How to save money when you fly to Vegas

It’s not rocket science, but to understand price fluctuations in airfares you’d probably have to get a Ph.D. in something convoluted like aviation capacity management.

Although we’re not bookish academics at Vegas.com, we do consider ourselves the top intellectuals in the field of all things Vegas. And that means we know a lot about getting deals on flights and hotels.

By now this has been burned into your brain: Book early. We can’t stress that enough. As soon as you know you might be taking a trip to Vegas, start checking airfares and room rates. The rule of thumb is to book at least 30 days out. Prices are sure to increase after that…as well as within 14 and seven days of your desired departure date. Simply put, you’ll pay less when you buy well in advance.

So what else can you do to fly the friendly skies without breaking the bank? There are seven great ways to save money on Las Vegas flights and hotels, and we’re going to share them with you.

 •	Have flexible travel dates.

Have flexible travel dates.

Think of your Vegas vacation like a contortionist. The more it can bend, the bigger the payoff – but instead of applause, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you got the cheapest flight possible.

Plus with a wide range of travel days, you might be able to take advantage of low season. Say this out loud with us: Low season equals low cost. Prices on both flights and hotels will be most affordable when the least number of visitors are in town.

So when is low season? Two of the best times to come to Vegas are in summer (specifically July and August because it’s so hot) and in winter (from mid January to early March).

On the other hand, the highest airfares and room rates are racked up over the holidays. Expect steep pricing around New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July, Halloween and three-day weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day. (Note: There are actually a few holidays – such as Thanksgiving and Christmas – when rates drop.)

In addition, Vegas flights and hotel rooms are in high demand during major sporting events. Motor racing enthusiasts cruise into town for NASCAR in early March, and there’s a stampede of cowboys for National Finals Rodeo in early December. Football fans rush in to place bets for the Super Bowl and basketball buffs take over during March Madness. Avoid these peak times and you’ll not only pay less, but you’ll also enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere.

Regardless of when you arrive or depart, you’re going to have an awesome time. You’re coming to Vegas, after all.

 

Get a package deal.

Get a package deal.

You’ll save more when you buy more. That seems preposterous but it’s true. When things are bundled together, you receive a better value. Consider “Extra Value Meals” at McDonald’s. Order one and you’ll get a burger, fries and a soft drink for a fraction of what they’d cost separately. The same applies to your Vegas vacation. When you visit, you’re naturally going to need an airline ticket and a room. Hotels typically reduce their rates for air packages in anticipation of longer stays, which translates into more property-wide revenue. Click here to begin hunting for air + hotel packages. You’ll see, the potential savings are significant – up to 50 percent in some cases.

 

Stay longer, save more.

Stay longer, save more.

If you’re researching the cost of an air + hotel package for two nights in Vegas, be sure to check the price for a three-night stay. It might be cheaper. No, that’s not a fluke or a typo. Basically, hotels offer bigger discounts for longer stays. So getting an extra night in Vegas for either less or a little extra than you expected to pay…well, you’ll just have to grin and bear it.

 

Be a weekend warrior.

Be a weekend warrior.

Who needs sleep? Not a weekend warrior. If you’re planning to come to Vegas for three full days of fun and take a redeye back on Sunday, that’s doable – and awesome! But there’s something important you should know.

Vegas.com is one of only a couple online travel agencies that will drop the extra Sunday (technically Monday) hotel night in terms of pricing, which can really cut back on your costs. Since your flight will be leaving in the wee hours – typically between midnight and 3 a.m. – do you really need a room? We didn’t think so. However, most sites will add Sunday night to your itinerary. We won’t do that unless you ask us to.

So what’s the modus operandi of a weekend warrior? On Sunday morning check out of your room and ask the front desk to hold your bag. You can usually store your luggage for up to 24 hours, just remember to tip the bellhop when you retrieve it. Now you can party ’til you go home. Since you’re in Vegas, the opportunities are nonstop – even in the afternoon. Get into the swim of things at a pool club (many of them have lockers and changing rooms). When the weather cools down, several nightspots will offer daytime sessions. Before heading to the airport, stop for a drink at one of the Strip’s trendy bars or lounges. Once you’ve boarded and get in the air, you’ll have plenty to time catch a few winks. Before you know it, you’ll be grabbing a cup of coffee and heading into work Monday morning…with stories to tell about your “only in Vegas” weekend debauchery.

Tip: Weekend warriors should not only know how to make the most of every moment in Vegas, but also how to get the most from their carry-on luggage. Pack sparingly. You’ll be able to avoid the hassle and fees associated with checking bags. And since you’ll be bypassing baggage claim, you might even beat your selfie back!

 Keep your eyes peeled for deals.

Keep your eyes peeled for special offers.

If you don’t want to shell out a lot of money after you arrive in Vegas, look around for promotions. Trust us, they’re out there. And they tend to correspond with Vegas’ low season.

Right now, for instance, several MGM Resorts properties are offering free show tickets if you book a three-night stay before Nov. 20 for travel occurring between Nov. 9, 2014 and Feb. 28, 2015 (some blackout dates apply). And these aren’t duds. They’re really good shows – ranging from epic productions like “,” “Love” and “Zarkana” by Cirque du Soleil to well-loved performers such as the Blue Man Group and ventriloquist Terry Fator.

You can also snag food and beverage credits, complimentary room upgrades, tour specials and much, much more. Use our Deals and Promotions page as a starting point for your search.

 

Book a midweek stay.

Book a midweek stay.

We know you want to come to Vegas for the weekend. But that’s when everybody rolls into town because they have time off from work. So weekend trips are going to cost a lot. Accept it.

However, if you’re seeking bargains on flights and room rates, you’re likely to find them between Monday and Thursday. Midweek pricing is cheaper across the board…almost always.

There is an exception to this rule: Huge conventions. Steer clear of them. Heavily attended conventions drive up air and hotel rates. That’s bad news if you’re pinching pennies. Vegas has a busy convention schedule year-round, but the ones you’ll want to avoid if at all possible are the International Consumer Electronics Show, which is held in early January, and MAGIC, the largest global marketplace for men’s and women’s apparel, which is held in mid February and late August.

 Fort Myers Airport

Search for the cheapest airport.

Comparison shopping is a common practice with clothing, electronics and even cars. So why not airports? If two or more airports serve your region, compare their fares. Often flights departing from the smaller airport will cost less.

Take the Bay Area, for example. Which airport comes to mind first? San Francisco International Airport, obviously. SFO is the largest airport in the Bay Area and the second busiest in California (after LAX). However, you’re more likely to find cheaper flights from nearby Oakland International Airport. And let’s be honest, with the fog and heavy traffic, wouldn’t you prefer to fly from Oakland?

Another reason smaller regional airports have good deals on airfares is because they’re served by true low-cost carriers like Spirit Airlines.

There you have it. If you’re budget-conscious, we’ve given you several strategies to help you make the best choices when you’re booking flights and rooms in Las Vegas. So go ahead. Don’t delay. Do it.

Comments

I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Vegas.com. Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.