Those in search of a backpacking holiday in the American West may think that it would be a good idea to avoid Las Vegas. After all, the city is famous for excess, not frugality. The truth is that the resort hotels are there to lure custom from all comers, and bargains abound for backpackers willing to look for them.
Food and Entertainment
While Las Vegas is known for fine dining, it’s also home to abundant, affordable food. Many of the hotel coffee shops offer basic fare for a low price. Night owls can take advantage of the after midnight “graveyard” specials, including a $2 burger and fries at the Flamingo or the many under $5 breakfasts available Downtown. For the truly frugal, the Slots of Fun at the far end of the Strip distributes free food to patrons at various times of the day. Coffee and donuts make the rounds in the morning hours, while free sandwiches or hot dogs sometimes appear in the evenings. This noisy and often crowded establishment also offers $1 beer specials at night. The $2.95 bay shrimp cocktail is available 24-hours next door at the Circus Circus.
If people watching isn’t sufficient entertainment, you won’t have to look hard to find affordable amusement in Las Vegas. Although the exterior attractions at the resorts are free to view, expect to pay extra to journey to the top of the Eiffel Tower or take a gondola ride. Skip the high profile and high-dollar entertainment shows and catch a movie in the casino at The Palms or go bowling in the Gold Coast instead. To experience Las Vegas like a local, avoid the pricey cocktail lounges in the casinos and hit one of the area dive bars. The Double Down Saloon offers cheap drinks, live entertainment and an authentic Las Vegas experience. Hooters Hotel and Casino serves bottled Budweiser or Bud Light for $1.50 all day.
Where to Stay
While it’s true that a stay in one of the luxury resorts on the Strip is not for the thrifty, there are many accommodation options in Las Vegas for those who want to see the city without spending a fortune. The good news is that most of the attractions and all of the casinos are open to the public, so you’ll be able to see the sights no matter where you stay.
Mid-Week or Off-Season
Taking the time to consult the calendar before heading out on a Las Vegas holiday can save money. The desert climate in Las Vegas makes the peak season run in accordance with the weather. Spring and fall will find more visitors in town. Weekends are usually busy, no matter what the date. Choosing a mid-week stay in the summer months or late winter means less crowding and lower rates.
Try a Chain Motel
Several large travellers’ motel chains operate facilities around the Strip and Downtown areas. While you won’t have 24-hour room service at the Travelodge or Best Western, you will get a clean room at an affordable price within walking distance of the Strip.
The older hotels in the Downtown Fremont Street area of Las Vegas are far more affordable than the newer resorts on the Strip. The historic Downtown district also offers a glimpse into the past for those interested in the early years of Las Vegas. Although Vegas is famous for high rollers, most visitors to the city are just ordinary people with a few dollars to spend. With a little ingenuity you can take advantage of the many affordable specials to enjoy a fun and frugal backpacking holiday in Las Vegas.