How much money should you take to Vegas? If you’re a member of a Las Vegas-focused Facebook group, you see that question posed multiple times daily. Obviously, there isn’t a one size fits all answer. Variation in preferences from person to person need to be taken into account before determining how much to budget for Vegas.
Fortunately, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) conducts an annual visitor survey to gauge how much on average people spent on things like entertainment, food, drink, and gaming. Below, we’ll dig into those average spend figures which can help you create your own spending plan.
Note that for each category below, visitors shared how much they spent per category per trip to Vegas. The same survey noted that the average trip length was 4.4 days in 2019. With that information, we are able to get a feel for what the “average person” should budget to spend per day while in Vegas.
How Much to Budget for Entertainment/Sightseeing
Determining how much money you should budget for shows and other activities in Vegas is dependent on your tastes. What do you plan to do while in town? Popular shows like “Absinthe” at Caesars, or “O” at Bellagio can cost upwards of $100 per seat while entry to comedy clubs or activities like Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is significantly cheaper. We recommend planning ahead on sites like Vegas.com where you can see the full allotment of entertainment options available to you along with their associated price, helping you determine what to budget based on what you want to do.
The average visitor in 2019 spent $91.21 on shows, entertainment, and sightseeing per trip, or about $21 per day.
How Much to Budget for Food and Drink
Tastes will dictate your budget in this category as well. Are you eating at Hell’s Kitchen and Giada’s, or fast food options? Rest assured, if you are looking to eat cheap in Vegas, there are plenty of value buffet and restaurant options to stretch your dollar. If you plan to indulge in a couple of higher-end meals though, check out that restaurant’s menu online in advance so you can budget appropriately.
When it comes to drinking, do you prefer $1 Michelobs at a place like Stage Door Casino, or $20 craft cocktails that you may find at the Ghost Donkey speakeasy at Cosmopolitan? Create a game plan based on what type of bar you want to belly up to. Remember, drinks are free while gambling, but bring plenty of singles to tip!
For those looking to stretch your Vegas budget, check out our guides to eating cheap on the Strip and cheap eats on Fremont Street. Additionally, we keep an up-to-date rundown of happy hour deals on the Strip and Downtown.
The average visitor in 2019 spent $410.74 on food and drink per trip, or about $93 per day.
How Much to Budget for Shopping
You either do it, or you don’t. Me? You’ll find me at the craps table but I understand that some like to check out the assortment of shopping options in and around Las Vegas that range from outlet malls to high-end luxury.
The average visitor in 2019 spent $187.48 on shopping per trip, or about $43 per day.
How Much to Budget for Transportation
Options for transportation in Vegas exist for all budgets (check out this article for a full list of transportation options). Options for transportation in Vegas include:
- City Bus (Deuce) ($6 for a 2 hr. pass)
- Uber/Lyft ($10-$20 per trip)
- Cabs ($15-$25 per trip)
- Limos ($60/hr)
The average visitor in 2019 spent $116.62 on local transportation per trip, or about $27 per day.
How Much to Budget for Gambling
The average amount of money visitors budgeted for gambling in 2019 according to the LVCVA is a story of polarity. 23% of visitors budgeted $0-$99 for gambling while 32% budgeted $600 or more. Our suggestion is to come up with a daily plan, or limit. Split the cash up into envelopes labeled by day to keep you on budget. Of course, you can also stretch your gambling budget by escaping the Strip and visiting locals casinos where minimums are often cheaper. We suggest walking to Ellis Island, a small locals casino just behind Bally’s off the Strip where $5 blackjack and craps is plentiful.
The average visitor in 2019 spent $591.06 on gambling, or about $134 per day.
There you have it, those are the main Vegas trip categories we would recommend budgeting for. When the average amounts per category determined by the LVCVA survey are summed up, the average visitor spent $1,397.11 per trip on all categories which breaks down to about $318 per day.
Miscellaneous Items To Consider When Creating Your Budget For Vegas
Tipping: I typically arrive in Vegas prior to hotel check-in and check my bags with the bellman so that I can roam the city free of encumbrances. The problem? I never seem to plan adequately for tipping which has me scrambling. Part of your spending money plan should include a stack of $1 or even $2 bills for tipping. More on tipping in Vegas here.
Resort Fees: Although your hotel will be paid for upfront, resort fees will be due at the hotel property upon check-out for the vast majority of travelers. Resort fees differ by resort, but high-end properties typically charge $45, while lower-tier strip properties have a nightly fee that lands in the $30 range. It is possible to avoid the fees if you are a big-time gambler, otherwise, you’ll want to book at one of these Las Vegas hotels without resort fees.
Understandably, your answer to “How much to budget for Vegas?” will be different depending on your tastes and preferences. We recommend going category by category, thinking ahead about what you intend to do, and planning for what you plan to spend for each. Putting thought into your budget for a Vegas trip in advance will help ensure you have enough cash to have a great time!
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