Las Vegas immortalized in countless films and novels, a shining, glinting gem in the middle of the desert and the ephemeral dream of everyone looking to make a fortune in the blink of an eye. However, as the mafia was driven out of Vegas and big business took over, the heart of the city changed, despite maintaining its Sin City image. Here are some of the ways to navigate New Vegas without getting taken for your last penny.
First of all, try to bring in some outside liquor both into the casinos and across state lines. If you’re driving from one of the neighboring states (especially if that state is California) load up on liquor and provisions before you hit Nevada. Plain and simple, it’s going to be cheaper. Once you’re in the Vegas area, prices go up as they would for any tourist attraction, let alone one as popular as Vegas. Having a couple bottles of cheap whiskey and a case of beer is a great fallback when you want to warm up before going out for the night.
Likewise, carrying a flask into a casino is a local tradition just don’t get caught. While the idea of Las Vegas slinging free drinks at everybody who walks through the door and sits down at a slot machine is a nice sentiment, those days are long gone. Unless you’re a high-roller or you get lucky and win a lot of money, most casinos aren’t going to waste free alcohol and poor ol’ you, and drinks can be expensive. Buy a coke, take a walk to the bathroom with your flask, and you’ve got yourself a cuba libre for about a dollar.
When you’re planning your Vegas trip, keep in mind: everywhere in Vegas is always running specials especially in the off-season, and often times the further in advance you’re looking. This involves everything from discounted hotel rooms and packages, to drink specials, to coupon books. If you’re hotel asks if you want to sign up for their rewards program, and it’s free, always say yes. You’ll get a thick book of snack and drink vouchers. Keep an eye out for online promotions as well, or check out the app, myVegas; it’s a simple, brainless slot machine game you can play for free, but the money earned in-game can be redeemed for real rewards at Vegas hotels.
Just like with specials, try to plan your bar-hopping around happy hours. Because different bars run different happy hours, you can hop from bar to bar, getting cheap drinks and a decent cross-section of Vegas watering holes. It takes a little bit of research, but give it time, and you can pull 2-for-1 drinks from early afternoon until the evening you know, in case your flask is running dry.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to walk. The Vegas Strip is huge, much longer than most tourists anticipate, but it is entirely possible to walk especially in the evening, when the world-famous lights are shining. Taxi-alternative Uber was initially set to drive the cost of getting a ride down, but a mix of bad politics and bad publicity forced them out of Nevada, leaving taxis as the only motorized method of scoring a ride.