Early April, hoards of athletes head down to Galveston, TX to race the Ironman Texas 70.3. Millions of dollars are brought into the island and surge pricing for accommodations takes over. Galveston is a pretty low key trip for us, with the main purpose of racing and seeing friends based in Houston. This year we did a bit more tourist activities during our trip and had a blast doing so. If you’re down in the Houston / Galveston area for a long weekend, there are definitely a ton of activities for singles or families to enjoy. We kept calling it our “wholesome family vacation” because the activities we did were family friendly and we were the anomaly as a young couple without kids doing all these activities. Ha! Our long weekend trip down to Galveston is largely centered around the Texas Ironman 70.3 Race and you can check out our official itinerary here for a long weekend in Houston and Galveston. We budgeted a total of $900 towards our long weekend, understanding that most activities were in “surge” pricing during the race. Below are items to consider when planning your travel budget to Galveston:
- Hotels are often 2x or 3x the price during Ironman weekend. The official Texas Ironman 70.3 hotel is moody gardens, and those rooms hover around ~$300 / night during race week. For a long weekend, this was not in our budget. There are several favorable Airbnb options around $80 per night depending on how fancy (or not) you’re feeling. We opted for a boutique hotel via Hotels.com in order to max out points and get a free hotel night for our upcoming South Africa trip.
- All restaurants will have long wait times or reservation lists. We had our fancy date night dinner at Rudy & Paco, which was turning away people at the door given it was packed out on Saturday. It was a driver in our budget overage (~$170). Even beyond the money, we were not anticipating the 45min wait time in front of Mosquito Café, which likely resulted in over compensation of food ordering to take care of the hanger.
- Museums are worth the money, but if you can take advantage of student discounts, do it. We went to two museums in our trip, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Space Center Houston. Most museums offer anywhere from $1-$10 discount on tickets, and we only benefited from 1 of us getting this discount (Patrick). He was smart and remembered his student ID. I got blasted with full price tickets for adults, which was fine for the quality of the museum but would have appreciated any discount available.
We ended the trip with $177 over our planned budget. There wasn’t one particular monetary surprise during the trip, and largely due to the extra spending that comes along with being “on vacation” that makes us more spendy in general. Galveston is an affordable place to visit, particularly weekends outside of race weekend. See below how our spending compared to budget on an itemized level:
Have you taken the trip down to Galveston and stuck to your budget? I’m sure families with more beach and ocean attractions this price may increase compared to what we spent for this weekend.