Houston is the most populated city in the state of Texas and the fourth-most populous city in the United States. With a census-estimated 2014 population of 2.239 million within an area of 667 square miles, it is also the largest city in the southern United States.
Houston is a global city, with strengths in business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine, and research. The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. Houston is the most diverse city in Texas and has been described as the most racially and ethnically diverse major metropolis in the U.S. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than 7 million visitors a year to the Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and offers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts. If you are looking for unique and fun experiences, there is no shortage of things to do in Houston.
This is the fourth largest city in the United States and home to the famous Space Center Houston, renowned chefs, inspiring museums, and famous artists that you’ve probably never heard of before. And although this is a big city, there are all kinds of lush green spaces for outdoor activities and a bayou running through the heart of the city center.
Depending on your travel dates, you may even be able to take in a sports game or experience Houston’s signature event, the Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The best time to book a flight to Houston is 6 weeks before you fly. It is also advisable to book your flights to Houston at Tuesday by 3pm. Sales start to hit the wires Monday, are matched by other airlines by Tuesday afternoon and disappear by Thursday night. So you have a 3 day window to get the best deals on tickets sales.
The Best Time To Visit Houston Is From February To April Or From September To November. Thanks To Its Closeness To The Gulf Of Mexico, Houston Experiences Warmer Weather (as Well As Affordable Hotel Prices) Pretty Much Year-round, But Come Spring And Fall The Temperatures Are Pleasant And There Are A Variety Of Festivals To Enjoy. You May Be Able To Score A Deal In The Summer Since Houston Residents Head Elsewhere As Temperatures Climb, But You’ll Have To Contend With The Heat And Oppressing Humidity. And While The City’s Winters Are Mild, Houston Does Experience The Occasional Snowfall, So Pack Some Warm Clothes And Layers If You’re Traveling In December Or January.
Qatar Airways flights
Turkish Airlines flights
British Airways flights
Singapore Airlines flights
American Airlines flights
EVA Air flights
Air New Zealand flights
Korean Air flights
Virgin Atlantic flights
ANA (All Nippon Airways) flights
Air Canada flights
Air China flights
The distance and flying time to Houston varies depending on the city of take off. Below is an analysis of the average distance and flying time.
Average Flying Time
6,525 miles or 10 501 kilometers.
13 hours, 33 minutes.
4,222 miles or 7 820 kilometers
10 hours 35 minutes
40 miles or 1 513 kilometers.
2 hours, 15 minutes
5,336 miles or 8 587 kilometers.
11 hours, 10 minutes
1,604 miles or 2 582 kilometers.
3 hours, 43 minutes
5,034 miles or 8 101 kilometers.
10 hours, 34 minutes
1,419 miles or 2 283 km
3 hours, 26 minutes
The Houston Airport System delivers a safe and vibrant air services network that nurtures economic vitality for the transportation industry. It also facilitates a strong level of global connectivity for a diverse and growing population living throughout the greater Houston region. Together Houston Airports form one of North America’s largest public airport systems and position Houston as the international passenger and cargo gateway to the south central United States and a primary gateway to Latin America.
Houston has a 3-Airport System which served almost 55 million passengers in 2016. They are the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport and Ellington Airport (EFD)/Houston Spaceport.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
The airport is located at approximately 23 miles north of Downtown Houston. It currently has a total of 29 passenger airlines all flying through 183 non-stop destinations. George Bush Intercontinental Airport recorded nearly 42 million passengers in 2016.
William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
The airport is located at approximately 7 miles south of Downtown Houston. It currently has a total of 4 passenger airlines, all flying through 56 non-stop destinations. William P. Hobby Airport recorded nearly 13 million passengers in 2016.
Ellington Airport (EFD)/Houston Spaceport
Ellington Airport supports the operations of the U.S. military, NASA and a variety of general aviation tenants. The airport is located approximately 15 miles south of downtown Houston. Home to the nation’s 10th licensed commercial spaceport Houston Spaceport is a focal point for aerospace innovation
Airlines and average fares to Houston
10:30pm to 10:30am
KLM, Delta, Air France, Qatar Airways, British Airways and Emirates
9:15am to 5:36pm
United, Lufthansa, Brussels Airline, Air Canada, KLM and Delta Airline
7:50am to 10:26am
Delta Airlines, Spirit, SkyWest, Frontier and American Airlines.
9:55am to 10:57pm
Air Berlin, American Airlines, SkyWest Airline, Lufthansa Airlines and Euro Wings Airlines
10:50am to 6:55pm
Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Express Jet and United Airlines
6:25am to 1:55pm
KLM, Air France, Delta Airlines, British Airways, American, Lufthansa
4:00pm to 9:58pm
Delta, Spirit, American, United Airlines and Messa Airlines.
Space Center Houston
It is the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, is a must-see attraction in Houston. There is a huge complex, where you can walk through the space shuttle replica Independence and the enormous shuttle carrier aircraft it’s mounted on. In the visitor center, you can wander inside a replica of America’s first space station, Skylab, and touch a rock from the moon. This is also the place to learn about NASA’s upcoming missions, which is currently focused on travel to Mars. If you are here on a Friday, you can even meet an astronaut when they do presentations at 11:00am and 1:00pm.
From the visitor center, you can take an open-air tram tour to Johnson Space Center, home of mission control, to see where astronauts train for space missions. This tour also takes you to Rocket Park to see actual rockets on display. Tickets are free but limited, and you can get a timed ticket to avoid waiting in lines.
If you want to experience something truly unique, sign up for a Level 9 Tour and enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at Johnson Space Center. You can see the Buoyancy Lab, the ISS Mission Control, and simulation labs, along with other areas off limits on regular tours, and possibly even encounter an astronaut. This is a one-of-a-kind experience, and only 12 tickets are sold per day for this exclusive, four- to five-hour VIP tour. Tours begin at the Space Center Houston, which you are free to explore with the purchase of this ticket.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The Museum District is one of Houston’s greatest cultural attractions, with 19 museums residing in this beautiful area. 11 of these are free to the public. Some of the highlights include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Children’s Museum, the Menil Collection, the Holocaust Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, to name just a few. Also in this area is the lovely Hermann Park, with the Houston Zoo and the Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Most of the museums are within easy walking distance of each other, although the Menil and the Rothko Chapel are a little farther out. Museums that are free of charge include: The Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Lawndale Art Center, Houston Museum of American Culture, Rice Gallery, Houston Center for photography, and the Czech Center Museum Houston.
Established on 55 acres in Hermann Park, the Houston Zoo is one of the city’s star attractions, popular with locals and visitors. The zoo is home to more than 6,000 exotic and indigenous animals and contains an education center and children’s zoo. Some of the features include feeding the giraffes, seeing marine life up close in the aquarium, and watching sea lions and otters frolicking about.
Experience the Tastes of Houston on a Culinary Tour
One way to taste some of the best that Houston has to offer is on a culinary tour. Both walking food tours and chef-led culinary tours are available, although they do not run daily, and it’s advisable to book in advance. Some of these are for adults only and others are open to kids. Walking tours focus on specific areas of the city, like downtown, Montrose, or The Heights, and last about 3.5 hours. Chef-led tours are hosted by some of the city’s most well-known and charismatic chefs and are only available once or twice a month. These are always unique tours, with changing themes, a variety of restaurants, and different chefs leading the tour. In some cases, you may not even know where the tour is taking you before you show up.
If there are no tours ongoing during your visit to Houston, make an attempt to try some restaurants on your own. There is no shortage of great places to choose from, and you don’t need to visit a high-end, expensive restaurant to find amazing food and great ambience. Underbelly (Chef Chris Shepherd), serving locally sourced foods and offering a changing menu depending on what is on hand in the kitchen, is a unique, casual dining experience with a homey feel. For a bite of South American cuisine try Américas (Chefs Michael and David Cordúa), with awesome Latin American food and an elegant and surreal décor, almost reminiscent of a Salvador Dali painting. Looking for some southern cuisine? Southern Goods (Chef Lyle Bento) is one of the favorites. For a white tablecloth experience featuring some unique southern food, Brenner’s has been a Houston institution for decades.
For other recommendations, ask the chefs at any of these restaurants, and they will likely direct you to their local favorites. Houston’s culinary scene is incredibly amicable, with many chefs more than happy to tell you where they go to find tasty meals, from sandwich shops and hole-in-the-wall diners to fine dining.
Walk, Bike, or Paddle through Buffalo Bayou Park
Buffalo Bayou Park is a picturesque 160-acre green space running through the city, with the slow moving waters of Buffalo Bayou as its centerpiece. This urban park is home to walking and biking trails, a dog park, sculptures, and plenty of shady areas to relax. If you want to get active and appreciate some of the great outdoors from the water, rent a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard and enjoy a paddle along the bayou. Rentals are available at the park, and various tours are offered, ranging from one to three hours in length. The park is also home to a huge colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that inhabit the Waugh Drive Bridge. Approximately 250,000 of them fly out from the bridge each evening at sunset.
Explore Houston’s Street Art
While it is often overlooked by tourists, Houston’s street art, popularly know as graffiti, is outstanding, with installations by some of the top names in street art throughout the US and around the world, including COPE2 and Houston’s own Gonzo247. These colorful murals adorn the walls of establishments in various locations throughout the city and are well worth taking the time to drive around and see.
The unofficial curator of Houston’s street art is the fascinating artist known as Gonzo247. He is one of the city’s most famous street artists and the creator of the giant “Houston is Inspired” mural at the corner of Travis and Preston Streets and the smaller “Houston” mural at Leeland and St. Emanuel Streets. This latter area is also home to a large concentration of inspiring installations that grace the walls of numerous one- and two-story buildings off Leeland Street at Chartres Street and St. Emanuel Street. But works can be found scattered all over the city on walls of various sizes. To find a map of mural locations check out the Hue Houston Mural Festival website.
Shop the Vintage Stores on 19th Street in The Heights
For all your vintage clothing, retro décor, and old collectibles, 19th Street in The Heights is the place to go. It has all kinds of quirky shops selling everything from evening gowns to casual clothing, as well as jewelry, footwear, household gadgets, and all kinds of unique items. This is also a good place to shop for gifts. The merchandise is not all vintage; some places sell new pieces or a mix of new and old. Even if you are not looking to buy anything, the whole area is worth seeing and offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.
Attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Houston’s largest annual event, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, is a fun-filled, 19-day event that brings the whole city out to celebrate in February or March. If you are going to be here during this time, you are in luck, and if you are wondering when to visit Houston, this might be the time to plan your trip. This is an activity the whole family can enjoy, and it’s so much more than just a rodeo and livestock show.
At the rodeo events, which you will need tickets to attend, see the cowboys showing off their skills in a variety of areas. In the evening, some of the biggest names in music perform on stage. Check out the concert listing in advance and secure tickets. If you only have one day to attend this fantastic show, spend a morning or afternoon wandering the grounds and enjoying the carnival, see some of the finest farm animals on display at the Livestock Show, then take in a rodeo event or two to see the cowboys in action, and spend the evening at a concert. Another not-to-be-missed event is the Downtown Rodeo Parade.
See a Sports Game
When it comes to seeing a game in Houston, sports fans have plenty of options, and whether it’s football, baseball, or basketball, the city takes its sports seriously. Houston is home to the Houston Texans (NFL), the Houston Astros (MLB), and the Houston Rockets (NBA). The Texans play at the NRG Stadium, formerly Reliant Stadium, which is also the venue for the 2017 Super Bowl. The Toyota Stadium in downtown Houston is home to the Rockets, and the Astros play at Minute Maid Park, also in the city center. Check to see if there is a home game during your stay.
Walk through Rice University Campus
The Rice University Campus is an oasis in downtown Houston and a favorite outdoor space for many Houstonians. Walking and running trails, thousands of mature trees, and lovely old buildings are spread over this 300-acre campus. Also on the grounds are a large number of impressive contemporary artworks that lend to the tranquil atmosphere. Many of these installations are equally, or even more, impressive in the evening when they are lit. The Rice Gallery is a must-see sight on campus, with huge temporary art installations that almost engulf visitors as they explore the space. Stop in at the Welcome Center at Lovett Hall for more information on the latest things to see at Rice University.
Experience the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park
The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park showcases an impressive multi-story sculptural fountain that sees sheets of water cascading over large concrete walls and sculptures. The structure’s semi-circular shape towers 64 feet above you and is fronted by a large arch and 46,500 square feet of water. It’s an attraction that needs to be seen to truly be appreciated. This 2.77-acre park, covered with dozens of live oaks, is located in Uptown Houston.
Festivals/ Events Holding in Houston
Martin Luther King Jr. Grande Parade This annual parade celebrating the civil rights leader marches over the heart of Houston and draws more than 300,000 enthusiasts from around the nation.
Chevron Houston Marathon
This annual 26.2, 13.1 and 3.1-mile run, which starts and finishes at Downtown’s George R. Brown Convention Center, has progressively developed to entice more than 20,000 entrants from around the world and 200,000 bystanders.
Texas Lunar New Year Houston
Celebrate the remarkable virtues of every culture while commemorating the Asian Lunar New Year at the annual Texas Lunar Festival. In the Chinese lunar calendar, a different animal or mythological beast represents every year in a twelve-year cycle. The year of 2017 is the year of the Rooster. Come enjoy dance, theatrics, and music in this cultural celebration!
Mardi Gras Galveston
Mardi Gras was publicly observed on Galveston Island as early as 1867 but was discontinued during World War II. The Island’s celebration was resurrected in 1985 and since then has become one of the most popular events along the Texas Gulf Coast.
World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest
The World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest is three days of cooking, competition, eating and dancing. The sweet aroma drifts over the Houston metropolis, drawing crowds like bees to honey. Trophies are awarded to teams preparing the best dish in each category (brisket, chicken, pork and spare ribs) as well as an overall winner.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Rodeo time has been a tradition in Houston since 1932, and the three-week extravaganza at NRG Park continues to enchant the city every spring. The kickoff for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the Rodeo Parade, after trail riders ride into town and set up camp in Memorial Park. All 20 championship rodeo competitions are concluded with entertainment by music superstars.
One of the steadiest signs of spring in Houston is the annual Azalea Trail. Houstonians and visitors view the spectacular gardens at Bayou Bend and Rienzi and visit River Oaks’ exquisite private homes and admire their breathtaking gardens.
Buffalo Bayou Regatta
The Buffalo Bayou Regatta is the biggest canoe and kayak race in Texas. Over 200 vessels are expected to hit the waters in downtown Houston.
Tour de Houston
Now in its 11th year, the yearly bike ride offers Houstonians and visitors a unique way to view the city with routes winding through Houston’s historic neighborhoods, scenic districts and parks while raising funds for the city’s Reforest Houston program.
Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park
The Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park kicks off spring as Houston’s premier outdoor fine arts event. More than 300 national artists working in 19 artistic media are juried and invited to show and sell their original art at this event.
Shell Houston Open
Played at Redstone Golf Club’s Tournament Course, 156 of the world’s best golfers compete in the Shell Houston Open in pursuit of the $5 million-plus purse. The Houston Golf Association has been conducting PGA Tour events since 1946, making Houston’s tournament the 10th oldest.
Houston Children’s Festival
Houston’s official family celebration is held annually in downtown Houston. Benefiting Child Advocates, Inc., the event offers a dazzling smorgasbord of exciting activities, including six entertainment stages, more than 350 games and 10 family adventure areas.
Southwest International Boat Show
The largest in-water boat show in the Southwest, and the premier sail and power show for new and pre-owned vessels featuring boats ranging in size from 10ft. to more than 100ft, both freshwater and saltwater, ready for boarding and viewing, with pre-season specials and dealer incentive programs available on many models.
Art Car Parade
More than 250,000 spectators line downtown’s streets to view this parade, which showcases Houston’s most outlandish folk art creations on wheels. The Fruit Mobile, a 1967 Ford station wagon, started the craze in 1986. Truly a sight to see, the parade is produced by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.
Houston Barbecue Festival
The annual barbecue event brings barbecue joint favorites together and welcomes new additions to the Houston Barbecue scene for a full day of barbecue-focused fun.
WorldFest: Houston International Film Festival
WorldFest brings a blend of feature films, shorts, screenplays, TV commercials, music videos and documentaries to viewers throughout the area. Founded in 1968, past winners include Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, George Lucas and David Lynch-all early in their careers.
Houston Dragon Boat Festival
The Texas Dragon Boat Association, in collaboration with Buffalo Bayou Partnership, presents its 17th Annual Houston Dragon Boat Festival. The festival will showcase 30 teams competing along the banks of Buffalo Bayou at Allen’s Landing, and will feature Asian cuisine, music, arts and crafts, and cultural performances for the whole family.
This annual event in Hermann Park’s beautiful Japanese Garden draws more than 20,000 people. The Japan Festival celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Japan with two stages showcasing music, traditional and folk dance and martial arts, as well as demonstrations of Ikebana flower arrangement, tea ceremony, origami and bonsai.
Bayou City Art Festival Downtown
The fine juried art show in downtown’s Hermann Square and Tranquility Park spans several blocks filled with paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and music, plus great food, wine cafes, beer taverns and a kids zone.
Festival of Lights
The holiday magic glistens at the Annual Moody Gardens Festival of Lights with more than a million lights and dozens of festive scenes. It’s a winter wonderland with holiday shopping, pictures with Santa, a gingerbread house and the area’s only outdoor ice rink.
Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district – $12
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) – $7
500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast – $4.08
1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk – $0.80
12 eggs, large – $2.98
1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes – $3.05
500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese – $7
1 kg (2 lb.) of apples – $3.17
1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes – $1.44
0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer in the supermarket – $2.17
1 bottle of red table wine, good quality – $15
2 liters of Coca-Cola – $1.77
Bread for 2 people for 1 day – $1.83
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area – $1,732
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area – $1,237
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 2 people in 85m2 flat – $158
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in an expensive area – $1,527
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in normal area – $884
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas …) for 1 person in 45 m2 (480 Sqft) studio – $108
Internet 8 Mbps (1 month) – $43
40” flat screen TV – $329
Microwave 800/900 Watt (Bosch, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, or equivalent brands) – $131
Laundry detergent (3 l. ~ 100 oz.) – $11
Hourly rate for cleaning help – $22
1 pair of jeans (Levis 501 or similar) – $45
1 summer dress in a High Street Store (Zara, H&M or similar retailers) – $50
1 pair of sport shoes (Nike, Adidas, or equivalent brands) – $81
1 pair of men’s leather business shoes – $124
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 150 CV (or equivalent), with no extras, new – $22,563
1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas – $0.55
Monthly ticket public transport – $68
Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. (5 miles) – $18
Cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands) – $7
1 box of antibiotics (12 doses) – $27
Short visit to private Doctor (15 minutes) – $100
1 box of 32 tampons (Tampax, OB, …) – $6
Deodorant, roll-on (50ml ~ 1.5 oz.) – $3.72
Hair shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml ~ 12 oz.) – $5.01
4 rolls of toilet paper – $3.50
Tube of toothpaste – $1.77
Standard men’s haircut in expat area of the city – $18
Basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub – $39
2 tickets to the movies – $22
2 tickets to the theater (best available seats) – $165
Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in the expat area including appetizers, main course, wine and dessert – $70
1 cocktail drink in downtown club – $11
Cappuccino in expat area of the city – $4.85
1 beer in neighborhood pub (500ml or 1pt.) – $4.71
iPod nano 16GB – $154
1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff (no discounts or plans) – $0.39
1 month of gym membership in business district – $45
1 package of Marlboro cigarettes – $7
Generally, if you keep to yourself and use common sense, Houston is safe to tour during the day and for events at night. That said, North Houston and East Houston are best avoided, especially Acres Home and White Oak Terrace in the north.
Houston has its share of wildlife that should be avoided if spotted:
Dog packs – Don’t feed them.
Coyote – Be cautious when biking or hiking.
Bats – Colonies are located through Houston.
Windferns – They will make an annoying sound if they sense danger.
African Killer Bees – Hives will be black, call animal control if spotted.
Brown Recluse spiders – Watch for webs over sidewalks or doorways to know one is near.
Armadillos, Raccoons, and Possums – Will generally mind their own business if you do.
Tips on Changing money in Houston
Whether you travel to Houston from Lagos, Canada, Mexico or someplace else, you’ll probably need to exchange some of your home currency for U.S. dollars. Here are a few options.
At the Airport
Airport currency exchange kiosks typically don’t offer the best rates, but they do offer convenience, especially if you are arriving in Houston with no U.S. dollars. Unlike many airports that offer currency exchange services through only one company, Houston has two primary currency exchange service providers: ICE (International Currency Exchange) and Travelex.
Terminal C, Departures North. Hours are 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., daily. Contact: 281-233-3583. Terminal C, Departures South. Hours are 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., daily. Contact: 281-233-3895. Terminal D, Departures South. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., daily. Contact: 281-233-3585.
Terminal E, Arrivals South. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., daily. Contact: 281-233-3869.
William P. Hobby Airport, Main Floor (7 miles from downtown Houston), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.
Travelex Branches: Terminal E, near Gate 12. Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., daily. Contact: 281-443-8636.
ATMs are considered to be one of the easiest ways to get cash while traveling. Exchange rates are generally better than what you’ll get at a currency exchange store and, depending on your bank’s policies – and any agreements it may have with U.S. banks – you could pay little to no fees when making a withdrawal (see The Ins And Outs Of Bank Fees). To avoid any surprises, it’s a good idea to contact your bank before you leave home to find out what, if any, fees you will have to pay. If your bank charges a per-transaction fee (which many do), you can limit fees by making larger and less frequent withdrawals. Chase Bank ATMs are located throughout the airport in every Terminal: A, B, C, D and E. There is also a Cardtronics ATM in the airport. Once you leave the airport, you can find a wide selection of ATMs throughout Houston – from banks such as Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank and Wells Fargo – at shopping centers, grocery stores, gas stations, banks and places close to tourist attractions.
Currency Exchange Stores
In addition to the ICE and Travelex branches within the airport, there are a few other exchange stores located in Houston. Some options include:
Currency Exchange International. Operated through affiliate First Citizens Bank, 5002-C Westheimer Rd., 713-479-6000.
Travelex. Multiple locations:
1201 Lake Woodlands Dr. (at the Woodlands Mall), 281-419-5599.
5085 Westheimer Rd. (at the Houston Galleria Mall), 713-398-6130.
10777 Westheimer Rd. Ste. 105, 713-782-8092.
Texas Currency Exchange. 303 Memorial City Mall, 713-468-6800.
The Bottom Line
Many travelers find it practical to use a combination of currency exchange, ATM withdrawals and credit-card purchases to fund their trips (see 4 Tips For Using Credit Cards Overseas). In general, if you need to exchange only a small amount of money, the convenience of airport kiosks can be worth the small hit you take on the rate. If you plan on exchanging more than that, however, it’s worthwhile to look around to find a better rate. Keep in mind that many stores advertise no fees or no commissions, but you still might end up with a poor exchange rate – sometimes due to “hidden” fees. No matter where you exchange money, always ask how many U.S. dollars you will get in return for your currency – before handing over any cash.
A currency converting app can help you figure out how much you should be getting. You enter the type and amount of currency you want to exchange, and the app calculates how much of the “new” currency you get at today’s exchange rate. Free apps like XE Currency and GlobeConvert are available for both iOS and Android phones.
Using your ATM card is one of the easiest ways to get cash. If you pay a per-transaction fee, plan your withdrawals to limit the number of transactions you have to make during your trip. You may also be able to use your card as a debit card and get cash back at participating retailers. As for credit cards, many banks charge fees for overseas purchases. If you are a frequent traveler or plan to use your credit card a lot, it might be worth getting a no foreign transaction fee card – especially one of the cards that also has no annual fee.
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