It has been said that players can often make their own luck in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Preparation begins in earnest by planning out your casino trip with laser-focus precision, starting with your shuttle service to the airport (to save on airport parking fees) with Uber or Lyft as your ridesharing service. Gone are the days of taxi monopolies, or airport shuttles reserved exclusively for this purpose. The more cash in your stash, the better your casino trips will be.

With hundreds of world-class casino destinations to choose from, it's an unenviable task picking just one from the list. In all my years of experience, the finest casino resorts are invariably located on the iconic Las Vegas Strip. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in making Las Vegas the #1 adult destination stomping ground.

Why Vegas? The entire history of Las Vegas is predicated on unbridled hedonism, winning potential, and entertainment. The folks who built Las Vegas had one thing on their minds: money, and lots of it! That's the reason why people from all over the world keep flocking to Sin City in their droves. It is a powerful magnet for Baccarat, Blackjack, Slots, Roulette, Video Poker, and Texas Hold'em aficionados.

Beyond the card games, table games, and slot games, Las Vegas hotel and casino resorts are sprawling destinations where every single need is catered to. More sushi is consumed in Las Vegas than anywhere else in the country; with the world's finest restaurants overseen by Cordon Bleu and Michelin-Star chefs. As the embodiment of the quintessential casino trip, Las Vegas hotels and resorts offer all the razzmatazz one could ever imagine.

From the succulent taste sensations in the bars, nightclubs, and restaurants of casinos on the strip to the offbeat delights peppered across the city, Las Vegas truly shines as an all-encompassing world-class gambling destination.

*PS - You can’t play online casino games in Las Vegas, but you can play online poker games!


Tip 1: Eat Affordably & Gamble Like Royalty 

Of course, if your raison d'être for a casino sojourn is gambling, you'll want to be doubly careful about your food budget. While your favorite Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks may cost you $6 at home, expect to pay substantially more than that in Las Vegas. Pretty much everything from bottled water to Doritos is jacked up in price precisely for this reason; in Vegas – there is nowhere else to go and the prices are high because everybody has to pay them.

Fortunately, you have a few cost-effective workarounds to ensure that your gambling budget is as fat as possible. For starters, avoid the super expensive restaurants in the hotel and check out the fast-food options along the Las Vegas Strip, including Denny’s, Subway, Burger King, McDonalds, and the rest.

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10-$25 for a buffet at one of the Las Vegas hotel and casino resorts. If you decide to eat at one of the restaurants on the property, your average cost per person is around $50 +.

Fortunately, there are many ways to make your casino trips as cost-effective as possible by taking advantage of all sorts of deals with food coupons, happy hour selections, buffet meals, food court options, and the like. If you're looking to enjoy Las Vegas on a budget, make use of membership rewards programs, midweek deals, avoid coming to Las Vegas during a major convention (prices are much higher), stay at off-peak times, and always avoid fight nights in Las Vegas – those sell out quickly and the rates are astronomical. 

Tip 2: Shop Around for The Best Deals at The Best Casino Hotels

Casino trips are all about luxury, elegance, and maximum entertainment value. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save big on your stay by comparative shopping online. Pick your destination wisely. The north end of the Las Vegas strip features the iconic Stratosphere Hotel & Casino.

This towering behemoth reaches 1149 feet into the air and rises 107 floors to the top of the Stratosphere Tower. It's also one of the most cost-effective hotels to stay at, with an average rating of 4.1 Stars /5 from 34,834+ Google reviews. It's a great place to visit and enjoy, but it's far removed from the action on the south end of the strip. So, if you're looking to be in the thick of it, you may want to consider your options at the following hotels and casinos:

• The Luxor
• The Bellagio
• The Flamingo
• Paris Las Vegas
• The MGM Grand
• The Cosmopolitan
• New York New York
• The Excalibur Hotel & Casino
• The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
• Treasure Island Hotel and Casino

Of course, there are scores of other prestigious resorts you may wish to stay at, including Caesar's Palace, Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, Mandalay Bay (a little isolated), and others. Generally speaking, everything is pretty much walkable once you get out of your hotel and casino resort (that in itself is a massive undertaking), and onto the strip.

In terms of affordability, the MGM Grand, New York, the Excalibur Hotel & Casino, and Treasure Island Hotel and Casino are your best bets and they are also perfectly situated in the thick of it. If you're in the midst of planning your casino trips, check out these options.

Useful advice: Most Las Vegas hotels require a security deposit in the form of a hold on your credit card. If you’re going with lots of people to Las Vegas, chances are there is always a joker in the group who will run up bills on your account. Whether it's room service, the minibar, or incidentals – you don't want to be responsible for this. Avoid using a credit card and rather pay cash up front.

Tip 3: Getting to Las Vegas is a Breeze at McCarran International Airport

airports tips

We've all heard the horror stories of TSA agents flagging travelers for all sorts of violations, concerns, and misconduct. Just because you're flying to Las Vegas to enjoy a weekend of unadulterated partying, doesn't mean you can behave like a hooligan. Las Vegas, Nevada is several hours east of Los Angeles California, and thousands of miles away from pretty much everywhere else in the world. Getting there typically requires most travelers to fly in to the airport. 

If possible apply for Global Entry access through Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This is a TSA-pre-check system which allows for expedited clearance so that you don't have to wait in line with thousands of other travelers at the airports and you don't even need to take your shoes off or remove your laptops from your carry-on bags.

It's a marvelous system with benefits that far outweigh the costs of the program membership. Be advised that you will be thoroughly checked by government security agencies like the FBI, state police, and undergo an in-person interview.

TSA agents are always on the lookout for suspicious activity, such as tickets that are purchased for cash, last-minute ticket purchases, one-way tickets to Las Vegas, and the like. These may not necessarily prevent you from getting on the plane, or arriving at your destination.

As always, take care to pack as lightly as possible to ensure that you don't have to pay extra fees for checked luggage, overweight luggage, or have to schlep all of these things in and out of taxis, shuttles, and through the never-ending maze of hallways of typical Las Vegas Casinos and Hotels. Since flights to Las Vegas typically rack up lots of points for frequent flyers, be sure to input your frequent flyer number to get those points and possibly even get upgraded on your flight.

Incidentally, many people are blithely unaware that you can actually use the airport hotel check-in service for a variety of Las Vegas hotels. McCarran offers options like Caesar's Entertainment Hotel Check-In facility at McCarran International airport.

This saves you lots of time when you arrive at the hotel. Most people don't use the check-in option at the airport, so be sure to try it out next time you embark upon one of your casino trips to Vegas.

McCarran International airport is also one of the few airports in the world where you can gamble on video poker, slots, and other electronic gaming devices while you're waiting. Slot machine games with progressive jackpots, video poker terminals, and other gambling options are readily available.

*Be advised that the RTP on airport slots is notoriously low, but it's a totally unique experience so you may wish to have a spin!

Tip 4: Bankroll Management Options

Ever seen the movie Vegas Vacation? If so, you understand how frustrating it can be to end up in a situation like Charles Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) when you're stuck in Las Vegas with no money in your pocket. Sin City is no fun when your bankroll has been depleted.

That's why it important to observe highly effective bankroll management options for carrying cash around with you. There are several ways to safely transport your bankroll from home to Las Vegas casinos, and anywhere in between. For starters, you want to have a stash of cash in crisp bills ($5, $10, $20 are best) with you at all times. Keep some money locked away in your hotel safe, just in case.

Other convenient cash management options include ApplePay, credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, comps, vouchers, and player club cards with cash balances on them. Gambling expert, Nicholas Colon advises casino goers to travel with bundles of cash ($4000/$5000 per bundle) in various pockets while travelling through airports.

Casual players shouldn't have any problems carrying their available cash on their person however. High rollers are a different story, and are likely to be flying in on private planes, where airport security is markedly different. That being said, TSA agents have lots of authority to detain people they suspect of money-laundering, or criminal activity in general.

Tip 5: What You Do in Vegas Should Stay in Vegas

We've all heard that axiom before – ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas', but on a more serious note, the liberal laws regarding marijuana usage in Las Vegas are largely restricted to Las Vegas. You cannot possibly hope to buy a huge sampling of weed and related paraphernalia and transport it all back with you to your home state. That's a definite no-no. 

Fortunately, McCarran International airport offers travelers a complimentary service to prevent them from getting into trouble. You can dump any remaining marijuana you have on your person, or in your bags in what is known as Amnesty Boxes.

No – the weed is not donated to charity; it is disposed of. Since McCarran International airport must toe the line with regards to federal law, no marijuana is permitted on the premises. It may be legal in the state of Nevada, but it is still illegal under federal law. Check yourself before you wreck yourself when you leave Las Vegas!

Tip 6: Advantage Players Never Play Where They Stay

What's an advantage player, you ask? Anyone who gambles with a slight statistical edge over other players (through bankroll management, careful selection of games with appropriate RTPs, intelligent betting options, money management techniques, et cetera) is said to be an AP.

These types of players never ever throw down big dollar at the casinos they stay at. Sometimes, casino management will comp advantage players with beautiful suites, freebies, and other exclusive offers. 

Sometimes, management may evict you from the casino entirely. They simply don't want to have people winning big dollar at their tables. This could prove a little embarrassing if you are staying at a Las Vegas casino resort with friends and family, or business colleagues.

Rather avoid the unpleasantries and gamble at other casinos while you're in Las Vegas. Some of the biggest winners at casinos in Las Vegas are the Baccarat players, Blackjack players, and Craps shooters. 

Tip 7: Cashing Out – Charitable Tips?

If you spend any amount of time at the casinos in Las Vegas, you'll note that most of your winnings are paid out in the form of vouchers which you then have to go to the cashier's cage to cash in. If you go to different casinos, the vouchers are only available for cash out at those casinos.

This presents many challenges on your last day, particularly if you've been accumulating all of these vouchers from lots of different casinos. As a rule, it is best to cash out while you're at a casino, and not after you have returned back to your hotel room. 

As you're about to find out on your casino trips to Vegas, it is a mission of note just to exit your own hotel, let alone making your way to a casino a mile down the road. You may wish to leave your slots winnings vouchers to the room attendants as a tip, or simply give them to the homeless people that are always swarming all over the place in Las Vegas. Uber drivers won't take these vouchers as payment, but room attendants will be more than happy to accept them.

We've all heard that life is never a destination; it's a journey. If that's true, it's important to plan your casino trips as effectively as possible so that every leg of the journey runs smoothly. You can avoid many of the missteps that too many travelers make, by following the advice in this comprehensive Las Vegas guide. Try to commit some of these tips to memory and you will certainly appreciate it later on.

About the Author

With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.