With over 42 million visitors in 2015 alone, Las Vegas is one hot travel destination. With so much to offer in Sin City, it's no surprise that tourists visit from across the globe. Maybe you've come to try your hand in the casinos or drink up the lights and cheap buffets on the strip.
There's no shortage of entertainment in Vegas, but it's all going to cost you. To make the most of your trip, you’ll need enough cash to really enjoy it.
Use this guide to avoid the rip-offs and find the best places to exchange your cash in Las Vegas.
Things to know before exchanging currency
Before you change your home currency to USD, take the time to learn about the mid-market rate. It’s the real rate banks use when they trade currency between themselves and it’s the same one you’ll find on Google. It’s the exchange rate in its purest form without any commission added. By knowing the mid-market rate, you’ll know the true value of your money.
Here are a few great tips to make sure Vegas doesn’t take more money from you than you bargained for:
- Compare the exchange rate you’re offered with the real rate online using an online currency converter.
- Steer clear of exchange services in airports and hotels.
- Use ATMs, but check first if your home bank has a partnership with a Vegas bank.
- Don’t let a foreign ATM make any conversions for you - get charged in the local currency for the best exchange rate.
Exchange rates move around based on market forces, so the mid-market rate fluctuates constantly. The best way to keep up with the live rate is by checking an online currency converter on your smartphone. Just enter the currencies you're changing and you’ll see the current mid-market rate for the pairing. That way you can compare the mid-market rate with the tourist rates wherever you’re changing your cash to see if you're getting a fair deal.
It can be tempting to take the easy option, and make the cash switch in the airport or at your hotel when you get there. Be wary - these services will be convenient, but the rates are usually poorer. Take a good look at both the fees and the rate on offer before you commit.
ATMs are convenient and, if you use them right, can offer better deals than an exchange bureau will. Before you leave, ask your home bank if any Vegas-based banks work in partnership with them. They may waive extra fees if you use their ATMs. Also let your bank know you’ll be traveling to avoid issues using your card abroad.
If you're withdrawing cash from an ATM with a foreign card, then you might be asked if you want to be charged for the transaction in your home currency. You should say no. If you choose to be charged in your home currency, you’re essentially permitting the ATM to convert at a poorer rate in addition to charging an extra fee for this privilege. Make sure you are charged in the local currency instead.
Finally, plan ahead to avoid having leftover cash at the end of your trip or spend what you change. What money you exchange in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Otherwise you’ll be paying conversion charges twice.
Where to exchange money
If you need to change your home currency cash once you arrive in Vegas, know how to spot the fairest deals. Calculate the true cost of your conversion by taking into account both the upfront fees and charges and the exchange rate offered.
Here are some exchange services worth reading up on before you go.
Travelex has three main locations in Las Vegas.
|Las Vegas Premium Outlets North - 755 S Grand Central Parkway FC-2E||RFX7210@Travelex.com, +1 (702) 207-6499|
|Fashion Show Mall - 3200 Las Vegas Boulevard||RFX7468@travelex.com, +1 (702) 369-2219|
|McCarren International Airport (Terminals 1 and 3)||varies (see website for details)|
- Las Vegas Premium Outlets North - M-Sat 9a-9p, Sun 9a-8p
- Fashion Show Mall - M-Sat 10a-9p, Sun 11a-7p
- McCarren International Airport - varies (see website for details)
|3965 South Maryland Parkway||+1 (888) 796-2962|
Unlisted - call ahead if you plan to visit.
Continental Currency Services (in Last Vegas, known as Cash Land)
Cash Land offers four locations within Las Vegas:
|550 North Eastern Ave||+1 (702) 366-0224|
|901-B North Rancho Dr||+1 (702) 647-7769|
|3385 South Decatur Blvd #A||+1 (702) 876-3589|
|2510 East Tropicana #101||+1 (702) 433-2668|
- N Eastern Ave, N Rancho Dr and E Tropicana all hold the same hours: Mon-Thur 8a-8p, Fri 8a-9p, Sat 9a-7p, Sun 11a-5p
- S Decatur Blvd: Mon-Thur 8:30a-8p, Fri 8:30a-9p, Sat 9a-6p, Sun 11a-5p
Alternatively - for an even better deal - use TransferWise. If you have a USD bank account, or know someone who does in Vegas, you can transfer money between accounts using the real mid-market exchange rate. No need to waste your precious time looking for the best rates. Instead, get the dollars you need delivered into your bank account, with transparent fees and a fair rate.