Figuring out a trip budget when going to Las Vegas is like the weatherman trying to give the forecast, it’s usually wrong, it’s unpredictable and it always changes based on what you’d planned. This is a city that eats, sleeps and breaths money, and there probably isn’t anywhere else in the world where so many fortunes and made and squandered every 24 hours.
Even though that’s the case, the good news is that in a town as diverse as Las Vegas there are tons of options for everyone from the low roller to big spender, and increasing competition in the market means there are tons of ways to have an enjoyable trip on a low, medium or high roller budget. Below I’ve provided an in-depth look into the potential costs associated with a trip to Vegas as well as budgetary recommendations for different types of travelers looking for different experiences.
For a typical weekend stay (Thursday to Sunday) here is what I recommend for budgets:
- Low Roller – $650 (including hotel) or $350 without hotel
- Mid Roller – $1,200 (including hotel) or $600 without hotel
- High Roler – $3,000 (including hotel) or $2,000 without hotel
- Whale – Over $50,000 for 3 days in Vegas, don’t worry about hotel, it will be comped
Where To Stay and What To Spend?
The chart above shows the average prices for weekend stays at most of the properties on the Vegas strip. The average cost works out to about $167 per night and can give you a decent estimate on what your hotel cost would be, although bare in mind that hotel prices fluctuate wildly based on season and any big conferences or events that may be in town. If you are looking for more affordable accommodation you can always stay off-strip in Old Vegas where you can get rates as low as $25 per night at places like the Golden Nugget and Four Queens, which is also a cool experience but the Strip is recommend if it’s your first trip.
So, using our average from above let’s say that a typical Thursday-Sunday 3 night trip would be around $570-$600 when you factor in taxes and resort fees as a good rule of thumb for your total hotel cost.
Drinking, Eating & Shows
If you’re like me this will be a big part of your budget when you come here and you’ll want to ensure you have enough money to keep your belly full and liver working hard. When it comes to drinking on the Strip you are probably looking at about $7-$11 per mixed drink and around $7 per beer inside the casinos at the bar, while in Old Vegas, this goes down by about $3-5 per drink and is a much more affordable option. Drinking in nightclubs is ridiculously expensive and you can expect to spend upwards of $15+ per drink, with bottle service ranging anywhere from $1,000 to unlimited (people have spend hundreds of thousands).
If you’re on a really strict budget the best thing we can advise you to do is hit up one of the local liquor stores, make drinks in a to go cup in your room and go out and enjoy all the Vegas has to offer. You are allowed to carry drinks around all over the strip, so this is a good option if you want to avoid the costly drink prices that you’ll find in the hotels and casinos. Another option that seems popular with travelers is the Yard Stick drinks from Fat Tuesday, which are basically a Yard long alcoholic slushy that you can walk around with for $17.99.
When it comes to dining options the great thing about Las Vegas is there really is something for everyone’s taste and budget. For breakfast, you can expect to spend around $15 per person for some of the more reasonable options like Planet Dailies inside Planet Hollywood. For a more upscale experience, definitely check out Mon Ami Gabi inside the Paris Hotel that offers an awesome menu for breakfast, which will run you about $25-$30 per person depending on what you get.
For lunch options, there is a ton of places you can check out with prices ranging from under $20 for Sandwich/Fast Food options to up to $60 or more if you want a fancy lunch. One of my personal favorites for lunch is Holsteins inside The Cosmopolitan which features a ton of different burger options and has really good milkshakes, it will cost about $25 – $50 per person depending on what you order.
For dinner, the sky is the limit and you can pretty much spend as little or as much as you want, with anything from fast food to five star dining on the menu. If you are looking for the lower end of things, try checking out one of the bars on the strip that also serves food and will have reasonable prices for dinner. At these places you can grab a meal for around $20-$25 and can fill up for a fraction of the fancy restaurants. When it comes to 5 star dining there is no limit of what this city offers, and you’re looking to spend anywhere from $100 per person up to $500 per person at some of the finest establishments.
Vegas is a great place to take in a show with some of the best entertainment productions in the world, but it can get a bit pricey. On the strip there are a bunch of different booths that specialize in selling last minute ticket specials and this is your best bet to get the cheapest price to the many shows on the Strip. For premium seating to the most popular shows, each ticket is going to run you over $100 per person but using the discount sellers you can usually find decent seats for around $50 to a bunch of different productions.
As for gambling this is a really subjective and tough thing to budget for, it really depends on how much you like to gamble. If you’re primarily a slots player, you can low roll for about $50 a day if you stick to the lower denomination slots and don’t want to play for much more than an hour or so. If you want a few hours of play per day I would say around $150 is a decent budget to get some solid play on the slot machines. For table game players, on the low end I’d plan on $200 day even if you are only playing the $5 tables as a stroke of bad luck can crush that kind of a bankroll pretty quickly. For mid-range table game players around $500 per session is more reasonable, again it really all depends on what you personally can afford and want to play.