By: Hipmunk Staff
Everyone knows that in Vegas, the House always wins– but one shouldn’t go broke before they even get there.
We took a look at our last 12 months of hotel and flight price data, and put together a list of when to go and when to avoid one of if not the most popular vacation destinations in the United States.
So, when is the absolutely most expensive time to go to Las Vegas? During a major boxing match:
On May 2, 2015, Las Vegas hosted the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao superfight, causing prices of flights and hotels to inflate wildly. If you had accidentally decided to do a three-night vacation during this normally not-so-busy time of year, the flight and hotel alone would have cost you $1038. This is 1.8 times the median cost all year, and 2.2 times the cost of the 100 cheapest days you could have gone on your adventure.
As you can see above, while NYE was the most expensive recurring event last year, other major events such as the Consumer Electronics Show and the Electric Daisy Carnival (a dance music event) are not far behind. The lesson here is to avoid major events – especially those that attract in excess of 100,000 visitors.
The Cost of Flights and Hotels by Month
Now that you know to avoid these big events if you want to score a deal, let’s look at a breakdown of the prices by month, starting with flight costs. The following table shows the median price of all round trip flights to Las Vegas for each month, adjusted by the change in jet fuel price over the year.
At an average of over $330, April tends to be the most expensive time to fly. This is about $80 more than it costs in January, when the average ticket is $248.
Getting there is only part of the cost for a trip to Las Vegas – you also have to find somewhere to stay. For hotel rooms, May, October and September were the most expensive months last year, with May’s median price more than $30 per night more expensive than the cheapest month, December.
Combining the hotel and the flight costs for a three-night stay, we can see the average total trip cost by month as well.
Note: The 3-night trip cost is calculated as the median cost of all 3-consecutive-night trips in a given month. This can give a slightly different result than if you calculated a 3-night trip from the monthly median flight and hotel cost.
Combined, April and October are the most expensive months to travel, with the total trip price being $100 more on average than in January, the cheapest month of the year.
Other Travel Hacks for Saving on Vegas
Even though some months are more expensive than others, you can find a cheap time to visit Las Vegas in almost every month. This is because there is generally a ton of variation within months on the price. For example, have a look at the price of the three-night trip for the month of December.
The cost of starting the trip just after the National Finals Rodeo on Dec. 14 would cost you less than one-third of the price of the same trip just two weeks later for New Year’s. One of the keys to traveling cheaply to Las Vegas is to find the times in between big events when the prices of both flights and hotels drop significantly.
Another consideration to keep in mind is the time of week that you visit the city. Some travel blogs say that the best hotel rates occur from Tuesday to Thursday, but our data shows that this isn’t necessarily the case.
Instead, we discovered that Sunday to Tuesday were the cheapest times to rent a room, with hotel prices on Monday nearly half what they are on Friday. If you’re looking to avoid taking an extra day or two off work for a trip, you could even consider starting it on a Saturday: the lower price of flying on Saturday helps to offset the slightly higher price of a hotel room that day, so the overall price is only marginally higher than the same trip starting Sunday or Monday.
Note: The 3-night trip cost is calculated as the median cost of all 3-consecutive-night trips starting on a given day of the week throughout the year. This can give a slightly different result than if you calculated a 3-night trip from the aggregated median cost for each day of the week.
If you truly want to beat Vegas and get a vacation for as little as possible, the main thing to keep in mind is that cheap flights and accommodations exist year-round, but you’ll find them tucked away between the giant conventions and events that the city is known for. If you’re flexible about your travel date, hunt for a cheap week and arrive between Saturday and Tuesday and you’ll have plenty of cash left over to enjoy the rest of the city.
The flight prices used were the median of all round-trip flights into Las Vegas, normalized for the cost of jet fuel over the year. Depending on where you are flying from, your prices may be higher or lower, but the relative prices should be similar.