Travel Fanboy

Vegas on $100 a Day

Despite knowing how quickly a C-note can leave our pockets forever when in Vegas, it can be fun thinking of how we would subsist on $100 in our favorite city. You know, what if we had to? Or, just for fun, what if we wanted to?

I posted this question on FB and Twitter. Here were my rules:

The Rules

  1. You have a rental car already paid for (Be mindful of parking fees)
  2. Accommodations are already taken care of (This would be a near impossible task if not)
  3. You can use common coupons available publicly (no comps specific to your play)
  4. Assume your gambling is at a 100% loss (choose to play craps for $20? Subtract $20 from your total)
  5. You must tip 20% (We’re frugal, not cheap)

Here are a few itineraries:

Tim M:

The guys I go with always stop and buy bottles of alcohol before checking in. Let’s say 20 bucks per person.

POOL!!! Free with hotel. Everybody put the alcohol you already purchased into an empty large coffee cup ($5) to take down.

One buffet is your meal for the day. $35???

Gotta gamble. $20.

Hotel hop. Spend the $20 left on drinks while walking the Strip.

Dan S:

I would start out in the devil’s playground(Starbucks), with a mocha and a b-fast sandwich. (~10$) Hit the closest CVS/Walgreens to pick up the booze of the day and a mixer.(30$) lay (pass) out at the pool for about 4 hrs. Lunch it up at one of the many cheap food court options. (10$) love walking the strip so wander until I hit Casino royale for a 1 Michelob. (Maybe 3) slot it up there on Willy Wonka. (20$) hit another drug store for a re-fill (20$) and I love to people watch so head towards either planet Hollywood out front or Linq promenade.

John S:

$3 craps and blackjack at the Fremont (Let’s say $21 loss in 1 hour)

$3 Heineken at the Fremont

$1.66 Vodka Martini at 4 Queens for June (Anniversary Special)

Free Lunch at Heart Attack Grill if over 350 pounds

$5 beer at Banger Brewing

$10 Prime Rib Special at El Cortez Siegal 1941

Walk Through Container Park

$6 for 3 Chimichangas at Nacho Daddy Happy Hour

$3 PBR Large Can at Hogs and Heifers

$10 Prime Rib Special at S&O at Downtown Grand

$5 Lunch at Paradise Buffet if using points in June, All Buffets half price(Anniversary Special)

$4 Shot of Patron at Fremont

$4 Hot Dog at American Coney Island at the D

$27 for Adam London Comedy Show at the D

More food than you would eat in 3 days, but I wanted to highlight some specials downtown.


Breakfast:  Red Rock Feast Buffet $6.99 + tip = $9  

Red Rock Canyon $7  (hiking & visitor center)

Lunch:  Wolfgang Puck Happy Hour at Crystals: Sangria $6; Nduja Crostini | Whipped Ricotta $5; Sausage & Peppers | Calabrian Chili Aioli $7 = $18 + $4 tip = $22

Show:  Mac King at Harrah’s  1:00pm Discount Ticket from Player’s Club. Free ticket if you buy a drink Approx. $15

Dinner:  Trevi Happy Hour 2-6 . Stuffed Mushrooms $6; Meatballs $6; Pomegranate Cosmo $7 ($19 + $4 tip = $23)

Gambling:  $20 Blackjack or slots

Drinks:  4 -$1 Michelobs at Casino Royale

Guy H (@Truckosaurus):

I’m sure others will come up with plenty of options for Downtown and Strip activities, so I shall do an Off-Strip Itinerary.

You’ve said we’ve got a rental car so distance is no problem….

Early Doors: We will pretend it is a Saturday and the English football/soccer kicks off at 7am.  Pitch up at McMullens pub next to The Orleans and watch the games with a couple of cups of coffee.  ($10)

Next up, over Summerlin way is the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive.  Get the tyres of the rental car squealing around the corners for $7 and admire some nice rock formations.  Being a cheap-skate/tightwad/etc we will have stopped off at one of the many supermarkets en route and picked up a pack of sandwiches and other lunch items which can be eaten at any of several picnic areas in RRC.  ($20 total for food and entry)

Some Cultural enrichment can be had at the Springs Preserve complex where a $20 ticket gets you access to a several mini-museums (inc the Nevada State Museum).

Still plenty of the afternoon left to head over to the entrance of the Lake Mead National Park in Boulder City.  Park your car in the car park just off the main road and walk along the old railway line trail through several tunnels to the Hoover Dam.  (Free).

On the way back to ‘town’ you can stop off at the Clark County Museum in Henderson.  It’s only $2 to get in and is run by the beardy chap with the straw boater and red shirt from TV’s Pawn Stars.

Dinner can be had at the buffet at Green Valley Ranch ($20 with player’s card) or they had a branch of Pizza Rock the well-regarded Downtown pizza joint.

No gaming so far, but if you felt that no day in Vegas is complete with a wager of some sort, there is decent VP at GVR, and that could get you a drink or 2 from the Cocktail waitress. ($20 VP + $4 tip for 2 drinks)

We’ve still got enough of our budget left to spend some time at the Henderson Booze District – a collection of independent breweries and distilleries, most with on-site bars to sample their wares.  If gambling has gone badly we might only have enough for a single flight-of-beers.

There you have an action packed day out for around $100 and are probably too drunk to drive your rental car back to the hotel.

Now, for my itinerary:

Sambalatte at Monte Carlo- $10 coffee and pastry:

If I’m going to have a day in which I’m scrimping and saving, I want to have one luxury item. This will be the least expensive way to get it. I cherish good coffee and Sambalatte has exactly that.

Cubs bet and Michelobs – $10 bet + $3 beer

I love the west coast time zone because you can usually catch a ball game in the late morning. I’d make a bet on my hometown favorites, then grab two Michelobs from Casino Royale. Really, I should just pick one of Sportsbook Tom’s picks on, so I may just have a chance to enjoy some winnings.


Pizza Rock at Downtown Grand – $8 meatballs and Mexican coke

I couldn’t decide between the slice of pizza or three meatballs for $5.

Pool time: $15

Any pool for an hour or two. Take in the scenery, have a cocktail and a glass of water, and simply enjoy the day.

Craps at Joker’s Wild- $20

Loving live action craps, but on a budget, so I have to head far from the action. $20 may not seem like a lot, but at a $1 table, it’s 20x the minimum bet. I’ve certainly bought in at the same multiple at a $5 table. Any dramatic volatility can destroy the bankroll quickly, but we do what we can. If you want to stay on the Strip, you can do the same at the Aria, which, as of my last visit, still had a $1 minimum on its Shoot-to-Win craps machine.

Wings and Pints at El Cortez Parlor Bar – $15

The Parlor Bar happy hour is between 4 – 6pm. You can get $0.75 wings and $3 Banger Brewery pints. I’ll opt for 12 wings and a pint. With tip, not a bad way to spend $15.

Sigma Derby at the D – $10

A fan favorite for making a few dollars last. Reserve at least $2 for tips, as I usually have a great luck with speedy cocktail waitresses upstairs here at the D. A few quarters on mechanical horses shouldn’t be this much fun.

Coney from the D – $5

I grew up in Chicago, but Detroit is my home for now. I’ve lived in Detroit for three years now and I’ve eaten three Coneys since, which are a staple in this city. Oddly enough, all three were actually consumed in Las Vegas. A hot dog with meat sauce, mustard, and onions, doesn’t sound all that appetizing now. But after a few drinks and a desire for a late night snack, you’d be surprised at how good it is.

That leaves me with $4 left over. That gives me three pulls of a max credit video poker machine. I’m confident it would be the time I finally hit a royal, extending my night even more.

Limiting yourself to $100 may seem ridiculous, but what I think we’ve shown is that despite the changes in Las Vegas and the nickel and diming nature of certain resorts, it can still be a great place to visit for budget conscious travelers.

Special thanks to Matty Ice from Vegas Bright for his voicemail call in the show. I would love to hear your thoughts, just like these fine folks:

I guess betting it all on a single bet, then slumming around the rest of the day is a decent plan. Maybe?

Travel Fanboy

Adam is the editor of and Beyond being the world's most famous travel influencer, he's passionate about reckless points and miles pursuits. Formerly of Vegas Fanboy fame.

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