Stretching Your Travel Dollar

A Low Roller’s Guide to Living High in Vegas

By Elaine JS

Vegas is the classic destination for extravagant decadence so the trick is to find ways to indulge without breaking the bank.

Load up on free booze before you hit the clubs. You don’t even have to be at the $100 blackjack table. Take a seat at your favorite penny slot, smile pretty, tip big, and your cocktail waitress will keep you well-supplied with your favorite drinks. For the best free drinks, head out to the swankier joints like the Wynn, Bellagio, and Aria.

You can’t walk two feet on the Strip without running into another Happy Hour Special where you can enjoy a culinary adventure for the same price as a burger in the dive around the corner. Kick start your romantic evening with $1 oysters at P.J. Clarke’s. Then enjoy the best views of the city with 2-for-1 martinis at the Level 107 Lounge in the Stratosphere. Wrap up your night with a reverse Happy Hour (from 11pm to close) with a $6 ceviche at Sushisamba.

Coupons for dining, attractions, and tours can save you some serious money. You can find them online on sites like, by mail in books like the American Casino Guide and the Las Vegas Entertainment Book, or in coupon books you can get from your cab, your hotel, and various locations all over Las Vegas. Keep your eyes open as there are coupons for practically everything you can do in Las Vegas.

Don’t play anything without first inserting your player card. Player comps range from buffet line passes to free show passes to exclusive custom experiences. The sky is the limit with player comps as hosts vie to encourage loyalty amongst their biggest spenders. If you’re a low roller, try acting like a high roller and take out a $5,000 marker instead of the $500 you’re actually planning to spend. You might get the casino host’s attention and get offered some freebies.

Take some time away from the glittering opulence to check out old Vegas where steak dinners start as low as $7.77 and the 99 cent shrimp cocktail still exists. Off the Strip, you’ll find smaller, independent casinos where cheap food, cheap beer, and low table limits still rule the night.

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