Many listeners have asked about going to CGE and the costs involved, and want to know if it can be done on a budget. I figured the reply might help others and help dispel the idea that a Vegas vacation to CGE has to be a costly thing. I am going to be updating this post as things come to mind and suggestions appear so give it a read again as CGE gets closer. If your dismissing the idea of CGE due to cost this info could very well change your mind. This thread was updated December 27 2011 with general updates and CGE 2012 specific info.
Assuming your flying out on Friday and leaving Monday it pretty much breaks down to registering for everything as soon as possible after the CGE announcement is posted to get the best rates. This year's rates are $25 for CGE weekend pass and the hotel discounts are posted. Don't forget to check with your company and any organizations you are a member of for travel and hotel discounts. Don't be afraid to consider staying longer than the Friday-Monday visit. If you price out package trips there is often not allot of difference between 6 days and 10 days. The number one mistake that I made the first time I went to Vegas and the mistake most make is to arrive there and then figure out what to do. Spend some time on http://www.vegas.com/ you can find all the shows, deals and such there. Also spend some at http://www.vegas.com/lounge/map.html and get to know where things are.
Airfare is usually cheapest when scheduled as far out as possible, and remember most airlines are now charging for baggage so if you can fit a weekends clothes into a carry on you save some money there. If you find more goodies than will fit in your carry on you can hit the PO or UPS store on the way to the airport and mail it back for less than most baggage fees. Flights arriving early Friday morning are often cheaper, the hotel rooms usually aren't available until around 2pm but who cares. You can arrive at 8am and drop your bags at bell services and head out and enjoy the town until your room is ready. You will need a few bucks in tips (Vegas is tip city) and transport from the airport to the hotel (they have cheap shuttle buses $6 to the strip, $8 to Fremont, and some hotels have free ones). Unless you want to go from one end of the strip to the other most of the strip is walking distance and many of the hotels are connected by walkways. Fremont is even easier, it packs tons of attractions into a 5 block strip so walking is quick. If you do want to get around the length of the strip a fair amount there is also the monorail $5 for one ride, $14 for an unlimited one-day pass for one person and $30 for an unlimited three-day pass. If you plan on doing any traveling to attractions a rental car is a great way to go but you need to plan ahead to get a good rate. If you arrive at the airport expect to pay prices starting at about $20 a day, expect 4 times that if you rent at the hotel.
******CGE 2012 SPECIFIC NOTE******
This year CGE is being held off the strip at the Plaza hotel in the Fremont area. This is different than the strip experience in several ways, not lesser and not better so to say, but different. The Fremont area is old school Vegas where it all began. You will find a mix of the modern and a heavy dose of the vintage Vegas. One convenient feature is that travel is not a concern because all the hotel/casinos and attractions are all long the Fremont strip within walking distance. There are also some killer attractions such as Insert Coins barcade where we held our EGC special show, The Toy Shack, and even the Pawn Stars pawn shop, and of course the Fremont Experience. All the usual haunts such as the Pinball Hall of Fame are still a short hop across town.
The hotel discounts are now up for CGE2012, they are offering discounts for the weekend and several days surrounding that weekend. If your going solo you can always post in the forum here for a roommate and cut that rate in half.
******CGE 2012 SPECIFIC NOTE******Special discount rates are available to CGE attendees. Room rates are $35/night Wednesday, Thursday (before the show) and Sunday, $65/night on Friday and Saturday, and $60 on Monday (after the show).
This year CGE will be at the Plaza hotel, which is good news as it was recently renovated. In our January show you can hear a review of the hotel and hot spots there on Fremont.
Food and drinks can be more expensive on the strip and Fremont but if you want to spend less you can literally step around the corner into everyday Vegas and its pretty much like anywhere else, a little collaboration with a cooler and ice can save $$. You can also order from pizza chains like Dominoes, they will tell you where to go in the hotel to pick it up. Most of the time it is a security desk or bell services, you just meet the driver and pay for it just like you were at home. Quite a few of the hotels have food courts with standards like Subway and McDonalds. Do look into the restaurants available though, of which there are dozens in the area, because many are not that expensive and you can have an awesome dining experience.
I can suggest many extras if you have money left over in your budget. Any extra days you can stay are always worth it, there is no end of things to see and do that cost nothing, and plenty of shows at varying costs that cover all kinds of interests. The best show in town in my opinion is Penn and Teller, if you pay for a show this one gives you your money's worth. If you want some vintage Vegas check out the Rat Pack is Back show at the Rio. One new feature is a Kiosk chain called Tickets for Tonight where they sell tickets for that evenings shows at a declining price as the day goes on. If there is a show you have your heart set on there is some risk in it being sold out, but of course if you are picking from several it can be a great cost savings.
And lastly, there are a few RetroGaming Roundup related options that you might want to try to work into your budget. We will be announcing plans as we get closer to CGE but typical events have been a group trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame, a dinner with the listeners, and our customary wrap up dinner on Sunday night which we normally do at Margaritaville in the Flamingo.
Get a 50% discount at any strip club; tear the dollars in half and roll up each half, then stuff away and they'll never know until they get back stage.
You can find allot more specific information here as well: http://www.vegas.com/traveltips/guid...ainhunter.html
If anyone else has comments please jump in.