Tag Archives: solotravel

NOLA on a Budget (and by Yourself)

With four comp days to kill and vacation always on the brain, I decided to take a budget trip, so I went to Kayak.com/Explore and the cheapest flight was to New Orleans. NOLA was on my bucket list, so I was sold! My nonprofit paycheck and my desire to go to South America in December, made the budget for this trip even tighter than normal. I was also going by myself, so there was no one to share a hotel bill or taxi fare with. Here are a few hints if you’re ever looking to go to NOLA on a budget and by yourself:

  • Spirit Airlines is awesome and annoying all at the same time. The flights are super cheap because their bare bones flights get you exactly that – a flight. Pay to print your ticket, pay for baggage, pay for water on the flight. So for $97, I flew to NOLA for 4 days with a personal item (has to be less than 16x14x12). I stuffed all I could into my duffle and that was it!
  • The ultimate accommodations in budget travel are hostels. At $26 a night, my hostel served my purposes perfectly. Check out my first experience in a hostel here.
  • As I’ve done in Barcelona and many other European cities, I love to take free tours when I get to new cities. I took three free tours when I was in NOLA – at the French Market and with Free Tours by Foot in the Garden District and a ghost tour. The tours are free since the guides work on tips. I also took a tour of St. Louis Cemetery – which isn’t open to the general public – through a tour I found on Groupon (I also saw a pub crawl Groupon on there, which would’ve been super fun if I’d been there on the weekend).
Lafayette Cemetery which was on the Garden District free tour
Lafayette Cemetery on the Garden District free tour

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My First Hostel Experience 

I have a penchant for staying on friends’ couches and consider myself a 3-star hotel kinda gal, but my recent trip to New Orleans was all about traveling on a budget. The best way to do that is by staying in a hostel. With 23 countries under my belt, you’d think I’d be a hostel pro, but this was my first time ever! I stayed at a lovely, off the beaten path place called Auberge near the St. Charles streetcar. It was given really high ratings on all of the blogs I read, and at $26 a night, I jumped on it. (For comparison, some hotels rooms I found were $200/night).

The room I stayed in was an 8-person mixed dorm room, meaning both men and women shared the room. The room was never full but the inhabitants were certainly characters – a Brazilian man with a tan, 6-pack, and a nipple ring; a man in his 20s who slept often, always with his jeans on; and a female Floridian who smoked pot and claimed to be in NOLA to sightsee, but never made it past Bourbon Street. I met a girl from Japan, a few from Germany, and a couple from the UK, all of whom stayed in other rooms. Besides my room, there was a 6-person mixed dorm and all-female rooms, costing $30 and $33 a night respectively.

The only reason I chose the 8-person mixed was because I’m cheap (really, I just wanted to spend the extra $21 I was saving on yummy treats).

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