What’s a good starting budget to have when first visiting Vegas?
Alan, Kansas City | December 16, 2018
TL;DR: The answer to this will be different for everyone, so it’s hard to say; off the top of my head, I’d shoot for about $100 a day for spending money (excluding hotel and airfare).
Airfare and hotel are going to be the biggest costs, but they are also very variable. The time you go affects the pricing a lot; if you’re able to visit mid-week, you’ll get way cheaper hotels than arriving on the weekend. Additionally, people have different preferences for hotels, with some wanting a luxurious experience and others just wanting a place to sleep.
Airfare varies regionally, but flying Spirit or Frontier (and only bringing a “personal item,” since they charge for checked bags OR carry ons) is generally the cheapest, but fly Southwest almost exclusively because I like the ability to change or rebook without any fees. Since fares can vary from $60 to $400 based on where you’re flying from, I’ll leave this out of the overall budget.
Hotels are the next biggest cost. Vegas.com can give you a good overview of the dates you’re going, but always check through the players club as well. Don’t forget the nightly resort fee that is added on to your total and will be charged when you check out. I’d say that $100 per room per night is a generous estimate, as I’m personally in the sleep/shit/shower camp, but I recognize that others may want a more spacious room.
Spending money again varies on everyone, but is a bit easier to gauge.
When it comes to food, you can easily get by on $20-30 a day if you only eat two meals and take advantage of players specials and bring some snacks. You could go as low as $15 if you only ate fast food, but I like to enjoy at least one sit down meal.
When it comes to drinks, tipping will be your biggest expense if you’re getting free drinks while slow rolling. You can also buy booze at a convenience store and mix your own drinks or keep beer on ice in your hotel room, so you could easily get by on $10-20 a day.
Everyone will have a different comfort level for gambling, but regardless, make sure to set your gambling budget before you head out, since it’s very tempting to spend more once you get to the casinos. I personally budget about $200 a day for gambling, but I’ve had friends bring $20 and have just as much fun.
Tipping is the last big area. I always budget about $20-30 a day for tips, but I’m pretty generous and drink more beer and water than most. Check out my guide to tipping to see what to expect.
So, recognizing that it’s going to vary for everyone based on their financial situation and what they value, I’d say a ballpark of about $100 is a comfortable amount of spending money per day that will give you some flexibility to spend more in areas you value. You could get by on $50, but you’d be aware of your budget at times.
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