A little while back, I found myself in quite the predicament as I prepared for a quick trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas.
As a writer covering the casino gambling industry, keeping up with the latest Las Vegas trends and developments is my full-time job. And as an avid blackjack and video poker advantage player, I can earn a sweet supplementary income grinding my favorite games while I’m in town.
I recently discovered the cottage industry of direct bus rides to Las Vegas. As it turns out, I wound up spending less than $50 roundtrip to get myself to Las Vegas and back to Phoenix, scoring a massive 90% discount in the process. This is great news for those wanting to get out of town to do some real money gambling in the gambling capital.
Readers out there might find themselves in a similar spot somewhere down the road, whether they’re coming from Phoenix, LA, or Cedar City. With that in mind, this blog was written to answer a question you probably haven’t considered before, should you take a bus to save money traveling to Las Vegas?
Reasons to Take the Bus Rather Than Driving or Flying
First things first, let’s dive into the various reasons why people might consider taking the bus over more “convenient” options like driving or flying.
Well, you might encounter an unexpected issue with your vehicle at the last minute. When your car breaks down without warning, getting it to a mechanic and back on the road isn’t always as easy it might seem.
Rather than canceling or modifying your hotel reservation, incurring fees and surcharges along the way, booking a bus reservation is an extremely easy fix that ensures you’ll still get into Las Vegas on schedule.
You might prefer taking a plane, and if you live outside of the Southwest region, this is probably your best bet anyway. A bus ride from somewhere like St. Louis or New Orleans would take well over a day to get you there, so this plan isn’t exactly feasible for folks who don’t live in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, or Colorado.
On another note, many people out there simply don’t enjoy flying whatsoever. Whether their reasons involve a phobia or fear, a desire to cut costs, or an unwillingness to deal with those intrusive TSA pat downs and long lines, getting on an airplane is simply a nonstarter for more Las Vegas visitors than you might suspect.
Finally, plenty of people have issues like suspended driver’s licenses that preclude driving themselves. When that’s the case, letting a professional long-haul bus driver take care of things while you kick back and read a book is quite helpful.
What Are the Drive Times Really Like?
In my case, traveling from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to Caesars Palace Casino on the Strip took just under six hours for the one-way trip there. That’s about an hour slower than I’d normally make the drive, but an extra 60 minutes on the road wasn’t a big deal in the slightest.
For direct drive times when leaving from other regional hubs, check out the list below:
|Kingman (AZ) to Las Vegas||2 hours|
|Los Angeles (CA) to Las Vegas||6 hours|
|Anaheim (CA) to Las Vegas||6.5 hours|
|Salt Lake City (UT) to Las Vegas||8 hours|
|San Diego (CA) to Las Vegas||9 hours|
|San Francisco (CA) to Las Vegas||11 hours|
|Las Cruces (NM) to Las Vegas||15 hours|
As you can see, proximity to Las Vegas obviously dictates how long you’ll be on the bus. And of course, you’ll need to factor in the return trip, which essentially doubles the one-way durations listed above.
But these drive times are quite manageable across the board, especially when you factor in the absurdly affordable fares.
How Much Does It Cost to Take the Bus to Las Vegas?
My trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas cost $24.99 one-way, and $24.99 for the return trip through the popular regional discount travel line Flix Bus.
Flix Bus fares vary slightly depending on your departure point. Tickets from Anaheim cost $19.99, while a ride from Kingman is only $9.99, but $24.99 seems to be the baseline. And remember, these aren’t airlines with their “flexible” pricing plans that seem to punish travelers for making last-minute changes to their itinerary.
Even better, you won’t encounter any hidden baggage fees or surcharges that come out of left field.
I chose the Flix Bus line after reading through user reviews on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, but you’ll find a few competitors out there, too. Greyhound is obviously the most well-known national bus service, and from what I gather, they offer extremely similar pricing plans.
However, it looks like a Greyhound direct route adds a couple hours to the trip for whatever reason, so I feel comfortable sticking with Flix Bus for any future bus travel needs.
My Experience Riding the Bus to Las Vegas
After getting over the initial panic of having to adjust my travel plans with little notice, I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely everything turned out.
My pickup point was at the airport, where I waited alongside about a dozen other passengers eagerly awaiting their trip. The demographics were about what I expected, mostly college kids trying to save a buck, elderly folks who don’t enjoy the rigmarole of modern air travel, and a few admittedly sketchy characters who likely prefer avoiding metal detectors and drug-sniffing dogs.
To board the Flix Bus, we simply presented our printed paper tickets or had the driver scan a QR code on our mobile device. The drivers stashed everyone’s big baggage in a compartment underneath the bus, but people were permitted to bring a carry-on bag along for the ride.
Once everyone was safely onboard, the driver hit the highway and made his way across the desert. We even took a “shortcut” to avoid major traffic snarls, winding our way through Wikieup, Arizona, on the old US Route 93 rather than take the Interstate.
Inside the bus, everything was clean and comfortable. The seats were plush, the armrests were wide and roomy, and the entire cabin was equipped with free Wi-Fi. And because the full capacity for a Flix Bus ride is seldom reached, everyone had their own private nook to enjoy peace and quiet.
Personally, I buried my nose in a good book to pass the time, while others scrolled their smartphone or made conversation with other passengers.
We took two pit stops, first in Wikieup for a bathroom and snack break, and again in Kingman to pick up additional passengers.
Eventually, we passed through the Hoover Dam area, into Henderson, and arrived on time at Caesars Palace on the Strip. The Flix Bus route also includes departure points in Downtown Las Vegas and Henderson, so you can get yourself to the city’s three major gambling hubs without any trouble.
Overall, the entire travel experience from Phoenix to Las Vegas was actually quite refreshing. I didn’t have to worry about speeding tickets, putting miles on my car, or any of the other pitfalls associated with driving myself.
And I saved a bundle too, at least compared to the airfare rates I was quoted. Taking the bus might not be for everybody, but if you’re willing to try something new, letting the bus take care of the logistical details is a great way to get yourself to Las Vegas when you’re in a pinch.