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Houston: Car Rental Or Not?

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Jul 28th, 2012, 12:58 PM
  #1
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Houston: Car Rental Or Not?

I need to take a quick trip to Houston. It's not a "vacation" and I only plan on being there for 2 days at the most. Is public transportation like taxis readily available at reasonable costs or is it best to just rent a car? Since I need to go to a specific place, I would like to use a taxi instead of other options. I would rent a car but even with GPS, I'm not sure about navigating the city like that...I understand that everything is sort of spread out there? Any advice?
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Jul 28th, 2012, 01:14 PM
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It would be helpful if you could say where in Houston you need to be.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 02:42 PM
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That's what I was thinking but I'm really not good with directions. Without saying where exactly it is I need to go, I will say that is on Bering Drive. I'm trying to google it to see what part of town it is via google maps but so far I can't really tell. I guess I need to buy an actual map of Houston because this is not working out for me otherwise, lol.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 05:57 PM
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Bering Drive is near the Galleria. Are you staying in the same place that you need to get to? Are you arriving by plane, and if so, which airport? True, Houston is spread out, but it's also easy to navigate.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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maryannetex, no I am not going to be staying at the place. I'm still searching online for last minute tickets and hotel arrangements but still trying to figure out if I need to rent a car because I'd like to go ahead and do it all together. Right now, I think the airport that comes up in the packages I'm looking at is George Bush. I briefly thought about driving...but that is at least 8-10 hour drive...not bad but not something I want to do either.
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Jul 29th, 2012, 03:48 PM
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Okay so my family members are saying I will not be able to handle the traffic. Is traffic that bad? I drive but I don't drive in a big city so they think I will have an accident. *Shakes head.*
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Jul 29th, 2012, 07:18 PM
  #7
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Transportation aside...what part of town is best to stay in? I just read a bad review about shady hotel. I'm a lone woman traveler so I want to be safe.
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Jul 29th, 2012, 07:30 PM
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If you are going to need to be in the Galleria area, then that is where I would recommend staying - especially since this is a short trip. There are several major/nice hotels in that area, so it would be easy to get a taxi from any of them.

I don't know what you want to do in Houston, but the Galleria area has lots of nice restaurants and shopping.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 09:14 AM
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I've been looking at hotels and did read that bad review about a (Best Western in the Galleria area) that had me thinking if that was a good part of town to stay in the first place. Well, I guess what would be a good thing to do if you have the whole afternoon/evening free? I'm not picky about restaurants but would like something uniquely Houston....meaning something that is not a chain but I don't want TexMex food.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 12:44 PM
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<>

What does that mean? Define reasonable. It costs about $40 or more to get to central Houston from Bush Airport.

Look: Houston is an enormous sprawling mess of a city. Although there are technically 8 cities "larger" than it, four of those are small cities plus uninhabited wilderness in Alaska and two are small cities plus moose habitat in Montana. For all practical purposes only two legitimate cities in the US are more sprawling.

Physically, Houston is TWO TIMES the size of New York. Get that? It is twice the area of the most populous city in the country.

So the notion of taking cabs everywhere is generally impractical and will be costly. Get the lowest priced rental you can find and go from there.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 02:41 PM
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Hmm...8 "technically" larger cities? That something new to me. Anyway, I don't plan on going all over the place...just to one place then maybe somewhere to eat and back to the hotel. Other than that, it's back to the airport...this is not a "explore Houston" type of trip, lol (which I said in the first post). I will look into the costs because I did go to a site (simulated taxi meter? site) and the cost was outrageous if that was accurate enough so I feel you on that.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 02:44 PM
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I would actually rent a car from where I'm at and just drive (that doesn't go over well with family) but I really don't want to spend 9-10 hours in a car just to drive back a day or two afterwards.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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Houston is very spread out; it's definitely a driving city. I would rent a car and stay in the Galleria area. It's not a hard city to navigate. There's the 610 Loop that goes around the inner portion of the city and the Beltway that goes around the outside burb areas. If you're comfortable driving on highways you should be fine with a GPS.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 04:56 PM
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Thanks. I drive on highways and "small" interstates often just not a big city. I think I will be fine. I guess because I'm getting negative feedback from family (some who have been and some who have not), it just makes me want to ask.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 05:03 PM
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But if the meeting is near the Galleria and you are staying in that area, a car might not be necessary. Choose your hotel and then decide if you really need a car to get to your place of business--if less than ten miles, a taxi sounds like the better option.
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Jul 30th, 2012, 05:22 PM
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That's what I was thinking. Get a hotel in the Galleria area (if that is where you will be anyway). See if the hotel offers an airport shuttle; otherwise, look into something like the Super Shuttle, if you don't want to spend the money on a taxi.

Then, if you have free time, take a taxi down to the fine arts museum, or the natural history museum, or to a ball game, or to whatever might interest you. (FYI - Houston has an outstanding genealogy library if that is an interest and you have any time during the day.)

As for restaurants, volcanogirl might be able to give you better info. There are LOTS of chain restaurants in Houston (one of my pet peeves), but there are also lots of small, interesting restaurants if you know where to look. I just don't get into town enough to find these places.

However, even tho it is a chain, Lupe Tortillas is really good. It's a fav among people here.

It might help us if we knew what you were interested in doing. If you have the time and really WANT to go to NASA, then renting a car makes sense. Driving can be a little intimidating to someone not used to big city highway driving, but my kids learned to drive here, so it is do-able! Just plane your route, take your time, expect missteps, and don't panic!
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Jul 31st, 2012, 01:40 PM
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Yeah I don't want to go NASA maybe next time. I guess the only thing I'd want to do is maybe check out some good eats. I see that Lupe Tortillas was mentioned and I said upthread that I don't want TexMex. However, I can go for a good tortilla,lol. What other activities? Hmm...for a free afternoon, I could see myself doing...I don't know lol. Nothing jumps out at me. Are the must see sites besides the space center?
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Jul 31st, 2012, 01:54 PM
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Shopping at the Galleria is nice. There are great art museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, the zoo, the Natural History Museum, NASA, Kemah where you can eat along the water. There's also a great theater district with the Alley Theatre, Wortham, Jones Hall, and Hobby Center. Bayou Bend is beautiful, and there are tons of sporting events like Astros, Texans, Rockets, etc. depending on when you're coming.

http://www.b4-u-eat.com/ is a nice site for searching restaurants, and you can search by area. Houston probably has over 3,000 restaurants. Lots of good choices. The new City Centre area is nice. http://citycentrehouston.com/
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Jul 31st, 2012, 07:54 PM
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Thanks for volcanogirl. The Four Points Sheraton is on Southwest Freeway. Does anyone have opinions on this hotel?
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Aug 1st, 2012, 01:09 PM
  #20
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This is my thing, I could possibly get away with not renting a car and just taking a taxi but there are specific hours that I need to adhere to...it makes the taxi impractical. The office opens and closes at a certain time, I have to check into a hotel at a certain time so what am I going to do in the between? I think I will I go ahead and rent a car but I kind of wish I didn't have to do it from an airport location. The extra fees are killer.
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