My home city of Edmonton, Alberta is a great city, but it’s not a great flight hub.

Most of the flights I use to explore the best countries to retire cheap require a stop in a different city along the way. Edmonton, isn’t a flight hub like Toronto’s. There are very few direct/economical flights.

Here’s 3 reasons why you should choose Las Vegas for a flight hub.

1. It’s a great airport, especially compared to LAX or Vancouver.

2. It’s a pretty great place to stay for cheap/free for a few days.

3. It usually costs you nothing in extra plane fare. My flight to Asia from Edmonton was $600. A flight to Vegas from Edmonton, and then Vegas to Asia, $610. So instead of doing the 17 hour flight with a few gross layovers, I fly into Las Vegas, stay a few days (I like the buffets), and then direct to Asia.

Here’s the best way to stay on the cheap in Vegas.

1. Grab some free apps.

These apps are all free, and provide actual comps in Vegas.

Hotel rooms, shows and food are all on there.

I’ve done this trip a whole bunch of times, and it’s not a scam.

Is it totally free? Yes.

How does it work?

And why isn’t everybody doing it?

1. It’s completely free, but you have to click the apps at least one time a day to get the free stuff.

2. It’s not instant. It takes me about 1 year to collect enough loyalty points to get my free trip.

3. A lot of people don’t really want to spend the time getting the free loot. I’ve told hundreds of people, and most think it’s a great idea. But 3 months later? They’ve stopped clicking the free money button.

4. They think Las Vegas is all about gambling, strippers or partying. Not me, for me it’s going to be 3 days of lying by the pool, free bud lights and buffets. (I might also hit the gyms.)

5. They have serious gambling problems. I get it, some people cannot be in that environment without blowing a lot of money. If you are that way, do not use Las Vegas as a flight hub, they even have slot machines at the airport.

Total cost for 3 days in Vegas with my plan?

1. Hotel: Staying at the Wynn with the Wynn App (Free: No Resort fees either!)

2. Food (Eating on Freemont with 4 Queens and Binions app) Free. Between the two apps, I have about $70, for my upcoming trip

3. Entertainment: MyVEGAS apps (there are 4 of them) for Cirque Du Soleil, Shark Reef and Wax Museum. Again Free.

4. Groupon & YELP: Want to do more? Go grab some Groupons ahead if you like, or YELP has a bunch of check in offers too.

So, book that trip! Go to Vegas. And have a great time, looking for the best countries to retire cheap.