Your plane tickets are booked and the reservations made…you’re going to Las Vegas! Each year almost 40 million people visit Las Vegas and tourists spend huge amounts of money while visiting this city.
With so many things to do and see, it can be challenging to figure out how much money to bring with you. In this article, I’ll help you decide just how much spending money you need to bring on your Las Vegas adventure.
Depending on what you want to do in Las Vegas, you should plan on a per person daily budget between $100 – $500, with $243 being the average daily cost per person. The amount of spending money you take to Las Vegas will depend on what you plan to do. With everything from designer stores, to celebrity restaurants, to legendary casinos, having a solid budget is a good safeguard against overspending.
That being said, there are a lot of variables to consider. Read on and I’ll help you decide how much money you should plan to take to Las Vegas.
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Table of Contents
Determining Your Initial Las Vegas Budget
Statista in 2016, Las Vegas saw a record-breaking number of tourists at 42.9 million visitors. On average, each one of these tourists spent $827. This is just the amount of money they spent during their stay in Vegas, not including travel costs.
How much money you need to take to Vegas depends on how you plan on spending your time here. With the average time spent in Las Vegas being a 3-night 4-day stay, there are so many things to see and do in Vegas it is unfeasible that you will be able to get to it all. So, having a plan of what you intend to do will allow you to appropriately budget, but there are a few things to consider before starting your daily budget plan.
- Will you be traveling to Las Vegas by plane, or do you live close enough to take your own vehicle?
- Will you be staying at a fancy hotel on the Strip or saving some money by going a block or two off the Strip?
- Are cheap eats okay or do you only want only the finest dining experiences?
- How do you plan on getting around Vegas?
These factors will be your baseline budget. The very minimum that you will have to spend in order to just get to Vegas, not including the amount you will spend on food and entertainment once you’re here. As you can imagine, the amount of money you can spend in Las Vegas is limitless.
Need help trying to figure out how long to stay in Las Vegas? We’ve written an article that should help.
Budgeting for Travel to Las Vegas
Flight Costs to Las Vegas
From Nashville, TN a round trip plane ticket to Las Vegas costs around $324. From Portland Maine, this same ticket could cost around $724, so when determining airfare your starting point will ultimately affect the price.
If you can be flexible on your travel dates, you can often save a lot of money by flying a day or two earlier or later. For Las Vegas in specific, try to search for dates during the week if possible. Avoiding flights arriving on Friday or leaving on Sunday will help bring down the costs as these tend to be the busiest and most expensive times.
When using airlines for travel, as I’m sure many people know, buying tickets weeks, if not months in advance can save hundreds of dollars.
But first, you must get to the airport. If you drive your own vehicle to the airport, you will have to factor in short term parking to your budget. Most airport parking will run you about $10 a day. So, for 4 days, we are looking at a total of $40.
So, in this hypothetical Nashville, TN travel scenario, the cost to get to Las Vegas will run about $364. This is just to get off the ground, so to speak.
If you are flying into Vegas from a more remote location such as Portland Maine, you will be looking at a significant increase in cost at around $764.
Taking this information into account and the Statista report, I mentioned above, that the average person spends around $827 while in Las Vegas, the total cost for a trip to Sin City in these two scenarios will be $1,191 and $1591 respectively not including the hotel.
Driving to Las Vegas
Maybe instead of flying, you’re planning to drive to Las Vegas. In this scenario, let us assume you live closer to Las Vegas to begin with.
The things to consider here are the cost of gas, distance and parking costs once you’re in Las Vegas. As of this writing, the average price of gasoline in Nevada is $3.34 per gallon of regular. If your starting point is 350 miles away and you get 25 miles to the gallon, it will cost you $93.52 round trip to drive to Las Vegas.
Not too bad but once you’re here you’ll most likely need to pay to park. Parking at most hotels on the Strip will cost around $15 a day. So about $60 for a 4-day stay. Bringing the overall travel cost to drive to Las Vegas from a hypothetical starting point of 350 miles away to $153.52. Add to that the $827 that the average person spends while they are in Las Vegas, this brings the total cost for a driving trip to Las Vegas to $980.52 per person not including hotel.
(Note: In the above driving scenario I based the cost on a single person driving and did not factor in wear and tear on the vehicle).
How Much Do Hotels Cost in Las Vegas
|Hotel||Rate per Night |
(including resort fee)
These are sample mid-week prices for hotels on the Strip that I found at Vegas.com
No matter how you travel to Las Vegas, that much travel in one day is tiring. One of the first things you will probably want to do is get into your room and relax for a little bit. So, let’s talk about hotel costs. Prices for hotels can vary quite a bit in Las Vegas, so let’s look at some specifics.
First, let’s check out the MGM Grand, one of the newest and biggest hotels in Vegas. The rate for a room at the MGM is $139 a night plus resort fee ($41.95 a day), depending on what discounts may be available to you. So, for a 3-night stay at the current rates, including the resort fee, we are looking at a total of $542.85.
There are other options for your stay, for instance, the Excalibur Hotel and Casino has a nightly rate of $31.40 (plus resort fee of $39.68) with a 3-night stay being $213.24 including the resort fee.
(If you’re wondering what a resort fee is and how to find a hotel without a resort fee we’ve written an article all about it here).
Las Vegas hotel costs can vary greatly depending on the day and time of the year. Be sure to check out our resource page for the best discounts on Vegas hotels.
How Much Spending Money to Take to Las Vegas
So let’s get to the heart of the matter. After you’ve booked or budgeted for travel and hotel rooms, it’s time to see how much spending money you’ll want to bring to Las Vegas.
The amount you’ll want to bring is based on two numbers provided by Statista.com. Here are the facts:
- The average length of stay in Las Vegas is 3.4 nights.
- The average amount a visitor to Las Vegas spends while they’re here (not including travel costs or hotels) is $827.
If you divide $827 by 3.4 nights, you’ll arrive at the magic number. You’ll want to bring $243.24 in spending money per person per day to Las Vegas.
This is the average amount of money each person will spend per day on things like:
- Getting around/commuting
Remember, this is an average. The actual amount you spend may go up or down depending on your taste for fancy living. We’ll explore this more below.
Average Cost of Food in Las Vegas
Average meal costs in Las Vegas can vary from $10 buffets to an all-out splurge at a celebrity-owned restaurant. At Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Hell’s Kitchen, for instance, you can spend as little as $25 for lunch or up to $130 a person for a three-course meal with wine for dinner.
Of course, fast food options are always available if you’d rather spend your money on other delights that Vegas has to offer.
So how much you spend on food is entirely up to you. The options here vary quite a bit. You could spend less than $250 for a three-night stay or more than $400 on food and beverage if you so choose. On the high end, a complete Las Vegas culinary experience could easily cost $1,500 to over $2000 in just a few days.
So if you are a foodie and fine dining is your thing, you can expect to spend more than the $243 a day average. If, on the other hand, upscale dining isn’t a priority for you, there are plenty of opportunities to get good food, eat relatively inexpensively and dial back your daily expenses.
Costs of Getting Around Las Vegas
Okay, now let’s figure out what it’s going to cost to get around Las Vegas. There are quite a few options available to you and Las Vegas has a convenient and inexpensive public transportation system.
- There is a multitude of taxis and Ubers available, ensuring wait times are short.
- There is an extensive monorail system that frequently travels up and down the east side of the Strip.
- Then there are the famous double-decker buses (Las Vegas public bus system) known as the Deuce.
Taxis are numerous in Las Vegas, with most hotels having access to a taxi stand. Just getting in the taxi and starting the meter is $3.50, the rate for every 1/12th of a mile is $.023, so for a mile, you will be looking at $2.76. If you will be flying into Las Vegas, there is an additional pick-up charge of $2.00 if you are leaving or entering the airport in a taxi.
The monorail system makes getting up and down the Las Vegas strip a breeze. The monorail is quick and easy, making waits fairly short. The cost for a single ride is $5, an Unlimited Day Pass is $13, and the Unlimited 3-Day pass is $29. (For more info about the monorail and how to get discount tickets, check out our article here).
The Deuce double-decker buses are iconic of Las Vegas’s downtown area and run a route between various popular locations. The passes for using the Deuce run from a $6 fee for a two-hour pass, $8 for a twenty-four-hour pass, and $20 for a three-day pass.
For more info read our complete article: How to Get Around Las Vegas without a Car
So the costs for getting around Las Vegas are directly proportional to the speed and convenience of the transport method. Riding the bus is the cheapest (but slowest) option and taxis are the quickest and most expensive option.
If you’ve only got a few days here, it’s kind of a time is money situation. It’s cheapest to ride the bus but you’ll spend an hour trying to get from one end of the Strip to the other.
My advice is to use a ride-sharing service such as Uber. It’s quick and convenient without breaking the bank. There are a couple of things about Uber and Lyft that are unique to Las Vegas so be sure to read the article I referenced above about getting around in Las Vegas for more information.
What to do in Las Vegas
The first thing that comes to mind with Las Vegas is the bright lights, world-class attractions, fantastic shows, and of course, gambling. Every casino has an amazing variety of games and specialty shows, so there is no lack of entertainment on the Strip.
Surprisingly, there are also several beautiful parks and nature areas around Las Vegas that will satisfy those who enjoy the outdoors or need to take a break from the non-stop action of Vegas.
One thing I’d recommend doing before you even get to Vegas is to consider pickup up the Las Vegas Sightseeing Pass. It’s a pass that will get you admission to a whole bunch of Las Vegas shows and attractions at a huge discount. You can find out all about the Sightseeing Pass in our complete review here.
Big Las Vegas Casinos – The Hearts of Vegas
Sin City is alive and well. There are numerous casinos and luxury resorts lining the Las Vegas Strip, each one is packed to the brim with slots, gambling pits, poker tables, and even arcades. There is something for everyone on the Strip, and this is where most people will spend a considerable amount of money in the hopes of winning it big.
Caesar’s Palace is designed as a piece of the Roman Empire but with a Hollywood flair. It is decorated with statues and Romanesque architecture to give the guests the feeling of being a Roman emperor. As such, many of its betting facilities are focused around sporting events such as boxing and wrestling, but the Palace also has table games and features a large poker room for the avid gambler.
The Bellagio is known for both its fantastic architecture and its poker room. Many professional poker players prefer the Bellagio for its high table limits in which betting pots often reach and exceed $1 million. The Bellagio is also known for its outdoor fountain shows, which is a water fountain set in concert with lights and music that performs every 30 minutes in the evening.
The Venetian uses Venice Italy as its inspiration for design and comes complete with gondola tours. This resort hosts over 80 different restaurants, including the food court and features fantastic architecture. The casino itself offers a large variety of table games, slots, and sports betting. This is a must-see resort in Vegas that offers many once-in-a-lifetime experiences for its guests.
Las Vegas Celebrity Restaurants
Las Vegas also hosts a myriad of fantastic restaurants. Many celebrity chefs have opened establishments serving fare from all corners of the world and include delightful new food fusions. Being able to taste the culture of the world in a matter of a few square miles is enough reason for any foodie to meander around the Vegas Strip for a few days.
The prices of these restaurants vary quite a bit, from average street fare prices into 5-Star menus. Doing a little menu research before going out for a meal can ease the hit your wallet may take. Either way, every dollar spent at these restaurants is well worth the price.
Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen is a recreation of the reality television show and is only one of the several restaurants that Gordon Ramsey has opened in Las Vegas. Ramsay also has a steakhouse, a fish and chips style pub, and a burger joint in the city. With so many options of Ramsay’s fare to enjoy, the hardest part will be choosing which place to try first.
You can expect to spend anywhere from $25 to over $150 on a single plate in any of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.
Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar offers a taste of American cuisine with Guy Fieri’s culinary twist. Over 16 different beers, a vast wine selection and a unique liquor tap system help to provide a rich experience for the guests of this dining establishment. The restaurant also offers a dinner and show special on certain nights of the week.
The menu prices at Guy Fieri’s are quite affordable for the fare. The average meal costs $15 to $20, and please don’t forget to tip your waiter well if the service is good.
Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House is a restaurant that captures the essence of Lowcountry cooking. Creole dishes are served with market-fresh fish and other seafood, bringing the smells of Louisiana to Las Vegas for visitors to enjoy. Emeril’s Fish House is located in the MGM Grand.
Expect to spend $35 or more for the average plate here, with some of Emeril’s offerings reaching up to $150 and beyond.
Nearby Las Vegas Nature Attractions
When the glitz and glam of Vegas become a little too much to handle and you need some space to recharge, here are some of the natural wonders you can find in the area to get a little outdoor quiet time.
Zion National Park is in southern Utah and near Las Vegas. This grand park was carved out by the Virgin River millions of years ago and now is filled with beautiful red-walled canyons and landscapes.
The park itself is 229 square miles in size, so a family could spend days wandering around the gorgeous landscape and still not see it all. The park entrance rate for a vehicle and its occupants is $35, which is valid for 7 days. It’s about 3 hrs by car from Las Vegas to the south entrance.
Death Valley National Park is another jaw-dropping natural vista located in California that is a short 2-hour drive from Vegas. This is known as the hottest and driest national park in America with unique natural rock formations. This park encompasses salt flats and mountains and sand dunes, and despite its name is host to a plethora of life. The cost of entry at Death Valley is $25 per vehicle.
Mount Charleston National Recreation Area is a nearby mountain range that can be seen from Las Vegas. Only a 40-mile drive from the city, this snowcapped mountain (in winter) offers a scenic escape from the constant action of Las Vegas.
Mount Charleston offers bike trails and climbing, also due to the oasis provided by the mountain, several plant and animal species are endemic, meaning that they are only found on Mount Charleston.
The Exhibits and Shows of Las Vegas
There are also a variety of exhibits and shows in Las Vegas that range from the macabre to historical. You can take a peek into history or experience a broadway quality show. You’ll even have an opportunity to peer into the inner workings of the human body.
Bodies: The Exhibition is a one-of-a-kind experience in which cross-sections of the human body are on display for guests. The human bodies are carefully preserved by a process that has turned all the organic tissue into silicone rubber. These bodies have then been cross-sectioned for display as one of the most educational experiences found in an exhibit. The tickets for this exhibit are $35 and can be purchased here (vegas.com).
Cirque de Soleil is a world-class performance group that offers nightly shows in Las Vegas. As the largest circus producer in the world, they borrow styles and forms of performance from all over the world for breath-taking performances and jaw-dropping acts. Tickets for one of these must-see shows start at $99 and can be found here.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is an exhibit where over 250 recovered artifacts from the wreck of the Titanic have been put on display. In this exhibit, you will be able to take a step back in time and venture into the past. Tickets for this exhibit begin at $35 and can be found here.
UP NEXT – Find out if Las Vegas is still fun during the week in our article here.
The City of Endless Delight
As you can see, getting to Vegas and managing to stay for a few days, is only half of your wallets battle. The amount of money you could spend on the experiences that Las Vegas has to offer is virtually endless and ultimately is determined by how you want to spend your time here.
For those with the desire to do some light gambling and bask in the glamour of Las Vegas, a mere $3,000 will allow you to enjoy a week of rich experiences of luxury hotels, foods, and shows.
However, if you are a high roller and enjoy taking risks associated with gambling, you could potentially spend a whole lot more. Professional Poker players could lose over $1 million in 30 minutes or win just as much in the right casino.
How much it costs to come to Las Vegas may be determined by how far away you’re coming from but the amount of spending money you’ll want to bring depends entirely on what you’d like to do while you’re here and at what level you’d like to do it.
I hope this article has provided you with the information you need to decide how much money you’ll want to take to Vegas.
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