If you’re going to Vegas, you’re going to drink. This is a fact. You’ll be sipping cocktails by the pool, grabbing free drinks while you play, and by the end of the week one of your hands will be permanently shaped like a cup holder.

And it will be awesome.

But chances are you don’t want to blow your entire trip’s budget on $14 cocktails and $8 Bud Lights in aluminum bottles. While that’s definitely the norm in Vegas, there are ways you and your squad can have a lit time without racking up a huge bill. Aside from checking out drink specials and happy hours, you’ve got a few ways to perma-drink in Vegas without breaking the bank.

Bring Booze With You On the Plane

This is especially cost effective if you fly Southwest, which gives you two free bags to check. You can load up a bag with your bottles of choice to avoid paying the exorbitant prices at the Strip’s liquor stores — and you’ll avoid having to make alcohol runs in 100-degree heat.

And even though baggage handlers aren’t known for their delicacy, the bottles won’t break. You can use cheap bottle packages to make sure your precious contents don’t spill all over your clothes. Bringing just one normally-priced bottle will pay for those packages the first time you use them.

Not that we’ve ever needed such a thing. My boyfriend and I definitely didn’t pack 3 bottles each in our luggage the last time we went to Vegas (that’s because we packed 4 each).

If you aren’t flying Southwest and can’t spare the room in your bag, or you only plan to bring a carry-on, try to buy bottles from a liquor store that’s not right on the Strip. Do what you can to avoid purchasing alcohol from a casino shop or room service, because both charge VIP-table rates for standard bottles.

Find or Pack Cheap Mixers

We saved a lot by packing a few bottles, but then we forgot about the mixers! This really only makes sense if you have room in your suitcase without paying extra, but you have extra space and weight, throw in some 2-liter bottles. It’ll save you expensive runs to vending machines or trips to a store when you’d rather be drinking.

But if you can’t bring them with you, it really is worth it to make a trip to a cheaper place to buy them. When we stayed at Bally’s, The Stage Door Casino (and convenience store) across the street was a lot cheaper than the 20 ounces for $5 that the casino charged. And the liquor store there has the most reasonable prices near the Strip, so if you can’t bring the booze, it’s not a bad place to go.

If You’re Center Strip, Hit Up Casino Royale for $1 Beers

Drop into Casino Royale for a ridiculously cheap Mich Ultra. Or five, we don’t judge.

Casino Royale is hands-down the cheapest place to drink on the Strip. You probably won’t want to hang out here for a whole night, but you can stay for some interesting people watching as you slam a few back. If you’re en route somewhere else, just grab one to walk with on your way from Point A to Point B. It’s not the classiest option, but it beats paying $8 for a Bud Light at another location — and the service is fast and friendly.

Play Your Way to Free Drinks

You can get free drinks while playing slots or table games — Vegas wants you to have a good time, so welcome their generosity with open arms (and tip well!).

If you’re into gaming, you already know what to do. Play, drink, and repeat. But even if you don’t want to risk much money, you can sit down at video Blackjack and play 25-cent hands. As long as you know simple Blackjack strategy, you really won’t lose much money… and you gain free drinks and plenty of rewards!

And remember, implementing some of these tips into your trip means the nights you want to grab drinks at Chandelier bar at the Cosmo or pitching in for bottle service won’t hurt your wallet so much.

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