Planning a vacation? Read this!

With this year full of possible holidays and upcoming trips, let’s talk about traveling. I’m going to cover ideal vacation spots and how soon you can get going on that much needed vacation you’ve been waiting on. I’ll let you know all the nice hidden vacation spots – and some far out – Houston has to offer.

First let’s talk about cruises. Cruises are probably the easiest vacation to take if you’re looking to get out of the city. With Galveston being a port that some of the major cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney are easy access to us. If you have the time and are able to, this time of the year is perfect for a cruise trip. Since it’s the end of the year, it’s considered off season and not many people choose to travel, which is good for you because rates are a lot cheaper during off seasons. For a few hundred bucks in the off season, you get all your meals paid for on the ship and some on ship excursions are provided for no additional cost. The only money you essentially need is if you decide to go into the ports and either do local tours or whatever you plan on doing. It’s easiest to plan because once you pay for your room and spot on the ship, it’s worry free as long as you do inexpensive things at ports. Now, some people may at first be hesitant to traveling on a boat, but I can assure you that the staff is there to make you feel safe and comfortable. Not only do they make it easy for you to know what to do in a crisis, but they also make you feel at home. As for sea sickness, it’s probably best to plan in advance by bringing in some meds from home that will help you. Plus, after a few days you forget you’re on a boat because it’s like a huge city.

(Carnival Cruise out from Galveston)

I know, I know. You’ve lived in Houston all your life, your parents have lived in Houston on their life, their parents even. You’ve been to Galveston. You know what Galveston has to offer. You know how to get to Galveston. We get it, you’re a Houstonian. Awesome. So if Galveston isn’t your cup of tea or you’ve already “been there done everything that place has to offer,” move on to the next section. Okay, now, let’s go over Galveston’s major attractions. Moody Gardens has been there for a few decades, I’ve been there several times and each time there’s something new to offer. Although you could probably catch better coupons on the off seasons, it’s essentially the same price year around. Don’t forget the Festival of Lights during the winter season, it’s beautiful and never disappoints. Next there’s the relatively new Pleasure Pier. I’m going to be honest, if you’re not into rides much or don’t have younger kids, this isn’t for you. If you love the thrill of going on a rollercoaster oh so close to the ocean, then be my guest, this place is for you. Lastly, who can talk about Galveston without talking about the beaches. Now, most aren’t the best, but that’s because you’re not looking in the right places. You’ve got to skip out on the major known beaches and start asking locals around you for the hidden gems. Chances are, you won’t be disappointed.

(secluded beach in Galveston)

I’ll be honest with you, Austin is my fave. Not only is it closer than other cities, but it’s cheaper, too. As an avid outdoors kinda girl, I enjoy canoeing and taking a refreshing dip in one of the water holes. Jacob’s Well is an ideal spot to go if you’ve never jumped off of a cliff. I know, I know “what kind of person willingly jump off of a cliff?” Well, it’s not that high up and you should learn how to start taking risks in your life. The natural springs water is a beautiful place to move around in, but be aware there’s a bit of a scenic walk from where you parked your car to the actual water. Prices are inexpensive, but you must book in advance because it’s a very popular site and they only let in a certain amount of people per day, this isn’t something you can just drive up to spontaneously. Along with Jacob’s Well, there’s other natural springs you can visit in your time in Austin. You could either swim, take in the beautiful scenery, or rent a canoe. This is more of a day trip you can do. Pack up a picnic and explore Austin for the day, it’ll be worth it.

(Jacob’s Well)

San Antonio
If boycotting the cruelty of Sea World is on your agenda, then don’t fear, I’m here to tell you all the better spots this city has to offer. Not only is there Six Flags, but there’s also the beautiful River Walk. Also, don’t forget the Alamo. Six Flags is for all those people who love the rush of speeding into the air at unbelievable speeds. With dozens of rides, there’s surely a ride for everyone in the family whether you’re a chicken and like the easy rides, or a thrill seeker and like the upside down ones. Also be on the lookout, because sometimes you can get coupons for your visit on some soda cans. The River Walk is free to walk around, but I’m going to be honest with you, the restaurants are a bit pricey. So go ahead and take a boat tour, it’s beautiful and everyone should at least do it once, but know there’s better places to decide to eat at. And one of those better places is the Magic Time Machine. The Magic Time Machine is probably the closest thing to a Disneyland that Texas has to offer, and it’s cheap. Now, it’s not quite like Disneyland, but if you have small children they will love the characters nonetheless. It’s a restaurant where different fictional characters are waitresses and waiters. Much like Disneyland, they give children “autograph books” to get theirs signed by the workers and you can take all the pictures you want of your child with their favorite character. The food prices were pretty reasonable and the food was pretty good. I went with my sister (not my actual sister, but the closest thing to one) last year and we took her two younger kids. They had a blast, especially because Ariel was our waitress and I had just coincidentally wore an Ariel t shirt so there were some jokes there. The workers stay true to their character. There was anything from Disney princesses, to action heroes, to even Katniss. It was truly a wonderful experience.

(Magic Time Machine)

So we’ve covered all the inexpensive out of town trips. Let’s talk about our hometown. H-Town. Okay, to start off if you live here you probably have means of transportation and someplace to stay. Let’s say you’re an out of towner. We’ve got a wide variety of hotels to stay at, from three stars to five stars. Not to mention our metro rail. It’s a light rail that will take you from one side of town to another. You can purchase a one-way ticket that lasts for a few hours for $1.25, so it’s pretty inexpensive to get to one side of town to the next. We’ve got a lot of free activities to offer, also. Discovery Green always has some kind of event going on for the whole family and admission is typically free. You can check their website any time to see their whole schedule of events going on there. We’ve got the museum district which is conventionally a short walking distance from its light rail stop. Also, Thursdays most of the museums are open for free. We’ve also got our very own bat colony, which comes out at dark at Buffalo Bayou. If you’re looking for scenes for a photoshoot, there’s unknown places all through downtown. When I did my cousin’s graduation pictures, we rode around for about nine hours all day taking the most breathtaking pictures. There’s parks to get the scenic view of the downtown skyline, if you go to Buffalo Bayou there’s the Waterwall Park that offers beautiful picture opportunities. Also, don’t forget to go to Graffiti Park on Leeland Street, you won’t regret it. While there’s Discovery Green, these amazing scenic places, and the bats, you mustn’t forget about Hermann Park, the Galleria, and Miller Outdoor Theater. There is so many things our beautiful city has to offer and there’s surely something to keep you busy your entire stay.


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