like the Luxor, the Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, and more; all are monuments to the city’s glory and excess.
7. Be a different person
Vegas has always attracted people who are trying to escape something, be it for a weekend or a lifetime. These runaways are afforded new lives in the City of Sin and some thrive from their newfound anonymity. Regardless of where you come from, you can be whoever you want here, because “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
8. Go to a music festival
More and more, Las Vegas is turning to EDM. The casinos are already throwing dance parties every night but the absolute best way to experience electronic in Vegas is at a festival. EDC is legendary by now for its outrageous production and stacked line up, but the Life is Beautiful and iHeartRadio festivals are good too. If you don’t like electronic music, there’s also a Rock in Rio held in Vegas as well.
9. Visit a different sort of museum
Las Vegas may not be a paragon of high-culture or offer the most spectacular collections of art. What it does have though is a series of very odd and interesting museums.
Be sure to drop by the likes of the Pinball Hall of Fame, the Atomic Testing Museum, the Neon Museum, or the Mob Museum for a unique experience.
10. Check out the street art
One of the best things to do in Las Vegas during the day is to go on a hunt for street murals. The Downtown area, specifically between 5th and 7th Streets on Ogden, is jam-packed with street art leftover over from the Life is Beautiful Fest. The Cosmopolitan Hotel also has a cool Wallworks gallery in one of their garages.
Best Free Things to Do in Las Vegas
Even though it’s one of the most opulent places in the USA, there are actually quite a few free things to do in Las Vegas. Take advantage of one of these gratis offerings to really visit Las Vegas on the cheap.
- First Friday Art Walks – On the first Friday of every month, the Vegas Arts District sets up a big block party for exhibiting local studios. There’s plenty of art to see and lots of food vendors to keep you going.
- Free concerts – Fremont Street hosts a lot of free shows in Las Vegas. Hang out here long enough and you’re bound to catch one.
- Free shows – Las Vegas almost always charges a premium (or discounted one) for a performance. Luckily, there are a couple of staples in the city that you can catch for free. Circus Circus offers complimentary acrobatics on a daily basis and the Dueling Pianos at Harrah’s is practically a right of passage for first timers to Las Vegas. There’s also the iconic Volcano at the Mirage, but it may be a little underwhelming compared to the ones in Iceland.
- Silent Savasana – If you’re burned out from a couple of days of binge drinking or maybe just want to get away from the madness, it’s time for some yoga. Silent Savasana hosts free yoga courses at various locations around Vegas and provides headphones to cancel out the noise of the city. Be sure to check in at the website here.
- Tasters – There a number of local factories and restaurants in Las Vegas that organize free tastings of wine and sometimes food. Hearthstone Cellar, Rock n’ Roll Wine, and Ethel M Chocolates are all well-known practitioners of the free sample. Just don’t expect these to be a real source of sustenance.
Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Travel Guide
A lot of people plan a trip to Las Vegas with no intentions of actually staying in the town at all. Check out some of these superlative places to visit near Las Vegas if you have no desire of staying as well.
- Grand Canyon – It’s the granddaddy of all chasms in the world; the most epic, most awe-inspiring, and most famous place to visit near Las Vegas – The Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is totally worth the effort, especially when you have time to really explore it. If you can manage it, try spending a week around this natural wonder, visiting the likes of the North Rim, Havasupai, and the Colorado River.
- Death Valley – If you thought the Mojave was barren, then just wait until you get a load of this place. True to its name, Death Valley is often considered one of the most inhospitable ecosystems in the world. It currently holds the record for hottest temperature ever measured on Earth (134 Fahrenheit). If you can stand the heat, which is more bearable in the winter, you will be rewarded with wondrous sights like Mesquite Sand Dunes, Zabriskie Point, and the Sailing Rocks.
- Northern Arizona – There’s more to Arizona than just the Grand Canyon. Many locations, like Antelope Canyon, the Vermillion Cliffs, and Buckskin Gulch, are just outside of the borders of Grand Canyon National Park and all of these are worth the day trip from Las Vegas.
- Zion/Bryce – Both of these national parks are, hands-down, among my favorite places in the entire USA. They are just spectacular, heart-wrenchingly so. I can’t speak too much about them so I suggest that everyone check out in our Utah National Park post.
The following is a sample 3-day itinerary for a weekend in Las Vegas. Most of the top destinations mentioned in this Las Vegas travel guide are covered in this section. Be sure to check out our guide on where to Stay in Las Vegas for more information on best neighborhoods in the city.
Day 1: The Strip
The first day of our Las Vegas travel guide is all about the touristy stuff. We’re talking about the Luxor, the Flamingo, the MGM; all of the essentials of Las Vegas. While I don’t think that any of the casinos are really impressive, you have to roll the dice once at a craps table and see the fountains of the Bellagio while in Vegas.
Las Vegas Blvd aka The Strip officially begins on the edge at the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign (cue touristy photo op). The first casinos you’ll see are Mandalay Bay, the Luxor and then the line goes on for about 4 miles until Circus Circus.
Each casino on The Strip has a specific theme and usually offers attractions based upon that theme. Mandalay Bay is all about water – it has an aquarium, as well as a pretty cool ice bar.
Excalibur is medieval themed, so obviously it hosts jousting tournaments. A lot of these are actually being demolished to make room for newer hotels, so you might want to visit them before their gone.
I would suggest spending a good amount of time around the Bellagio, CityCenter, and Flamingo. These offer many of the top points of interest on Las Vegas’ Strip.
CityCenter is one of the newest developments on The Strip and attracts attention for its futuristic architecture. Inside this complex are a couple of really cool installations, like the Art Gallery of Richard Macdonald and the Akhob – the latter is highly recommended.
The Bellagio is one of the most famous casinos in Las Vegas and is most recognized by its fountains. Less known are the free Botanical Gardens inside the hotel and Gallery of Fine Art. The gallery sometimes hosts an infinity room by the famous Yayoi Kusama.
Finally, you just gotta take a photo next to the Flamingo sign. If you walk inside, you’ll get to see the hotel’s personal menagerie of the eponymous bird as well as the Bugsy Siegel Monument. The pool area here is quite awesome as well.
Budget Tip: If you can’t sneak in, just get a day pass to one of the pool areas, at least for one day! The best way to beat the heat is hang out at one of the casino’s extravagant pools. Many pool areas host a massive EDM pool party on their respective day of the week. If you’re into that, well, ladies get in free, and men expect to pay up.
Day 2: Downtown
We’re going to be dedicating the second day of our Las Vegas travel guide to the Downtown area. Here is the city’s most traditional nightlife – e,g. Bars and pubs, as opposed to clubs – as well as a number of museums and art installations. It is a more authentic area and offers some of the best of Vegas.
The most central attraction in Downtown is Fremont Street – a vortex of neon lights, projectors, and old-school casinos. Wandering around this area is definitely one of the most popular things to do in Las Vegas at night.
Some notable casinos on Fremont are the Golden Nugget and The D. The Golden Nugget gets its name from the giant lump of gold it has on display, which is referred to as the Hand of Faith (it’s actually really fucking big). Nearby is The D and it is one of the last great vintage casinos in the city.
There’s a lot more to see in the Downtown area beside the Fremont Arcade though. There’s a shit ton of street art between 6th and 7th Streets on Ogden and plenty more further south in the Arts District. If you’re around on First Friday, there’s a big street party in the Arts District.
There are a number of cool museums around Downtown as well. The Mob Museum is everyone’s favorite exposition of the people who essentially ran this town in the 60s.
You gotta check out the Neon Museum as well – this graveyard of old electric signs perfectly captures Las Vegas’ essence.
Most of the best bars in Las Vegas are also located on Fremont South. There is a very dense collection of awesome joints on the corner of Fremont and The Strip but there are plenty more further down. Be sure to stop by Container Park for a drink and some photos.
Day 3: Outside Las Vegas
A lot of the must dos in Vegas are not even in the city itself – several are located on the outskirts and further into the desert. On the final day of this Las Vegas itinerary, you’re going to have the option of exploring one or many of them.
Check out one of these awesome places following your previous 48 hours in Vegas.
Lake Mead – Lake Mead is reservoir directly east of Las Vegas and popular place to cool off on hot days. The lake is open to recreational use, which means you can go boating on it. There even a couple of “beaches.” If you’d like, you can go to the Hoover Dam at the mouth of Lake Mead as well.
Red Rock Canyon – It’s practically a part of town and offers all of the amenities of a world-class national park. At Red Rock Canyon, you can go hiking, climbing, and on one of many scenic drives. There’s heaps to do here, and for those who want a bit of Utah or Arizona but don’t want to drive far, this is the place to visit.
Valley of Fire – If you’re looking for the best points of interest near Las Vegas for photography, you can’t go wrong here. The Valley of Fire is a gorgeous park complete with arches, slot canyons, and layers of bright rock. Another great alternative to Utah or Arizona.
Jean/Roch Dry Lake Beds – Maybe you just wanna blow off a little steam or maybe you want to reenact a scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Either way, Jean/Roch is a great place to go off-roading – it’s flatter than Guile’s haircut and is large enough to give everyone space.
Be sure to drop by the Seven Magic Mountains art installation right off the side of I-15 as well.
Best Time of Year to Visit Las Vegas
Las Vegas is a desert, in case y’all haven’t heard yet – a place that is full of cacti, Gila monsters, and the buried remains of those that opposed mobsters. It is hot in Las Vegas, in more than the literal sense, and will be for most of the year.
The best time to plan a trip to Las Vegas is around the spring and the fall. During these times, the temperature is very pleasant and the city shouldn’t be too crowded. I find this the best time to go hiking around Las Vegas as well.
You can find good deals on hotel rooms during the spring and fall, with the exception of big holidays or events. Spring Break (April) will drive prices way up and will sometimes make you question your faith in humanity, for other reasons*.
EDC, which is usually held in May, is another time to avoid Las Vegas, unless you’re actually going.
Summers in Las Vegas are scorching hot and temperatures can easily be in the triple digits. The only thing to do in Vegas during the days of summer is to take shelter next to the pool or hang out in an icebox. Both will be overcrowded, you can bet on that.
The main reason to go to Vegas in the summer is for the pool parties, to be honest, but the silver lining is that summer usually offers the best deals on accommodation in Las Vegas.
Winter is a popular time to visit Vegas as the temperatures are reasonably mild and almost never go below freezing. Being the desert, nights are still chilly and snow is not entirely impossible.
Prices during the winter will be a bit higher than usual. Many people travel to Las Vegas to enjoy the holidays and New Year here. They may also be escaping whatever sub-Arctic climate they came from, be it Boston, Chicago, or New York City.
*Spring Breakers can be the epitome of douchebaggery.
Getting in and out of Las Vegas
Its existence may be a slap in the face to Mother Nature (no city of this size should be in a desert like the Mojave) but its location is pretty hard to beat.
Las Vegas is at the confluence of some of the best states in the USA, including California, Northern Arizona, and Utah. If you’re on a West Coast road trip, you can get to Las Vegas very easily and have immediate access to all of its unearthly delights. By the way, if you fancy getting an RV for your trip to Vegas then that will rock!
If you’re coming from Los Angeles for a weekend road trip, be aware that Highway 15 can be very congested with people doing the exact same thing.
A lot of drivers tend to speed and might even be getting the party started early, neither of which are good for safety. There have been so many deaths from reckless driving on I-15 that the route was actually named one of the deadliest in America. So be on guard.
If you do not have your own car rental or otherwise, you can still travel to Las Vegas via bus or plane (obviously).
McCarran International is Las Vegas’ primary airport. The airport itself is located very close to The Strip and there are multiple public buses connecting the two. A bus from McCarran takes around 30 minutes to reach The Strip and 40 minutes to reach Downtown Vegas.
I’d avoid taking a taxi from the airport as the rates in this town are robbery. Choose Uber or Lyft if you really need a private car.
Long-distance buses service Las Vegas frequently. Greyhound is the most popular national company though MegaBus is a good alternative.
How to get around Las Vegas
Compared to many other American cities, Las Vegas is not really a big city. On a map, getting around Las Vegas seems like a very simple affair as it’s grid-like and most of the big Vegas attractions are fairly close to one another. Many people choose to experience Vegas by foot and most have a great time doing it.
Walking in Las Vegas can be grueling though. The heat can be relentless and, often times, the only ways to escape it is to duck into a casino for a moment. The strip itself is about 4-miles long and, while that may not seem like a lot, it can become a death march, especially if you don’t care to see the area much.
Of course, you can go walking in Las Vegas. Just remember to bring a good water bottle and to take frequent breaks. If you’ve been drinking, dehydration will kick in MUCH quicker as well so try not to supplement water with cocktails.
Las Vegas actually has a very effective and varied public transportation network. Between the monorail, trams, and public buses, you could conceivably see the best of Vegas without being outside too much.
The public buses (managed by RTC) are your standard urban affair – utilitarian and efficient. Rides cost $2 one way and $5 for a day passes. The Strip has its own set of buses – a double-decker called The Duece and the SDX – and these cost $6 for a two-hour pass.
The monorail is a cool way to get around Las Vegas but isn’t really practical to use. It has limited routes, capacity, and is pretty expensive to use. I’d ride it a couple of times and move on.
Finally, there are a couple of trams that provide transport on the strip. They’re also limited but are at least free to use.
Safety Guide for Las Vegas
Las Vegas attracts all kinds of shady characters, both rich and poor, who are looking to score quick. You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that a city that attracts so much money and frivolousness also attracts a few thieves in the process.
Luckily, Las Vegas takes security very seriously. The city maintains its reputation as being one of the biggest gambling destinations in the world because it ensures that people walk out with what they win. If people were being robbed in droves here, Las Vegas would not be as popular as it is.
The police and private security firms are very active on The Strip and near popular casinos. Casinos themselves will often aids guests by escorting them to wherever they need to and ensuring that they keep their money. They will often provide additional means of guarding your winnings, be it in the form of a personal check or safe.
That being said, thieves never really give up. Pickpockets do roam the streets and will take advantage of you if given the opportunity. If you’re in a smaller casino or in a less-busy part of town, there will be fewer eyes around to stop thieves.
No matter where you are or how drunk you intend on getting, you must always travel smartly. Do not think that you are untouchable in Las Vegas – criminals are just savvier here.
On that note, be aware of hustlers, con artists, and overly promiscuous women*. These kinds of people will try to coerce you out of your money or put in a situation where it can be taken forcibly. If someone presents an offer that seems to be good to be true, it probably is.
*Contrary to popular belief, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas.
You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.
Travel Insurance for Las Vegas
Traveling without insurance would be risky so do consider getting good backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure.
I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
If there’s one insurance company I trust, it’s World Nomads. To find out why I use World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Las Vegas Accommodation Hacks
Sometimes you need your own roof above your head – we know the feeling. Other times, you’re doing everything you can save a nickel and dime.
If you’re trying to cut the costs of travel to Las Vegas, then maybe it’s time to stay somewhere besides a hostel or apartment. If you need to save money, try one of these:
Couchsurf! – Couchsurfing is the best way to save on cash when it comes to accommodation since most of the time you’re crashing for free. Staying with a local host is also a great chance to experience a more authentic side of the city and to visit hidden Las Vegas.
The problem is Couchsurfing is really popular (duh, it’s free) and demand often outstrips supply. Hosts are picky as well so you’ll need to impress them with an eye-catching message. Definitely, try Couchsurfing, but be ready to be rejected.
Tap into your backpacker network – You never know when you have a friend in a foreign city! If you’ve traveled a lot, you may have met someone from Las Vegas or know someone who knows someone.
Reach out to people! Ask to stay with people for a night or two in exchange for cooking dinner or a bottle of wine. If you don’t know anyone in the city, ask your friends if they do – travelers understand the struggle and are usually more helpful than you think.
Camping – Urban camping is a growing trend in many cities. These campsites are comfortable, sociable, safe, and cheap. They are often located on the outskirts of town, which means they are quieter too. Research to see if Las Vegas has any and be sure to bring your own tenttoo!
Eating in Las Vegas
It wouldn’t be one of the most famous vacation destinations in the world if the food was shit. Las Vegas offers a ton of culinary options and in a million different ways. Whether you’re looking for a Michelin-star meal or something easier, I doubt you’ll go hungry here.
Buffets are one of the most popular ways of eating in Las Vegas because they’re large and cheap. Lots of hotels offer these as freebies to Las Vegas guests and these can mean all of the difference. Free buffets in Las Vegas are one of the best ways to save cash.
Of course, there are plenty of conventional restaurants in Las Vegas as well. Some are extremely prestigious, which is appropriate considering the clientele that visit. Some are more expensive than us mortals can possibly comprehend.
There are a number of venues in Vegas that offer discounted full-courses meals. These can still be quite pricey ($50+) but, considering the quality, it’s still well worth the money.
While you can find just about any type of food in Las Vegas, there are two varieties that you should pay special attention to: Italian and Asian.
Italian immigrants played a huge part in the development of the city (see our Las Vegas reading list) and obviously brought their cuisine with them. You can still find a lot of authentic Italian food in Las Vegas, particularly at the local lounges.
Asian food is very well represented in Las Vegas due in part to the plethora of visiting businessmen. Las Vegas’ Chinatown actually has a number of great restaurants and shouldn’t be ignored.
On another note, the Thai in Vegas is extremely good and I’ve heard from several people that the Lotus of Siam is a must visit restaurant here.
Nightlife in Las Vegas Travel Guide
It’s no secret that everyone goes to Las Vegas to party – a lot of my friends go there several times a year just let loose. Arguably, Las Vegas is the ultimate party destination in the USA as you can do just about anything here and will have to worry very little about being judged.
The Strip is probably the most revelrous part of the city. By day, the casinos host wild pool parties. At night, the Las Vegas Strip is mostly inhabited by stumbling drunks, wandering from casino to casino with too much money and too little sense.
Most of the bars and clubs in this area are ridiculously expensive and, honestly, a bit over the top. At this time and place is when most of the weird shit happens in Vegas.
Since most casinos have their own stages, the grand majority of music shows happen on The Strip. The initial price for these shows may seem steep but you can always find cheap Vegas show tickets. Just ask around and you’ll dig something up.
Downtown is where you’ll find more casual forms of bars, like pubs, lounges, and the occasional speakeasy. In my opinion, it offers the greatest variety of things to do in Vegas at night. You’ll also find much better deals in this part of town.
Some noteworthy spots in Downtown are Beauty Bar, Commonwealth, Backstage Bar, Downtown Cocktails, and Atomic Liquors.
If you want a real taste of Vegas, hang out in the local joints. These are often frequented by the permanent denizens of Vegas and feel much more authentic. Some local bars in Las Vegas include Frankie’s Tiki Room, Huntridge Tavern, and Dino’s.
Note: You can drink in public in Vegas! Granted, it’s still technically illegal but no one really bothers with this law.
Check out this Las Vegas reading list to learn more about the city! Each novel does a great job of exploring Las Vegas.
- The Backpacker Bible – Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building an online income.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – It’s one of the greatest American classics of all time – a novel that inspired a generation of drug-induced ravings and a subsequent generation of kids who use quotes they don’t fully grasp. One of Las Vegas’ essential reads.
- Casino – A non-fictional novel that explores the Mafia ties in Las Vegas and how they worked to control it. It inspired the Martin Scorsese film of the same name.
- Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas – The story of the man who started a casino empire in Las Vegas and paved the way for future developments. In essence: this man is responsible for all of those neon lights and racy posters.
- Citizen Hughes – A biographical book about the legendary aviator Howard Hughes and his years in Las Vegas. A fascinating look at the man’s eccentric life.
- Sun, Sin, and Suburbia – A look at the non-transient communities in Las Vegas – those who have to deal with all of the debaucherous out-of-towners on a daily basis. An interesting look at Vegas as an actual city and not just a resort.
Pssst! Haven’t packed yet? Check out our ultimate Las Vegas Packing List to know what to bring with you on your Las Vegas adventure!
Make Money Online while Traveling Las Vegas
Traveling in Vegas long-term? Keen to make some cash when you are not exploring the city?
Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income—from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. Depending on your qualifications (or your motivation to obtain qualifications like a TEFL certificate) you can teach English remotely from your laptop, save some cash for your next adventure, and make a positive impact on the world by improving another person’s language skills! It’s a win-win! Check out this detailed article for everything you need to know to start teaching English online.
In addition to giving you the qualifications to teach English online, TEFL courses open up a huge range of opportunities and you can find teaching work all over the world. To find out more about TEFL courses and how you can teach English around the world, read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad.
Broke Backpacker readers get a 35% discount on TEFL courses with MyTEFL (simply enter the code BACKPKR), to find out more, please read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad.
Whether you are keen to teach English online or looking to take your teaching game a step further by finding a job teaching English in a foreign country, getting your TEFL certificate is absolutely a step in the right direction.
Being a Responsible Traveler in Las Vegas
Visiting Las Vegas will bring you ample opportunities to participate in debauchery, and it is very important to have fun, let loose, and get a bit wild at times. Most trips I have been on across the world have included at least a few mornings where I wake up knowing I went too far.
But there are some things that will put you in the category of a straight up jackass if you do them. Being super loud and obnoxious in a tiny hostel at 3 AM is a classic rookie mistake. Show your fellow travelers respect whilst traveling in Vegas and anywhere else for that matter! Use this Las Vegas travel guide wisely, young padawans, and don’t put us to shame.
Reduce your plastic footprint: Perhaps the best thing you can do for our planet is to make sure you do NOT add to the plastic problem all over the world.
Don’t buy one-use water bottles, the plastic ends up in a landfill or in the ocean. Instead, pack a tough and cool travel water bottle. For every Active Roots water bottle sold, we donate 10% to PlasticOceans.org – an awesome initiative aimed at educating people on the risk of single use plastic and helping to clean up our oceans. Help save the planet, pick up a water bottle here.
For more advice, check out our post on how to be a responsible backpacker.
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