Tips for any Las Vegas Vacation

Travel tips for any Las Vegas vacation. A trip to Las Vegas can be overwhelming as there are lots of attractions and activities to do. The sheer size of the resorts can make your trip challenging. Follow these Las Vegas vacation trip tips to make your next stay a success. Get these tips for hotels stays, dining and restaurants, activities and attractions and Las Vegas shows. We will help you make the best of your trip to fabulous Las Vegas.

Vegas Hotel and Resort Tips

  • Weekends and holidays are expensive – Expect to pay more for weekend and holidays. You can most certainly save money by visiting Monday – Thursday in Vegas. Holidays will also see a spike in room rates because the demand for rooms rise. Surge pricing during conventions is also real. If you are seeing very high rates chances are there is a major convention in town. Also be aware of major sporting or music events such as fights or March Madness. Shop around for dates and book with what you are comfortable with.
  • You can change your reservation – Last year I booked a December stay at the Mirage in September. By December the Mirage was offering better prices with more freeplay and resort credit. I simply called and changed my reservation for the better deal. Keep  your eye on prices and deals if if you booked directly through the hotel and don’t be afraid to call and ask for the better deal.
  • Resort Fees on the rise – Resort fees are a fee that is paid directly to the hotel upon check out. They are not included in your pricing if you booked through a third party travel website. The fee can range anywhere from $20 – $40 a day. This fee gives you access to such things as wifi, self parking, printing boarding passes and fitness rooms. Most hotels have them in effect and you can see them in our Current Las Vegas Resort Fees post. Resort fees are one of the most controversial and despised aspects of Las Vegas.
  • Sign Up for Players Cards – Every hotel has a loyalty or Players Club program like Mlife or Total Rewards. Sign up and use your card whenever you can for bonuses and freebies. Show your card when shopping at hotel stores or eating in their restaurants. If you get enough points you may get part of your final bill comp’d. Hotels will also give bonus’ to new sign ups and the points you gain can be used for gambling or food purchases. If you are staying at an MGM property you can charge bills to your room at any other MGM property. It’s an easy way to make sure you get your points and credit for  your purchases. Another reason i shows the hotels how much you are spending and you can get offers for free rooms without spending a lot of money. Just use your card when playing and you will get offers to your Players Club account online or email if you signed up with one.
  • Parking will cost you – Hotels looking to maximize their profits have implemented daily parking charges. Beware this extra charge if you plan on driving into Vegas. Check with the hotel directly for their parking policy.

The Mirage Resort King
Taken from the 24th floor The Mirage in Dec. 2017

Getting Around in Vegas Tips

  • Bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes – This is an important tip. Properties in Vegas are enormous in size and you will be walking more than you think. You might look fabulous walking the strip in high heels but your feet are not going to like you by the end of a sight seeing tour. My watch logged roughly 10 miles a day in just doing normal gawking around the strip. With properties like The Venetian, Caesars and The Bellagio it’s a hike just to get into the hotel proper from the sidewalk.
  • Utilize cheap transportation – We wrote about the use of The Free Tram System in Vegas which is a decent way to get around the strip. Vegas also has a great bus system. Called The Deuce (double decker) the bus is constantly running up and down the strip and stops at every hotel. The double elongated bus called the SDX stops less frequently and is perfect for taking downtown to Fremont St. You can buy bus passes from machines located at the stops. Remember, no open containers on the buses. Lyft and Uber are also great ride share choices and we will post about getting deals on those later on.
  • Ignore the Street Hustlers and Time Share Scammers – Walking any where near Bally’s, Planet Hollywood and across from NYNY you are going to be approached by hustlers. They will be giving out cards for escorts, vip club passes and trying to lure you to a time share presentations. Outside the MM Mall at Planet Hollywood they will pretend to be working for the mall and offer a coupon book which is a diversion to get you signed up for a time share presentation. Just ignore them as most of them won’t bother you past their initial hustle. If they persist we use the “just heading to the airport” response which is usually enough.

Las Vegas trips

Planet Hollywood taken Dec, 2015. Classic area for hustlers.

Food and Drink Tips for Las Vegas

  • Bring a collapsible cooler – Depending where you stay a fridge is not included with your room. MGM for example stock the in room fridge with snacks and drinks. A fridge is an extra charge. We purchased as small collapsible cooler from Amazon which fits in our suite case perfectly.
  • Shop for snacks and drinks off site – The mark up for snacks and drinks at Hotel stores is insane. The landscape of Vegas has changed and there are Walgreen’s and CVS Pharmacies everywhere now. Stock up on your snacks, bottled water and beverages here. Even some of the smaller shops you see like outside of Harrah’s are offering pretty decent rates on beverages.
  • Red Solo Cups are your friend – The alcohol laws in Vegas are pretty relaxed. You can consume in public places but no glass bottles and if you purchase a closed container it can’t  consumed on the premises, or within 1,000 feet, of the store. Red Solo Cups are perfect for travelling from hotel to hotel. Most places on Fremont offer solo cups as you are leaving and heading out to the street.
  • Happy Hour is a thing – Vegas is famous for Happy Hour offering great food and drink deals. Generally before 6:00 pm you can get 1/2 price food and reduced drinks at most places. Some also have a Happy Hour later at night. There is no way we can tackle keeping a list on that so lets just say that google is your friend.
  • Sign up for Email Lists – Create a throw away email account and see if any of the restaurants you are planning to go to have rewards for joining. For example, Hash House a Go Go at the LINQ will send you a birthday 2-1 coupon every year and Holsteins at The Cosmo will send you a reward like a free booze milkshake.

Happy Hour Vegas tips

Happy Hour at Pizza Rock Downtown Vegas taken Dec. 2017

Las Vegas for the Frugal

  • Coupons – There used to be coupon magazines in cabs or in the lobby’s of hotels but those are in a bit of decline as of late. There are still two great coupon books out there. We have used both books in the past. It’s just a matter of what you think you would get better use of.
    • American Casino Guide – Available for under $15 on Amazon or Barnes and Noble this is packed with coupons for food, drink and games in Vegas. We find that it has lots of lower value coupons but that makes it worth the price. There are lots of food deals on the strip and downtown Fremont St.
    • Las Vegas Adviser – You join their membership website for $37 a year and get their coupon book and monthly magazine. When compared to the ACG but we found it had some higher end coupons. For example, the 2-1 Buffet at The Cosmo is a great value. We covered the costs and more after using only three coupons for food, drinks and play.
  • Groupon – Another great resource for getting deals in Vegas is Groupon. We start looking about three months our from our trip for deals. You will be sure to find a deal on dining and on may attractions and activities.
  • Travel Zoo – Sometimes forgotten is Travel Zoo. We like to look for dining and drinks deals but they have a good collection of Activities and Shows as well. For example, we used it for a great deal on Penn and Teller a few trips back.

These are just some basic tips to help out on your Vegas vacation. Most of them are common sense tips that could be applied anywhere you visit but Vegas can be expensive and exhausting if you don’t know what you are getting into. If you have a tip or suggestion please leave a comment.

The Free Tram System in Las Vegas

If you have been to Las Vegas you know one thing, it’s massive and walking between properties can be a long process. Getting around Las Vegas free and cheaply is not that hard if you know what you are doing. Besides the public bus or monorail there is a loose system of free trams that can easily take you from property to property.

Free Las Vegas Tram System

The Free Tram System in Las Vegas is located on the West Side of the The Strip. The service is totally free to all visitors and is split into three parts so you can’t get from one end of The Strip to the other without some walking but you can save some miles on your feet by using it.

To get from end to end  you have to walk around Caesars Palace to get from The Mirage to The Bellagio. You have to walk around New York New York to connect from The Monte Carlo to The Excalibur.

Treasure Island – The Mirage

Update:  This Tram is Currently Down for Maintenance and is slated not to open again until October, 2018.

Hours:  Listed as 7:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. but there are reports of it not starting until 9:00 am.

Location: This tram leaves from the main check in at The Mirage and takes you to the second level of Treasure Island.

Tips: It leaves every 10 minutes or so. We have never had to wait for very long to catch a ride and it is a fair size so it is never that packed. It is easy to get to from both properties and is perfect to get to the Wynn or Fashion Outlet Malls.

Mandalay Bay-Luxor-Excalibur

Hours:

Thursday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 a.m.

Sunday – Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.

Location: Various locations that are well marked with elevators or stairs to take you the platforms. They run at the front of the properties so they are closer to The Strip.

Tips: This loop is a little wonky. It goes from Mandalay Bay to The Luxor and Excalibur and back again. There is an Express that goes straight from the Excalibur to Mandalay Bay and this one catches people like myself off-guard. It’s a great way to get down to Mandalay Bay and see the south end of The Strip.

free tram las vegas

Aria Bellagio free tram

Taken in 2015 from the front of the Aria and looking down from our Strip View Room on the 53rd floor.

Bellagio – City Center / Aria – Monte Carlo Tram

Hours:  Listed as 8am – 4am

Location: This one sits at the back of the hotels and can be a bit of a walk to get there. The Bellagio station is located at the back near the Spa Tower and has an escalator to take you to the station. The stop at Crystals is in the mall and it lets you out with a short walk down to the mall. The final stop is The Monte Carlo and is perfect to get to Aria as well. You can access both The Monte Carlo, The Park, T-Mobile and Aria from this stop.

Tips:  People will argue about the walk it entails to get from the Bellagio and out to The Strip and they probably aren’t wrong. It’s a hike but its also a fast way to get to a Vegas Knights game as it lets you off right The Park/Monte Carlo area. We used this free tram non-stop when we stayed at The Aria.

Again it’s perfect to get down to a Vegas Golden Knights game.

Here is a sort of outdated map that has been floating around the net for quite awhile. The west side of the strip where the free tram is located is completely up to date. The east side has changed a lot. The Quad is the LINQ and past the Convention Center you have The Westgate and SLS. The east side is serviced by The Monorail and is not free.  We have never used it before so I can’t comment too much on it but it appears to be far away from the strip.

Las Vegas Tram system