TRAVEL: How to Plan the Best Las Vegas Vacation

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Ed Note — This deadly looong Winter has inspired some vacay daydreams from our babely staff. Read on if the Nevada heat calls your name.) 

While the weather is still in frost mode, Summer is still alive and well in Las Vegas.  If you haven’t already made it out there, or even if you’re planning a trip during the off-season to save some cash, there are some great money saving tips that will help you make the most of things, while spending the least. Here is how to plan the best Las Vegas Vacation:

1. Picking a Hotel

As a Los Angeles native, I’ve been on more Vegas trips than I care to count.  There isn’t a hotel on The Strip that I haven’t stayed at, and yes, that includes the Travelodge behind McDonald’s.  Picking the right hotel is more important than you’d think. I once stayed in a cheap room since we didn’t plan on being in there very much. It seemed like a great idea until we were stuck in bed on Saturday afternoon, smelling mold and rolling over in squeaky beds.

Pick a hotel where you’ll be comfortable and don’t worry about the specific location. You’ll meet some great characters as you walk Las Vegas Boulevard, and worst-case scenario, you can hop in a cab. Try and book the room through the hotel directly. This will get you player’s club points and you’re more likely to be offered an upgrade.

Personal Recommendations: Ballys is a moderately priced and is centrally located. If your budget is bigger, opt for staying at the Cosmopolitan. The rooms are modern, chic and the hotel itself reeks of class.

2. Use Valet!

It’s free for hotel guests and a bellhop will take your bags to your room. The only thing this will cost you is a few dollars to tip the employees, but if a couple bucks is too much to spend, you should probably just fly back home.

3. Checking In

When you check-in, slip a $20 bill between your ID and credit card. Tipping the associate checking you in at the hotel is the best way to get a bigger room for a fraction of the cost. There’s no guarantee it’ll work, but at the moment, I’m 5/5.

4. Avoid Paying Promoters

Walking down the street, you’ll find plenty of people who are willing to offer you “free” passes into the hottest bars. Once they open their envelope full of admission tickets, they casually mention that they work off tips. Don’t fall for it!

5. Avoid Cover Charges, Ladies!

Research the nightclubs you want to go to before you head out for the night. You should also figure out which clubs have the best offers. For example, Tao offers an open bar for women on a specific night of the week, between 10 and 11. Walk through the hotel lobby around 9 p.m. and you’ll likely have club employees offer to walk you in if you’re in a group of ladies. The only time you won’t be able to hop onto a guest list or get escorted in is on New Year’s Eve or if you’re trying to catch a big name act like Avicci on his first night in town.

6. Use Social Media

It’s no surprise that Twitter is a great resource when you’re heading to the City of Sin. Add in #Vegas at the end of a tweet and you’ll be surprised at how many nightclub employees respond and offer to put you on their guest list.   Use it to your advantage! My good friend wasn’t able to get me guest listed at Hakkasan (the newest club on the Strip) but by tweeting, an employee for the nightclub put me on the list and personally escorted us into the club.

7. Guys, Get a Table

If you’re traveling with a group of guys, prepare to wait in long lines and pay insane cover charges.  If you plan on having a few drinks each, consider getting a table.  A cocktail will cost you $15 to begin with, so do the math and if there’s enough of you, a table is actually cost-effective.  Plus let’s face it, you’ll have most of the girls in the club dancing around your table, even if only because their 6” heels are killing them and they’d kill to sit down.

8. Strip Clubs

I couldn’t write a piece on Sin City and leave out these little gems. If you hangout in front of a hotel for a few minutes, you’re bound to have someone offer you a free limo ride to a local strip club. It’ll likely be Treasures, Sapphire or Crazy Horse. (Fun fact: Farrah from Teen Mom recently had her first performance at Crazy Horse.) Take that ride!

Visiting a Vegas strip club is something everyone should do at least once. You won’t pay a cover charge but there’s a 2-drink minimum and you pay for those at the door.  Gentleman, if your lady friends are willing to take this trip with you, be courteous enough to cover this cost.

Once you’re inside lap dances are $20 per song, or you can head out to a private room for 30 minutes at the low-cost of $60.  Keep your hands to yourselves, boys.

At the end of your adventure, you’ll have a free limo ride back to your hotel, so if even if you hate the club, you still had a free limo ride around Vegas.  Take some photos, post them on Facebook and your friends will think you had a classy Vegas experience. They’ll never know you were actually en route to an adult venue.

9. Get a Buffet Pass

If you’re in Vegas for a few days, it makes the most sense to get the buffet passes. They’re good for 24 hours and cover a handful of buffets along the strip. If you eat twice that day, the cost will be cheaper than buying overpriced chicken nuggets at the food court.

Plus let’s be honest, Vegas buffets are just as delicious as they are filling.

10. Get a Player’s Club Card

This is the best advice I can give anyone heading to Vegas, but I wanted to save the best for last. When you check in, make sure the hotel has your player’s club card number on file.  Keep your credit card on file and charge everything to the room. Let your friends give you cash if you’re traveling in a group.

Be sure to gamble, too! Even if you only play a few games per day, it all adds up. Casinos wants to bring back people who actually gamble at their properties, so this will get you even more points.

So what’s the deal with all of these points? They can be redeemed for free rooms, upgrades and other great benefits. If you enjoy visiting Vegas, you might as well have the casino give back to you, the way you give to them. You’re spending your money at the casinos one way or another, you might as well get something out of it besides a hangover and slight feeling of regret.