I'm traveling to Houston in early November. Except for some layovers in IAH, this will be my first time in the city and also in Texas and of course I'm having many questions right now My questions already start at the arrival in IAH: Some research indicated that there are many toll roads in Texas - do all car rental companies therefore offer a program similar to Toll-pass where I don't have to worry about cashless roads, road congestion at the pay stations etc or is it only Hertz that offers this convenience. Besides: is the charge of this program worth it or don't I need it in Houston? As for the hotel, I'm booked at the Marriott North right now. Any input on this property? I know the area is sometimes dubbed Gunspoint but the prices work out very well for me at 70$/day including breakfast buffet for two. Also, I'll only be at the hotel at night for sleeping, therefore I couldn't justify paying more than 4x as much at the JW Marriott next to the Galleria. But the question has to be asked to you experts: Is the area still that bad and at the same time really inconvenient for tourists or is Houston police right when they claim the area is now among the safest in the city? As for the vacation itself, I planned to make some shopping and see some of the sights of the area like Galveston, Kemah, why not a day-trip to San Antonio or even Lake Charles in Louisiana. Any sights I forgot that are must sees? Anything I mentioned that isn't really necessary visiting? As far as shopping is concerned, Galleria, Katy Mills, Houston Premium Outlets are all well known but what about other malls in the area? Anything interesting or should I plan a day trip to San Marcos? One last thing I'm looking for is a place like they always show on those tv shows Diners, Drive Ins and Dives or Man vs. Food, a real dive that serves real good BBQ. I couldn't find information on any good places for BBQ in or near Houston. Only thing I found is a chain called Pappas BBQ. Any ideas? Thanks in advance for your help!