When I thought of Las Vegas before now, I thought of glitz, glamour, excess, and a heady collection of high rollers and big hitters (read: a crazy place, but not one for backpackers), but I was wrong. After friends duped me into booking a flight to Las Vegas, whilst magnificently drunk and unable to say ‘no’ I may add, I realised I’d fallen foul of this common misconception. Previously, on my measly budget, I couldn’t have imagine lasting even one weekend in Las Vegas, but after looking into the possibilities of a cheaper Las Vegas I found that it could be done – or at least in theory it could, anyway.
You see, it as if Las Vegas’ obscene display of wealth and excess, or, more accurately, the way in which it’s created, actually helps backpackers to exist here. Everywhere you look in Vegas there are systems in place to entice folks into the casinos and to keep them in there spending money - free booze, free food, free shows etc - but if you can keep your head, it’s nothing but a big, fat green light for freeloaders the world over. But only if you don’t allow the casinos to do what they do best will you have busy, fun, AND exquisitely cheap week in Las Vegas.
Anyway, here are a few choice links to help backpackers planning on weaving a cheap Las Vegas into their itinerary. Nb. There are many more websites, but most of these links will lead you into the wonderful world of cheaper Las Vegas anyway. Enjoy!
LINKS TO A CHEAPER LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas Coupons and Forums
Vegas4locals helpfully split their coupon offers into sections.
Another appealing Las Vegas coupon website is the aptly named vegascoupons. The good thing here is that they also host a cheaper Las Vegas forum – it’s great for the latest deals and also shares heaps of tips and tricks to help make for a cheaper stay.
Another good cheap Las Vegas forum is Las Vegas Direct, which also has a pretty comprehensive tips section.
Lasvegas-nv also offer discounts and coupons, but mainly for tours and shows.
Las Vegas Maps
Map of the Las Vegas Strip
Map of Downtown Las Vegas
Map of Greater Las Vegas
I seem to recall being able to pick up a cheap fold out map from one of the tourist booths too, but these’ll help you plan and get a feel for the layout before you go.
Cheap Las Vegas Websites
The maps above come from Big Empire which also comprehensively covers other aspects of a cheaper (and some times even free!) Las Vegas - tings such as their Free Las Vegas Crap, Free Las Vegas Eats, and Free Las Vegas Sights sections. And although not quite as good as their free-flavoured stuff, they have cheap sections too!
Another sight in a very similar vein is the Cheapo Vegas website. Again, they have the free and cheap sections, but also have a really handy set of comparison charts to give quick overviews on the following:-
Both Big Empire and Cheapo Vegas give hotel reviews, but in my opinion they’re a little off the mark as they tend to slate some of the Las Vegas accommodation options which, in my opinion, really aren’t that bad. I’ve stayed at a few of the ‘stinking places’ as they put it, and thought they were just fine – but then again I have no standards…
In addition, of the sites that deal with cheap accommodation, many fail to mention the Las Vegas Backpacker Hostels. At the time of writing there are 2 backpacker hostels that I know of (and have stayed in) – the Sin City Hostel and the USA Backpacking Hostel - both are around 22 bucks a night PP (remember though, if you are in a larger group, turning 1 hotel room into shanty town may be a better option value-wise).
The USA Hostel offers a little more for backpackers in the way of stuff like free Wi-Fi etc. but is way off the strip and a fair walk through a pretty shitty area to get among the action. The Sin City Hostel on the other hand is right on the main boulevard between Freemont, Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip proper - just walk out and jump on the bus to either area. Perfect. incidentally, the Las Vegas 24hr bus pass is the way to go on this one if you want a full day checking out the numerous casinos as the distance between them can be quite deceptive!
As well as price, other added bonus of these 2 hostels is that they both come with a free breakfast and fully equipped kitchens – so if it’s been a while since breakfast and you’re sick of the free coffee and doughnuts in the casinos, you can retire to the hostel and eat 10 cent noodles to your hearts content. Oh, and watch Elvis marry a few suckers off whilst you do so - it may shake you up, but please don’t cry in the chapel.
There are, of course, plenty more Cheapo Las Vegas-style dotted around the internet, but it’s also worth casting the net a little wider in terms of Las Vegas Bargain hunting. A little time spent surfing the more ‘mainstream’ Las Vegas sites can also reap rewards since they do throw up the odd sweet deal on stuff like fancy hotels, non-Taco Bell dining, some of the long running shows, and other Las Vegas travel deals not usually found in the recommends above.
Well, there you have it - a cheaper Las Vegas for backpackers. “U-huh-huh, thang-ya-verr-much.”