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Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

Melbourne, Australia
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Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

Hi Guys

I've recently posted a few items in the Texas forums about going to Austin and such. However to cut a long story short there are no direct flights to Austin so therefore i've got to fly to Houston and go from there.

So i really have to rent a car because i'm told the public transport isnt so good. I am pretty scared of driving in a massive city and on my lonesome. The thought is pretty terrifing. Any advise in general?

I was going to go with Enterprise as a rental company.

As for insurance i remember when i've been in the past it was something like $75 a day for insurance?! Do i have any alternatives with other insurance companies for a foreign driver with a rental car?

eep..

thanks again :)

knr
Houston, Texas
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1. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

No direct flights from London area to Austin? Austin is an international airport. You may also want to check into San Antonio, it is about an hour south of Austin.

If Houston is your only option, you would be flying into Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport on the north side of town. You will not have to travel thru the city at all. From the airport you will exit on John F. Kenney Blvd south to the Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8). Turn west (right) and stay on the toll way until you come to Highway 290 and turn west. This will take you straight to Austin. From the JFK/Sam Houston Tollway intersection to Sam Houston Tollway/290 intersection may be about 30 minutes depending on traffic. You will have about 2 toll plazas to pass thru.

As far as car rental insurance, you may want to check your local auto insurance policy as well as credit card companies. In the US, some of our credit card companies include rental insurance coverage.

I think you should check your flight options again though. I know there are not nonstop flights from London to Austin, but you may make a connection (New York, Houston, etc) and then go direct to Austin, this is what I was finding.

London, UK
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2. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

Why don't you use something like usrentacar.co.uk or carhire3000.com? They can give you all inclusive rates in sterling and you would not need to fork out extra for insurance. We do this all the time and have just booked with carhire3000.com for our trip to Texas in June. We are picking up at San Antonio and dropping off at Austin. You can fly into Dallas Fort Worth with American Airlines and they then have connections to Houston, Austin or San Antonio. We fly to Dallas and then San Antonio on the same day and then later on will drive to Austin and fly back to UK from there via DFW. You can get a quote as a multi-city journey. Houston is pretty terrifying driving for a Brit - especially on you own if you have to go on the motorway - you may have to cross 6 lanes!!

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

thanks for the tips guys - i'll look into it

as for the flight - it's booked now so i'll just make do!

cheers :)

McGregor, TX
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4. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

Oh Andy you poor thing! After we worked so hard to talk you into getting a rental car, and then gave up and found ways for you to see things without one! LOL.

I'm with you about driving in a massive city. I'm terrified of it too.

So here's a way-out-there thought... what about a quick flight from Houston to Austin (or San Antonio - whichever one you're going to first). Southwest Airlines offers flights all over Texas. I'd guess you're flying into Houston Intercontinental, so you'd have to get a shuttle/cab over to Houston Hobby, but considering the lengths you've been going to in order to avoid renting a car that might not be such a stumbling block for you. ;-) Continental offers flights out of IAH, I think, so you wouldn't even have to switch airports.

You are on an unlimited budget, right? LOL.

knr
Houston, Texas
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5. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

This would be an option, but keep the flight out of intercontinental (IAH) airport. Going to Hobby and the check-in again would take about the same time as just driving from IAH to Austin.

Houston
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6. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

If you don't want to drive in the city, I would definitely consider flying into Houston and catching a flight to Hobby. Hobby is an easy airport to get in and out of and definitely won't take as long as the drive from Intercontinental to Austin (particularly for someone who isn't familiar with the state or our motorways). I travel all the time out of both airports. Intercontinental is massive and can be a pain but Hobby is easy to breeze in and out of.

I usually have my own car in Austin but I have been told public transportation is pretty good in Austin so once you are there, you should be just fine.

Good luck and have a great visit.

Houston, Texas
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7. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

I am going to do my best to make sure that you aren't disappointed. I see that you are already flying into Houston. I also see from the link that you were thinking of flying into San Antonio and taking Amtrak to Austin. I have many friends in Europe and the Northeast US so I can honestly tell you that transportation in Texas is nothing like the UK. If you are seriously relying on public transportation only you will need to stay downtown in Austin. You will need a car to appreciate everything. If that isn't a possibility, fly into Houston and then connect onto another flight to Austin. All trans-Atlantic flights into Houston go to Intercontinental. Continental is the only airline that connects from Intercontinental to Austin.

If you won't have a car in Austin I suggest a few places. You can obviously eat and party in downtown Austin. Try the Mexican martinis at the Cedar Door on Congress, Mexican food at Manuel's on Congress, French bistro food at Chez Nous (just off 6th street) and the bars on 4th street. You can take the bus to Barton Springs (if it is warm enough) for a swim. You can also take a long walk to the LBJ Museum at the University. One more suggestion is to rent a canoe by the Hyatt and paddle around Town Lake. I hope you enjoy your trip to Texas. Austin really is beautiful and unique. I love the opportunities of a bigger city like Houston, but I will always miss living in Austin.

If you get a car then great sidetrips are San Antonio, BBQ at The Salt Lick in Dripping Springs, tubing in New Braunfels (weather permitting) and a long drive through the Hill Country (Spring is especially nice) with a stop at The Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls.

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

Thanks for the info guys.

I feel bad in a way as i feel like i have messed you all about with my plans changing - some due to circumstances and some due to me being a lil scared!

So i'm sorry if it comes accross like that - i dont mean it! :)

Theres 2 things thats putting me off internal flights.

1 - i wont be able to see the hill country that i ideally want too. (which is where all the best true texas small towns are - right?)

2 - i'll have to spend more time travelling to airports, more cash on cabs, more time waiting etc etc and not as much freedom.

I think i'm going to need to get some balls pretty quick (my flight is on 23rd Feb!) and just go for it.

My other main worry is the insurance for the car hire. So i can pay through the nose and go with the care hire insurance. The car3000.com or whatever it was earlier in this post was a good suggestion - but it was pretty much double the cost of a US site even though it had insurance included.

I did however drive in northern Atlanta in October last year i must admit. But i was with 2 buddies and now i'm going on my own. So i have driven in the states before - its just the fear of the unknown and being on your own.

Anyone want to pick me up at the airport? lol

just kidding guys

Well thats it for now. This is turning into quite a saga already!

Cheers

Andy

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

I've ordered some more books of amazon to help me too

it wont let me put in the links so goto amazon.co.uk and search for

Texas State Map (Rand McNally Folded Map: States) (Map)

Austin San Antonio and the Hill Country (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) (Paperback)

Houston, TX
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10. Re: Scared Brit who needs rental car and insurance info

I appreciate your desire to "see" the hill country as you drive through it from Houston. As a previous poster stated, the drive from IAH to Austin will not have you passing through any major sections of town and should be a very easy drive.

(note all estimates of speed assume non rush hour driving)

Getting from the airport to 290 will have you traveling on the beltway. Be sure you have sufficient change to get through the toll gates. I believe you'll need just $1.25 for the single gate you pass through, but I'd suggest having $2.50 to be sure. The attendants won't accept pounds don't ya know! The beltway will be approximately four lanes wide and the average speed will be around 70mph.

Onto 290 (heading NW now) You'll stay on this road for about 2-3 hours and average 60-70mph. Its an easy drive with at least two lanes available to you the entire route. While not as picturesque as the areas to the NW of Austin, this is still a nice bit of country. You'll be surprised how long it takes you to get out of the Houston limits - we're a big city!

The only real (imo) difficult part will be once you arrive in Austin - getting to your hotel/motel/residence could be a little tricky. Just make sure you get good directions from them and you should be fine.

Welcome to Texas and I hope this helped a bit.