California Business Journal staff report.
Looking for a little excitement and entertainment? A trip to Las Vegas might be just what you need.
Here are some tips for planning a great weekend trip to Vegas:
Depending on where you’re coming from and the time of year (among other factors), flights can be fairly reasonable in cost and duration.
Generally, a round trip might cost you around $200, and a nonstop flight takes about an hour.
But if you’re flying out of Los Angeles or Sacramento, you might be able to find roundtrip tickets for as little as $120.
As usual with flying, you’re also likely to get cheaper tickets if you can make it a long weekend trip and fly in and out on weekdays.
As for transportation from the airport, cabs from the McCarran International Airport to the main attractions in the Strip are around $15.
If driving to Las Vegas, it might be best to find a place to keep your car long term and instead walk or take public transit around the Strip.
Parking in Vegas can be expensive and hard to find, and like any city, traffic can be intense at times. But first, figure out where you want to stay and what you want to do.
If you’re used to city driving and want to see all of the city (not just the Strip), then it might make more sense to drive while there.
How to Budget
One of the first things you should do when planning a trip is to figure out what you want to save on and what you want to spend more on.
If a nice hotel and location are more important to you than entertainment and food, then it’s worth it to you to spend more on a hotel in a good location.
If you want to see as many shows as possible and treat yourself to a fine meal, then opt for a cheaper hotel and a slightly less central location.
Just make sure to factor in transportation costs if you do decide to stay farther away from where you want to be.
If taking public transit, you can get a day pass for around $8 or a three-day pass for $20.
As for food or other essentials, stop by a convenience store to stock up on drinks, snacks, and anything else you need — it’ll be cheaper than anywhere else.
If you’re willing to eat during non-peak hours, many restaurants offer discounted meals during those times.
Additionally, buffets are very popular in Vegas and one of your best bets for cheap and filling food. For entertainment, you might be able to get cheap tickets at a stand on the Strip or else at a site like tix4tonight.com.
Where to Stay
When it comes to hotels, there are endless choices in Vegas. Hotel rates can be extremely reasonable — as little as $50 per day — if you’re willing to stay far from the action.
But if everything you want to do is fairly close together, and you don’t want to be bothered with transportation, then it would be best to stay at some of the more popular hotels on the Strip.
You might also be able to get discounted rates or low-cost room upgrades, so be sure to ask before (or when) you arrive. For example, if you’re most interested in playing poker all weekend, stay at the Bellagio, ARIA, or Caesars Palace, and be sure to ask the poker room manager about discounted rates for poker players.
What to Do
There’s so much to do in Vegas. Even if you stay for a week or visit multiple times a year, you won’t be able to do it all.
That’s why it’s important to figure out what you’re more interested in doing before you get there so you have a rough plan in place and don’t miss out on anything.
Vegas has a near endless array of casinos, shows, concerts, shopping, restaurants, and other things to do.
No matter what, you must check out at least one casino and see at least one show.
Plenty of great musicians — some of the most recent artists include Cher, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Lionel Richie, and Diana Ross — stop in Vegas while on tour or else perform there regularly. So if you can, go see a concert — it’ll surely be an unforgettable experience. Other popular shows to see include Cirque du Soleil shows like The Beatles LOVE and Michael Jackson ONE, the Blue Man Group, Penn & Teller, Terry Fator’s puppet show, and the Tournament of Kings.