Traveling to New Orleans for spring break can be both fun and culturally rewarding. But with 9.52 million visitors in 2014 spending $6.81 billion, it is possible your trip can get expensive quickly. By budgeting and planning ahead, however, you could end up saving money rather than spending too much of it during your spring break. Whether you are looking to escape from the pressures of college life or looking for a mixture of relaxation and education with your family, there are ways to ensure your trip does not end up costing more than it should.
How to Cut Costs During Spring Break in New Orleans
Below are five tips that can make a real difference when it comes to planning and taking a spring break trip to The Big Easy.
1. Plan spring break lodging far in advance.
While New Orleans is not as crowded during spring break as it is during Mardi Gras, hotel prices can be steep — especially if you book at the last minute. Planning ahead can allow you to be more selective about where to stay and ensures that less expensive options are still available. U.S. News Travel recommends avoiding the French Quarter altogether, citing particularly high prices. But if you consider the French Quarter quintessential New Orleans, plan ahead so you can have affordable hotel options to choose from.
2. Choose which New Orleans landmarks to visit ahead of time.
Sightseeing is one of the most economical activities to pursue on spring break, and it is a great option for parents who want to include educational opportunities during the trip. Visit the Old Ursaline Convent or the St. Louis Cathedral, or take a full river tour on the Algiers Ferry.
3. Take advantage of travel rewards.
If you plan to use credit cards to pay for parts of your spring break trip, bringing credit cards that reward you for travel can reap real benefits. It is critical that you pay down whatever balances you accrue on your trip quickly to avoid heavy interest charges. Running up credit card balances that you carry for months or years can dramatically increase the overall cost of your spring break trip.
4. Capitalize on New Orleans’ alcohol laws.
As long as you confine your alcoholic beverages to approved plastic cups, open containers of alcohol are permitted on the streets of New Orleans. This means that rather than buying expensive drinks everywhere you go, stock up before you leave your hotel with drinks purchased at liquor stores. This might be impractical all the time, but it can help you save money.
5. Be New Orleans street savvy.
One of these easiest and most overlooked ways to save money when you travel is to not lose the money you arrive with. Tourists are commonly targeted, so carrying prepaid gift cards and limited amounts of cash can serve as a layer of protection.