Cheap Ways to Get Around Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip at Night, Two Tourists
If you’re planning a visit to Las Vegas, you’ll want to know the best transportation choices, especially during the warmer months. The weather can reach triple-digit temperatures, and walking outside can become unbearable in the summertime.

The last time I visited Las Vegas, I was able to find parking for our car at every casino I visited on the Strip. We either just had to validate a parking ticket or were comped. But recently, it seems parking has become a problem for some visitors.

If there’s a special event happening, you should always expect parking to be difficult. Even when it isn’t rush hour, the most inconvenient part of any trip is navigating through traffic on the Strip. If you’re lucky, it’ll move fast.

So, what alternatives are there to driving, parking, paying, or validating?

Save Money by Planning Your Itinerary in Detail

Every day you are in Vegas, you should have at least two preferred ways of getting around. You can hail a taxi, call a ridesharing service, take a bus, hop on a hotel shuttle, or walk.

But always have a backup plan. Vegas is a safe city, though you’ll hear occasional sirens in the distance. It may not be a big emergency, but emergency vehicles can slow down traffic in any major city.

When you plan a trip to Vegas, look at guides and reviews for everything including:

  • Hotels
  • Casinos
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment
  • Public transportation
  • Parking (public and private)

If you don’t do that, you’ll wish you had. There are a lot of public parking garages available, so if you don’t mind paying for a space, then find a good garage in a location that’s central to your needs.

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My only other advice is to look at what it costs to park for 12 hours or a day at each location. Don’t go by the hourly rate.

Once you get out of the car, you’ll want to spend as much time enjoying the sights as you can.

Choose an Affordable Place to Stay

If you don’t see any way to avoid paying for parking, then don’t stay at the expensive hotels. There are a couple of decent budget hotels in Vegas. You may have to navigate a few blocks or drive for a few miles to reach the venues you want, but at least you’ll have budgeted in all the potential parking fees.

Circus Circus Las Vegas Casino, Free Parking Sign

By saving a little money on hotel rooms, you can afford to spend a little more on the parking garages. First-time Vegas visitors are more likely to spend too much on lodging, anyway. Experienced travelers learn to look for hotels that are:

  • Comfortable
  • Safe
  • Conveniently located and close to their destinations
  • Close to reliable public transportation
  • Provide inexpensive or free parking for hotel guests

You don’t have to sacrifice on quality to get a decent hotel room unless you book at the last minute during the height of the season.

How much time do you plan to spend in your hotel room, anyway? Do you really need luxury?

Don’t count on being comped for a hotel stay and choose accordingly!

Carpool as Much as Possible

Although you should stay close to reliable public transportation, a good amount of Las Vegas traveler reviews show that people don’t always enjoy public transportation.

If you’re going to Vegas with friends or family, you can consider sharing the expense by carpooling. Just be sure everyone agrees on the plan for each day so no one feels abandoned or trapped.

By carpooling, you split up the cost by a large margin. Each couple or family can pay for a day’s worth of parking. Or you can alternate who pays for parking and who pays for lunch.

Yes, parking can be as expensive as a modest lunch. You’d be surprised at how much you can rack up in parking fees by day’s end.

People who fly into the city may be tempted to rent a vehicle, but it can be very expensive, especially if you don’t like renting budget vehicles.

A lot of shared car rental services have competitive pricing, but you do have to take more responsibility for the service than with traditional rental companies. At the end of the day, maybe you don’t want to pay for a rental car that you’ll be leaving in a garage or parking lot most of the time.

Use the Las Vegas Monorail

The Las Vegas Monorail runs behind the casinos on the east side of the Strip. The least expensive way to ride the monorail is to buy a pass for your total trip.

Las Vegas Monorail Passing By The Linq, Las Vegas Monorail Logo

If you’ll be in Vegas for a day, buy the one-day pass. If you’ll be in Vegas for a week, and you know you’ll get your money’s worth of using the service, get a seven-day pass.

The more days you pay for, the more you save. But you do need to evaluate this method based on your trip. For example, if you need four passes for a three-day weekend, it will cost you over $100. You could definitely park a single vehicle for less at some garages.

If you’re considering this method, ticketing is convenient with their mobile app. They also have kiosks where you can buy passes. Do plan ahead with the kiosks, because there’s a possibility of long lines during peak times.

Take Advantage of Shuttles

Most visitors to the city don’t know there are free shuttle services in Las Vegas. Check out the Downtown Loop free shuttle service for a convenient way around the city.

If you fly into the city or stay at a hotel off the Strip, look for hotel shuttles and take it as often as possible. Hotel shuttles allow people to board even if they aren’t guests. But they’ll give preference to their guests, naturally.

If you’re unsure of where a shuttle is going or if you’re unsure whether you can board, don’t hesitate to ask. Call ahead to each hotel and check out their shuttle policy.

Budget hotels probably won’t offer shuttle services but the option usually appears when you’re booking. For example, Sam’s Town offers a free shuttle service to both the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas (where the older casinos are located).

Try the Public Transportation System (RTC)

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada operates the public transit services in Las Vegas. RTC offers several plans, but you can’t use the residential rates. As a visitor, you’ll have to pay full price.

The RTC Website includes sections that explain where to find their services, how to sign up, how to plan your trips around the area, and how to get started.

RTC Public Bus on Las Vegas Boulevard, RTC Logo

It’s a complicated system, as most mass transit systems have a learning curve. I recommend spending a couple of hours looking at their site when you’re planning your trip.

The “How to Ride” section links to an online planner for transit trips, a guide to how to use the transit guide, and basic instructions for beginners.

RTC operates the Strip Downtown Express (SDX) service. That will take you from the Strip to Fremont Street and back.

The Deuce is a 24-hour bus service that runs up and down the Strip. If you ride the Deuce, buy yourself a day pass. If you’re there for longer, three-day passes are available and will save you a little bit of money.

Visit Hotels Connected to Each Other

If you don’t mind walking, but want to walk in air-conditioned climate, then pick resorts that are connected.

See some of the connected hotels below:

Some of the casinos have tram services that cover short distances. You should also be okay if you walk outside and cross the street or just go down the block a little bit. Staying indoors is preferable on a hot day, but in cooler weather and the evenings, the walk outside is enjoyable and feels like a true Vegas experience.

Conclusion

Las Vegas is just like many other popular cities. Most of the easy transportation is down on the Strip. If you want to visit other parts of the city, your options change because neighborhoods are spread apart.

You can hail taxis and use ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber in Las Vegas. If you’re not used to hot, sunny weather, you’ll be glad you know there are so many options when you visit Vegas.

One last tip—a lot of old, outdated Las Vegas trip advice articles are floating around the web. Always check the official websites for any services you want to use so you know what their current rates, routes, and availability are.