AARP has a one page article about Las Vegas on a budget called "Viva Las Value" and written by the good folks at VisitLasVegas.com.
Some of the recommendations listed there are to take the airport shuttle to your hotel, which at $6 beats a taxi or limo. They also recommend the $5 day pass on the Deuce, a bus that runs up and down the Las Vegas Strip all day and night. This is good advice because no matter how much you plan expect to walk a LOT in Las Vegas. The buildings are huge on a scale pretty much unknown outside of Las Vegas and simply walking from one end of the MGM to the other will take you 5-15 minutes even if you don't get lost. Getting lost in the Casinos is easy as the signage is designed to some extent to take you around via the slots and other distractions. If you want good directions it is best to ask an employee rather than look for signs.
Food advice from the article include all you can eat Breakfast at the Mirage's "Cravings" with some delicious selections including crab cakes and eggs benedict. They also note Main Street Station downtown as a good cheap buffet.
Cheap attractions? Forum shops live sculptures every 2 hours, the Flamingo's flamingos and wildlife habitat, the Bellagio Conservatory, and (my favorite) TI's Sirens of TI free show outside of TI right along the strip. Get there at least 15-30 minutes early for a better view. and be careful not to stand in the "VIP" area that gets cleared before each show for VIPs. The shows are nightly and the current times are 8:30pm, 10pm, 11:30pm Sirens of TI Official Website
They also recommend the Fremont Street Experience (ride the Deuce to get to the downtown Las Vegas which is about 3 miles from the strip).
I would add that the downtown area offers great hotel bargains and fun "old style vegas" strolling experiences, though you should not expect to find anything like the glamour of the splendid lobbies and hallways of the Bellagio, Venetian, Wynn, or most of the jaw droppingly extravagant Las Vegas strip hotels.
In general, the MegaProperties on the Strip are the Glitz and Glamour whereas Downtown properties tend to offer more value than glitz. The sharp lines of demarcation are definitely fading however, and many properties are taking on the trappings of a "locals" casino.
An AARP member might well want to take advantage of the DeucePass also being valid on a short bus trip to a nearby grocery store to load up on some items such as bottled water or cigarettes which are very expensive in a strip property. An AARP member might also realize that an expensive Breakfast Buffet may not be such a bargain but a hotel that offers a free continental breakfast may be more of a bargain for a retired person. AARP members may be more likely to enjoy the entertainment offerings at upscale local casinos than at the Glitzy Strip Properties and so discount coupons may be of great value to a retiree.
Ofcourse right now (Sept 2008) hotel rooms are so cheap and extracting room comps from the casino is so easy that anyone can get free or nearly free rooms even without the help of any AARP discount booklets or tips. FG.
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