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Driving in Texas

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Driving in Texas

Hello there, my wife and i are coming over from Australia to texas. We plan on driving around while we are there. We are planning on staying in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Tulsa & OKC. What are some of the things that we will need to be aware of while driving around these places?? Is hiring a car for the entire time we are there the best way to go or is there an easier / cheaper way to go?? Do you have to pay a toll for some roads?? What are some great places to visit while we are traveling between these cities?? How much would be an appropriate amount to spend for a hire car??

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Driving in Texas

Well for one thing you are missing one of the best cities and areas in Texas. San Antonio is full of history with the Alamo and missions, has a lively restaurant and bar scene along the riverwalk, and great Tex Mex food. It is our favorite city in Texas. Also head north between San Antonio and Austin and visit Bandera which is known as cowboy country and Fredericksburg which is part of the lovely and scenic Texas hill country.

Between Memphis and New Orleans you should plan on spending a day in each of these great old southern cities. Vicksburg has the MS River, historic murals along the riverfront, great food at Rusty's and one of the best Civil War military historic parks. The USS Cairo exhibit should not be missed and is very interesting. Just an hour or so south is the city of Natchez with antebellum plantations like Melrose, Longwood and Monmouth that should also not be missed.

There are toll roads between Austin and San Antonio and around Houston. People in Texas tend to go very fast and in some areas of the state the speed limit is 75 mph and they will go 90.

In terms of renting a car probably better to get one from a European or Australian consolidator. SWT, Valiantsontour and Tet can give you some info on that.

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2. Re: Driving in Texas

Thanks heaps for that. Really appreciate it. Will have to have a look at spending some time in those places!

Aubrey, Texas
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3. Re: Driving in Texas

How long do you have for your trip, what time of year will you be here and what are your interests?

Here's a link with the highlights of major Texas cities tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i21630-Texas_Tr…

I agree with PeachBelle that San Antonio and Austin should be on the itinerary time permitting.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Driving in Texas

Another vote for San Antonio ,driving yourself is best option and some times you find small towns to stop over for night rather than the major cities easier to get in and out of the highways and Interstates.

Peachtree City...
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5. Re: Driving in Texas

One piece of advice regarding toll roads is to check directions in google maps to see if they register any. For example, I didn't know there was a toll road connecting San Antonio and Austin - that trip was 18 months ago now, so I must have either rerouted myself between the cities or the toll must be new.

surely there is someone here with better Dallas info than me, but in my memory there are a lot if tolls in Dallas particularly on the northern end and stretching into the areas of Plano, Frisco, etc. in the downtown areas and to the south or going towards Ft Worth I don't remember any. Note that Dallas has a lot of...service roads, I think they call them...that run parallel to the toll roads. From what locals told me, it's perfectly sensible to drive on them as an alternative to the tolls - the trade off being that you have to contend with red lights. They're not completely 1 for 1, but somehow I was able to stay in Plano and visit Dallas every day for 3 days without ever paying tolls.

Houston, TX
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6. Re: Driving in Texas

There are indeed toll roads in certain areas of Houston, Dallas and Austin, but you can get anywhere you want to go in those cities without using them. As with many things while you are on holiday, it often comes down to a choice between time and money. The toll roads may get you to your destination a bit quicker due to slightly less traffic than the interstates or surface roads, but you pay a small fee. The surface roads and interstates are free, but will probably take a bit longer. Your choice. If you end up using the toll roads, make sure you have some one dollar bills and plenty of quarters for the tolls. You can get a transponder for the rental car at the car hire place, but the fees for those are generally steep--again a question of time or money. The toll tag in the car will allow you to go through special lines where no one has to stop and pay tolls--saves you time. If you stop at the booths to pay in cash, it will take you a bit longer--saves you money. Remember, you don't need the toll roads to move around these cities.

When are you coming and how long do you have for this trip? That will impact suggestions on what to do and see. I agree with the others--if you have time a visit to San Antonio would be well worth the time.

Marina, California
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7. Re: Driving in Texas

It's a more westerly drive, but I would definitely also put Austin & San Antonio well above Houston & Dallas on a Texas road trip. They're just more interesting cities.

The toll road between San Antonio and Austin is separate from the main road (I-35), and is really more a bypass of Austin.

There are a couple of all-electronic toll roads in the Houston area now, but there are lots of signs as you near them, and it's not necessary to use them. The Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8, the second - or third, depending on how you look at it - loop on the outskirts of the city) is really the one where you're likely to find yourself. There's a small free section between I-45 and US 59 north of the city, but the rest is tolled, though they still take cash. You can follow the service roads (or "feeders" as Texans like to call them) to get by for free on the Sam Houston Tollway, except for on the bridge over the Ship Channel between I-10 east and TX 225. But that be really time-consuming, particularly on the western part of the beltway that's been built up pretty heavily and sees a lot of local traffic.

Generally though, you can get by driving in Texas easily without paying a toll. It's not nearly as bad as Florida is, IMO.

Lewes, United...
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8. Re: Driving in Texas

Hi

Great input from the folk who are based in Texas or know the area. We won't be doing our first real driving trip in Texas (but have visited the state before) until September so I'll let the others continue the dialogue on routes and ideas of places to visit. All I'll say is San Antonio is the city we will spend most of our time in, and our friends who live in Dallas are meeting us there to show us their favourite city rather than host us at their home again!

Regarding the rental car (and this is not specific to Texas except some of the toll road info), as an Aussie, you should only rent from a foreign broker or the overseas version website of the rental companies. This way the prices you get will include the absolutely necessary insurances. Also, foreigner get better prices than locals sometimes, especially for one way deals! The best source of info is the long winded topic up on the right of the full screen version of this forum, under the TopQs section. There a great topic for first time USA drivers as well there.

Once you've done some dummy bookings and seen what you are getting by way of options and prices, then by all means check back here with specific queries.

The only other thing to say is that despite your title saying Texas, quite a lot of your trip is outside of that huge state!

SWT

9. Re: Driving in Texas

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