Welcome to the new 48 Hours in Vegas series! Here’s the concept, share a 48-hour Vegas itinerary tailored to a specific hotel in Las Vegas with a budget between $300-$1500 (per person, in addition to travel and accommodations). Our first itinerary is at Planet Hollywood with a budget of $500 per person.
4:00 PM – Arrival / Check-In
My wife and I start every trip to Planet Hollywood the same way. Travel Tip: We always put a $20 in between our credit card and ID at check-in. The $20 trick (or technique as I call it) has worked every stay. Once we were upgraded to a panorama suite. When we walked in, our jaws dropped. Once you have checked in, you’ll need a few minutes to unwind, relax and settle into your room. It doesn’t take us long before we both start feeling the hunger, so we head downstairs to catch the end of happy hour.
5:30 PM – Dinner
Planet Hollywood is one of my favorite hotels to stay at on The Strip because of its variety. There are a handful of restaurants surrounding the casino floor, but the attached Miracle Mile Shops adds more choices.
For our first meal in Vegas, we are heading to Nacho Daddy on the south side of the property. This Vegas-staple offers generous portions and yummy drinks. I loved their steak fajitas! Hit up Happy Hour before 6pm on weekdays for food and drink specials. Otherwise, dinner with a margarita will cost about $30. Travel Tip: A couple ways to save a few bucks–most of the plates are shareable, second, my group shared a margarita pitcher.
8:00 PM – Show
Planet Hollywood offers a handful of headline acts in concert throughout the year. In 2018 they are hosting Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Lionel Ritchie, along with others. My wife makes fun of me for wanting to see Pitbull and one of these days it will happen. Travel tip: Ticketmaster offers 3+1 ticket specials for most of the Planet Hollywood concerts, this gives groups of four to get a free ticket for additional savings. We’ll enjoy the show in the cheap seats because we’re on a tight budget, after fees the tickets will cost about $55 after fees.
11:30 PM – Drinks
After the concert, walk across The Strip to the Cosmopolitan to The Chandelier bar. Each floor is a little different and offers their own cocktail menu. If you’re feeling adventures order the Verbena which comes with the fabled edible flower that will make your mouth tingle. Two drinks will set you back $40, but it’s the perfect way to finish your first night.
9:00 AM – Breakfast
With our first 17 hours down, our wallet is a little lighter. We’ve spent $135 of our $500 budget. Let’s save a little money with an excellent breakfast at Earl of Sandwich. Located near the casino floor in Planet Hollywood this is one my favorite values in all of Vegas. For about $8 you can get a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. They also offer lots of familiar deli favorites, all for under $10.
10:00 AM – Freestyle
This is up for interpretation. We are setting aside $100 of our budget for this freestyle block. The great thing about Vegas is making your trip precisely the kind you want. So whether you like to gamble, go shopping, dip in the pool, or take in the sights, this is the time to do so.
1:00 PM – Lunch
For lunch downstairs on the outside of Planet Hollywood is Pin-Up Pizza. These mega slices of New York inspired pizza are delicious! For about $15 you can get a slice, knot, and beer. If that’s not your style try El Gordo Express a block south on Las Vegas Boulevard or a little north a personal-favorite Istanbul Mediterranean at Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops.
3:00 PM – Afternoon Show or Activity
The Bellagio Fountains are scheduled to start by 3:00 PM every day, on weekends they begin around noon. For this time slot we have two choices, walk north to Paris Las Vegas and visit the Eiffel Tower Experience for $16 or go to a show. Murray the Magician performs matinee shows at Planet Hollywood with tickets starting at $45. In Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile the V Theater has a variety of mid-afternoon and evening shows including Popovich Comedy Pet Theater and Nathan Burton Magic Show that fit this schedule.
If those aren’t your style, either walk or take a quick (and cheap) Uber/Lyft up to the Mac King Comedy Magic Show or Menopause The Musical at Harrah’s, Mat Franco’s show at The LINQ, or Jeff Civillico at the Flamingo. There are a handful of musical shows that have matinee performances as well. Travel Tip: These shows generally have easy to find 2-for-1 coupons and range from $40 to $60 per ticket. Some even offer a drink or two included with the ticket. With a 2-for-1 coupon, your afternoon experience will cost about $30.
7:00 PM – Dinner
For dinner, we’re doing something I don’t normally recommend, a celebrity-chef restaurant. But Gordon Ramsay Burger is good! Share an appetizer to start then order yourself a Hell’s Kitchen Burger, add some fries and a beer. It will cost about $42. Drinks are expensive, so consider heading elsewhere for more alcohol.
10:00 PM – Freestyle
Our second freestyle of the trip offers up nighttime attractions, clubs, or more gambling. We’ll set aside another $100 for this block. My recommendation is to check out the High Roller at The LINQ Promenade. If you decide to go, consider the happy half-hour option for unlimited drinks in during your ride. It costs $47 online. Other options include comedy clubs,
11:00 AM – Brunch
Once you have checked-out of your hotel and take your bags to the bell desk, it’s time for brunch. Head across the street to The Cosmopolitan. It wouldn’t be a Vegas vacation without a buffet. The Wicked Spoon is one of The Strip’s highest rated and revered buffets. Depending on the day of the week brunch costs between $28 and $36. You can add bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, and other select alcohols for an additional $15.
1:00 PM – FREE-style
This leaves us with between $19 and $42 for our last few hours in Las Vegas and our last freestyle block. This time is about exploring the cheap/free offerings near Planet Hollywood. After brunch, I recommend going next door to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens during this time because it’s less crowded than the evenings. It’s about a 15-minute walk from Planet Hollywood and always worth a look. A friendly reminder that the Bellagio Fountains start by noon on weekends and 3:00 PM on weekdays. You can also spend additional time looking at the M&Ms shop just south of Planet Hollywood on The Strip or the Hersey’s store at New York New York.
4:00 PM – Departure & Budget Rundown
Our $500 budget provides quite a 2-day vacation. We used the “$20 trick” (or technique) at the front desk, spending $10 a piece. After we settled in, we went downstairs and had dinner and a margarita for $30 at Nacho Daddy. We spent $55 to see Pitbull at Planet Hollywood then went for post-show drinks at the Chandelier bar where we got two interesting cocktails for $40.
The next morning we got breakfast at Earl of Sandwich for only $8. We set aside $100 for our first freestyle block. We’re getting a beer and slice of pie at Pin-Up Pizza for $15. We spent around $30 to go to a matinee show or experience the Eiffel Tower. Then we got dinner at Gordon Ramsay Burger for $42. We had our second freestyle block where we set aside another $100 for gambling and/or nighttime attractions. After check-out headed to The Wicked Spoon for brunch, spending $51. Having time to kill, we went on a free adventure around the area taking in the sights with our leftover spending money.
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