Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Vegas and the 4-day long weekend

DSC02925I did something a little bit impulsive last night: I booked a mini holiday with BF. We knew that we wanted to do something over the April long weekend, so after tossing around a few ideas – Portland, Kansas City, Tofino, Kelowna – we came to a pretty easy agreement on Las Vegas.

I know, I know. After last year’s trip, I said I was never going to go to Vegas again. But Allegiant Air makes it so easy. The hotel/trip packages are  affordable, and the flights line up perfectly with our time off. Anywhere else Allegiant flies would require us to take vacation days. And while Portland was my first choice, I think it’s a better idea to go in the summer.

Related: Top 5 not-so-frugal things to do in Las Vegas

But I’m actually really excited for this mini holiday. Even though I’ve been to Vegas more than a few times before, there are still a few things I’ve always wanted to do: go see a Cirque show (everyone tells me that O is the best), do one of those crazy rides on top of the Stratosphere, and explore Red Rock Canyon more. Every time I’ve been to Vegas, it’s been go-go-go – either on a work trip, or it’s been crammed full of things to do. I’ve never had a super relaxing stay there, so I think that’s what this will be like. We’ll lounge by the pool (if it’s warm enough), take it easy, and enjoy the Nevada sunshine. :)

We also did something I’ve never done before on a Vegas trip – splurge on a “fancy” hotel. When I was with work, we stayed off the strip. And during past trips, I’ve gone budget and stayed at Harrah’s or the Flamingo. This time, we went fancy-ish and are staying at the Paris. I couldn’t bring myself to book anything more expensive than that, but it will be a nice change I think.

The cheapest I’ve ever gotten a flight and 3 nights accommodation in Vegas is $330 over a long weekend back in 2008. This time around, it will cost me $591. That’s a difference of $261, which I guess is a pretty fair price considering it’s 5+ years later, and a nicer hotel.

I don’t have a set budget in mind, because it varies on a lot of things: the price of show tickets, whether I actually do the Stratosphere SkyJump, a potential car rental, etc. But I’m hoping to keep the entire trip to $1,100. Under $1,000 preferably. And I definitely think that’s possible. BF and I are on the same page in regard to what we want to spend our money on: we’ll save on food (no buffets – neither of us eat enough to make it worth it), and splurge on experiences and entertainment.

Recommendations on delicious, cheap eats in Vegas?

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Kara says:

    There is a fantastic little restaurant in the passageway underneath the Paris that links to Bally’s called La Creperie. I go to Vegas every year for a photography convention and when the convention was at Bally’s, La Creperie was the place to go for an inexpensive but GOOD breakfast or lunch.

    Hope you enjoy your mini-vacation!!

  2. Jackie says:

    We spent 2 months in Vegas last year and loved it. Were there for two weeks in December. There is always something new to see or do!

  3. Tina says:

    The Peppermill at the north end of the Strip has huge servings at very reasonable prices. I like going there for breakfast/brunch. It’s a standalone restaurant. There’s a pizza place on the third floor of The Cosmopolitan (it’s hidden in a passageway next to the restaurant Jaleo) that doesn’t advertise and doesn’t have a name. Pizza’a not terribly exciting, but it’s cheap and the atmosphere’s fun. Also, I like The Village buffet at the Paris casino. They feature foods from different regions of France. I know you said no buffets but the lunch prices are fairly reasonable especially if you buy a coupon from Tix for Less. Noodle Asia at The Venetian is also pretty good.

    You mentioned Red Rock, so I’m assuming you might be renting a car. If that’s the case, I recommend dining at the The Main Street Station’s Triple Seven Brewery. Enjoy!

  4. eemusings says:

    Go to Tacos el Gordo on the Strip. Amazing and cheap Mexican food.

  5. That’s still a pretty good deal. I’m guessing you are flying out of Bellingham? The last time we went to Vegas we hit up Serendipity and it was pretty overrated. The stratosphere sky jump was awesome though, definitely worth the money. In and Out Burger just off the strip has great burgers for cheap. Huge lineups though

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yep flying out of Bellingham – we both have the Nexus pass, so at least the border won’t be a problem. Good to know about Serendipity. Everyone always talks about it, and I wondered if it was worth all the hype. Am sad that I’ll have to pass on the delicious, delicious In-n-Out while we are there. :|

  6. Michelle says:

    Sounds like fun! I am going in the beginning of May for my bachelorette party. We plan on doing a Cirque show as well. Let me know if you find any good deals! I went to one of their shows when I was younger, but that was probably 10 years ago.

  7. Nadia says:

    If you want to see O buy your tickets sooner rather then later. It tends to sellout. I wanted to see it when I went but it had been sold out for several months.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Oh really? Good to know! Every time I’ve been to Vegas, I’ve just waited and gotten tickets to shows at that Tix4Tonight kiosk. But if there’s a chance I won’t be able to get them that way, we’ll look into booking in advance. Thanks!

  8. mytoughgirl says:

    When I went several years back, we couldn’t watch O because all the seats that were left were not together. We ended up watching Mystere. It’s a good show as well, but since I didn’t see O, I can’t compare it. Try to book a ticket ahead of time if you can.

  9. I saw a different Cirque show but I’d like to see Love or whatever The Beatles one is. We stayed at the Wynn and I ran into a woman who saw Le Reve at the Wynn and compared it to O. I’ve been to Vegas once but I’d love to go again!!! I really want to try In and Out Burger too!

  10. Just got back from a weekend in Vegas. I highly recommend you look for buffet discounts because you can actually get a pretty good deal (i.e. two for one) and eat 2 meals in one. The other food is expensive (ie i spent $10 on a slice of pizza and drink) so the buffets actually are more worth it. Have fun!

  11. Tracy says:

    Hubby and I go to Las Vegas every year via Bellingham (I love the small airport) and try to see one or two shows. Almost all the tickets you can get discounted once you are there except O. You definitely need to be booking your O tickets as soon as possible, they go really fast. We have seen it twice, the first time we saw it we were in orchestra, the second time we saw it we sat in the Balcony. I think the Balcony seating is better, we were in the first row Balcony, plus those seats are cheaper. It lets you see everything as a whole. If the tickets are sold out, there is also a wait list for the unclaimed tickets check with the O box office once you get to vegas. The other show we have been trying to see is Absinthe, however one thing or other it just never seems to work out. I have heard it is really good.

    Hands down are favorite restaurant is Mon Ami Gabi, it is across the street from the Bellagio, I highly recommend sitting on the terrace and watching the fountains. Just check the menu first, I am not sure how many items are vegetarian. After lunch or dinner walk across the street and visit Jean Philippe chocolate shop, it has a real chocolate fountain. While we are is vegas, we usually get an salad, entree, and sometimes a dessert and share. Most places are more then happy to accommodate.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Awesome, thanks for all the info. Really good to know about the balcony seats for O – that’s where we were thinking of buying tickets, but were unsure about what the view would be like.

      I’ve actually been to Mon Ami Gabi before, but went with work colleagues so the cost was taken care of. I remember it being a bit of a pricey restaurant, but very delicious. Maybe we’ll splurge on one meal out… who knows. :)

      • Walnut says:

        I’m a fan of the french onion soup and a pitcher of the frangria at Mon Ami Gabi. It didn’t end up being too expensive and you can linger if you go during off peak hours.

  12. April says:

    Our daughter was married at Planet Hollywood this summer, reception at Maggianos. 80 people and FUN FUN FUN. As parents of the bride, we tried to keep our costs down, eating can eat your budget lol. We found that gathering a list of Happy Hours, for different times and days gave use best bang for our buck. Yolos in PH, and PF Changs were both great. Google Eater Las Vegas. Have fun!

  13. Marissa says:

    I really love going to Vegas. There were plenty of luxurious restaurant and exciting games in the casino. Love playing poker! HAHA. Thanks for sharing your experience Krystal.

  14. Penny says:

    The burgers at Nathan’s in NY NY are amazing! And a splurge (but worth it) would be breakfast at Tableau in the Wynn – I would go to Vegas just to have that sandwich. O is definitely the best Cirque followed by Love – probably Ka after that. Lately Cirque has offered discount tickets through their website (even O – I know because I booked them). Happy to send the link – wasn’t sure if I was allowed to post it here.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I did sign up for the Cirque mailing list on their website, and I saw discounted tickets for upcoming shows of O (15% off). But it seems like you have to take a gamble and wait until a few weeks before the date you want in order to get the discount… and maybe by then all of the good seats will be taken? I’m not sure. How did you get your discounted tickets? Posting links is fine, as long as it’s not an affiliate link. :)

  15. Fehmeen says:

    I read your older post about the not-so-frugal things to do in Vagas, and judging from that, I think it’s safe to assume this trip won’t bee too expensive – because you’ve already done all the fun stuff before! Have fun!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah that’s what I’m hoping – there’s not much left in Vegas that I haven’t done yet, so this trip shouldn’t be too expensive! :)

  16. getting there says:

    We were in Vegas in November. We saw a bunch of shows, nine actually!. We really enjoyed Jersey Boys (at Paris) and also Donny & Marie (at The Flamingo if I remember correctly). I am too young to have seen Donny & Marie in their peak but I still liked the show. We got most of our tickets at the Tix4Tonight booth in the big Coke bottle. If you get your tickets at Tix4Tonight, there is a coupon in the brochure they give you that allows you to get in the VIP line when you go back there the next day. We rented a car for the entire time so that was kind of nice for getting to the outlet malls and the laundromat which we needed as we were in Vegas for 10 days. We have another Vegas trip planned for this November, this time we’ll be there for just under 2 weeks. Can’t wait!

  17. Anonymous says:

    :-)!!!!!!! You know I live here in Vegas, right? Sorry I missed this post and don’t have a good response right now because I’m on my way to southern California right now, but I will fill you in on some of my favorite restaurants and shows later tonight. On that note make sure you download Yelp on your smartphone to get you started.

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