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Las Vegas Trip Costs for Average Visitors

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What are average expected costs for a Vegas trip from domestic US locations? That question is frequently asked by prospective Vegas travelers, particularly for those planning to visit for the first time. The answer to this question is complicated by huge variation in visitor choices, budgets, overall trip lengths, origin distances from Vegas, and gaming activity among other factors.

Source information for Vegas trip costs and pricing is quite varied, which complicates attempts to arrive at median expenditures for airfare, rooms, dining, in-town transportation, entertainment, tipping, shopping, and other expenses including gaming.

Our estimates here are an attempt to reflect middle-ground costs that fall between the frugal penny-pincher and the upper-tier visitor groups. Ultimately, the intent was to derive “average” Vegas trip costs for the “average” Vegas visitor, though neither of those entities may actually exist.

Source information for these estimates were derived and extrapolated from Las Vegas online forum groups, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) visitor stats, the LVCVA/GLS Visitor Profile Studies, online airline and travel site pricing info, multiple Vegas guide books, Vegas hotel websites, and our own multi-trip Vegas experiences (including February 2013).

Derived cost estimates are based on average daily expenses for two people (recent LVCVA figures indicate the average Vegas traveler group has 2.3 adults). Cost estimates were derived for lodging, food and drink, entertainment/shows, gambling, local transportation (with optional cost estimates), shopping, and miscellaneous expenses (sundries, rental car fuel, room snacks, travel insurance, etc).

We also provide a single average domestic US airfare cost for two people to Las Vegas based on a recently published 2012 domestic US airfare market comparison study. Further , we derived a cost per mile fuel charge for Vegas visitors who drive their personal vehicles to town. In some cases, assumptions regarding trip length or entertainment choices were included for estimating costs.

Average Vegas Trip Costs (US $) Per Day For Two People :

  • Average Daily Room Rate = $108 (excludes taxes and resort fees; add 20+% = $132)
  • Food and Beverage = $90 (excludes taxes and tips ; gamblers drink free)
  • Entertainment / Shows = $35 (assumes couples attend 2 bargain shows during a 5-day trip ,$175 total expense)
  • Gambling = $175 (LVCVA info extrapolated figure)
  • Local Transportation optional costs:

1. Car Rental = $40 (includes taxes & fees)

2. Taxi = $40 ( assumes two 8- 10 mile trips per day excluding tips)

3. Walking / Free Off-Strip Airport Shuttle = $0 (excluding tips)

  • Shopping = $40 (LVCVA info )
  • Gratuities (valet, dining, baggage,etc) = $25 (roughly 5% of total daily budget)
  • Miscellaneous ( sundries, rental/personal car fuel, room snacks, travel insurance) = $25
  • Subtotal daily costs for two = $540 (assuming taxi use or car rental; $500 with walking / free airport shuttle).

Costs for travel to / from Las Vegas :

Nearly half (45%) of all Vegas visitors arrive at McCarran International Airport, while the balance arrive via various forms of ground transportation (personal vehicle, RV, or buses). In this entry, we include cost estimates for Vegas air travel and fuel costs per mile for visitors driving personal vehicles to town.

  • Roundtrip airfare for two =  $600 (includes partial accounting for most fees and taxes excluding baggage fees ,which averages about $40-$50 for 2 checked bags on most airlines). This single cost item varies significantly depending on many factors, including air carrier and origin city distance from Vegas. This single airfare cost estimate for two($600) was derived from a recently published airport market study that indicated 2012 average roundtrip airfares to Las Vegas were $281, the lowest for any destination market in the country. Our derived estimate considered multiple carriers and multiple US origin cities ( from Honolulu, HI to Burbank, CA).
  • Airfare costs per day for Vegas trips can be easily calculated by dividing the $600 average fare for two by the number of days spent in town. For example… $600 / 5-day trip = $120 per day
  • Fuel costs for driving to Vegas = 12 – 20 cents / mile ; A common driving route for Vegas visitors is from the Los Angeles area, which is approximately 280 miles. Roundtrip fuel costs only for this trip in an average sedan (22 mpg) will run about $100, which includes the current average fuel cost per gallon ($4) in California. This cost estimate is for fuel costs only, and doesn’t reflect other typical vehicle driving costs such as maintenance, insurance, or depreciation. The formula for fuel driving costs only is…    $cost per gallon of fuel/vehicle mpg = (cents per mile ) X actual destination mileage . Check this Travelmath calculator link to determine actual driving costs from specific areas to Las Vegas.

Other costs to consider :

  • Spas – $50 to $150 per hour
  • Golf  – $75 and way up depending on course (18 holes)
  • Tours – $75 and way up ; Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Laughlin etc.
  • Nightlife – $20 to $50 cover charges for men on weekends; $300 – $475 bottle service at Strip hotspots ; drinks easily average $8 – $15 each at popular bars

Summary :

Based on the above daily cost estimates for two people, Vegas visitors who fly to town spend $660 per day ($540 + $120/ per day airfare costs) during a 5-day trip to Vegas if they rent a car or use a taxi daily while in town. Visitors driving to town from Los Angeles and staying for 5 days would spend about $530 per day (no airfare, local taxi or car rental costs, but $20 for gas per day for road trip plus $10 per day for local fuel for their vehicle). These estimate totals exclude any costs for spa use, golf, tours, nightlife, or special event expenses.

Methods to reduce Vegas trip costs have been previously discussed in an earlier article. Midweek trips, comp accrual, coupon use, gambling at lower house edge games, and regularly updated trip planning including perusal of the forever-changing promotional packages from airlines and Vegas hotels are the important considerations here. Simply signing up for hotel email membership lists is another consideration. E-mail memberships at hotel rate alert sites (eg Vegas Hotel Hunt) and airline discount alert services (such as Southwest’s Ding service or Airfare Watchdog) can at times result in significant cost savings. Attempt to book air travel on one of the three discount carriers at McCarran (Southwest, Spirit, or Allegiant) if they serve your origin area.

It is recognized that the cost estimates here will not apply for all average Vegas visitors. There is simply a ton of variation in the entire cost input estimate pool. However, these figures contain useful ballpark cost estimates for mid-tier Vegas visitors.





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