Las Vegas in $100 per day: Part 1

Las Vegas in $100 per day: Part 1

Regardless of the nickname you give it, chances are you’ve heard of Las Vegas (Personally, I like to call it the Valtrex Capital of the World). Chances are you’ve also heard how expensive it is to go out there. Well, I set on a personal mission to try to survive for three days in the Las Vegas Strip for no more than $100 per day "“ after flight and hotel, of course.

[Note: I know it’s totally possible to do this if you’re willing to venture off The Strip, but it’s also totally possible to get mugged by an Elvis impersonator and contact an STD just by bumping into someone in the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas. Besides, The Strip is much more well lit and the women (or men, if that’s what you’re into) are way better looking there.]

Before I go into my first day, you should know that while prices for flights in Vegas vary depending on where you’re coming from, you can definitely find great hotel rooms on The Strip for under $200 a night.

Also, since I drove with some friends from Southern California, we came stocked with a gallon of vodka and 36-pack of beer. This will come in handy for anyone going to Vegas, so even if you don’t have a car available for you, it will be worth it to have a cab take you to a liquor store on the day you arrive.

Day 1

Upon arriving around 4 p.m., we checked in and got settled into our room . By 5:30 p.m., we had cracked open a round of beer while enjoying the great view from our room. After a couple of rounds, we decided to walk around the strip (free!) and then grab something to eat.

We walked into the Mirage and decided on California Pizza Kitchen. I know, it’s not Las Vegas fine dining, but we wanted something relatively quick and inexpensive that provided a great drinking base (the only thing better than pizza is a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches).

After getting fancy and ordering a pizza with bacon and avocado on it "“ as well as a large beer "“ I was $25 in the hole. We then headed back to the hotel room, changed into some fancier clothes and headed out to the Nine Fine Irishmen pub at New York-New York.

It was awkward enough to ask the cab driver to take us to nine fine Irishmen, but after paying my share of the cab and a $5 cover charge, I was now $33 in the hole. It took me almost six hours to spend that amount. However, in under 30 seconds I almost doubled it. A round of beers for me and two others cost me $29. Granted, the two others returned the favor and bought me rounds as well, but I ended up spending $40 in 90 minutes there.

It was just a tinge before 1:30 a.m. and I had just $26 to play with. And since my friend didn’t have cash, I had to pay for the cab back to the club we were supposedly getting into for free. Bam! Another $11. Now, I had just $15.

By the time we find out the "free" club is going to charge us $30 to get in, it’s nearly 2:30 and half the group heads back to the hotel. I convince my other two friends who want to stay out to not go into the club.

We end going to a couple of outdoor bars with music where my $15 leftover ended up disappearing (into the bar’s cash register), but it lasted me until 5 a.m. We decided to walk stumble back into our hotel and were mesmerized by the smell coming from one of the restaurants in the casino as we walked in.

I couldn’t handle it; I broke. I ended up spending an extra’s $20. But it was the best damn bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions that I’ve ever had… after 5:30 a.m. in Las Vegas while my vision is blurry.

Already in the first day, I broke my budget without even so much as sniffing a gambling table.


Be on the lookout for part two of this three-part series in which gambling and the temptation of a strip club threaten my budget even further.