Wednesday, August 12, 2009

9 Ways to Throw a Budget Bachelorette Party in Las Vegas

{Photo from}

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right? I'm all for abiding by this infamous motto, but not when it comes to parting with my hard-earned money. As a bridesmaid for an upcoming wedding, I was obligated to attend a destination bachelorette party in Las Vegas a couple weekends ago. Each person easily dropped a few hundred dollars on the bare essentials, such as hotel, airfare, drinks, and meals. Today, my mission is to show you that having fun in Vegas on a budget is possible!
  • Airfare: Book early, or book late! I booked my tickets well in advance -- February -- and scored $98/RT (albeit, I've got the advantage of being only an hour from Vegas). Orbitz and Expedia certainly offer great deals at less than $120 RT compared to most major airlines. If you're willing to gamble, you can wait for last minute deals on flights, but you run the risk of getting a very early/late arrival or departure or more than 1 stop.
  • Hotel: Share your room with 2+ guests at hotels on the end or off-strip. We split 2 rooms at Caesar's Palace (a prime central location on the strip) among 8 girls (not including the bride-to-be). This certainly cut the cost tremendously. If you want to trim your budget even more, check out hotels further away from the center of the strip, such as Excalibur, The Tropicana, Stratosphere and Flamingo Las Vegas.
  • Cash: Don't leave home without cash and avoid ATMs in the casino! I made the mistake of not pulling out enough cash before I left home. When I tried pulling out cash, the ATM fee in the casinos were $4.99 for withdrawals up to $51. Insane. I was lucky to find a Bank of America tucked in a hallway in the Caesar's Forum Shops and saved $2.99 in ATM fees. There are bank ATMs in most shopping areas; definitely don't withdraw cash from the casino areas!
  • Alcohol & Water: There's nothing wrong with BYO alcohol and water. See if someone is willing to check in luggage (about $22-30 R/T) as most travelers are allowed to check in up to 5 liters of up to 140 proof alcohol. An average bottle of vodka, like Absolut, or Patron is 750mL and 80 proof. By doing this, you can save a few rounds of $13-20/shot at a nightclub if you do a few shots or mix your own drinks in your hotel room before you go out! We had about $100 worth of liquor in our hotel room that lasted 2 nights where in the club, some of the bachelorettes spent $90 + tip for 1 round of shots for 6 girls. Of course, you can also leverage your charm with the guys, who are likely to buy you shots as long as you are willing to flirt a little {wink, wink}.
  • Transportation: Yes to the Double Decker. First, when you arrive to the airport, definitely invest in buying a round-trip pass for the airport shuttle (about $12 RT); that way, you won't have to worry about how you'll get back and you'll save on cab fare, which can add up quickly while you're sitting in traffic. If you're staying on the ends of the strip, you should also consider getting a $7 24-hr pass to the Double Decker bus that runs up and down the strip. The group I was with preferred to take cabs everywhere and each trip (about 10 trips x 2 cabs each time) ran anywhere from $10-17 with tip -- just to go 2-3 hotels down! If you'd rather hoof it, stash a pair of flip flops in your clutch.
  • Meals: Do your research (for prefixe/tasting menus) and don't be shy to pack a few snacks. Since I was already checking in luggage, I packed a box of Trader Joe's crackers (the starchy antidote to one too many shots) as well as a soft lunch cooler with a Trader Joe's Thai chicken noodle sandwich (packed in ice). As soon as I arrived to the hotel, I had the salad for lunch, saving myself $15 for the same thing I could have gotten had I gone to a casino restaurant. I had also used to run a search on user reviews for 3-4 star places on the strip with a low to moderate cost ($ - $$). Definitely plan one special dinner, such as prefixe dinner at Fiamma ($45/pp) and eat cheap the rest of the time you're there (especially if you go to the more divey casinos like O'Shea's). Some restaurants have specials after 9:30PM; keep your eye on the boards for recommendations.
  • Nightlife: Getting a VIP table is most desirable, as you'll get to lounge and avoid the long lines at the bar; however, minimum fees start at $1,100 per table or $375 for bottle service. Yikes. First, if you're at a hotel with its own nightclub, check with the front desk staff or concierge to see if they can offer you free VIP passes that will get you to the front of the line and waive the cover charge. For example, Caesar's Palace offered us passes to Pure later that night -- it had an outdoor terrace that had a great view of the skyline and multiple rooms. The hottest new nightclub in Vegas, XS at the Wynn's sister, Encore, costs $20/women and boasts a spacious indoor/outdoor dance area and access to cabanas and wading pool for your tired feet. We were fortunate to get in for free the night before Jay-Z threw a party (cover was $150/pp the night he was celebrating the last day of Beyonce's concert at the Wynn).
  • Shopping: Try the outlets! Since I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, trendy upscale stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and more are easily accessible. Nonetheless, thousands of people flock to the Caesar's Forum Shops, Fashion Show Mall and Miracle Mile to whet their fashion cravings. If you're willing to see a bit of Vegas beyond the strip, you can hop on the Double Decker just past the Stratosphere and catch the 108 to the Premium Outlet Mall (by the way, the keyword here is "premium" as I endured the misery of going to the regular outlet malls past McCarran airport). The Premium Outlet Mall features designer stores such as Christian Audigier (bunches of tees were $23-25), L'Occitane, Banana Republic Factory Store, Dolce & Gabbana, and more. I was in budget shopping heaven. {Photo from The Premium Outlet Mall Las Vegas}
Conclusion: The bottom line is, doing a bit of preparation beforehand will save you money in the long run, from booking your flight, packing your libations and cash on hand, to figuring out whether your weekend will be focused on partying vs. R&R by the pool. Planning ahead will help you keep your mind off how much is left in your bank account and more on having fun with your friends!!

0 love notes:

Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing with us!

Related Posts with Thumbnails