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I was wearing:
I’m back from my much-needed Las Vegas weekend trip, and I had an absolute blast with my Instagram friends @michyleee, @daynawithoutrules and @jjlifenstyle. With a lot of stuff going on both at The Baller on a Budget HQ and at home, I really needed to get away from everything and enjoy my time with my girlfriends.
Although I’m relatively local to Vegas (only about a 3.5-hour drive away), it doesn’t mean that it isn’t inexpensive. If you travel to Vegas without a plan, everything that’s tempting to do on the Strip will literally obliterate your wallet. So, Michelle and I joined forces to create an itinerary for the weekend. While it might sound extremely lame to have put our schedule on a spreadsheet, doing this allowed us to plan accordingly and save tons of money as a result.
Everyone always thinks that Vegas on a budget can only be done without style or class, but I’m pretty sure everytime I visit my favorite party destination, I prove this theory wrong. This weekend we ate at classy restaurants, went to the top nightclubs for free, got discounts on beautiful hotels at the City Center of the Strip, and even got free drinks and bottle service at the nightclubs! Topping it off by dressing like queens, we were pretty much living the high-roller life for 4 days.
Balling out on a budget in Vegas isn’t as hard as it appears to be – below are the tips and tricks we used this weekend. Keep reading because I’ve outlined all of my expenses and kept it under $300 as well!
*Special thanks to Carlos Reyes for getting us into all the great nightclubs at the Wynn properties. If you need a promoter for your next visit to Vegas, please contact him through direct message on Instagram so that he can get you on the guestlist.
Here are some of my favorite clubs Carlos can get you in:
- Intrigue at the Wynn
- XS at Encore
- XS Night Swim
- Encore Beach Club at Encore (day club/swim)
- Encore Beach at Night (night swim)
More Travel Posts and Tips:
- The Broke Millennial’s Guide to Las Vegas
- The Best Tips for Snowboarding on a Budget
- $275 for a VIP Vegas Experience: My Las Vegas Travel Diary
- $134.46 for a Round-Trip Flight: My San Francisco Vacation
- Hotel Kabuki: A Japanese-Inspired Getaway
Go with a group of friends
Oftentimes it can be a hassle to split up restaurant checks, so we rotated and took turns on picking up the tab. Sometimes we would split the check several ways, but doing all the math (especially with alcohol in our systems) wound up being a headache. We left it up to the honor system that we would all carry our weight – and we did! Yay for honest friends.
Use your travel points
Getting hotels at discounted rates or even for free isn’t as hard as you think – I have Michelle to thank for this! If you travel frequently, consider booking flights and hotels through Expedia and join their Expedia+ Rewards program too. This program includes tiered membership levels and gives you the chance to earn 2 points for every $1 spent from booking with Expedia. You can redeem your points for flights, hotels, local experiences and more. It’s also worth mentioning that if you book a flight through Expedia, you can also get a hotel at a discounted rate for the same vacation!
We intended to stay in Vegas for only Friday – Sunday but booked a Studio Fountain View Suite at the Vdara Hotel & Spa through Expedia for Thursday night and got an amazing rate of $102.40. We saved about 30%, or $43.80!
Click here to join Expedia+ Rewards Program for free.
For the next two days, we were actually lucky to have a local friend who gambles at the casinos, and they were able to get us a large suite at one of the local hotels completely complimentary. Always double-check with any friends who are Vegas locals, because you never know if they can pull some strings for you.
Make friends with nightclub promoters
The next time you wind up completely ignoring those promoters trying to talk to you on the strip, think again – these promoters work for Vega’s hottest nightclubs and make their money by adding people to their guest lists. These people are willing to get you and your friends in, and most of the time for free.
There have been many times my friends and I were stopped on the strip by a promoter and offered the chance to get into the nightclub with no cover fee. Once, we were able to get into Marquee Nightclub for free to see one of my favorite DJs, Kaskade.
You can also probably manage to get away with some drink tickets that you can redeem at the nightclub’s bar. Also, try not to be greedy with promoters, as they try to give you what they can, but it’s fair to ask if there is an open bar or drink tickets available for the group. Beware: drink tickets oftentimes offer only cheap alcohol, so if you get hangovers from brands like Absolut vodka, try not to be greedy with those drink tickets.
This time around, our friend Carlos Reyes got us into XS Nightswim for free to see my favorite DJ, Kygo, and also gave us several drink tickets to run and play with. On top of that, hanging out with a few other promoters at the nightclub gave us the chance to get other drinks and shots, since they were able to ask the bartender to serve us whatever we wanted. Nothing better than getting drunk and having a good time for free.
I highly recommend to contact Carlos by sending him a direct message on Instagram Carlos by sending him a direct message on Instagram. Thanks to him, this was probably one of the best Vegas trips if not the best Vegas trip I’ve ever had (and I go a lot!). He’ll hook you up!
Make sure to get your promoter’s contact information and keep in touch with them for your next visit to Vegas. Since most of the hotels are owned by one company, promoters can more than likely get you into different nightclubs, not just the same one.
Go with a group of girls to the nightclubs
There’s a reason why promoters always target groups of women, and it’s not just to flirt. Clubs want to fill up the club with drunk girls before the real paying crowd comes in around midnight to make it look like the club is busy. Nightclubs also like to keep the ratio between genders 60/40, with the majority being women. More women in the club means that men will be more likely to buy more drinks in an effort to chat/dance with/take a lady home, which equals more sales for the nightclub.
Make sure to arrive at the club at the time your promoter specifies, as this is the surefire time they can get you in. Do not be swayed by other promoters at the door – follow exactly as your other promoter said, or you’ll wind up giving your business to someone else by accident.
While promoters love big groups of girls, it’s also common that a few guys in the group can join in on the free perks too. They just like to keep the ratio to at least 1:1. I have been able to get into clubs for free with a few guys in my group before, so I haven’t had a problem with it yet.
This time around, thanks to Carlos we were able to get into the VIP Lounge at the Wynn’s newest nightclub, Intrigue. We also got a table and bottle service (with free vodka and champagne) completely complimentary because we had a group of 8+ girls. The bigger the group of women, the better your odds are of getting complimentary bottle service or free entry.
My biggest tip as a lady trying to get some free drinks is to never buy table service or bottles if you’ve got a group of girls – a single bottle alone can cost you anywhere between $300-$600, not including the table fee, gratuity and any other expenses the nightclub may charge. It is much easier to get a complimentary table than you think. Just remember to tip! A general rule of thumb is 20% gratuity for the bottles you drink.
A fair warning: Unless you know the promoter personally, don’t be surprised if the club gets extremely busy and your party is told to collect your belongings and join the crowd. This usually means your promoter has failed to tell you that they might possibly be filling up your table later in the evening for people who are actually paying for one. It’s a free table, so you can’t argue too much with it. I haven’t been kicked from a table yet, so I’m not sure how often this actually happens. But just hope that you’ve gotten sufficient drinks before then.
RELATED POST: The Millennial’s Guide to Las Vegas
Get some pre-game liquor
Getting some liquor and drinking or taking shots before hitting the Strip is a surefire way to save hundreds of dollars on drinks for the night. Nightclubs and bars on the Strip charge $15-$20 for a single shot or drink, which can really add up, especially if you’re buying a round for your entire group.
If you want to drink while walking on the Strip, make sure to find a Fat Tuesday and order a “Yard Dog” for $15 – these are frozen daiquiris in a yard-long plastic cup you can drink while walking around. You can also add extra shots into your drink for just an extra $1 – $2, depending on the liquor.
One of my best Fat Tuesday experiences was getting a Yard Dog in their 190 Octane flavor – grain alcohol with OJ and orange punch (this shit is STRONG, beware, it creeps up on you) – and sharing it with 2 other friends. On top of this we added an extra 3 shots of Everclear ($1 each), which was either the best frugal hack or worst decision I’ve ever made – we were pretty much trashed for less than $20 altogether. LOL. We were so drunk we weren’t even able to get our $10 refill. #winning
You can still go to the fancy clubs and bars – in fact, we went to several high-end clubs and bars and paid a pretty penny for drinks, but since we already had a few drinks in our system, we only had to get one or 2 drinks to maintain our drunken stupor.
Get your flirt on
This is probably ill advice, especially for the ladies who are already in committed relationships, but let’s face it: Vegas, aside from Dubai, is one of the top party destinations, if not the #1 party destination in the globe. You meet so many people from so many countries, and dancing with the opposite gender at nightclubs is just a part of the party culture. As long as you know your limits and learn to say no at things that make you uncomfortable, flirting with guys is a surefire way to get free drinks at the club and get drunk off the wallets of foolish guys!
Obviously, you might want to approach this method carefully and it’s probably not a good idea to try this if you’re going to the club with your boyfriend (unless you’re both totally cool with that), but it always helps to communicate with your significant other that you’ll be at the club with your girlfriends and are just trying to get drinks. Honestly, guys know the nightclub game, and many guys have fallen victim to buying drinks for cute girls, so more than likely they’ll understand you’re just trying to get your hustle on for some free drinks.
Pro-tip: If you can’t get a table, make friends with people who have one. Most of the time, people are very friendly and will let you hang out with them at the table. Just beware of the nasty sleezy men (and obviously, make good choices and decisions you won’t regret tomorrow.).
I was wearing:
Giatta Aviators in Haze: $14.99
Ruche Life Strapless Harem Jumpsuit – GoJane: $19.50
Rebecca Shirt – Cotton On: $24.95
Fringe Faux Suede Heels – Ami Club Wear: $34.99 $14.99
Leather Handbag Dupe for 3.1 Phillip Lim’s Pashli Mini: $71.99
Don’t buy new clothes for just one night
As much as I love getting dolled up for the nightclubs as much as the next girl, sweating your butt off in a brand-new minidress and dancing until your feet feel like they’re going to fall off in a new pair of stiletto high-heels can be an expensive move. When you think about it, that outfit won’t be reused for your next night at a different club anyway, so it’s not budget-friendly to buy 2 new outfits for 2 nights of clubbing, especially when you won’t be able to integrate clubbing clothes into your daily wardrobe. Use what you already have in your wardrobe (I know most of you girls already have quite a few outfits that are club-appropriate, but you just want the excuse to shop for new clothes!).
I was wearing:
Astrology Talk Scorpio Chain Choker: GoJane – $16.00 (Shop other astrology signs)
Off-the-Shoulder Top: GoJane (Shop Similar 1 2 3)
Jeans: $26.99 (Shop Similar 1 2)
Ready To Single Strap Faux Leather Heels: GoJane – $22.70
How much I spent in numbers
Including gas, hotel, parking, and other things, I spent only $275.64 total. I took $300 cash for the trip and stayed just under my limit. Here is the breakdown of things I bought:
- $31.85 for a full tank of gas to drive to Vegas (3.5-hour drive from Southern California)
- $50 contribution for the Vdara hotel suite
- $34.39 + $3.00 tip at the Bellini Bar at the Venetian (for 2 drinks for my friend and I)
- $32.61 for my brunch share at Firefly (we split the check 3 ways for 4 people because the birthday girl shouldn’t pay for herself!)
- $6.98 Uber ride to XS Night Swim from our hotel
- $60 for 1 round of 3 tequila shots at XS Night Swim (Because we couldn’t wait for our promoter to get there and wanted to get drunk, fast)
- $51.90 for brunch at Herringbone (we wanted a fancy restaurant to celebrate our friend’s birthday)
- $5.15 Uber ride to Intrigue Nightclub from our hotel
- $12 for self-parking at Aria Hotel
- $20.37 for a full tank of gas to drive back home
Total for 4 days in Las Vegas = $275.64
Of course, I was able to keep the costs low because all of us took our turns to foot the bill out of courtesy to each other, so the situation may be a little different depending on how many people go with you. I could have saved much more money if I carpooled with other people, but since my friends all live in different states, we all traveled separately.
I could have also saved more money by eating at lower-priced restaurants. Since I live so close to Las Vegas, I frequently vacation here and eat at the local eateries that are much less expensive, but seeing that this was a birthday occasion, we wanted to celebrate. I normally budget like hell when in Vegas – here’s my list of places to eat and stay in Vegas on a budget.
I’ve done the Las Vegas vacation both paid and free – several times before I’ve paid hundreds and thousands of dollars on VIP tables and bottle service at nightclubs, top-dollar for the most chic hotels on the Strip, and much more. Now that I’ve learned so many ways to get the same services for free, I’ve learned that partying in Vegas can be much more cheaper than it appears to be.
Will you be partying in Vegas soon? Let me know in the comments below and subscribe to my newsletter for more money-saving vacation tips!
More Travel Posts and Tips:
- 3 Days In San Francisco: The Budget-Friendly Guide
- Wi Spa: The (Budget-Friendly) State-Side Korean Spa
- $134.46 for a Round-Trip Flight: My San Francisco Vacation
- Affordable Eats: Next Republic Kitchen in Alhambra, California
- Restaurant-Hopping in Anaheim Packing District