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RoadTrips USA: Travel advisor tips for a Texas Hill Country & Austin adventure

Is there any better way to experience the USA than hitting the road on a self-drive adventure? MTA Travel's Rebecca McCarthy road-tripped the Texas Hill Country and Austin as part of the Brand USA MegaFam this year – and she has some top tips for booking RoadTrips USA itineraries.

Is there any better way to experience the USA than hitting the road on a self-drive adventure? MTA Travel’s Rebecca McCarthy road-tripped the Texas Hill Country and Austin as part of the Brand USA MegaFam this year – and she has some top tips for booking RoadTrips USA itineraries.

The USA has long been a favourite of Australian travellers – it’s one of those iconic destinations and Aussies have a real desire to immerse themselves in not only the big city lights and theme parks but also the landscapes, national parks, quirky attractions and sports.

American culture is so much deeper and more diverse than you expect and varies from state to state, which is drawing Aussies to venture out of the traditional tourist areas. With its unique customs and traditions, Australians want to experience the American way of life.

After visiting Texas a few times, most recently with Brand USA, I’ve found that Texas is a U.S. destination that aligns with the Australian way of life, too.

The great outdoors, art, food, wine, music and definitely the people are part of what makes Texas so special.

If, like me, you have clients who love road trips, Texas is the ideal place to experience a different part of the U.S. on a RoadTrips USA itinerary. 

Texan roads are made for touring with wide open spaces, dramatic landscapes and welcoming hospitality wherever you stop. Let’s go!

Next stop: Texas Hill Country

1000x568 shutterstock 273652802 Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

The Texas Hill Country region is a surprising spot that will delight many Australians and is the perfect base for a few days on a RoadTrips USA tour.

Fredericksburg, a town with ‘Texan Heart and German Soul’, was founded by German immigrants and has around 60 wineries, breweries and distilleries; schnitzels to die for; fine dining; hiking trails for everyone and the absolutely cutest main street you’ve ever seen.

Fredericksburg really is the sweetest little town – full of sophistication and funk but also home to some of the finest wine and food. Tip: Buy your favourite Texan wine while you’re here. You’re unlikely to find it in a bottle shop as wine is mostly consumed by locals before being exported.

A short drive out of Fredericksburg will bring you to Luckenbach, a one-of-a-kind place where time has stood still but the stories and memories this place holds are alive.

Made famous by a Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings song, Luckenbach is not just a destination, it’s a community of artists and musicians and has a bit of Wild West feel about it – it’s a pretty cool stop and easy to see why music just run through the veins of Texans. You don’t even have to be a massive country music fan to appreciate the magic of this community.

Next stop: Austin

Austin Texas bars nightlife ©Brand USA

The Texas capital of Austin is another treat. It’s a ‘big city’ full of Texan hospitality, brimming with eclectic artists, breweries, restaurants, live music venues, really cool honky-tonk venues and a slight obsession with Texan-born actor Matthew McConaughey (or is that just the tourists?). 

It’s great for outdoor lovers with green spaces right in the city and for live music lovers, the pedestrian-only Sixth Street is beloved by locals and tourists alike.

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Austin has a strong speakeasy culture so don’t forget to look beyond open doors. Tip: Book ahead for your speakeasy experience in Austin – a code will be forwarded to you for entry.

A RoadTrips USA experience to Texas is not complete without an evening at a honky-tonk for an insight into the Texan way of life – it’s active, social, polite and just fun.

I recommend The White Horse in Austin. Tip: Get there an hour early and take a two-step lesson to be able to dance the night away with locals. You will be super proud of this achievement.

Austin is also super passionate about its Major League Soccer team – Austin FC. With a brand-new, purpose-built Q2 Stadium, catching a match is high on my clients’ RoadTrips USA itineraries in Austin.

The food is well worth a pit stop

Visit Austin barbecue

When it comes to classic road-trip experiences, you can’t go past the food in Texas – there is so much pride in what they offer. From barbecue meats to Tex-Mex cuisine, you will experience food that will haunt your taste buds forever (in a good way).

For Texans, this food is more than just sustenance, it’s like serving their culture and history on a plate. It is the perfect showcase of Texas and its history with a strong Mexican, German and Czech influence – throw in the Depression era and you have food that is special enough to bring in tourists from far and wide. 

The longest-running, family-owned barbecue joint in Texas – The Original Black’s Barbecue restaurant, just outside of Austin on your RoadTrips USA adventure – offers up smoked meats with devotees worldwide – me being one of them.

Tip: A road trip isn’t complete without a fast food stop and Texas is home to Whataburger. Stop in at the iconic orange-and-white building and have a burger that will rival any other. It really feels like you are eating a burger from a good ol’ fashioned burger joint.

All about RoadTrips USA

Brand USA offers fabulous resources, itineraries and support to help sell RoadTrips USA along with local tourist and visitor centres such as Visit Austin and Visit Fredericksburg. We are really lucky to have this link between Australia and the U.S.

It’s also easy to add another RoadTrips USA route to a Texas self-drive itinerary. Texas fits well as an add-on to the iconic Route 66 or even an LA-Arizona-New Mexico-Texas road trip.

Due to current travel demand, I recommend planning clients’ Brand USA itineraries three to six months in advance.

Take a look at some of the incredible RoadTrips USA itineraries and chat with your clients to design their road trips so they can hit the open road sooner.

Getting there is easy too. Australia has direct flights to the U.S. with Qantas, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and even Singapore Airlines and Asiana if you want a stopover in Singapore or Korea.

Tip: My favourite way to get to Texas is straight into Austin with Hawaiian Airlines via Honolulu. Who doesn’t want a few days in Hawaii, especially on the way home with no jetlag when you hit Aussie soil? Plus, there’s the generous luggage allowance with more room for shopping (and Texas has its fair share of retail outlets – easily accessible on a RoadTrips USA itinerary).

More USA for advisors!

The official Visit the USA travel trade site has all you need to sell the US of A with confidence.

Find RoadTrips USA itineraries, tour operators and DMO contacts along with general U.S. travel info, including visa and entry policies and getting around. It’s pretty much your one-stop shop for selling the States.

Register for the USA Discovery Program and start your journey to USA Specialist. Connect on Facebook here.

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