How much money you should bring to Vegas depends on how long you’ll be there and what you plan to do while you’re there. We break down four big entertainment cost categories (minus gambling; that’s up to you) to help you estimate how much money you’ll need for your Vegas vacation.
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How Much Money Should You Bring to Vegas?
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and that’s doubly true when it comes to your money! If it’s true that the house always wins, you’ll probably want to pad your wallet with a little extra cash. Not to mention, Las Vegas has stellar shopping, super shows, and spectacular sights — typically for a price.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority provides annual visitor profiles that’ll give you a basic idea of what a typical trip runs. In 2017, most visitors stayed an average of four days in Vegas. They spent nearly $400 on eating and drinking and about $550 on gambling. Hotel rooms averaged $115 a night, and people ponied up about $60 for shows and $30 for sightseeing. Of course, these are just averages.
Before you ask how much money you should bring to Vegas, you’ll need to answer some basic questions: How long do you plan to stay? Where will you lay your head at night? Do you plan to see surrounding sights such as the Grand Canyon? Will you stick primarily to the Strip and downtown areas? Are you driving your own car or do you plan to use taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft? Below we’ll break down some of the big entertainment cost categories (minus gambling; that’s up to you, but play responsibly) to help you estimate how much money you should bring to Vegas.
Spending Money: Shopping, Souvenirs, and Shows
Let’s start by looking at shopping. Famous shopping areas on the Strip such as The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Via Bellagio, and Wynn Esplanade house luxury boutiques and retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, and Jimmy Choo. Think $1,500 to $2,500 for a handbag, $75 to $100 for a bottle of perfume, and $700 to $1,000 for a pair of shoes.
You’ll find more reasonably priced goods about 30 minutes north of the Strip at the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets. The outlets boast premium brands — such as Burberry, Coach, and Lacoste — but at a discount (in the $100-to-$250 range).
Don’t pass up a chance to catch a shows. Many lounge acts are free or $10 to $25 a ticket. However, most stage acts will cost significantly more. Tickets for well-known acts such as Blue Man Group, the magic show Masters of Illusion, musical tributes to Michael Jackson and the Beatles, and various others start at $60 and can cost well over $100 a ticket. And, of course, it’s more expensive to see headlining musicians like Gwen Stefani ($93), Celine Dion ($102), Jennifer Lopez ($140), and Cher ($240).
Dining Money: Buffets to Renowned Restaurants
While some hotels offer free breakfast, buffets are big business in Vegas. For example, the budget-friendly Circus Buffet starts at $20 for adults and $12 for children, while the lavish Sterling Brunch at Bally’s costs $90 per person. Before opening your wallet, though, check to see if a casino will comp buffet passes to gamblers.
Note: None of these prices listed above include drinks.
Excursion Money: Fountains, Zombies, and More
Other excursions vary in price. Experience a zombie outbreak at Apocalypse Vegas ($119). Take a helicopter tour of the Strip ($114) or land at the Grand Canyon ($449). Kayak the Colorado River ($179) with Desert Adventures. Learn to drive a Lamborghini ($299), McLaren ($399), or professional race car ($690) at Exotics Racing. Let Machine Guns Vegas outfit you with a half-dozen fully automatic weapons ($450). Try your luck with pinball ($0.25 to $0.50 per play) at the Pinball Hall of Fame.
Miscellaneous Money: Travel, Tips, and Fees
Travel costs don’t stop once you’ve arrived in Las Vegas. You’ll probably use a taxi at some point, and fares start with a $3.50 charge and levy $2.76 for each mile driven. Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are cheaper at an approximate $3.25 initial charge and $2.30 per mile.
There are few hard-and-fast rules when it comes to tipping, but the various attendants you’ll encounter during your trip to Vegas will likely expect them. Consider passing a few bucks to the valet ($5), the maid ($2 to $5 per day), the baggage carrier ($10 to $20), your taxi driver (15 to 20 percent), your waiter (15 to 20 percent), the bartender (20 percent), and the people working the tables at the casino (10 percent).
And don’t forget about fees. If you drive your own car, daily self-parking fees at various hotels and casinos range from $8 to $35 per night. Expect valet parking to set you back anywhere from $15 to $45 per night. Resort fees ($7 to $45 per night) may also be added to your hotel bills.
Costs range far and wide in Las Vegas. While you can plan a relatively frugal trip to Sin City, you could also live your trip to the fullest. How much money should you bring to Vegas? The best thing you can do is to plan your itinerary first. Then you’ll have a good idea of how much money you’ll need.