1. When you get in the cab, instruct the driver not to take the tunnel, but instead take Paradise or Swenson.* Even if you don’t know what that means, it at least indicates that you're onto them and are paying attention. And definitely do pay attention because cabbies are aware that you're onto them and have worked out another long-haul strategy: taking a reaaaal wonky way to Swenson. To be safe, make sure they follow the signs for Swenson. It's the one time in your life where you should actively be a backseat driver.
*Unless you're staying Downtown, on West Flamingo, or on West Sahara (the Palms, Rio, Palace Station), in which case, you definitely want to take the tunnel to the freeway.
2. Use your GPS. Forsake the obligatory "backseat of the cab VEGAS BABY WOOOOOO" selfie just this one time and pull up the route to your hotel. It'll show the shortest, fastest route and also where the traffic congestion is (should your cabbie try to argue their long way around is "faster"**).
**Sometimes the long way is faster, as anyone who lives here and avoids surface streets and the Strip with obsessive single-mindedness can tell you. But still, check the route on your phone.
3. Act like you're from here, or have been here a bunch of times, or used to live here, or any other bold lie that positions you as anything other than a wide-eyed tourist with a flashing neon sign on your forehead that reads "TAKE MY MONEY." Cabbies don’t mess with locals. That's an unspoken truce here. Solidarity, and all of that.