The Ultimate Guide to AUS: On a budget

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is the gateway to the world for all Austinites and Central Texans. This means we work hard to provide options, amenities, and services that meet the needs of our diverse community. When it comes to planning your travel, there are some ways to stretch a dollar and have an affordable AUS experience. Check out this “on a budget” guide before your next trip. Who knows, you may get some value out of it…


Compared to the national average, AUS has lower than the average rate for one-way fares among medium and large hub airports in the U.S. (per the U.S. Department of Transportation Q2 2023 report).


We have several parking options at AUS, but the cheapest option is Economy at $12/day. Reserve your spot today.

Rental cars

Booked a rental? All of our rental car partners will honor their brand’s corporate loyalty programs, discounts, and coupons.

Food & drink

  • Snacks: BYOS. Did you know you can bring food from home to AUS? The only requirement is that it’s solid and fits in your carry-on. A few good examples to think about bringing on your next trip are pre-packaged crackers, fruit, granola bars, chips and popcorn.
  • Water: We’ve long provided refill stations for travelers with reusable water bottles – there are several located throughout the terminal. But did you happen to forget your water bottle? We know water is essential and, while there is free water in the terminal, bottled water should be dang near close enough to free. So, this summer, our concessionaires will be introducing cheaper bottled water options as low as $2 a pop.
  • Loyalty programs & coupons: The AUS Starbucks is proud to accept your Starbucks Rewards member discounts, points, and book-ahead orders.
  • A few affordable food & drink menu items
    • A side salad for as low as $6 at Parkside by Gate 3
    • A taco a la carte for as low as $5.49 or tortilla soup for as low as $6.49 at Zocalo by Gate 12
    • Grande-size brewed coffee for as low as $3.25 at Starbucks by Gate 15
    • An apple, strawberry and banana smoothie for as low as $6.25 at Juiceland by Gate 17
    • Breakfast bars are as low as $2.49 at Jetset by Gate 23
    • Drip coffee as low as $4.25 or just an espresso shot for $3.50 at Ruta Maya by Gate 28
    • A classic sub or large garden salad for as low as $12 a-piece at ThunderCloud Subs by Gate 30

Gas mythbusters

Gas prices rise and fall throughout the year, but one thing stays consistent, the fuel at the Cell Phone Lot gas station. The price of the gas can only go as high as 5% more than the county retail price average (which is based on AAA).

Lounge access

  • Airlines: Members can get access to three airline lounges at AUS: Delta, United and American.
  • Credit cards: Those with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card have access to the terrace on the east end of the terminal.
  • Common use: While AUS doesn’t have one right now, there are plans to add one down the road as our airport expands!

Downright FREE

  • Live music: Shows are hosted 6 days a week at 8 different stages in the terminal
    • Vino Volo by Gate 6
    • 24 Diner by Gate 11
    • Austin City Market by Gate 11
    • Hut’s Hamburgers by Gate 14
    • Asleep at the Wheel by Gate 19
    • Haymaker by Gate 23
    • Tacodeli by Gate 24
    • Annie’s Café and Bar by Gate 27
  • Art exhibits: We host a range of permanent and temporary art exhibits in the terminal. Exhibits range in type (acrylic paint, glass blowing, etc.) to artist (we’ve had kids from the neighboring Del Valle ISD submit their artwork all the way to well-known local and international artists like Banksy).
    • Clarksville Gallery by Gate 10
    • Colony Park Gallery by Gate 10
    • East Concourse Galleries (multiple) by Gate 10
    • Moore’s Crossing Gallery by Gate 11
    • Zilker Gallery by Gate 18
    • Jollyville Gallery by Gate 21
  • Permanent, experiential art exhibit, Interimaginary Departures: An interactive, fantastical art exhibit posing as a “gate” in the terminal where kids and those young at heart can check out flights going to Hogwarts, Wakanda, and other fantasy destinations.

FYI: Pricing model at AUS

Airports, including ours, often face unique operational challenges and costs associated with providing services in this dynamic environment, meaning our airport concessionaires tend to face higher operational costs (overhead expenses can be unique, like strict security requirements) compared to counterparts outside of the airport world. Because of this, the price of food, drinks, retail items and other goods and services are adjusted (i.e. increased) in order to maintain profitability and sustain operations here. That’s why you tend to see higher prices in the terminal. However, just know that our airport ensures fairness by following the industry standard pricing model for airports in the United States: a street price + 10% markup. That means AUS concessions can’t raise prices higher than 10% of what the product or service would cost outside of the airport. In other words, if a meal is typically $15 in the ~real world~, it’ll be $16.50 at AUS.

We hope these tips help you save you time and hopefully money on your next AUS adventure!