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Explore Vegas on Less Than $50 a Day

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 137

This article de-myths the common notion that a vacation in Las Vegas can be an expensive affair. Of course, if you are interested in 'Hangover' type stuff, you are in the wrong place. Indians are no minority in the United States (my Hispanic lab-mate has made a point of it, many times) and it might be fair to say there are a few Indians in every graduate school in the country. The viewpoints in this post might resonate best with this small demographic of the Vegas tourists, although this can mean bigger bang for lesser bucks for anyone.

Some general tips to plan:

1. Book air tickets to McCurran International airport; the strip is a short shuttle ride away ($8 one way).

2. Travel over weekdays for inexpensive deals on air tickets and hotels. Stay on the strip for the proximity to the epicenter of Vegasland. When my friend's parents were visiting her, she got to stay for $30 per night at the Stratosphere on the strip. Plan to be in Vegas for at least two full days.

3. Be prepared for a lot of walking - the best way to explore the casinos. I like to setout early evening from my hotel and walk the strip and catch the bus ride back to the hotel. Following this kind of schedule, while in Las Vegas, will allow you to take in all the glorious nightlife and also escape some of the brutal Nevada sun.

4. Restaurants are typically clustered up - Subway ($5 veggie footlongs) might be the best bet if you aren't choosy about the cuisine. A three-wheeled auto-rickshaw outside 'India Masala' is hard to not notice on the Las Vegas Boulevard. I have compared every vegetable Manchurian I have eaten after March 2011 and am yet to find a competitor. The menu is more along the lines of street food and service is excellent.

5. On gaming, I don't think I have played any intelligent games on the card floor. The classic gambling with roulette, blackjack etc. need a few tens of dollars. The slot machines, which can be played for less than $5, are pure chance-based and offer no literature to improve strategies. It was mostly mindless punching at the various buttons, and I don't remember winning any money at all.

What about the free/inexpensive stuff that you can do in the casinos?

1. Venetian - My ten stars for this casino for maintaining a smoke-free atmosphere. Gondola rides in the blue dyed waterways ply for $15 or less per person. Strolling around the canal shops within muraled alleys is soothing. Tao, the nightclub, sees serpentine lines of crowd outside even on weekdays.

2. MGM - Although no longer one of the newer ones, it still attracts as much crowd. The lion enclosure gets even more entertaining during feeding times. The Rainforest café offers nothing different from the many others in the country.

3. Stratosphere - Located at the edge of the strip, the view from the 103rd floor observation deck is stunning. This doesn't come free unfortunately! Some rides on the top for the adrenaline junkies.

4. Bellagio - Coordinate your trip so that you don't miss the dancing fountains - both night and day view if you can make it. It is breathtaking, both during the day and night. I don't know if it is the song selections that Bellagio for these shows or is it just me, they invariably get me emotional. Their Tulip garden is a delight too.

5. Mirage - I have never been here but they say that their volcano eruption show is one of a kind.

6. Caesers' palace - Women have free entry to the fountains at the Garden of Gods!

7. Circus Circus - Some pretty good circus acts here everyday for free.

These are only seven; I have fifty more reasons to go back.

Vegas is a page out of an Enid Blyton book - enjoy the craziness of the fantasyland without thinning your wallet.

Swetha Sivaswamy is pursuing her doctoral degree in Atlanta, GA. When she is not in the lab, she likes to cook and travel. She has traveled extensively within the United States and India, although she finds that her list of places to go to never seems to shorten.

For more travel blogs by Swetha Sivaswamy, including great tourist destinations in the USA, click

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