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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Texas > Austin

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Travel to Austin

Flying to Austin

British Airways runs direct flights from the UK to Austin. Otherwise, several airlines offer flights with a stopover, including American Airlines, Air Canada, Delta, United and US Airways. The most expensive times to travel are during the summer months, June until August, and in the month of December. Airfares are also expensive during events such as SXSW (mid-March) and ACL (the beginning of October).

 

Flight times

From London - 10 hours 10 minutes; New York - 4 hours; Los Angeles - 3 hours; Toronto - 3 hours 15 minutes; Sydney - 19 hours. 

Travel by road

Due to its recent growth, Austin is known for having substantial traffic. Construction is not uncommon on the highways or city roads. Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road and the minimum age for driving is 16 years of age for visitors from another state or country (drivers who live in Texas face certain restrictions up to the age of 18). The city speed limits range from 40kph (25mph) in some built-up areas to 137kph (85mph) on the toll road between San Antonio and Austin. A national driving licence should suffice, but it's a good idea to obtain an International Driving Permit if your licence isn't in English. You must carry insurance papers at all times. 

The main motoring organisation in the USA is AAA (tel: +1 800 765 0766; www.texas.aaa.com). You can check current road conditions via the Texas Department of Transportation (tel: +1 800 452 9292; www.drivetexas.org). 

Emergency breakdown services

AAA (tel: +1 800 222 4357).

Routes

Interregional Highway 35 runs north to south through the city, as does Mopac Expressway 1. From Houston, take Texas State Highway 71 into Austin, while from Dallas, the I-35 leads into Austin.

Coaches

Greyhound Bus (tel: +1 800 231 2222; www.greyhound.com) and Megabus (tel: +1 877 462 6342; http://us.megabus.com) both operate in and outside of Austin. With Greyhound, you can travel to and from most major cities in America, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC. With Megabus, you can only travel between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Time to city

From Dallas - 3 hours; Houston – 2 hours 30 minutes; New York City - 26 hours; Chicago - 17 hours; Los Angeles - 20 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

Austin’s Amtrak station is located at 3rd and Baylor in the Downtown area. It is possible to take the train to most major US cities from Austin, but due to the infrequency of rail travel, it can take several days to reach destinations such as New York City or Los Angeles.

Operators

Amtrak (tel: +1 800 872 7245; www.amtrak.com) runs passenger rail services in the USA. Austin is a stop on the Texas Eagle service, which runs daily from Chicago to San Antonio, continuing to Los Angeles three times a week.

Journey times

From Los Angeles - 33 hours 30 minutes; Chicago - 28 hours 45 minutes.

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Featured Hotels

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Hotel San Jose

Once a flophouse in the middle of what used to be a downtrodden neighbourhood, Hotel San Jose is now one of the premiere boutique hotels in all of Austin. Featuring hacienda-style rooms with access to a romantic courtyard with drink service and pool, Hotel San Jose is not only loved by guests, but by locals who enjoy sipping on cocktails in the warm atmosphere.

Hotel Saint Cecilia

Owned by the same proprietors as Hotel San Jose, this quaint boutique hotel located in a gorgeous Travis Heights estate was named after the patron saint of music and poetry. Hotel Saint Cecilia offers 14 impeccable guest suites and a photo-worthy pool with a neon sign illuminating it. Favoured by celebrities.

Heywood Hotel

Arguably East Austin's first modern boutique hotel, this seven-room converted home features coffee service, Wi-Fi, bicycles, parking and an internet jukebox. For travellers who enjoy simple and sleek designs or to be in walking distance to the hot spots of East Austin and Downtown, the Heywood Hotel is a perfecting resting place.

Holiday Inn - Town Lake

Located on Lady Bird Lake (formerly called Town Lake) and I-35, this chain hotel is in a prime location for accessibility to Austin. It's easy to jump on the Hike and Bike Trail where you can head down to Congress Avenue Bridge to see the bats or South Congress to go souvenir shopping. Nearby the hotel, it's easy to rent a kayak or bike to enjoy on the lake. This hotel offers beautiful views of the area as well.

Doubletree Suites

This chain hotel is located in the heart of Downtown, within walking distance to some of the city's main central attractions and the UT campus. Though not as charming as the boutique hotels listed here, it offers nice amenities and polished rooms perfect for families and business people.

The Driskill

Built in 1886 and still standing as one of Austin's oldest buildings, this stately, and allegedly haunted, hotel sits in the epicenter of Downtown at Sixth Street near Congress Avenue. Enjoy staying in the ornate and classic rooms, grab a bite at the restaurant, 1886 Cafe and Bakery, and a drink at the Driskill Bar.