New Orleans is a hot destination spot for people of all ages and all walks of life. It offers a wide variety of food, drinks, history, culture, and art.
However, it’s easy to get caught up in things and end up spending way more money or your trip than intended. The key is planning your trip in advance and learning how to save money where you can.
But don’t worry, visiting New Orleans on a budget won’t take anything away from the trip! It will, however, allow you to extend your stay and spend money on things that are more important.
Keep reading for our top tips.
Visiting New Orleans on a Budget
Visiting New Orleans on a budget is about doing research ahead of time to learn where to stay, eat, drink, and have a good time. However, it’s also about knowing how to blend in with the locals, take advantage of cheap transportation, and cut unnecessary vacation costs.
1. Don’t Visit in the Summer
First and foremost, no matter where you plan to travel, you must avoid hitting the peak tourist season. For New Orleans (and many other tourist destinations), it means avoiding summer visits.
During the tourist season, you’ll find escalated prices on plane tickets, lodging, dining, and drinking. You can save hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket alone simply by booking in advance and visiting New Orleans during the spring or fall.
Unless you’re going there specifically for Mardi Gras, you’ll also want to avoid visiting New Orleans during spring break. Remember also that summer in New Orleans is hot, muggy, and uncomfortable for those not well-adjusted to the heat.
2. Lock Down Your Transportation
Next, unless you’re driving to New Orleans, you’re going to need to think about transportation. While convenient, hiring a cab or Uber driver to take you everywhere will skyrocket your daily costs.
Instead, think about public transportation, such as streetcars, buses, ferries, and rideshares.
However, if you’re there to have a good time with other people, you can also consider pooling some money together for a party shuttle service. Even if it’s just for one night, your driver will stop at unlimited bars, clubs, and other nightlife hotspots. They also provide water and alcohol on-board as well as the assurance that you’ll get home safe with a doorstep drop-off at the end of the night.
3. Take Advantage of Happy Hours
It’s no secret that one of the best places to go to have a good time and enjoy the local drinking scenes is New Orleans. However, if you’re visiting New Orleans on a budget, this nightlife can get costly very quickly.
Instead of blowing all your money on booze, we recommend two major pieces of advice.
First, drink responsibly. While you’re likely there to have a good time, it would be better if you didn’t drain the bank on drinks. It’ll also be better if you don’t drink yourself sick or drink away the memories of the good time you had.
4. Go On-Foot
One of the best ways to experience and absorb a new area is by walking it on foot. While it may seem tedious, there’s really no better way to see everything and take it all in.
While you can’t expect to walk all of New Orleans on foot, you can take special walking tours. Some suggestions are the French Quarter, the Garden District, and The Riverfront.
The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in the city and hosts attractions such as the French Market and Royal Street. The Garden District is full of history as well, with old mansions and a beautiful 19th-century cemetery. Finally, The Riverfront Moonwalk Park is a great place to take in the views and stroll around for hours.
5. Copy the Local Dining Habits
Another great tip for visiting New Orleans on a budget is to eat like the locals. Eating is a large part of tourism. When you visit a culture, you’re also trying to get a taste of their foods.
However, eating in touristy districts can drain your wallet quite quickly. Therefore, find restaurants that are frequented by locals to get a taste of the culture without blowing the bank. However, if you’ve got the money and the inclination, feel free to have at least one or two fine-dining nights, especially if you’re visiting New Orleans with your significant other.
6. Avoid Staying in Popular Districts
Similarly to dining in popular districts, selecting lodging in these places is also a bad idea for travelers on a budget. For example, the Central Business District and French Quarter are two of the most popular tourist districts in the city. You should avoid staying in hotels or bed and breakfasts there at all costs.
These rates will also go up during popular tourist seasons, such as spring break and summer.
Finally, as an extra bit of advice, search for hotels and other lodging options that offer free parking. If you’re staying in the city for cheap but have to pay for parking, you won’t be saving as much money as you think.
7. Find Free and Inexpensive Attractions
Finally, when visiting New Orleans on a budget, try to find free and/or cheap attractions. Remember, however, that free and cheap don’t always mean bad.
For example, the Cabildo Museum and Presbytere Museum in Jackson Square are both quite affordable, as entrance fees are only six dollars a person. There are also aboveground cemeteries from the 19th century full of history and culture.
Alternatively, you can drive about half an hour outside of the French Quarter where you can find the famous swamps full of nature and scenery.
Looking for More Advice?
Now that we’ve explored visiting New Orleans on a budget, what else can we help you with? Before you go, take a moment to check out the rest of our articles from everything to productivity hacks to jumping into the world of Bitcoin.