Austin is the state capital of Texas, the second largest state in the United States. The city is situated in the south of the state, approximately 190 miles (300km) south of Dallas and 160 miles (250km) north-west of Houston. The Mexican border is just 220 miles (350 km) away to the east.
It is a huge and sprawling city, around 700 square kilometers in size, and it boasts an international and diverse population, with a particularly large community of Hispanic expats. Although English is the official language, Spanish is widely spoken, and Mexican culture has been well integrated into the local community – outside of Mexico, you would struggle to find a city with better Mexican food.
As the administrative and business capital of Texas, it is home to the iconic State Capitol building and the Texas Governor’s Mansion, where the former US President George W. Bush once lived.
This is a family friendly city with a low crime rate, good schools and affordable properties, and it is frequently said to be one of America’s safest cities. Popular with retirees, students and professionals alike, Austin has something for everyone.
With a little forward planning and some advice from existing expats, relocation to Austin should be a piece of cake. Just make sure you are aware of local government regulations, travel restrictions, insurance and visa requirements before taking the plunge. You will be amazed at the exciting new life that you will discover.
If you’re moving to Austin, don’t forget to pack the sunscreen. Texas is hot – really hot. In the summer months, the average temperature in the city is around 95°F (35°C) and droughts are not uncommon. Some expats can struggle with this heat, but locals tend to simply turn up the air con, hit the beach and make the most of it.
Be sensible in the sun and wear sunscreen every day – not just during the summer months. The city has a humid, subtropical climate and on overcast days you may not realize you are being exposed to harmful UV rays. Take a tip from the locals and wear a hat, befriend your local air con repair man, and keep cool with a sweet iced tea or a cold can of Lone Star beer.
Before you move to Austin, it is a good idea to take a look at the local property market. Take some advice from fellow expatriates when it comes to choosing an apartment or a property – as with any city, some areas are better than others and you may need to consider factors such as proximity to schools, travel to work, and so on.
Most locals tend to rent properties in the city center or suburbs, and if your relocation is only temporary, this is probably your best option too. While you are looking for a place to live, you can stay in one of the city’s many hotels – the presence of a major international airport in Austin means that there are hotels for every budget, and these are well used to hosting expatriates while they search for a more permanent apartment.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate a better rate on your rent, and if you are going through a rental agency, always ask for a full quote before you view a new place. It’s easy to fall in love with the perfect property only to be hit with expensive extra charges, such as insurance and taxes.