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Enjoy Las Vegas on Next To Nothing:
Where To Stay For Less - In Great Locations

Would you like to visit Las Vegas for less than you pay to stay home? How long has it been since you've really had a blast? Learn what the locals know about having a good time on a budget. Their Staycation just may be your dream! Las Vegas casinos are giving away less and charging more in an effort to survive the current economic times. Here are a few ways to tip the balance in your favor!

Rates tend to change on a daily basis; so there is no one place that is always a better deal. Whether traveling as a couple, or with the kids, you'll likely save money by staying somewhere near the activities you want to enjoy. That said, the "Downtown" hotels and the "Neighborhood" casinos usually charge much less than in the heart of "The Strip." But most of the parking Downtown is only free with validation.

The hotels that have everything going on can easily get higher room rates. So the trick here is to look for a hotel that is either next door or across the street form where you want to hang out, and stay there for less cost when possible. Transportation also makes a difference in that cheaper doesn’t work if you end up spending the difference just getting around.

So, before getting started, you will want to ask yourself a few questions: Am I traveling with the family, or is this an all adult excursion? If traveling with the family, and you'd like the children to have a good time too, the downtown hotels are near Neonopolis which is a large open-air entertainment center with 14 movie theaters, a video and game center, a bowling alley, a food court, and restaurants. Fitzgerald's is the closest of the affordable hotels in this article to Neonopolis.

Do I want to be near any specific Hotel/Casino for my stay? Please notice that many of the suggested hotels are next door to, across the street from, or connected by a free tram to many of the convention/event hotels in town. Am I looking for a pampered, luxury experience? If so, then expect to pay more, and you likely won't care much for the less pricy hotels mentioned here. Online reviews of these hotels tend to reflect a 25% to 40% disappointment rate; usually by visitors that were looking for more luxury. I have personally stayed at all of the mentioned hotels. The hotels in this article are not dumps; but they are not top of the line either.

Will I be driving or flying into Las Vegas? If you have chosen to fly, not to rent a car, and not to pay for several expensive taxis, then you will want to stay in a location that is transportation friendly. Everything downtown is within about five short blocks of each other - very walkable - and The Four Queens is smack in the middle of it. Most of the free trolleys are by the hotels listed on the south end of the strip. Bill's Gamblin' Hall is near the exact center of The Strip. And The Deuce (bus) runs day and night to connect you affordably with any other part of The Strip.

We'll be looking at four different areas that will cover most of your desired activities, yet still save on the room rate. The areas will be: The Southern End of The Strip, Northern End of The Strip, The Downtown Area, and Nearby Neighborhoods or Off Strip Locations. Then we'll address transportation and parking.

If you'd like some help figuring what part of town you'd like to be near, and what you'd like to see or do in Las Vegas other than go to a casino, there are several suggestions listed in the other subtitles to this "Enjoy Las Vegas on Next To Nothing" series. For your convenience, there is a list at the end of this article.

The Southern End of The Strip

The Southern End of The Strip's best value is usually at either the Monte Carlo, the Tropicana, or at the Excalibur if you have children - all located on The Strip at Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. These three casino/hotels usually have rates that are about one-third the cost of their neighbors; and they sit between the MGM Grand, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, New York New York, and City Center where room rates are usually near $150 and up.

The Excalibur

The Excalibur
This hotel is very child friendly with many children's attractions. They are physically connected to the Luxor by an enclosed walkway, they have a free garage for parking, and they have a free tram that runs every five minutes between the Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay. There is also an over-the-street walkway to New York New York, Tropicana, and MGM Grand. So for roughly one-third the price, you are still in a prime location.

The Excalibur Location Map

The Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino

The Monte Carlo
The Monte Carlo sits between New York New York and City Center, with a free tram that runs every fifteen minutes through City Center and continues on to the Bellagio. With that connection and the previously mentioned accesses across from New York New York, again there is no sacrifice in location for the reduced cost of rooms. And like every casino in this area, they also have a free covered garage.

The Monte Carlo Location Map

The Tropicana

The Tropicana
This clasic resort has just been transformed into a major location. It is the last of the older casinos in the area to get a facelift. With the changes also comes promotional specials, and still enjoy the prime location.

Inside Tip: If your funds are extremely tight, you want to stay on this part of The Strip, and luxury is not on your list of important things, you may want to consider Hooters (which used to be the San Remo.) Rates can be as low as $25 a night. Hooters is located by the back door of the Tropicana, and directly across the street from the back entrance to the MGM Grand.

The Tropicana Location Map

Northern End of The Strip

On the Northern End of The Strip all of the hotels between the Stratosphere and Circus Circus have rooms available for less than $30 a night, but most visitors feel they are too far from everything else in town. If that doesn’t bother you, check out The Deuce bus line. Otherwise, the best value is usually at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon, or the Imperial Palace, which often have rooms starting under $39. These two are located just north of the center of The Strip, by Bellagio, Paris, Caesar's Palace, Mirage, Venetian, Palazzo and the Wynn - all of which charge much, much more.

Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon

Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon
It used to be smoke infested, and looks like a dive. But they have cleaned it up now that it is no longer the Barbary Coast. Bill's is on the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard with the Flamingo next door. Bill's sits on the very same corner as Caesars Palace, Bellagio, and Bally's, right in the middle of The Strip. And they do have free covered parking in their garage. Furthermore, there is now an over-the-street walkway for the entire intersection, so there is no way to beat the price for the location.

Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon

The Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace is only a few doors north of Bill's, which makes it closer to the Mirage, Treasure Island, Harrah's, Venetian, Palazzo and the Wynn. Like everyone else on The Strip, there is free covered parking. There is also a free trolley across the street at the Mirage that goes to Treasure Island every fifteen minutes (which is on the same street corner as the Fashion Show Mall, Wynn, and Palazzo.)

The Imperial Palace Location Map

The Downtown Area

The Downtown Area generally has some of the lowest priced rooms in town; and everything is within a block of the Fremont Experience. For the lowest prices the Four Queens, Fitzgerald's, and the Las Vegas Club usually have rooms starting around $29. Downtown the hotels will validate parking in their own garage, for their hotel and casino guests. The Las Vegas Club is one of the very few that have free parking for everyone.

The Four Queens
The Las Vegas Club
The Fremont Experience
Downtown and Fremont Experience map

Nearby Neighborhoods or Off Strip Locations

The best value in Nearby Neighborhoods or Off Strip Locations is usually found at the Station Casinos, where rooms are sometimes as low as $14 a night. The closest Station Casino to The Strip is Palace Station, less than a mile away, located on Sahara Boulevard by Highway 15, with easy freeway access. Sahara Avenue crosses The Strip on the north end next to the Stratosphere, Sahara, Riviera, and Circus Circus. An important note is that Palace Station has recently raised their "resort fee" to $16.79 per night, effectively raising the cost of the room to around $30.

Palace Station
Palace Station Sign
Palace Station Map

Free Public Transportation & Parking

The trams on the west side of The Strip connect to all but two of the major casinos. Neither New York New York nor Caesars Palace have a tram connection; so there is a short walk between trams when going around these two casinos. On the east side of The Strip there is a monorail that runs between the MGM Grand and the Sahara; unfortunately it is very pricy for a family to use.

Parking is free almost everywhere in Las Vegas. The major exception is downtown, like in any major city. Since The Strip is not downtown, there are quite a few free parking garages in addition to the many free parking lots. Due to the extreme temperatures, I would recommend using a garage whenever possible.

There are four casinos that offer free parking in the downtown area; El Cortez, Main Street Station, the Plaza, and the Las Vegas Club. Everyone else requires validation. The only warning you may need to know is that the garage at the Plaza has very low ceilings and tight turns, so not every vehicle will be able to use their garage.

Las Vegas Monorails

Inside Tip:
For further savings and to avoid tipping situations, here is a suggestion:

Don't valet your car.
Even though valet parking is free at hotels, you will be expected to tip the attendant one or two dollars. Parking your own car in one of the free garages and riding the elevator down will save you a few bucks you can have fun with later.

Other Transportation & Parking

If you happen to be coming to Las Vegas in an RV, or a Big Rig, you will be glad to hear that you can park and hookup at Circus Circus RV Park. This is a KOA with drive-through spaces and a slightly higher daily fee than most. But with their "On The Strip" location you will recover the cost in lower transportation expenses. Their RV park has 399 spaces, and each of them have full service utility hookups. There is also a convenience store, an arcade, laundromat, playground, pet runs, and disposal stations. This will allow you to stay on the north end of The Strip, then use public transportation to get around.

Circus Circus KOA Park

The least expensive paid transportation in Las Vegas is the city bus line. Las Vegas is a very spread out city, with a very reasonably priced bus line. "The Deuce" goes up and down The Strip continuously, (from Mandalay Bay to the Fremont Street Experience) with double-deckers running about 10 minutes apart during the day, and 30 minutes apart in the middle of the night. The 3 day rate is only $15 per person with on-and-off privileges for all of the city bus lines - you can't beat that! (Or $7 for a 24 hour ticket.) If you drive to Las Vegas it is cheaper to park the car (out of the sun) in one of the free covered garages at most every casino on The Strip, and use The Deuce to get around, than to pay for the gas.

The Deuce
The Deuce Route Map

More bus information is available on their website at RTCsouthernnevada.com. Passes purchased online are not downloadable or available to print via your computer at time of purchase. When purchasing a pass online, please allow sufficient time (5 to 7 days) for delivery via USPS mail. Currently, all passes ordered online are delivered through USPS mail and sent to the address you provide. Children six years of age and younger ride free and must be accompanied by an adult.

Transportation Passes may also be purchased in person at the Downtown Transportation Center, South Strip Transfer Terminal, RTC Administration Building, vendor locations throughout town, and all Las Vegas Albertsons Grocery Stores. Using public transportation can also make trips to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets, the Las Vegas Outlet Center, and many of the other attractions a doable thing - without using your car or an expensive taxi.

Inside Tip:
Don't buy gasoline on The Strip.
Gas prices are much cheaper at most stations that are two or more miles from The Strip. I would drive west from The Strip on Flamingo Road, Spring Mountain Road, or any other cross street near your hotel.

If you'd like to find out more about your best deals, there are too many choices to display in this article.

If you have enjoyed this article, please look for these related subtitles for Enjoy Las Vegas on Next To Nothing, to quickly find the right deals for your trip. The categories include:

  • Sights Worth Seeing - Off the Beaten Path
  • Totally Free Entertainment
  • Window Shopping - With a Free Show
  • Have Fun For Less
  • Discount Headliner Shows
  • Eat and Drink For Less

Although these deals are accurate as of this writing, any of the mentioned businesses can change their prices without notice.

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