3 years agoAbstruse
My name is Darryl aka Abstruse from Ain't It Cool News Tabletop. I just wanted to touch base with anyone else who prefers sitting around a table with dice and/or cards over video games. I'm bringing with me PANDEMIC, GLOOM, ZOMBIE DICE, STAR FLUXX, and CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY. Last year, we tabletop folk had three long-ass tables right by the convention hall stage to play our games, be they MAGIC: THE GATHERING, RISK: HALO EDITION, PENNY ARCADE: THE CARD GAME, or just SETTLERS OF CATAN. Who else is up for some board games?
Also, if there is enough interest, I may run a playtest of the new edition of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS or give you a preview of the new edition of SHADOWRUN that comes out July 11.
We're just under 10 days out from the end of RTX which means we have our first extended forecasts for Austin's weather over the weekend. It looks as though we may have lucked out and gotten a bit of cloud cover on Thursday and Friday. That means it's only going to be in the mid to upper 90s instead of the mid to upper 100s as it currently is.
That's only a little bit of good news since the humidity will be very, very high. If you're not from a hot, coastal area, then you need to remember to dress light, wear sunscreen, and drink water frequently. Be prepared to refresh your deodorant frequently as it will evaporate after about half of the day (especially if you spend a lot of time outside) and even if you just walk from your hotel to the convention center, you will be a sweaty mess before you get back in air conditioning so keep that in mind cosplayers!
Here's the really bad news. The reason it's going to be cool that weekend is that a front is coming through on Saturday and Sunday, giving us highs in the mid-80s (yay!!) but most likely frequent rains. Now rains in Austin aren't like rains in many other places. It will pour like someone teleported half the ocean over the city...for like ten minutes. Then the sun comes out and makes it MURDEROUSLY hot and humid. Just in time for more thunderstorms an hour later!
This is a very early forecast at the limits of our prediction abilities, so this may very well change. I'll update this a bit closer to the event, or you can check weather.com or accuweather.com for more information. The zip code for downtown Austin is 78701, so you can search by that to make things easier.
TL;DR: It's going to be hot Thursday and Friday, and current predictions show heavy rain Saturday and Sunday. Dress light and pack an umbrella!
Hello, Abstruse here for my third annual thread on how to make sure you survive RTX! Austin's a wonderful place, but it's got a few little kinks in it here and there culturally, geographically, and meteorological if you haven't lived there. So here's some tips to make sure your trip to Austin goes smoothly.
Texas is friggin' HOT. Highs in July in Austin can easily top 100F/37C. Make sure to wear loose, breathable clothing and drink lots of water. Heat stroke is a literal killer in Texas. This goes quadruple if you drink since alcohol dehydrates you (and no, more beer doesn't count). Sunscreen is a must, especially for those of us fair-skinned types who fear the Daystar. Yes, this includes just walking from the hotel to the convention center or out to grab a bite. No one wants to go into Sunday well-done.
Austin has a very good public transportation system that will get you pretty much anywhere you want to go in the city if you're patient. For specific schedules, times, and rates, go to the Capital Metro website.
There are also three cab companies in Austin. Rates are set by the city and are the same regardless of who you go with: $2.50 for the first 1/6 of a mile, $.40 for each additional 1/6 of a mile.There is a $1 surcharge with $13.10 minimum fare from the airport, and there is a $1 per passenger fee for any trip from 9PM to 4AM. The phone numbers for the cab companies are: Austin Cab (512) 478-2222, Yellow Cab (512) 452-9999, and Lone Star Cab (512) 836-4900. There are also pedicabs that will ferry you around the Downtown/6th Street area, but their fees vary in my experience.
Traffic in Austin can be a beast (though parking is your nightmare on weekends), so if you're staying downtown and don't plan to venture out very far, I'd highly suggest stick with bus/cab rather than renting a car.
ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO
Austin is a college town and, because of that, the alcohol-related laws are STRICTLY enforced. Any bars with a reputation for bending/breaking them get slammed down hard by the TABC and fined to oblivion if not completely shut down. So don't expect any leniency.
The drinking age in the United States is 21 years of age. Almost anywhere serving alcohol will ID you, even if you're obviously over 21. Acceptable forms of ID are state-issued IDs (Driver's License, ID card), military ID, and passports. Expect the bouncer to use a fine-toothed comb if you have an out-of-state ID or a foreign passport. Many places will deny you entry if you are under 21 or don't have ID, but several (especially the concert venues) will allow in those over 18 or rarely all-ages (but you'll get a wristband or a black X and can't leave/reenter).
Bars are open until 2AM any day of the week and most will have last call around 1:40 AM. Bartenders will NOT make exceptions no matter how much you beg. Beer and wine (defined as any beverage with an alcohol content of 4% by volume or less that is not distilled) can be sold at convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. from 7AM to 12 Midnight on Monday-Friday, 7AM to 1AM on Saturday, and 12 noon to 12 midnight on Sunday. Liquor (which is anything over 4% ABV regardless of method, so strong sakes and ports are "liquor" under the law) can only be sold in specific liquor stores which can only be open from 10AM to 9PM Monday-Saturday.
Open containers ARE PROHIBITED. That means no to-go cups, no walking out with your half-full beer, and no walking down the street with an alcoholic beverage. I've seen bouncers body-slam people against the door to keep them from leaving with a drink before.
Tobacco products can be sold pretty much anywhere that files the paperwork. Sale is strictly limited to those 18 years of age or older with proper ID (and some places are stricter about selling cigarettes than they are beer to those without IDs). There is an indoor smoking ban in Austin, which means most restaurants and bars will have a smoking patio or balcony of some sort where you can take your drink with you to smoke - BUT NOT ALL. Smoking inside a bar or restaurant is a good way to get thrown out immediately and possibly get your ass kicked. If you're from overseas, there are two tobacconists downtown that sell imported cigarettes from Europe (though at a highly inflated rate).
Texas doesn't care what you bring to your home state if you want to bring some alcohol home (Austin has a lot of small breweries and there are several distilleries that make amazing vodka and bourbon), but it DOES care what you bring into the state. You can bring into the state for personal use up to 1 gallon of distilled beverages, 3 gallons of wine, or 24 12oz containers of beer/malt liquor. If you're traveling through customs, be prepared to pay taxes on any tobacco or alcohol products you bring into the state.
I see a lot of advice everywhere on how to make videos, but the one thing I can't seem to find is advice on how to monetize videos. I went to film school (briefly, granted, but still), I have a large library of filmmaking books, I keep up with digital camera technology, I know how to edit video and audio, I've got several scripts finished, broke them down into shooting schedules, working on budgets, etc. I know what I'm doing in production.
What I need help on is the business side. Blip, AdSense, and other places don't release their rates for advertising. Any other source of revenue (shirts, DVDs, stickers, etc.) I can plan out and have a general idea, since it's just a matter of comparing unit cost at wholesale to retail price. The biggest piece, especially starting out, would be advertising and I can't plan for it. Every estimate I can find seems way too low ($5 per 1000 views for videos) or way too high ($2 per 1000 views for advertisements), and the latter doesn't even state if that's per page or per ad or what (if I've got a banner ad at the top and a sidebar, does that count as one or two when the page is loaded?)
I'm not approaching this as a get-rich-quick scheme. I have to work out the rough edges, build an audience, etc. And even if I do everything right, there's no guarantee of success. However, I've learned from mistakes I've seen others do early in their careers where they have a valuable property for years and never realize it because they never looked at it like a business. I want to approach this professionally like starting a business and, like any other business, it's going to take a lot of work and it's probably going to fail no matter what I do. But the last thing I want to happen is for me to fail because I spent so much time being a creative person that I forgot to be a business person as well.
So does anyone have any experience with online advertising, especially concerning streaming video?
Just a quick refresher for those who have read my Quick Guide to Texas, but I wanted to remind everyone of the drinking and liquor laws in the State of Texas and the smoking laws (and some general tips).
Beer, Wine, and Alcohol in Bars/Restaurants
You must be 21 years of age to purchase alcohol in the State of Texas. Doesn't matter if you're 20 and can drink in England/Australia/Canada/Japan/whereever, you must be 21 years of age to purchase alcohol in Texas regardless of type or location. Period. You must have a government ID to purchase alcohol. This is a driver's license, state-issued ID card, a military ID card, or a passport. Some places may accept other IDs (such as foreign drivers licenses or other photo IDs that have your age), but the bar/restaurant/store can refuse to sell to you for any reason and the further away you get from a state ID, drivers license, or passport, the more scrutiny it'll be under. Forget your ID at home, you're SOL.
The loophole: You are legally allowed to drink alcohol while under 21 if and only if your parent or legal guardian purchases the drink, they themselves are the one who is served the drink, and then they serve it to you. This is legal, but it is not required by law that they do so, so don't bank on it or try to argue if they say no.
Admittance to any location that serves alcohol is a bit...odd. You must be 21 years of age to enter any location that makes more than 51% of their revenue from alcohol-related sales, unless they have a special license in which case you must be 18...unless they're a venue for concerts or performances primarily, in which case they can be all ages. Yeah...restaurants, on the other hand, are easier. All-ages unless otherwise stated. If you're not sure how to tell a restaurant that serves drinks from a bar that serves food, they'll have a sign up. Also, call in advance if you have any concerns.
Drinking in public is not allowed. You cannot take drinks with you in "to-go" cups (apparently this is a New Orleans thing, I'd never heard of it and I grew up on the TX/LA border). No open containers are allowed in vehicles or public areas. Open glass containers of ANY kind (alcoholic or not) are not allowed in the 6th Street area, but the cops are usually nice and will let you finish it before they make you throw it away.
No alcohol sales in bars is allowed after 2 AM and all drinks must be collected by 2:15 AM. No ifs, ands, or buts. Clubs don't screw around with that one because the TABC likes to stake out popular places and fine them if they aren't collecting drinks by 2AM. Don't try arguing that their clocks are fast either - they're fast for a reason, so make sure they don't get fined.
Beer, Wine, and Alcohol from Stores
Beer and wine may be purchased for off-site consumption in grocery stores, convenience stores, etc. between the hours of 7AM and 12 midnight on Monday-Friday, from 7AM to 1AM on Saturday night, and from 12 noon to 12 midnight on Sundays. Again, you must be 21 years of age to purchase and many locations will card everyone with you if any of you look underage. This is once again to avoid fines. Beer and "malt liquors" (Mike's wine coolers, Zima, etc.) must be purchased in packs of at least four unless the single bottle/can is at least 24oz.
Hard liquor (defined by alcohol by volume percentage which I think is 8% but I'm not totally sure, but basically the line is strong wines like port or sake are considered liquor) may only be purchased for off-site consumption at designated liquor stores. Liquor stores are open from 10AM to 9PM on Monday through Saturday PERIOD. No sales before, no sales after, and absolutely NO sales on Sunday. None. Zero. I know.
Many liquor stores will actually card you at the door, so be warned. Mini-bottles (those little airplane-sized tiny bottles) can only be purchased in threes unless you purchase a half-pint/pint/fifth/whatever at the same time.
If you want to bring alcohol into the state, please note this is ILLEGAL. It's illegal like tearing the tag off your mattress is illegal, but it's still illegal. Hide it well and they won't care most likely, but be warned that they can confiscate it and possibly fine you for bootlegging. The up side is that Texas doesn't care how much alcohol LEAVES the state, so if you want to bring home some Lone Star, Shiner, Tito's, or Dripping Springs; feel free! Just contact your own state/country's alcohol commission and customs to check THEIR laws first.
Cigarettes, Cigars, Tobacco, and Smoking
Tobacco may be purchased only by those of 18 years of age or older. They're actually stricter about this than alcohol (I've been carded more for a pack of Camels than I have for a party's worth of vodka and bourbon). If you "look under 30", they'll card you. If you want to bring your own cigarettes into the state, you are only legally allowed to bring in 9 loose packs and/or 4 cartons. Again, bootlegging laws.
Here's the fun part - THERE IS NO SMOKING INDOORS IN ANY BUSINESS IN AUSTIN...unless they have a special license or a patio smoking area. No smoking in bars, restaurants, stores, etc. You must be 15 feet from any entrance/exit as well.
Tip: The best place downtown is the CVS store on 5th and Congress for normal brands as they're the cheapest in the area. Expect to pay $5-7 a pack for cigarettes including all taxes at most places, $4-5 a pack for the no-name brand, and $2/pack for those godawful "cigarette-sized cigars" everyone buys to get around the cigarette taxes. Loose tobacco for rolling your own will also cost you about $3/pack. If you buy in a bar or at any of the convenience stores downtown, expect to pay $7-9/pack. If you like cigars, there's an amazing cigar shop on 6th Street right around Red River. They also sell imported European and Asian cigarettes. Please note I rarely smoke cigars, so I don't know about their selection or prices, but it's a big store and the people are nice.
In case you people thought we were making it up when we talked about the heat, it is currently 105 degrees (40.5 degrees C) in downtown Austin according to weather.com. They don't have their ten day forcast updated to cover RTX just yet, but it will be by the end of the week. AccuWeather, however, is predicting that RTX weekend will have highs in the mid-90s (35-37 C) and lows in the upper-60s to lower-70s (20-23C). So thankfully, not as brutal as the First Annual RTX and there also doesn't appear to be rain on the forecast.
How to Handle the Heat, both in terms of your health and safety and just your general comfort.
- Drink lots of fluids, preferably water, juice, or sports drinks. If you're drinking alcohol during the day (or if you drink enough to wake up buzzed the next morning), make sure you drink lots of water. Aim for 8oz of water for every drink if possible. I'm not judging, I'm speaking from experience.
- Please note that this is high humidity heat. If you're from a dry area like the Southeastern US, this is a completely different level of hell that will be completely unfamiliar to you. I'm not going to start a pissing contest with people from Phoenix over whether their 120 degree highs are worse than our 105 degree highs, but they are completely different. Shade won't help you here, only AC or a fan will.
- Bring sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen. Sunburns suck. If you're going to have a pool party or run around outside at all, make sure to wear sunscreen on uncovered areas and if you're fair-skinned or prone to burning, a large hat or umbrella/parasol. Sunglasses will just help you be able to see. If you're just going to wander around the convention center during the day, this isn't as big of a deal for you.
- Rest frequently. This is especially true if you start feeling dizzy, light-headed, or unable to focus. Those are warning signs of heat exhaustion which means get your ass in AC, sit the hell down, and drink some cold water. I don't care if you're late for Monty's panel or you're next in line at the taco truck. If you don't attend to it immediately, there's a chance you'll pass out and miss half the convention sitting in an ER getting a saline drip and that's no fun. Trust me.
- Bring extra socks. Swamp foot sucks, and you'll feel a lot better if you change socks after 6-8 hours.
- If you're not used to the heat and/or the humidity, you may want to shower twice especially if you're going out at night to SideQuest or just to party. You'll feel a lot better without that sticky dried sweat feeling, and everyone around you will thank you. Yes, this goes for you Southwestern US people too, it's not dry here so your sweat doesn't evaporate nearly as quickly.
- In fact, bring two sets of clothes. One for daytime and one for night (assuming you're going out to SideQuest events or just partying on 6th Street). You'll feel a lot better if you shower and change before you go out, and you'll have more energy. You might get away with the same pair of jeans for the same day, but you'll still probably want to change anyway so you're not putting the icky sweaty things back on after getting out of the shower all nice and cool and clean.
Wear antiperspirant and/or deodorant or someone will murder you. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. But 4000 sweaty geeks all crammed together trying to get at HALO 4 is not going to end well for your olfactory senses. I don't care if your hotel's only two blocks from the convention center. That's still walking two blocks in 80-90 degree heat with 70-100% humidity. I mean the place is still going to smell like a YMCA locker room most likely, but you'll be able to be smug in knowing that it's not you.
We're getting close to a month out, so it's time for everyone to start assembling their con survival kits so you're not rushed at the last minute. These are the things you want to make sure you have with you when you travel and when you get to the con itself so you're prepared.
- Toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, shampoo, and deodorant. If you're flying, make sure you read the current regulations on what sizes you're allowed to bring. USE THESE DAILY! It's going to be crowded and hot and the last thing anyone wants is for it to be crowded, hot, and stinky
- 1 set of clothes per day plus 1-2 back-up outfits. This is important in case you spill something on yourself, something rips, or you just get too sweaty to be comfortable. Plan out your cosplay or favorite RT tshirt, then pack away an extra Batman shirt and a pair of shorts or two. Extra undies are important as well. If you're planning to hit Sidequest events or just go barhopping after hours, you'll probably want different daytime/nighttime outfits and a new shower so you can be nice and clean.
- Hand sanitizer and use regularly. People have been looking forward to this con for months if not since 3 seconds after the last one ended. They're not going to stay home because they caught a summer cold. Those few people will spread that cold to everyone. Using hand sanitizer will cut down on your chances of picking it up if you use it pretty often, especially after playing demo games or other hands-on type stuff. You also get the added bonus of seeing that look of relief on someone's face when you approach them in the autograph lines using it because they know at least this person isn't going to give them the plague. Even bigger bonus - you get to walk around everywhere looking like you're hatching a nefarious scheme.
- A backpack of messenger bag that is comfortable to wear for long periods. You're going to see a ton of stuff at the con that you fall in love with and must own. A backpack will free up your hands to make it easier on you. It will also let you carry deodorant, bottles of water (depending on convention center regulations), snacks (also depending on regulations), and other items. Be courteous of your fellow attendees though and don't make it too big or you'll bump into everyone constantly. Also expect the bag to be searched by security, especially if you're going into any big-name super-secret sign-a-NDA type events.
- Extra money, preferably in cash. Things happen unexpectedly. You're starving, you lose your debit card, that signed Master Chief bust was too much for you and you had to have it but it blows your budget, etc. Make sure to bring some cash with you because some vendors may not be able to take cards and ATM fees around the convention center are insane. Be smart about how you carry your money though. Don't leave it in plain sight in your hotel room and try not to carry it all in one place. Austin's a pretty safe city for its size, but there are still criminals out there so be careful.
- Any items you want to bring to get signed. Already have the RvB DVDs or an old poster? The RT people are really cool and I seriously doubt they'll enforce a "you have to buy new" signing policy.
- Any medications you may need. If you take prescription medication, make sure it's in the bottles for that medicine with the pharmacist's label to avoid any problems. Advil and Aleve are good for strained or sore muscles from walking around too much, Tylenol is good for sore joints, headaches, or pinched nerves, and the greatest hangover cure other than "Don't drink so much!" and lots of water is Alka Seltzer. Generic versions of all these work just as well if you want to save a few bucks.
- Any power adapters or chargers you'll need. If possible, bring spares for your cell phone in case one vanishes. Take a look at every bit of electronics you have and make sure you're bringing the power cable or charger for that device. This also includes extra batteries for anything that takes batteries.
Things to remember:
- Shower at least once a day and use deodorant. Please don't go hippy/hipster and use any weird crystal stuff that doesn't actually work. Lots of people plus small space plus Texas summers means things can get very stinky very fast.
- Expect to spend more than your budget. Doesn't matter how reasonable your budget is, you're going to go over it. It's the nature of cons.
- Learn a bit about the area you'll be at before the con. Google Maps and Google Street View are excellent tools. You can move around the city without getting your ass off your chair. It'll save you valuable time trying to figure your way to and from your hotel, the convention center, and any SideQuest events or bars you'd like to hit. Make sure you research restaurants, especially places like coffee shops and fast food places for when you're low on money and just need a quick bite. You can also find lots of useful information in the threads for Sidequest as well as the Quick Guide to Austin thread.
- Check your hotel's wifi policy before you leave. You don't want to be surprised when you get there. Call the front desk if you need to (during the day when it's slow to be nice to the poor people) and they'll be able to answer questions for you as best they can. Also check into your cell phone's rate and data plan just to be on the safe side, especially if you're visiting from overseas.
- Make sure to leave time post-trip for decompression. You're going to be hot and exhausted and trying to adjust to the real world where no one gets your "I think it looks like a puma" references (which can be very annoying...). If you're requesting time off for work, make sure that you have at least half a day if not a full day off on your return so that you can relax and unwind, especially if your job is mentally or physically exhausting or stressful. You may also need that day to get over whatever contagion you catch at the con.
Bad news for all of you who I spoke to previouslyy about playing D&D Next at RTX. From the FAQ from Wizards of the Coast:
Can I run a D&D Next playtest at my convention?
Due to the requirement that playtest participants agree to terms and the Online Playtest Agreement, playtesting is not permitted at conventions unless run by Wizards of the Coast.
Boooooooo! So I can't run a D&D Next demo playtest game at RTX.
Fortunately, they do allow play in game stores and private homes. And since my hotel room's going to be my home for five nights, and I don't see a difference between any sort of open gaming area from a gaming store. So screw it! I'm running a Dungeons & Dragons Next game!
I haven't decided what yet as it really depends on what Wizards of the Coast has released in terms of material, but I'll probably create either an original adventure or convert an old classic 1st Edition AD&D or D&D B/X module. I will have limited room and will only do a couple of these.
One thing that is critical if you want to participate is that you follow the rules and sign up for the playtest via Wizard of the Coast's D&D Next Playtest website. It's completely free and I promise I've gotten exactly two emails from them just to know when and how I could download my playtest material. You'll be able to look over the rules and the demo adventure given. If you're interested in playing, post here or send me a message.
And for those who were at RTX last year, I learned my lesson and I will not schedule anything opposite official RTX events. It will be purely during "boring" panels and after hours.
Okay, here's a quick guide to Texas for those of you who have never been here. My qualifications: I'm a 32 year old born-and-bred Texan who lived in Austin for six years. For those who attended RTX2011, you'll remember me as the guy who wrote a similar guide last year including frequent weather updates (you'll also probably remember me as the drunken fat jackass, but I was in a bad place in my life last year and while I'm still fat and still drunk (usually), I do expect at least 80% less jackassery this year..at least the bad kind).
It's going to be hot and humid. July in Texas can literally kill you. If you're not from the Gulf Coast, the jungles of Southwest Asia, or the Brazilian Rainforest, you do not know what to expect. Highs in the summer in Texas range typically from 90-110F (32-43C) with humidity typically over 80%. Make sure to drink lots of fluids (and no, sodas and beer do not count) and bring at least 2 changes of clothes per day along with plenty of antiperspirant because you will be sweating a lot. The following is not an exaggeration:
Austin has a lot of amazing restaurants in every price category, so anyone eating at a chain fast food place or "casual dining" restaurant should be ashamed of themselves. This really deserves its own thread, but I would like to point out specifically Casino el Camino which is located on 6th Street and Red River, which is a great bar which serves the best hamburgers in the world. It's less than two blocks from the convention center and has been talked about both on the Drunk Tank/RoosterTeeth Podcast as well as featured in a RoosterTeeth Webcomic.
The legal drinking age in Texas is 21 years of age. The only legal way to drink in Texas under the age of 21 is if your parent or legal guardian who is over the age of 21 purchases the alcoholic beverage and serves it to you, and the bar can still request that you not do this.
Alcohol may be purchased in bars until 2 AM, at which time no more alcohol may be served and all unfinished drinks must be collected. There are no such things as "to-go" cups and bouncers will get mean if you try to leave a location with a drink in your hand.
For purchasing for consumption at your hotel room, beverages containing more than 10% alcohol by volume (liquor) may be purchased only from liquor stores which may only sell alcohol between the hours of 10 AM and 9 PM Monday through Saturday (no sales on Sunday). Beverages containing less than 10% alcohol by volume (beer, wine, those weird pre-mixed margarita thingies, etc.) may be purchased at any store with a license to sell them (convenience stores, grocery stores, etc.) between the hours of 7 AM and 12 midnight Monday-Saturday and 12 noon to 12 midnight on Sunday. You must be 21 years of age to purchase and many places will not sell to you if you are with someone who is under 21 years of age.
Acceptable IDs: State-issued driver's license or ID card with photo, military ID, and passport.
Texas does not limit the amount of alcohol you can take out of the state, but you can only bring certain amounts of alcohol into the state from other states/countries (the law's very specific here, but generally it's around 24 bottles/cans of beer, 4 bottles of wine, or 2 bottles of liquor). US Customs may have different laws, so you international folks will want to look into that.
Open containers are illegal. You must be indoors or in a clearly defined outdoor patio area in order to consume alcohol or have an open container. Drunk driving is not cool and Austin has plenty of cabs/buses so I'm not even going to get into the drunk driving laws because if you drink and drive, you're a dick end of story.
Capital Metro (bus/train) http://www.capmetro.org/
Yellow Cab: 512-452-9999
Austin Cab: 512-478-2222
Lone Star Cab: 512-836-4900
There is a Capital Metro bus that runs from the airport to downtown. Check the website for specific times for your flight, but the ride from the airport to downtown last time I took it (3 years ago), it took around 20-30 minutes early Sunday morning with zero traffic. All the cab companies charge the same rate by city law based on mileage and "idle time", and there is a surcharge to get a cab from the airport. The total trip should cost around $20-30 plus tip. Yellow Cab and Austin Cab both accept credit/debit cards, but (as of last year) only Yellow Cab had real life grown-up card sliders (Austin Cab had those old school giant things with carbon papers that take an imprint of the card), so keep track of your charges because they won't show up immediately in your account. Also, many hotels in the area offer airport shuttles either included in your room rate or for an additional charge.
Tipping is expected at all sit-down restaurants and all bars. Expected is 15% at restaurants and 25% at bars (with a minimum of $1/drink). This isn't required by law, but if you're at a bar and don't tip, expect crappy service and for your drinks to be poured "light" (more soda/mixer than alcohol).
Smoking is not allowed in any indoor public area in Austin including but not limited to restaurants, hotel lobbies, convention centers, bars, and public transportation. You must be further than 15 ft from any entrance/exit to a public building. You must be 18 years of age with ID to purchase tobacco, and there are many specialty smoke shops in downtown Austin that carry imported cigarettes if you're from overseas. State law dictates that you can bring no more than 4 cartons of cigarettes or 9 loose packs with you when entering the state.
If you're wondering about your specific hotel/airline/etc., contact them directly as they are the only ones with the correct information
If anyone has any other questions, ask away!
Post edited 2/17/12 9:45AM
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