With so much to do in Las Vegas, the last thing that you want to do is blow a significant portion of your budget on airfare. After all, saving a few hundred dollars on your flight could leave extra money for eating at a great vegan restaurant or playing a single deck blackjack game.
But how do you find the cheapest flights to Las Vegas? And is this something that can be done without a lot of effort on your part?
You can find out below as I discuss some different ways to save on airfare for your next Vegas trip.
Spur of the moment Vegas trips might seem like a fun, impulsive thing to do. Unfortunately, you'll also pay for your impulse because plane tickets are more expensive when purchased less than three weeks before your flight.
According to research by the FLYR group, you'll pay 35% more for your airfare less than three weeks prior to departure time. If you buy less than two weeks out, you can tack another 15% onto your average ticket.
Just by purchasing your ticket at least three weeks before the flight means you'll save significantly compared to last minute decision makers.
On the other hand, don't think that you have to order your tickets 6 to 12 months in advance to get a good deal. Airfare costs will fluctuate so often in this time frame that you have no idea if you're saving money as opposed to waiting 3 to 4 weeks beforehand.
Sin City is a popular weekend destination, with people often flying in on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It should be little surprise that airlines also jack up ticket prices on these days to take advantage of the demand.
This means that the best days to take your flight are on the most unpopular days for visiting Las Vegas. The Hopper research team states that flying on Sunday will save you $76 per ticket and going on Tuesday will save you $54 off the average airfare.
Another factor to consider is exactly what day you shop for the tickets. According to FareCompare, airlines often launch sales on Mondays, and other airlines will match them by Tuesday 3pm EST, making this the best time to purchase tickets.
Wednesday is another good day to buy since Hopper states that you'll save an average of $11 on airfare.
A common mistake by some Vegas fliers is only visiting one site and quickly buying a ticket after minimal research. But if you really want to save money, use at least 2 to 3 comparison sites like Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, and Priceline.
These sites are self-explanatory and allow you to use a number of options to find cheap flights, including departing airport, returning airport, departure time, return time, cabin class, how many passengers, and specific airlines.
In some cases you may only save a few dollars by entering your preferences in several different sites. But there'll be other times where you save $50 to $100 per ticket just by taking extra time to compare.
It's common to fly out of the airport closest to your home because this saves on driving time. And if you live in a rural area, the nearest airport may be in a mid-sized city.
But you'll almost always find that airports in larger cities offer cheaper plane tickets. In this case, you may think that it's worth the longer drive to fly out of a bigger city.
Here's an example: you live close to Dayton, Ohio, but you find that Vegas airfare is $70 cheaper in Columbus for the day you want to leave. Given that Columbus is only an hour drive from Dayton, you could save significant money by traveling here.
I discussed the best times / days for a Sin City trip earlier, and you should also know that August and October are the cheapest months to depart.
Flying to Vegas during either of these months will save you an average of $25 per ticket. I'd recommend October because the weather is more bearable, but August is good if you're going to the day club pool parties.
As for the most expensive months, February, March, and June are popular for visiting this entertainment capital. June is a popular vacation month no matter what, while Vegas offers the perfect escape from cold weather in February and March.
Direct flights to and from Vegas are always the most attractive, especially if you live thousands of miles away. But don't let the thought of multiple stops and connecting flights scare you away from certain tickets.
That's because you can find cheaper airfare when connecting flights are involved. FareCompare states that trips with 1 to 2 stops involved will cut ticket costs by up to 50%.
This is another factor that may come down to whether you're willing to sacrifice time to save money. If adding another 2 to 4 hours doesn't bother you, then seek out tickets with multiple stops.
Like any other good business, airlines offer promotions and discounts to customers. And if you watch for these deals, you have a good chance of getting cheaper airfare.
That being said, follow the Facebook and Twitter accounts for major airlines so that you don't miss anything. You may not always find deals for when you want to visit Las Vegas, but your chances are far greater than if you only look through comparison sites.
Once again, it's always nice to have extra money in Vegas when considering all the entertainment options that you have access to.
An easy way to make sure that you have these extra funds is by getting the cheapest airfare you can find. Booking flights ahead of time, doing comparison shopping, buying on the right days, and welcoming connecting flights are great ways to do this.