Viva Las Vegas, Zags! We are days away from spring break, which means over 300 Zags are getting ready to hit Sin City and cheer on our men’s and women’s basketball teams at the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

Vegas is a different world for people who have never been before. The hotels are bigger than you could imagine, open carrying alcohol is completely legal and slot machines are seen at basically every corner on The Strip.

For Vegas newbies, the experience can be overwhelming and pocket-emptying. It doesn't have to be though. Using these tips and tricks, your time in Las Vegas can be more pleasurable than stressful.  

Transportation

Every great trip starts at the very beginning. After landing in Las Vegas, you will need to find some mode of transportation to get to your hotel. While taxis may seem like the easiest option, they often end in prices that will set you back $30 to $40 for a quick 15-minute trip to The Strip.

A great way to avoid this budget buster is to use apps like Uber or Lyft to get from destination to destination. Trips shouldn’t set you back more than $15, depending on the time of day you land at McCarran Airport.

Want to roll up to the hotels in style? Look into renting a limo! At McCarran, the limos are available to anyone, and actually aren’t too expensive. A one-way trip to your hotel may set you back $80, but split the cost with everyone in your group and it is actually much more affordable than a regular taxi. Not to mention, you will turn heads when rolling up to the hotel.

Budgeting

It may seem like a trip to Vegas is one that will leave you scraping for pennies for the next couple of months, but that doesn't have to be the case. There are a lot of secrets that Vegas-frequenters apply every time they go, so they don't break the bank.

Buying alcohol on The Strip is extremely expensive. Many bars will set you back upward of $15 for a single drink. But there is a way to get free alcohol in every casino. If you are gambling, waitresses will come around and take drink orders free-of-charge, no matter if you’re playing a high-stakes game or the penny slots. Just be sure to tip your waitress every time she gives you a drink, so she will keep coming back to serve you.

Also note that nicer hotels tend to serve fancy drinks for free while gambling. The Cosmopolitan, located in a nice, central location on The Strip, will provide drinks with top-shelf alcohol at no cost, as long as you are gambling.

Food options don’t have to break the bank either. Almost any restaurant you can think of has a Vegas location on The Strip. It’s actually relatively easy to find a meal under $10 at these locations:

In-N-Out (Linq Promenade)

Tacos al Gordo (located a block away from Wynn Resort and Casino)

Shake Shack (New York-New York)

While there are many more options to get cheap food all day and all night long, if you’re looking to have a nice meal for a fraction of the cost, be sure to attend happy hours at certain restaurants. If there’s a restaurant you want to try that is a bit out of the budget, research if they have a happy hour, and, more than likely, you can make that restaurant work within your budget.

Vegas is known for its world-class buffets. The Mirage has one of the best and least expensive all-you-can-eat buffets on The Strip, costing fewer than $25 per person. It’s best to go to buffets outside of rush hour times, though, because wait times can be upward of two hours. 

Clubbing

When in Vegas, it is likely the alcohol will be flowing day and night. While this is a great way to have fun, alcohol can easily end with bad stomachaches and headaches that tamper with your experience for the rest of the trip. 

To avoid this, alternate between your alcoholic beverage and water, and be sure to limit yourself if you feel like you will be sick soon.

There are a lot of drugstores on the strip like CVS and Walgreens that house many of your hangover needs. 

Be sure to pick up Pedialyte, Gatorade and Advil before getting your night started. You will thank yourself the next morning when you have hangover remedies right next to your bed, instead of having to walk to the nearest drug store when you just want to lay in bed for a little bit longer.

This should go without saying, but DO NOT accept drinks from somebody you don’t know and keep an eye on your drink at all times. The Strip is an easy place to get taken advantage of. 

With alcohol out of the way, another factor that can ruin your Vegas clubbing experience is not wearing comfortable footwear. There is a lot of walking involved in this trip, more than you are probably expecting. For nights out, when you want to wear that pair of high heels you bought specifically for this trip, just know those could hinder your experience, leaving you with blisters and bruised feet.

My secret to wearing high heels for an entire night is to break in your shoes before wearing them out. As silly as it may sound, wearing your heels while cleaning your house is an awesome way to get your shoes worn in. Blast some Beyoncé and clean, clean, clean. After, you’ll be feeling confident in wearing your new shoes, and they will be broken in for you, without ever having to wear them out of the house.

Taking all these tips into account is a surefire way to have a great time in Las Vegas for Spring Break 2020. Before your trip, be sure to join the "Zags Take Vegas" Facebook page. It’s the hub for all Zags going to Vegas, and you can find information about the clubs included in the Vegas Pack and game-day times. 

Lindsey Wilson is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @lindseyrwilson1.

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