Monday, March 7, 2011

More of Our Texas Trip

You might already know that my husband is an airline pilot, so we get to fly for free, or very discounted, on quite a few airlines. This coupled with using Hotwire and Priceline for reserving hotel rooms made for a rather affordable quick trip to Texas. We went to scout out some neighborhoods, take a look at some possible rental properties, and just get a feel for Austin. Currently we live near Denver, Colorado and were/are thinking of moving. If anything, we learned more about where we would like to live, and we also had some fun while we were there!

* Austin, Texas Skyline from the Airplane *

The flights were pretty wide open for us, so we traveled back and forth between Denver and Austin very easily. We rented a car, grabbed ourselves a map, and took off to explore. The night before arriving in Austin, we had booked a 3 star hotel. (*Hotwire and Priceline give star ratings to hotels and they also tell you what type of hotel brands/names usually fall into that star rating, so you can get an idea of where you'll probably end up. You don't actually know the hotel until after you accept and pay for it, so it's kind of exciting... or disappointing.) On our first night in town, we actually arrived around 11pm and only stayed at the first hotel just to sleep that night. (Thankfully because it smelled 'weird' and was located behind a sort of 'sketchy' bar with billiards and lots of people smoking all over the place. Gross.) When booking hotel rooms using Hotwire and Priceline, we typically just book them for one night in case they aren't so nice. We did switch hotels each night, but I don't mind too much... because then I get to try a lot of different places. We also save money. Win, win! We ended up staying at a La Quinta Inn (which was not so great) north of Austin, the Intercontinental hotel in downtown Austin, and the Wingate by Wyndham (which was the cleanest and newest we stayed at during our trip) just north of New Braunfels. We used Priceline's name your own price feature for the Intercontinental and got more than 50% off the cost of a regular priced room. (I felt like we won the hotel lottery, but my husband said he felt sort of cheap... I still say we won). The moral of this story is, don't pay full price for a hotel if you're on a budget. If you would like to stay at a locally owned place they more than likely won't be on those websites, so don't use them in that case. Either way, we were able to visit Texas for a few days for relatively cheap by taking advantage of flight benefits and cheap/discounted hotel rooms.

* enjoying the sun and views of Lake Austin *

Thanks to Jenni @ Story of My Life and Alisha @ Alisha and Brandon  making me aware of a place on Lake Austin called Abel's on the Lake, we spent some time there enjoying lunch and a couple of local microbrew beers. We both had the fish tacos, which I hate to admit were a little disappointing after comparing them to our all time favorite fish tacos from the Gruene River Grill in Gruene, Texas. However, we did enjoy the atmosphere at Abel's, the drinks, the birds flying all around the place, and the views of Lake Austin. Fun time, but I think we're going to try the Hula Hut, which is located next door, on our next trip to Austin!


* we enjoyed some local brews *

After driving around many different areas of Austin, we found some that we liked... and some that we did not like much. The rental market is similar to Denver (the prices and availability are a lot alike), but the house prices seem to be lower in Texas (although Austin is higher than most of Texas) than they are in the Colorado front range. I had been browsing median incomes vs. housing prices between the two, and I found it really disturbing that the median income in Colorado was around 7k more than in the state of Texas... yet the median house price in Colorado is almost twice that of Texas. Not really sure what makes the prices so high here compared to what people make?!

Unfortunately, we're not ready to commit to buying a house or we could just go ahead and buy something somewhere. For now, I guess we'll just keep looking and continue renting. Even though we probably won't be moving to Austin any time soon, we did enjoy our time there and had fun exploring the area.

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In the next few days, I'll share more of our trip including:

* snapshots from South Congress and the food trailers
* some live music we heard while in Texas
* our brief but fun visit to Gruene
* a beautiful and historic church in New Braunfels

Also don't forget to check out my picture blog and my Flickr photostream for some more professional pictures of our trip!

4 comments:

  1. I have some friends that lived in austin for a while and they loved it... I want to visit someday too! I am sure colorado is awesome as well though... tough choice!

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  2. well, it sounds like a fun trip and successful in the sense that you have a much better idea of what you would or wouldn't be getting yourself into!

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  3. Looks like you had a good time! I'm excited to see more pics.

    I remembered to do a music post today! I said, "Oh man, I better do one because I promised Ashley." haha. :)

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  4. What a fun trip! I love all the photos!

    We love going to Texas too - I could definitely see moving there too one day!

    xoxo

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