Fiscal city guide: Austin, Texas

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South By Southwest

Located in the center of Texas, Austin is a beautiful southern city known for its vibrant nightlife, live music and growing community of young professionals.

Also serving as the state's capital, Austin is the 13th most populous city in the United States and the fourth most populous in Texas.

Although the city sees travelers year-round, during this time of the year, Austin hosts its annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music and film festival.

Travelers from all over the world have made their way into the city.

In honor of the event, we've compiled a list of affordable hotels and attractions perfect for a trip to Austin.

HOTELS:

Hilton Austin ​

Hilton Austin

Address: 500 E 4th St, Austin, TX
Average rate per night: $289

aloft Austin at the Domain

aloft Austin at the Domain

Address: 11601 Domain Drive, Austin, TX
Average rate per night: $189

Best Western Plus Austin city hotel

Best Western Plus Austin City Hotel

Address: 2200 South I-35, Austin, TX
Average rate per night: $180

Crowne Plaza Austin

Crowne Plaza Austin

Address: 6121 North IH 35, Austin, TX
Average rater per night: $172

Lone Star Court

Lone Star Court in Austin

Address: 10901 Domain Drive, Austin, TX
Average rater per night: $169

BEST MODE OF TRANSPORTATION:

Capitol Metro transit system

Trains

Single ride: $1.75
10 ride booklet: $17.50
Monthly pass: $46.50

FREE AND CHEAP THINGS TO DO:


Take a tour of the State Capitol

State Capitol, Austin, Texas

Price: Free

Hike up Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell Cliff Side Cloudy Morning Amazing View

Price: Free

Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Obit Johnson

Price: $10

Take a segway tour around the city

Group of people riding a segway on the city street

Price: $79 - $89

Watch -- and play -- the light show at the Liz Carpenter Fountain

Child Playing in an Illuminated Fountain at Night

Price: Free

SIGHTS TO SEE:

South Congress Avenue

South Congress Avenue looking to CBD, Austin, TX

South Congress Avenue, also known as SoCo Ave, is a trendy block in Austin's South Congress neighborhood. The area is known for it's hip bars, boutique shops and delicious restaurants. (Not to mention the abundance of live music venues.)

HOPE outdoor gallery

Local Landmarks

As one of the largest outdoor galleries in the United States, the HOPE Outdoor Gallery (HOG) was originally created to serve as a space for muralists, graffiti artists and community groups to display large scale art pieces for a positive cause. However, the HOG quickly earned notoriety and became a popular attraction amongst tourists.

Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool, Austin, Texas

Located in Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees. The large pool is ideal for year-round swimming.

Texas State Cemetery

Texas State Cemetery, Austin, TX

The famous cemetery is known for the many leaders in the state of Texas who have been laid to rest there. It became a staple in the community whenPresident George W. Bush (governor at the time) established a three-member Texas State Cemetery Committee to help the cemetery serve as a tribute to the many fallen Texas leaders.

Congress Avenue Bridge

Tourists and local residents gather on t

Bat watching is a popular pastime in Austin, particularly at the Congress Avenue Bridge. Every summer night, tourists and locals alike gather to see the world's largest urban bat colony take flight from under the famous bridge.

Enjoy!

Related: How to save money on a road trip

20 PHOTOS
How to save money on a road trip
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Fiscal city guide: Austin, Texas

1. Calculate your expected fuel cost before your trip. It’s always wise to get an accurate estimation of how much to budget for gas beforehand. GasBuddy's fuel calculator is an excellent tool to get an expected price point. Just enter your vehicle information, startpoint and endpoint, and the app will calculate how much you’ll spend.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

2. Don’t fuel up near popular areas. You’ll find inflated gas prices near popular tourist destinations and metropolitan areas, so it’s worth venturing to the town over for more affordable prices. For example, gas costs on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway in California are considerably higher than the stations a few miles off the main highway.

Photo credit: Getty

3. Fill up your tank at truck stops. You'll often find the cheapest gas prices here. 

Photo credit: Getty

4. Download gas apps. Apps like GasBuddy and GasGuru come in handy by computing the cheapest station in relation to your current location.

Photo credit: Getty

5. Drive efficiently to save gas costs. These 5 fuel-efficient tips are proven to maintain a full tank longer:

           1. Turn off your AC

2. Engage cruise control in low-traffic areas

3. Avoid rapid acceleration and braking

4. Inflate tires close to maximum

5. Avoid speeding

Photo credit: Getty

6. Travel with friends. Traveling with a few buddies is an efficient (and fun) way to save cash by splitting the cost of a tank.

Photo credit: Getty

7. Grocery shop in advance. Pack water and snacks beforehand in a cooler -- inflated convenience store prices will eat away at your budget.

Photo credit: Getty

8. Bring reusable water bottles. Filling up a water bottle is cheaper than buying a Poland Spring at every stop.

Photo credit: Getty

9. Buy fountain drinks over bottled drinks. If you’re craving a Mountain Dew, fountain drinks give you a better bang for your buck over bottled soda.

Photo credit: Getty

Use Yelp: Download Yelp on your phone to see the best restaurant offers in your area.

Photo credit: AOL

11. Take advantage of restaurant deals. Chances are there will be tons of chain restaurants along the way, so use sites like Groupon and GiftCardGranny to get a deal on the road.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

12. Load up on free coffee and breakfast from hotels for the road. Take advantage of a free meal and avoid Starbucks and other expensive coffee shops.

Photo credit: Getty

13. Avoid staying in popular areas. Tourist-driven and metropolitan areas are often paired with inflated prices, so find a place to sleep in surrounding towns.

Photo credit: Getty

14. Check out sites like Airbnb, Tripadvisor, and Kayak to score the best low-cost lodging deals.

Photo credit: Getty

15. Rent a car. If you don’t own your own vehicle, renting a car beforehand for as cheap as $22 a day on sites like ExpediaHotwire, and Travelocity can be a great deal.

Photo credit: Getty

16. Alert your bank. Sometimes banks will deem charges in new cities as fraudulent and cancel your cards.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

17. Stick to budget-friendly activities. Some ideas include hiking national parks, visiting beaches and checking out a town’s culture by walking the streets and venturing into a street fair.

Photo credit: Getty

18. Take advantage of student discounts. If you’re currently a student, bring your student ID for maximum discounts.

Photo credit: Getty

19. Download road trip planning apps. Apps like Roadtrippers are a great way to help plan and finance your new excursion.

Photo credit: Getty

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