1. Resort Fees – On top of your nightly rate, hotels will charge a resort fee. Why this is not simply lumped in with your nightly rate, i have no idea. Even if you pay for hotel rooms in points (what we did) the resort fee is not covered and is often not quoted until you’re making final reservations online. Know that whatever price you’re paying for your hotel, include an additional $30-50 per day in resort fees. There isn’t much of a way to avoid this, other than budgeting for an inflated stay.
  2. Room Service – There was a $9 charge for room service, nothing i have ever seen in other hotels across the world. If you are considering room service, your total charge is food + service fee + tip. At the end of the day, that is a huge cost to get delivered food. It isn’t fun but know this in advance and draw straws for who should be the one to trek downstairs in their PJs to get coffee for the room.
  3. Alcohol – Yes, we knew this would be expensive. However, one canned beer at the resort was $16 and a baileys and coffee was $20. We were expecting it for the cocktails, but for very simple beverages we did not anticipate the mark up. We brought our own vodka and were allowed to bring it to the pool, which significantly reduced alcohol spend. We purchased mixers at the CVS and were able to enjoy without an insane bar tab. Separately, you could go to Fremont street and find more reasonably priced bars that offer happy hour (PepperMill). We weren’t hitting minimums to get free drinks at the casinos, so we bought our own drinks out the entire time. Many of the markets have a deal where you buy two tall boys and get a free shot. It makes you feel a little bit better about spending $10 per drink at a mini mart, however it adds up at the end of the day.
  4. Table minimums – We went over a holiday weekend, so we did expect table minimums to be slightly more elevated. We only saw $25 hands at the card games, pricing us out of casual gambling. If you have a lower gambling budget and want to spend more time gambling, consider making your trip during the weekdays were table minimums drop off, and avoid the holidays which inflate gambling prices. Patrick used to go to the Lucky Dragon for $5 hands, but it has since closed and we haven’t found another spot that offers lower minimums.
  5. Coffee, Sweets & Sundries – When you’re looking at $6 for a black coffee, things have gotten out of control. We are volume coffee drinkers and were deeply saddened by how expensive our coffee was going to cost us each day. Even Starbucks had inflated prices, not just the hotel coffee shops. Patrick’s pro move is to get a “red eye” which is a coffee + shot of espresso. Typically it is only a $1 upcharge and you get more bang for your buck. My pro move is to get the cold brew cans at a CVS or Walgreens and drink it over ice in the morning in the hotel room. Aside from coffee, i had a sweet tooth walking around and window shopping and noticed a gelato shop. With no posted prices, i asked the staff what the prices were on a small single scoop gelato… $8! What! Since when was gelato $8? I understand for a large, but goodness, that was not worth it. Thankfully I’m not desperate for sweets like I am for coffee, so I skipped it altogether. Finally, like most resorts, there is an unusually high price tag on sundries like sunscreen or medicine. There are Walgreens and CVS stores along the strip which offer these at a much larger discount if you happened to forget them when packing.
  6. Transportation – Ubers and Taxis aren’t overly expensive, per se, but we didn’t realize how much we would need transportation up and down the strip. It is do-able to walk, however after hours in the sun, the desire to walk for free is so small compared to a quick ride back to our hotel. In retrospect we should have stayed more central strip, rather than at the Mandalay Bay on the very end of the strip. This would have saved us physically from getting too wiped out walking up and down. We also took advantage of The Deuce, which offered 24 hour bus passes for $8 each. Considering a one way uber ride down the strip cost $12, this was a big savings if used even just twice. We bought 2, 24 hour passes each and could have easily done the $20 3 day pass. The only downside is that you’re on a bus schedule and need to plan ahead with plenty of time prior to any reservations.

Vegas is alluring for the often-comped hotels, direct and subsidized flights, but the trip itself is way more expensive than it looks at first glance. On our recent Memorial Day trip, we were taken aback at the number of “gotchas” we were dealt during our 3 day stay. Here are the things we wish we had known to budget for:

At the end of the day, you are in the middle of the dessert where everything is shipped in and there is very little natural resources available. Food will be expensive, drinks will be expensive, everything will be expensive. There are ways to avoid the main “gotchas” of Vegas with a little planning and creativity.

Are there ways you have saved money on your Vegas trip? We would love to hear them!

Posted by:Allie

2 replies on “6 Unexpected Expenses from Vegas (and what to do about it)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s