Las Vegas casinos aerial view on helicopter tour

The Ultimate Las Vegas Trip Planner

Nowhere else in the United States offers more activities, sightseeing, dining, and luxury than Las Vegas. Fabulous shows and celebrity residencies are added on a regular basis, new restaurants open frequently, and every year new attractions open to growing crowds from around the world. How can you see it all in one week - or even just a weekend?

If you want to make the most of your Vegas vacation, there is quite a bit of planning ahead that must be done. The good news is that we've already done it for you! Here you'll find the ultimate Las Vegas Trip Planner, complete with the best dining options, hotel information, activities, and more. This is your top-to-bottom guide to everything you'll want to experience when you visit Las Vegas.

Luxor Hotel light beam on Las Vegas Strip

Vegas Trip Planning 101

If you want to plan a trip to Las Vegas, the first step is to start determining your budget. In a city renowned for its luxury and temptation, quick splurges and impulse buys add up fast - not to mention gambling options and adult beverages available virtually everywhere. There's no reason to second-guess your vacation idea, though; with proper planning you can have a fantastic trip to Vegas within your price range.


Don't let the opulent atmosphere fool you - there are many Las Vegas hotels that will meet your budget, no matter how high or low it is. Depending on the time of year, many big-name hotels offer luxury rooms at heavily discounted prices. There is also an abundance of off-Strip Las Vegas hotels that are walking distance to the action. You can also look into nearby rental homes.


The Las Vegas Strip is generally very "walkable" - the casinos are all located close together with bridges scattered across Las Vegas Boulevard to safely cross the street above the traffic. Taxis and rideshares are also abundant for a quicker travel time. Each casino also has designated rideshare waiting areas and parking structures for rental cars.


Have you heard the expression "the House always wins"? It's true. If you plan to gamble, this will be the most important part of your budget. Determine how much you expect to spend on gambling and expect to lose that exact amount. It's also worth noting that the Downtown Las Vegas casinos boast lower minimum bids than the Strip casinos.

Best Time to Travel to Las Vegas

Las Vegas weather is a very important factor to consider when planning your visit. The city easily surpasses 100 degrees F (28 degrees C) during summer. The casinos are air conditioned, but summer visitors must be cautious about sun exposure and heat exhaustion when walking the Strip. However, hotel rates are usually at their lowest during the summer.

The peak season for Vegas tourism is from late December through March, when temperatures are far milder and the sun is still shining. Due to this, hotel rates are typically higher to accommodate the increased demand. Book early before the rooms fill up!

Planning to spend Christmas, New Year's Eve, or Independence Day in Vegas? Don't worry about restaurants and shops closing in this 24-hour city! In fact, casinos also celebrate holidays with Christmas extravaganzas, Thanksgiving menus, and Fourth of July fireworks shows in Las Vegas.

Fremont Street in Las Vegas

Plan a Trip to Vegas: Top Things to Do in Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, the entertainment possibilities are truly limitless. Whether you're visiting for business, a guys' or girls' weekend, as a couple, or with your family, there is fun for everyone on Las Vegas Boulevard and beyond.


Every casino offers its own brand of entertainment: from themed performances like Cirque du Soleil to concerts with world-renowned musicians, even free attractions like the Bellagio Fountains or the Flamingo's wildlife habitat with actual flamingos. You'll find dozens of exhibits, art displays, and photo opportunities around every corner of every casino.

Helicopter Tour

If you are blown away by the casinos on foot, then you'll be dazzled when you see them from the sky! The Strip Highlights Night Flight is a Las Vegas helicopter tour that soars over the Strip for aerial views in the evening when the lights and signs are the brightest.


The LINQ Promenade contains shopping, dining, bars, and the Brooklyn Bowl concert venue, where you can bowl during the day and watch big-name artists perform at night. You can also ride the High Roller Observation Wheel. This 550-foot tall Ferris wheel offers a view of the entire Las Vegas Strip (and some of the cabins even have a bar onboard!).

Downtown Las Vegas

Take a short drive to the historic Downtown Las Vegas for a classic casino experience. You'll find cheaper drinks and table games as well as nightlife with a more hipster vibe. Downtown Vegas is also the home of the Mob Museum, Neon Museum, and the incredible SlotZilla Zip Line.

Find a more detailed guide to visiting Downtown Las Vegas here.

Outdoor Adventures

For those who enjoy being closer to nature, there are multiple scenic areas for hiking, camping, and exploring just outside city limits. Both Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park offer hikes of varying length and difficulty within the most gorgeous desert nature imaginable.

Near Hoover Dam, you'll find the Arizona Hot Springs - a favorite hike for Vegas locals as it leads right to soothing natural springs where hikers can bathe. For a woodsier experience, visit Mount Charleston and hike amongst lush forestry and much cooler temperatures. There's also a hotel at the top of Mount Charleston and cozy cabins for rent if you're looking to extend your stay in the wilderness.

These quick and easy day trips from Las Vegas can provide some much-needed peace from the hustle and bustle of the Strip.

Downtown Las Vegas helicopter tour view

Vegas Trip Planning: Las Vegas Hotels

Your Las Vegas hotel isn’t just a place to lay your head each night - it's part of the experience! Each hotel/casino offers a distinct theme like the ancient Roman décor of Caesar's Palace to the pirate-inspired Treasure Island. Some casinos even take it a step further, like the fully operational canals inside the Venetian, replicating Venice itself, or the massive Eiffel Tower at the Paris casino with an elevator to the top.

Each Vegas hotel and casino also offers their own restaurants, nightlife, and activities. It's also worth noting that all hotel guests have access to their hotel's pool free of charge.

Las Vegas hotel pricing runs a broad spectrum. You can find simple rooms in even the nicest hotels for a price that won't bust your budget. Plus, if you travel in the off-season, the prices are usually even lower. If price doesn't matter, you can book luxury rooms and suites with incredible views and amenities!

Visiting with your family? Circus Circus is your best bet! This family-friendly hotel is home of the Adventuredome, a massive arcade and indoor park providing hours of kid-approved fun.

Las Vegas welcome sign tour stop

Vegas Trip Transportation Options

Will you need to rent a car in Las Vegas? That depends. If you plan to keep your visit within the Las Vegas Strip, then you can travel back and forth to the various casinos on foot. There's also a free tram connecting Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur, as well as a monorail starting at MGM Grand and stopping at each casino for nearly 4 miles down to the Sahara.

Taxis and Ridesharing

Taxis and rideshare services in Vegas are abundant so if your feet get sore, you can get a ride back to your hotel no matter the time of day or night. Note that some taxi drivers only accept cash.


The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) operates multiple bus routes throughout the city for only $2 per trip. Public buses stop throughout the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas. Be advised during summer visits that not all buses have air conditioning.

Rental Cars

If you plan to leave the Strip and explore the hiking areas, you'd be best to rent a car as rideshares may be tough to find in these more remote parts. There are numerous major rental car companies near the Harry Reid International Airport (LAS). All Las Vegas hotels and casinos also have large parking structures.

Buddy V restaurant inside Venetian Casino

Where to Eat in Las Vegas

Nowhere else in the world can one find such an enormous variety of restaurants. From upscale dining options by celebrity chefs to hip brunch locales to unique international cuisine, and of course the world-famous buffets, just the Las Vegas dining alone is worth the trip.

Here are our top picks for all variety of Las Vegas restaurants:

Las Vegas Fine Dining

If you’re looking to impress a client or enjoy a romantic date, check out:

  • Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris
  • Amalfi by Bobby Flay in Caesar's Palace

Best Views

  • The Eiffel Tower restaurant in Paris offers upscale fare at the top of the tower - don't worry, there's an elevator!
  • The Top of the World restaurant in the Stratosphere tower is a circular, rotating restaurant that offers an ever-shifting view of the city's expanse beneath you.

Unique Las Vegas Restaurants

  • Venture into the Cosmopolitan for a late-night slice of pizza at the aptly named Secret Pizza. That's right, you'll have to find this hidden gem first!
  • Visit the Heart Attack Grill at the Fremont Street Experience for a truly indulgent meal. This casual spot boasts the unhealthiest food in the world - from 7-patty burgers topped with 40 slices of bacon to butter milkshakes and a full bar. The restaurant features a scale at the entrance, and guests over 300lbs eat for free.
A photo from inside the helicopter with the pilot and a passenger in the front and a view of the Grand Canyon from the front

Day Trips from Las Vegas

If you need a break from the 24-hour mentality of Las Vegas, consider a day trip to other exciting regions beyond the Strip. You can visit Valley of Fire State Park, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, and other world-famous destinations in just a few hours while in Vegas!

Whether you have an entire day or just a few hours, you can enjoy trips from Las Vegas to any of these sites. Papillon offers breathtaking aerial tours, including Grand Canyon Tours From Las Vegas, Grand Canyon Flights from Vegas, and Las Vegas Adventure Tours over the Southwest's most iconic attractions.

No matter how much time you have to spend or what your budget's size is, the ultimate Las Vegas vacation is possible. If visiting Las Vegas is on your bucket list, we can help you make your dream a reality!

Strip view from Las Vegas helicopter tour

Planning A Trip To Vegas FAQs

How much does a trip to Las Vegas cost?

Travelers can generally expect to spend anywhere from $100-$500 per day, with the average being about $318 per day. Airfare is usually the most expensive part of visiting Vegas so book flights in advance. Additionally, travelers can save money by taking advantage of budget-friendly options for lodging and dining. 

How many days in Vegas should I plan for my trip?

Generally, three days should suffice to see the sights of Las Vegas; from its renowned attractions and eateries and world-famous nightlife. If you prefer a more leisurely trip with plenty of time for relaxation, then four or five days is probably more ideal. Of course, there are also many Las Vegas day trips available which can extend your stay if desired. 

What is the cheapest way to plan a trip to Vegas?

The first step is to book flights and hotels in advance. Many airlines have reduced prices for advanced bookings and numerous hotels offer cheaper rates if reserved early. Look into budget-friendly accommodations and research deals online to find cheaper rates on Las Vegas activities. Finally, consider public transportation instead of taxis or rental cars. 

What is the cheapest time of year to go to Las Vegas?

Visiting Las Vegas during the spring and autumn can be an economical choice, with hotel rates generally cheaper than in summer or winter. It's also a great time for outdoor activities like hiking in nearby national parks, boating on Lake Mead, or taking a Grand Canyon helicopter tour.