Day Trippin

A collection of day trips: Wurstfest

Wurstfest returns November 2nd-11th of 2018. Photo by Courtney Sellers

This year we celebrated the 56th anniversary of Wurstfest — the huge outdoor sausage and beer festival in New Braunfels, TX. I haven’t been to Wurstfest since I was in college at Texas State, and since we were going to a wedding in the hill country anyway we decided to head up a day early so we could attend.

First things first, I think Wurstfest could be a day trip if you aren’t a huge drinker. But I never condone drinking and driving, so turn this into an overnight stay if you plan to enjoy the pitchers of beer. The hotel hustle in New Braunfels during the two-week period of Wurstfest is unparalleled anywhere on earth. I recommend staying at the Microtel on I35 – prices were cheaper than anywhere else in town, all of their rooms are non-smoking, and they have the greatest policy on earth – after the checkout time of noon, you can stay in the room for $10/hr. This was clutch the next morning after drinking beer all night. Noon would have been an impossible task – we barely made it to the 4:30 pm wedding.

Uber has been a major development in the time that has passed between my last trip to Wurstfest a decade ago and now. Parking is a struggle and many churches and other businesses offer up parking in their lots for a price. I spoke to a member of the Knights of Columbus for a local church, and he told me they don’t even have to do fundraisers anymore because the money they make from parking during the two weeks of the festival pays for everything they would do fundraising for. That’s incredible. Be prepared for a pretty long walk either way — the traffic leading up to the festival entrance is so slow you’re likely to jump out of your Uber, and the waiting area for cars is a good walk away when you leave.

Once you actually get there, you can purchase entrance and drink tickets either online or at the door. At the door and once inside the festival everything is cash only. The only exception to the cash only rule is the souvenir stands where they do take credit cards. I found this hilarious — it’s too hard to take credit cards until they really want your money, then it’s simple.

So you’re inside Wurstfest. Now what? We attended the second weekend of the festival and it was packed to the gills. Walking is nearly impossible once you get inside. The festival has outgrown the grounds so much that every single inch of space is taken, and the fair grounds are just a writhing mass of people all trying to get to different places. There are tents set up around the festival with different musicians and performers, and the big tent near the main entrance of the festival for the main attractions. This tent is massive, and it was by God’s own grace that we actually were able to find our friends. Cell phone service is almost non-existent here due to the huge crowds. The big tent in the middle is where you’ll find all the beer and meats your heart desires. My advice is to find a stand that sells the beer you want, get your sausages, and post up shop at an entertainment tent nearby and just sit there. If you can’t find a place to sit, get ok with standing the whole time, it’s not that bad!

A pitcher of German beer cost $29 each. The food was more reasonably priced and some places were even giving away little pins and stuff when you bought food. For $30 we were able to get fried bacon, German chocolate cake, three different types of bratwurst, more sausage, and sausage on a stick with a tortilla. Six pitchers of beer later, it was time to go home. Despite claims to the contrary, I am a generally happy person. It takes a lot to get me upset, especially in crowds where I know things will never go very well. But not everyone is that way. We saw people throwing up everywhere, getting in fights over space on picnic benches, kids running to and fro — their parents oblivious to their whereabouts, and people like us just trying to relax, drink beer, listen to polka, and eat. It’s not all bad crowds though, standing in line for beer, I met a man whose dad has been a “red vest” since the 1970’s, and he himself just earned his red vest this year. The guys in the red and green vests help put the festival together and the green vest guys are like pledges. Hearing about the early days of the festival taking place in a church basement on a single day to the monstrosity we attended was interesting, and really made the beer line move faster. Wurstfest is over until next year but make sure you check it out in 2018!

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

The intro says that I am an international marathoner. Guess what I used to do before that. I have probably served you a meal at one of the restaurants where I've waited tables in Houston. I know your next question….How does a waitress afford traveling to places like China, Africa, and Iceland? Sometimes more than once a year. I have three words for you….Frequent Flyer Miles! They are your best friend and if you are not a rich, but you want to travel, they should be a priority in your life. Few people know this method, so I'm going to do better than tell you. I'm going to show you.

All major airlines have a rewards program. I fly United Airlines because I like all of the airlines they partner with in Star Alliance. Their rewards program is called Mileage Plus. It is free to join. The big question is: How do you earn enough miles to afford an international trip?

To come up with this answer, we need to ask ourselves three questions:

  1. If I could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? (Sky is the limit, literally).
  2. Who am I as a person? Describe my lifestyle.
  3. What do I spend my money on every single day?

We are about to turn the answers to these questions into miles into the dollars we will save off of our trip. I'm going to use myself as an example. I've always wanted to see Machu Picchu. There is a marathon this year on the Inca Trail. What's the first thing I do? I go the United.com to look up how much the flight to Lima, Peru would be. Lima is the closest international airport to Machu Picchu. After looking the cost of a round trip in October, I find that the price is $2275. Do I want to pay this? No way.

Let's redo the details of this trip, but using a reward miles search instead ofdollars. Now we know that this trip will now cost 40,000 miles and $73.36 in taxes and fees. Wow, from $2275 to $74. Can this be true? Yes, it can. Next Question.

Who am I as a person?

We are all different. I do not spend money like you and nor do you like me. I am a woman who does not like to shop for expensive clothes. I don't like trying them on in the store. I rent, but I do use services like electricity under my name. I spend money on maintaining my older car, light makeup and hair products, but I love going out to eat at restaurants (restaurants are in my blood). I also own my own business, so I have business expenses like marketing materials. We will stop there. I think that is enough information. Next question.

What do I spend money on every day?

With this in mind, go to the earn rewards section of your rewards program. Start researching on how you can earn as many miles as possible. We are looking for miles only. Here are a few things that jump out at me that I can begin implementing in my life.

United GoBank Card:

Without even taking out a new line of credit, you can use this card to purchase everyday items, like gas, groceries, and whatever. You earn 1 mile per $2 spent up to 2500 miles (15,000 miles for six months)

Change your energy provider to Reliant using the Milage Plus promo code:

This action gets you 27,000 miles. There a couple of conditions: You will only get 21,000 by October and you have to sign a two year contract with Reliant at .15/kwhr. It's kinda high, but you decide how bad you want to go to Machu Picchu.


Milage Plus Shopping:

You can earn points by shopping online at the places that you shop all of the time. I'm looking at the stores. I need contacts, business cards and posters, running shoes and clothes, hair products, tires for my car, and a brake job.

1800 Contacts $4/mile

Saucony Running Shoes $3/mile

Auto Zone $1/mile

Kerastase shampoo $2/mile

Vista Print $2/miles

Discount Tires $2 mile (just as long as don't send tires to my apartment.

If you add everything together, these items could mean 3,850 miles. You can bump that up by making all these purchases with the GoBank card and increase your miles to 5,775.


Gift Cards

You can purchase gift cards through the rewards programs to your favorite places. This could also help you budget your spending better or could be gifts that you were going to buy anyway. These are the places that I use:

Buffalo Wild Wings $4/mile

McCormick and Schmicks $5/mile

Hello Fresh $4/mile

Saltgrass Steakhouse $5/mile

Charming Charlie's $3/mile

After doing some figuring, I could easily earn 4,004 more miles by the gift card method.

Downloaded Apps

If you download certain apps to your mobile devices from the United Plus website, anything you order from them have automatic miles attached to them. Groupon jumped out at me. I'm always looking for a deal on oil changes, massages, and other stuff. You can earn $11/mile. So, the eye exam I needed that could cost $120 or more, will cost $60 and I'll earn 660 miles and so forth. Looks like I'm going to be on that Groupon app often. Let's say, I'll spend $400 on Groupon. That's 4400 miles.

Grand Total

So let's add it up and see what we have miles we will have by October I'm so excited!

GoBank 15,000 miles

Reliant Switch 21,000 miles

Shopping 5,775 miles

Gift Cards 4,004 miles

Downloaded Apps 4,400 miles

Total: 50,179 miles

Guess What? I'm going to Machu Picchu with some miles left over. You can also use miles to make hotel reservations, too. There you have it. Now you can be a world traveler too.

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