Traveling on a Budget – Austin, TX

Last weekend I enjoyed a magnificent trip to Austin, TX. I LOVE Austin! I feel like I can be my active, awkward self in Austin. There is so much delicious food, outdoorsy areas, and fun neighborhoods to explore. Also, I love the hot climate. Its a dream of mine to live there one day.

I stayed at an AirBnB the first night, but I was tagging along with my partner on a work trip so the rest of the accommodations were paid for by the conference. The AirBnB we stayed at in Hyde Park was so affordable and so Austin! Austin is known to be weird and this AirBnB had a lot of eclectic design pieces from the owner’s travels. I love AirBnBs  because you can get a real feel for what its like to live there, PLUS you do not have to eat out for every meal. Our AirBnB was a nice little studio that was perfect for a one night stay.

As soon as we dropped our things off at the AirBnB, I walked straight over the Mother’s Cafe to enjoy a delicious late lunch of Migas (sorry for the fuzzy picture below)! Lunch ended up being so filling that we just had some ice cream to end the day.

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I also stopped by Fresh Plus across the street to pick up some food for breakfast. I bought natural peanut butter, Ezekiel bread, mango, and yogurt (They were all cheaper than what I pay for the same product at home and on sale). I brought Chai Pear Zucchini muffins with me as well, but my partner prefers PB toast sandwiches for breakfast. Each morning I had some muffins with a little PB and a side of yogurt with mango mixed in, it was SO GOOD!

I really enjoyed walking around Hyde Park and checking out the local grocery stores (grocery shopping is really the only shopping I enjoy doing), which carried a lot of natural products at more reasonable prices than where I am from. Another, why do I not live here moment.

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After moving to the conference hotel, many of our meals were provided by the conference (FREE) and they had some vegetarian options. However, I chose not to eat all the conference food though because Austin has great food! I ventured out one day to pick up some of my favorite cupcakes from Capital City Bakery. I also saw they had a Sausage and Jalapeño roll I had to have! It was prefect! Then I paroosed South Congress for some unique items. I bought a pair of Saturn earrings from Parts and Labour. I love that store! It is a great place to buy items from local artists. Then I grabbed a taco from Torchy’s.

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My last day I walked through Zilker park to the Austin Nature & Science Center and enjoyed enchiladas from Chuy’s. Something to know about Austin, even though it is Texas it is a very veg-friendly city. You may have a hard time at a BBQ place or chicken shack, but plant-based eaters have many options there. There is even a vegan BBQ food truck! The vegan grocery store, Rabbit Food Grocery, created a lovely pocket sized map to check out the best 100% vegetarian and 100% vegan food stops in town.

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Besides taking advantage of the great food variety in Austin, one of my favorite things to do is enjoy all the nature right in the middle of the urban setting. Austin has the amazing Lady Bird Trail, Zilker Park, Congress Bridge Bats, and natural pools to savor. They also have many other free activities that could meet anyone’s interests! There is this amazing website that details the free things to do and they even have lists especially for families, types of activities of interest, and seasonal events. I mainly just love being active on vacation. Also, the hotel had 2 pools and a fitness center so I kept up with my normal workout routine on top of all the exploring I did.

With taking advantage of conference travel and all the free activities in Austin, we saved a lot of cash! I ate out only 35% of the time and took advantage of the pretty decent public transit. Since my partner’s travel was completely covered so this is the breakdown of what we spent in total:

Airfare (Southwest Airlines): $180.96

Accommodations (AirBnB): $112

Food (groceries + eating out): $88.52

Transit (Capital Metro): $21.50

Merchandise/Souvenirs: $17.32

Total: $420.30

Between 2 people over 4 days that is pretty darn good! Now, yes my partner had to work, but he still considered it a bit of a vacation since we had extended the trip by a day so he could enjoy more time out and about with me.

Where have you traveled recently? How did you save money on your travels?

 

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