By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Houston?
Do you need a car in Houston > Should you rent a car in Houston USA > Houston ( IAH )

Do you need a car in Houston? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

What can we really say about Houston, one of the most car-dependent cities on earth? This is a place where nearly 95% of all journeys in the city are taken by car, and anybody who has the option of driving will drive.

Why should you rent a car in Houston?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Houston?

Houston Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 739 - of which 599 have free parking. [full notes - parking]




So it almost goes without saying that a rental car in Houston is an absolute must, and that’s really almost all there is to it!

  • Public transport in Houston is terrible, so you have little choice.
  • The token light rail network is unlikely to take you where you want to go.
  • IT’s virtually impossible to transfer to or from the port of Galveston by public transport.

Why not? Visiting Houston without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Houston public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


However, we never want to dismiss a city entirely and say that there is no way to get around without a car, even if you would normally hire one anyway.

So for a start, Houston does have a network of public transport bus routes, including scheduled bus services from both the main Houston Intercontinental International airport as well as the smaller Houston Hobby airport. There is also a token light rail service in Houston. However, this is really largely aimed at commuters, and it doesn’t serve either airport.

  • Taxis are always an option. Ff you have to spend your entire visit using them, this isn’t exactly something we’d refer to as a “no car” option, when it just means somebody else is doing the driving!
  • Trying to get around Houston and the area that surrounds it without a car is by no means impossible. This really will depend on where it is you are trying to get to.
  • You can also transfer by bus towards the state capital San Antonio or towards easy-going Austin, both in around 2 to 3 hours. However, bus services to the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex typically take 5 to 6 hours. There are naturally plenty of short hop flights within Texas, including between Houston and Dallas.


Car rental in - Houston Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Houston?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Houston?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Houston?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Houston if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Houston if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Houston if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Visiting Houston without a car simply isn’t much fun. This great Texan oil city was always built around the car first. Even if Houston’s vast freeways move like treacle at times, they are still the only real way to get around. To appreciate a true feeling of the size and flavours of big open Texas, then you will have to head to the north-west towards the state’s border with New Mexico. This is often easier to do from Dallas.

Therefore, our Houston car advice is very strongly that this is the sort of city where a hire car isn’t just advisory, it’s all but essential.

Would you hire a car in Houston?

Have you driven in Houston? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Houston?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
Category: USA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *