When to Hit the Strip or Casino Drive
• September - Best warm month to visit Laughlin
• November - Beginning of the low season
• December - Least traveled month for Laughlin
• January - Year's least booked mid-weeks
• February - Least traveled month for Vegas
In Destinations About Wagers It's All About Math
Vegas may never sleep, but it does require a double-shot of espresso to keep from dozing from November to February, after all the pool parties have packed up their amps and hosed down their lounge chairs. During the cooler winter months visitation drops 14% from Sin City's peak month, October. And at a far greater clip, nearby Laughlin experiences a 35% dip in December from its peak month in July.

Again, it all comes down to math. Far fewer visitors. Monstrous numbers of available rooms. Huge savings. Isn't supply and demand grand? So seasonal jockeying to fill some of the largest hotels on the planet spurs the fiercest competition of any U.S. destination. Promotional packages, free nights, reward programs, complimentary meals and shows... Always consider the entire suite of offers and sign up for email lists for several casinos to find the best. Don't just base your expected savings on a nightly rate and airfare alone. That being typed, know the times to expect the most generous deals.

Throughout the year, weekends will always cost you more in Vegas, but Friday- and Saturday-night stays are the cheapest in December and January, when weekend occupancy drops more than 10 percent (holidays excluded). During the same period, mid-week occupancies drop about 20%, to their yearly lowest, making Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays the best days to find the cheapest prices for rooms, airfares, show tickets, etc. Overall, it's the most affordable time to visit Vegas. The same goes for the Laughlin strip, Casino Drive. But considering room rates in Laughlin average between 50% and 60% cheaper than those in Vegas all year long, the additional savings there aren't as significant (they're already bargains by comparison).

February also enjoys substantial savings ops, as it's the least traveled month overall for Vegas (December's the least traveled for Laughlin). Take advantage of the final lull before the spring-break surge pumps the population up more than 20% in March. But note: Vegas pulls in the most gaming revenue in February. So chances are you're likely to wager more at the tables.
Finding the Cheapest Weeks to Stay in Vegas This Fall
For many the weekend in Vegas is a rite of passage. So we priced hotel rates for typical three-night (Thursday to Sunday) weekends on the Las Vegas Strip for all of fall 2013, with a three-day stay bookending New Year's Eve thrown in for good measure. Our sample included 25 top-rated hotels and casinos along The Strip, but did not include properties in Downtown Las Vegas. We found the cheapest weekends to be the two weekends before Christmas, the weekend of Thanksgiving, and the weekend following New Year's.

Note that figures below are based on available room rates as of August 1, 2013. Actual rates may vary and change based on how far in advance rooms are booked.

Fall 2013 - Average Cost for a Three-Night Hotel Stay, Thursday to Sunday, on The Strip
Including estimated resort fees and taxes

$1,145 - Sept. 12-15
$905 - Sept. 19-22
$803 - Sept. 26-29
$800 - Oct. 3-6
$792 - Oct. 10-13
$831 - Oct. 17-20
$800 - Oct. 24-27
$665 - Oct. 31-Nov. 3
$751 - Nov. 7-10
$628 - Nov. 14-17
$576 - Nov. 21-24
$556 - Nov. 28-Dec. 1
$605 - Dec. 5-8
$527 - Dec. 12-15
$469 - Dec. 19-22 - Cheapest Weekend!
$653 - Dec. 26-29
$1,110 - Dec. 30-Jan. 2 (Mon.-Thu.)
$554 - Jan. 2-5
Vegas Virgin? Tips for First-Timers
Don't overbook your time, as Vegas is notorious for effortlessly losing track of it for you. Casinos are designed to feel timeless indoors, with as little natural light as possible. Midnight and noon can look exactly the same, which can be very disorienting. Plus, the labyrinthine layouts of jingle-jangling machines can easily swirl you into vicious cycles of deja vu. So you'll always need more time than you think to get to one place from another, especially when casino-hopping.

First-timers are always surprised at how far they have to walk, whether traipsing up, down and around the bridges over the Strip, hoofing it to the Bellagio fountain show or meandering to the far backs of casinos to catch the monorail. And taxis, although they sound convenient, often take much longer when you consider the queues at the casinos' taxi stands and the traffic on the Strip. Also note: You can't hail a cab on the Strip. You have to catch one at a taxi stand.

Instead of pre-planning an unending shuffle of shows, restaurant reservations, clubs and attractions, book just one or two things in advance, no more than that. Enjoy the rest of your stay as it comes, or take advantage of cheaper standby tickets or day-of discounts for things you might discover while you're there.