Travel Basics – United States Grand Prix

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Start planning your trip to Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix. This year’s race at Circuit of the Americas is on October 19-21, 2018.

Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. As well as being the capital city of Texas, it is seen as the state’s hippest city, mostly due to its reputation as the “live music capital of the world”. That means at any given moment on its famous 6th Street in downtown, you can hear live performances of just about every genre of music, but especially rock, country and folk. After all, there’s a reason it’s the home of Willie Nelson.

Do I need a travel visa to visit the United States?

Australians, Canadians, and most Europeans do not need a visa to visit the U.S., as they are part of the visa waiver program. Not sure if your country is covered? Check the list of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries on the U.S. State Department website. Don’t forget, you need to have a passport that is machine-readable, contains an integrated chip, and is valid for at least six months from the date of travel.


Texas can get quite hot, especially in the summer, reaching temperatures of 100°+ F (40°+ C). Luckily, almost all buildings are air conditioned, and if you rent a car while you’re there it will most likely be air conditioned as well. Fortunately, the Grand Prix takes place in October, which is one of the most pleasant months to be in Texas, and temperatures will likely be around a pleasant 77°C (25° C) during the day, dropping only slightly at night to about 68°C (20°C). Having said that, a massive storm hit Austin on race weekend in 2015, so pack your wet weather gear just in case.


In general, Austin is a relatively safe city compared to other cities its size in the U.S., but be aware that gun violence does occur. The areas around downtown and South Congress Street are generally safe at night, but it’s best not to wander around alone in some parts of east Austin. Always take a taxi home if you are out late and have had a few drinks.


While English is the official language of the U.S., don’t be surprised to hear a lot of Spanish while you’re in Austin. Due to its proximity to Mexico, Texas has a large Spanish-speaking population, which is particularly evident when you look at its cuisine. So practice saying “dos tacos, por favor” and you’ll be fine.

Travel in the United States: need to know

  • The U.S. dollar remains strong against most major international currencies, so keep that in mind when calculating the cost of your trip and working out how much spending money you will need. Click here to see how much you will pay for eating, drinking and getting around in Austin. To check exchange rates, visit
  • Health care in the U.S. can get extremely expensive if you have an emergency while uninsured, so it’s best to get reliable travel insurance for the duration of your stay.
  • Austin is in the Central Time Zone of the U.S., which is the same as Chicago and one hour behind New York and two hours ahead of California (GMT -5 hours).
  • If you’re coming from outside of the U.S. or Canada, you’ll need a plug adapter and possibly a power converter, as the U.S. uses 100 – 127 V sockets.
  • Dial 911 for emergencies (police, fire, ambulance)


Been to Austin? Leave a comment with your travel tips!

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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