Friday, May 4, 2018

10 Un-Frugal Things About Las Vegas

The hubby and I used to come to Las Vegas on vacation several times each year before we finally moved here about seven years ago.  There were a lot of things we loved about Vegas back then like cheap air fare, cheap but nice hotel rooms, cheap entertainment, and especially so much cheap food.  These days Las Vegas is getting to be less and less a fun discount destination. 

As locals we rarely ever go to the Strip where they seem to take advantage of their captive tourist audience by finding more and more ways to wring money out of them.  But people seem to be voting with their money as fewer people are coming to Las Vegas, something pointed out in this recent article.  These are10 un-frugal things to watch out for in Las Vegas...

  1. Parking fees.  Most of the major Strip casinos charge for parking now (even for hotel guests) and that can be an extra $10 to $20 per day (!).
  2. Resort fees.  Resort fees, a daily fee added on top of the price you pay for your hotel room, can more than double the price that you think you will pay for your room.  And these "special fees" cover the things people used to get for free with their room like access to the pool, gym, local phone calls, etc.
  3. A CNF (Concession and Franchise Fee) surcharge is charged at several restaurants on the Strip.  It's sort of like a resort fee for restaurants (and an utter rip off IMHO).
  4. Comped drink monitoring system.  Vegas used to be famous for giving gamblers free drinks while they were playing in the casinos but that is sadly going away as well.  These days casinos are heading towards a "comped drink monitoring system" which monitors how much money you play in order to determine if or when you get a free drink.
  5. Room taxes are really really high.  Guess who pays for a myriad of county services in Las Vegas?  Tourists, of course, as they are taxed out the nose for their hotel room in order to fund many county services for the locals.
  6. Our pubic transit system is rather meh for a large city.  Thus the need for taxis, thus the common practice of long-hauling tourists which means that they end up with a really expensive taxi ride.  Fortunately Uber and Lyft are better alternatives these days.
  7. Strip clubs.  Vegas is famous for being sin city and part of the "sin" experience is the plethora of topless and nude strip clubs.  Needless to say there are a lot of ways for these clubs to rip off tourists (NSFW).
  8. Tourists are also a big target for timeshare sales people.  Many hotels in Las Vegas have time share people trying to hustle a sale by offering free buffets and free shows (along with hours of hard-sell tactics to get you to cough up money for a timeshare every year for the rest of your life).
  9. Even the odds of winning when you gamble here are being tightened up.  I don't gamble but apparently many gamblers can tell when pay out percentages are getting smaller and smaller.
  10. Cheap, tasty food in Las Vegas is pretty much a thing of the past.  Nearly all food in tourist areas is expensive.  Drinks are expensive, breakfast is expensive, dinner is really expensive.  My tip is to hit up the 99 cent store or a grocery store on your way into town and at least buy snacks, drinks for your room, and breakfast food in order to save a bit of money during your stay.


  1. Yikes on auto insurance too. Can you do a top 10 savings list for Vegas too? We got a coupon in the mail for a BOGO buffet meal which required signing up for the rewards card for an off the strip casino. Lunch for the 2 of us was 10.xx plus tip...better than a fast food meal.

  2. We use those coupons too, usually at Green Valley and Red Rock. Love that two buffets costs less than $11!