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10 Tips on How to Do Vegas Affordably (The Ratchets’ Guide to Las Vegas, U.S.A.)

Las Vegas Strip

For us Californians, Las Vegas is pretty much one of the most basic trips you can go on. Reason being, it’s about a 1-hour plane ride and 4-hour drive for LA residents, and it’s a place where ANYTHING goes. You don’t really frequent Vegas to relax or do touristy things. Instead, you’re there to get shit-faced and possibly make regrettable decisions. Regardless, Vegas is also one of the most exciting trips you can go on, especially for all the single ladies and men out there in their 20’s. No doubt about it, this city is a one-of-a-kind. Flashing lights left and right, the ability to sip on 2-feet tall alcoholic slushies while walking down the Strip, 4 AM nights…I’ve never come back from Las Vegas without a ridiculous story to tell.

I’ve actually just returned from a trip to Las Vegas this past weekend. I spent about 3 days and 2 nights in the glorious city – partially with friends and partially solo. After several ratchet expeditions to Las Vegas, I’ve become more experienced in getting the most bang for your buck while you’re out there. I don’t want to sound like I’m this crazy club rat (I’m not!) but this guide is directed to people who enjoy occasional binge drinking sessions and clubbing adventures.

So without further ado, here are my own tips on how to do Vegas affordably:

How to Do Vegas Affordably

1. Buy Cheap Flights (or Road Trip It)

Pretty self explanatory. Every time I go to Vegas, I’ll buy flights that total around $120 or less. I’ve actually seen flights for as low as $19 one-way to Vegas with Frontier and Spirit Airlines (granted I live in California). Do I recommend these budget airlines? It depends. During this trip, I booked with Frontier and had a bunch of delays – so much so that I had to miss my first night of debauchery because of a 5-hour delay. To be fair, I believe most airlines had long delays (I met a guy at the airport who’s Southwest flight was pushed back 8 hours)! Anyway, I digress. Point is, there are a lot of cheap flights out there, especially between Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’d recommend using Google Flights to check out what deals there are and heading over to this post to read my guide on how to get cheap flights!

Frontier Airlines

2. Be A Girl

I’m not even joking, Vegas is THE one place to be a girl. It’s the one place I forget the terrors of my monthly cycles and the inevitable 9 months of bullshit (if it ever happens). During this trip, I pretty much got free food, free drinks, and free tables. When you go with an all-girls group, you’re pretty much set to go anywhere you want. It’s awesome. This is because club promoters make a shitload of money for getting you into clubs. I’m not saying to go book a gender change, but I have to say, thank you Vegas for being the universe’s gift to women. #ThankYouVegas


Okay if you’re not a girl, you should go to Vegas with girls! Some nightclubs will grant free admission if you enter clubs with an even ratio of girls to guys.

3. Get on Those Club Lists

Don’t want to pay for cover? To get on those nightclub and dayclub lists, you’ll need to speak with promoters. If you’re with a few girls, you could literally walk down the street and wait to get approached by promoters. Or, you could even pull out Instagram on your phone and type in hashtags like #XSGuestList or #TAOGuestList. There, you’ll find results with phone numbers to text for admission to your desired clubs.

vegas club

One other solution: download the app GuestListNation on Android and iPhone! There, you can easily add yourself on guest list for the Vegas clubs they offer.

4. Bring Alcohol and Water to Vegas

If you’re able to, you should bring a few handles in your suitcase to pregame with. You should also bring large water bottles to stay hydrated! Prices will be inflated as mere 20 oz. water bottles will be priced at $3 and sometimes drinks can go for over $20 at clubs. Vegas KNOWS you’re thirsty, and they are not afraid to take advantage of it.

Beer Vegas

5. Stay in Hotels Close to Where You Want to Go

Here is a (2015) list of common nightclubs and dayclubs to go to: XS, TAO, Omnia, Light, Daylight, Surrender, Encore, 1OAK, Drai’s, Marquee, and Rehab. If you’re going the clubbing route, you should plan out where you want to go and stay close to those places. I generally use Expedia to book my hotels. What my friends and I commonly do is book a nice suite and split it among a large group of 6+, which can end up costing $60 or less a night. However, you could go even MORE affordably. With this past trip I booked a night in my own hotel room with 2 double beds at Bally’s and it was less than $70. Split that with 4 people, and it would have been super affordable! And, it is walking distance from Marquee and Omnia.

Caesar's Palace Vegas

The reason you want to stay close to your desired clubs is you’ll limit the amount of taxi rides you’ll need to take, which therefore maximizes pregame time and decreases chances of missing guest list cut offs. Wow upon reading that back, I sound QUITE lame.

6. Use Uber/Lyft/Sidecar and Find Promo Codes

If you didn’t know already, Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are apps you can use to call taxis – but they are generally more affordable than actual taxis you call on the street. So, interesting story, I used to use Uber and Lyft but I uninstalled them to clear space on my phone. I reinstalled them for this trip and somehow was able to make new accounts and apply new user promo codes worth $15 for Uber and $50 on Lyft. This gave me 5 (basically) free rides around Vegas. Does this mean I can continuously create new accounts with different e-mails and apply new promo codes? I have yet to fully very this. But I found it weird that I could create new accounts after having used the two apps already…


Regardless, make sure you install these taxi/ride sharing apps and Google search some codes (e.g. type in “Uber promo codes” for some free rides around Vegas.

7. Eat Well AND Eat Affordably

Don’t make the mistake of eating at nice hotels every day where meals are $25 or more. I mean, a lot of times I do end up eating at an expensive buffet or restaurant, but there is no reason to do this daily. Here are some places I recommend:

Ramen Ya Katana (in the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s)
I discovered this hidden gem this past weekend, and OMG! It’s delicious and perfect for hangovers. I ended up going twice and had their beef curry, spicy miso ramen, and spicy tuna rolls. Each meal was about $10.

Ramen Ya Katana Vegas

Earl of Sandwich (in Planet Hollywood)
Okay EVERYONE pretty much eats here. It’s really good, and sandwiches are less than $10.

Pho Kim Long (off the Strip)
If you’re willing to go off the strip, check out Pho Kim Long – another place that’s wonderful for hangovers. Somehow, I ALWAYS end up here – and not off my own recommendation. The past few times I’ve been in Vegas, I would follow my different groups of friends and somehow…I’m always here. This proves that everyone loves it. Meals are less than $10.

If you’re willing to go off the strip, there are a lot of tasty (and affordable) Asian restaurants around. If you know me, you know I love my Asian food!

8. If You’re Desperate for Cheap Drinks…

My friend and I decided to go gamble a bit. I tried my luck at the blackjack table (and came up $60 somehow!) But while you’re gambling, waitresses will come up to you asking if you want a drink. These drinks are FREE! So if you’re really desperate, head to a 1-cent slot machine. My friend was too scared to play games at tables, so we went to a 1-cent slot machine and just played 100 times. In between time, we were able to score 2 drinks each (one at the blackjack table and one at the slot machines)… AKA – you could just look for some waitresses, sit at a 1-cent slot machine close by, play really slowly, and get free drinks. I know. I’m a genius. #TipsbySharon

las vegas slot machines

9. If You’re Going to Gamble…

I actually have three tips on this, and they are for those with no gambling/card playing experience who just want to try their luck.

1. When I majored in Psychology, one of the lessons I learned was that the level of pain you experience from losing money is much greater than the happiness you gain from winning money. For some reason, that’s just how humans operate. It’s like once we win money, we’re happy for a few minutes, then we’ve grown accustomed to those winnings that we’re back to baseline.

Based on this, put a limit on how much you’re going to bet, and tell yourself if you cross that line you’re going to stop betting more. For me I was just going to put down my $15 and walk away if I lost. Once I started winning, I decided to put another limit on myself, that if I reached $100 I’d walk away, or if I lost $15 I’d walk away. Unfortunately the latter happened, but it kept me from betting too much!

Obviously this tip is only for inexperienced gamblers. If you’re good at gambling, go right ahead and do whatever you want.

Vegas blackjack

2. Play Blackjack, or any game that gives you some type of decision making ability. I feel more comfort in playing games like this because I feel like I get some type of control. When you play games that give all the power to the dealer, your odds are likely not as good as they could be!

3. Find the rowdiest, friendliest table.  I don’t know shit about gambling, and I forgot a lot of the rules around blackjack. So I found the loudest table where people were having the most fun, introduced myself, and they ended up just coaching me through everything. I let the guy on my left make my decisions, and I ended up winning $60! Blackjack can be a team sport. Even the dealer was helping me out!

10. If You’re Tired of These Guidelines Filled with Bad Behavior…

Go to Circus Circus for some free acrobat shows.

circus circus vegas


I had fun writing this, but it sort of worries me that I’ve become so skilled in Las Vegas ways. Regardless, I hope these tips will help you reach your full potential in becoming an expert club rat. I’m just kidding. I’ll have to make a post on how to have a wholesome Las Vegas experience, but I have yet to figure that out. Just kidding again?


Aww throwback to when Heesun and I went to Vegas together!

If you want to see more ways you can save on hotels and clubs, you can check out Las Vegas deals.

Leave some comments if you have other tips and/or questions!

*This post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

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