Las Vegas on a Budget

I just got back from a trip to Las Vegas for Labor Day Weekend (LDW) and was able to go the entire trip with only spending money on food and a hotel. While going to Vegas is drastically different for women, there are still ways to reduce cost for men. Let’s go back a little ways…

There are still a few months until your trip, but you should start looking for rooms now. Check with your employer to see if there are any special websites that the company belongs to. Sites like TicketsAtWork.com are not only a great resource for reduced hotel rates, but also reduced tickets to shows and theme parks. If not, there is always the usual hotel search sites like Kayak, Hotels.com, Priceline, Trivago that often have the greatest deals. The best way to help yourself save money on a hotel is to book it way in advance.

We booked our room for Labor Day way back in May because then everyone is thinking about kicking off summer with Memorial Day weekend rather than summer’s end in September. We also had six girls in one room with two queen beds. While it was a bit of a tight squeeze in bed at night, everyone was too drunk to care. As long as you have the ability to schedule out and plan when everyone gets to use the shower, it is so easy to get away with having more guests in the room than you told the hotel. It is usually cheapest to have the hotel believe there are only two people staying in the room. One person can check in and get two keys, because we all lose them, then the other person listed on the room can pick up another set of keys a few hours later. Boom, you now have 4 keys for your room to disseminate amongst the group! The key part of this plan is to not go back for more keys “because you lost yours”; the hotel will deactivate the others, so this plan majorly backfires. We stayed at the MGM Grand, which was absolutely amazing! I had never stayed at the MGM before, but we knew it was a great option because the top pool and night clubs are both at the hotel – hello, no cab fare! On top of this, there are so many options for food; you can grab a cheap slice of pizza at Bonannos in the food court or you can have brunch and “manmosas” at the Avenue Cafe. There really is something for everyone. Not only can you avoid having to wait in a long line and pay for a cab by going to Hakkasan and Wet Republic, but there is a tram that runs behind the hotel along the entire length of the strip down to the SLS. In Vegas, a common rookie mistake is to walk. You think, oh it’s just the two hotels down. While this may be true, each hotel takes up at least two city blocks, so the walk becomes much longer than you expect, especially in heels.

As the trip draws near, start talking to the group about what they want to do and check out what special performers or DJs will be in town during your stay. Especially in the summer, consider the weather. I am a huge fan of XS and Drai’s because they are open air and have outdoor bars where you can escape from the heat of the dance floor. When it comes to the pool clubs, I love Encore Beach and Wet Republic the most because of their size. Especially when there is a big DJ scheduled to perform, the bigger the pool the better. Wet Republic even has a second, smaller pool on the side by the tables which is my favorite spot to cool off and stay away from the splashing water during performances (I still have yet to figure out why people do that). We saw Axwell (of Swedish House Mafia) at Daylight, Hardwell at Hakkasan, Kevin Hart at Tao Beach, Chris Brown at Drai’s, and Calvin Harris at Wet Republic – all for free!

We were able to get in free to all of these places with the help of promoters. In Vegas, young professionals are paid to network and bring in customers (tourists) to the businesses (clubs). They are easy to find and sometimes will even find you; social media like Twitter and Instagram is the best place to find promoters. The first time I discovered promoters was when I tweeted about heading to Vegas for a friend’s birthday and one replied with his number saying to contact him if we wanted onto the guest list for the club he worked for. For women, this means free entry, except in the extreme case of it being a holiday weekend for a popular DJ, like Zedd at Encore Beach the Saturday of LDW, but this is where the path diverges for guys and girls.

Every club wants there to be an excess amount of women, so these guest lists get them in for free. Unfortunately for the men, this means that they need to pick up the tab for that lost revenue. An average club entry without the guest list for women would be around $30 and $100 for men. I don’t think that men use guests lists to their full potential. Promoters do still help men get into clubs at a discounted price, which means that the $10 or $20 you men save on entry, you can put towards the overpriced drinks inside.

With guest lists, though, there is a catch: you have to arrive during a certain time frame, which is often quite early. In Vegas, clubs really get going around midnight and they are open until 4am, with the main DJ starting around 1:30 or 2am. I’ve found that the average arrival time for guest lists is around 10:30pm. No one wants to go to the club at 10:30 and be there until 4am! But if you want in for free/cheap, you have to. The lists usually remain open until midnight or 1am, the clubs have to watch capacity, so the later you go, not only is the guest list line longer (the odds may not be in your favor), but the ticketed guests who have priority are beginning to arrive, also decreasing your chances of getting in. You don’t want to be that one friend that told their friends they could show up at midnight and get in for free then end up outside the club with nothing to do for the night in Vegas. Show up early, bring a to-go drink, and get excited for the awesome night you’re about to get started at a very cheap price.

For larger groups of men, I recommend using your promoter to buy a table rather than get onto the guest list. Not only are large groups of men unappealing on the guest list, but the table price goes off of cost of a bottle of alcohol. Let’s say the table cost $5000 – that means that you can get 5 bottles that are $1000 or 10 bottles (yikes) that are $500 each. Yes, those are real prices of bottles in Vegas. It’s ridiculously expensive, but if you think about possibly having to each pay $100 to get in then $20-$30 per drink, it really comes out to a great deal. And the pretty girls that want free drinks (guilty!) usually make their way to you – how simple is that?! You just effortlessly picked up a group of women! Men can also flirt their way onto tables. On this trip, I saw more tables than ever that were only women – so guys, you’re in luck! If there is a big group of women, I also encourage getting a table. While the price breakdown may not be identical to the men, it is sure as hell worth it to have a place to sit, take off your heels, and have the freedom of not worrying about being squished and stepped on on the dance floor.

Promoters often only work for a specific club, so you may need one for each club you want to visit. I have quite a few in my contacts, so if you are planning a trip to Las Vegas and would like the number to promoters at a certain club, contact me. I also recently came across this blog where the author has a complete book of 50 FREE things to do in Vegas!

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