Las Vegas

Feeling ripped off by a cab driver in Las Vegas? You’re not alone. Vegas cabbies are notorious for taking the long route to drive tourists, well, anywhere — but especially from the McCarran Airport to casinos on The Strip. Cab drivers are known to hop on the freeway with unsuspecting tourists in tow instead of taking surface roads — a route that nearly doubles the mileage (and often the cost) to get to most central Strip hotels.

This illegal maneuver called “long-hauling” has become such a problem recently that the Nevada Taxicab Authority set up checkpoints near the airport this month to ensure that cab drivers taking the long route to The Strip had received explicit permission from their riders to do so. (At times when traffic between the airport and Strip is especially thick, it may make more sense to take the freeway, as costs accrued during “wait times” – defined as moments when the cab is traveling less than 12 miles per hour – can also add up. But, as someone who lives in Vegas, I can tell you traffic is rarely that heavy.) Authorities will continue to man airport check points periodically, but here are ways you can avoid spending too much in cab fares:

  • After booking your hotel, consult the to get an estimate of how much a cab ride will cost from the airport to your hotel.
  • Going someplace off the beaten path? Check out . Plug in the addresses of where you’re starting from and headed, and this site will estimate your cab fare.
  • Consider . Parking (even valet) is free in Vegas, and rental cars can be had for as little as $15 per day. If you’re planning to trek anywhere off The Strip, it’ll likely be cheaper in the long run to rent a car instead of cabbing it everywhere.
  • One trick while visiting is that many times you can get free or low rate limo service in Vegas since the driver may make money on the backend walking you into a nightclub. If you are a larger group of guys that does not fit into a cab this makes more sense and is certainly a lot more fun.
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