Time for ANOTHER trip.
That’s right, just two weeks after returning from San Antonio, Texas I’m en route to New Orleans, Louisiana for a four-night stay in the Big Easy.
After an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico this summer and a two-week stay in Europe this Spring, the travel fund is admittedly tight, but with an industry conference scheduled for this weekend in NOLA, I’m been determined to make New Orleans on a budget work for me.
On August 8th, I committed to this trip, which left me about five and a half weeks to figure out how I could get there without spending a fortune.
I immediately applied for the Gold Delta Sky Miles AmEx, offering a 50,000 mile sign up bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days (I believe the offer is now 30,000 miles).
I received the card in the mail by August 18th, activated and hit the spending threshold immediately, by renewing all my annual business expenses and picking up a few grocery store gift cards.
By August 24th, the bonus 50,000 miles were credited to my account, and on September 8th I booked a roundtrip flight from New York to New Orleans for just 32,500 miles (which means I still have miles leftover for another flight).
Total cost? $11.20 in processing fees!
The conference is being held at the New Orleans Marriott located in the French Quarter. While rooms the rooms there are a fairly reasonable $162 per night ($81 if you bunk up), it’s still a hefty price tag when multiplied by four nights.
So I decided to scout out a lower cost alternative. After failing to find a convenient place on couchsurfing.org and with most of the low cost accommodations on Air BnB (get $40 your AirBnB stay when you click through the link) already booked, I turned to the home exchange listings on Craigslist.
I managed to workout an exchange with a lovely woman with a home near the fairgrounds and City Park, just two miles away from the Marriott.
The cost? FREE.
She’ll stay in my home for a few nights at some point in the future, but at no cost to me.
I found out that New Orleans has a fabulous deal called the Jazzy Pass, which allows unlimited access to all the bus and streetcar lines for just $3 per day.
Considering a one-way trip on public transit in NYC is $2.75, I was admittedly “jazzed” when I read about the Jazzy Pass!
Luckily, breakfast and lunch are included on Friday and Saturday as part of the conference, so I only have two days and two dinners to concern myself with in New Orleans.
As a vegetarian, I’ve done my due diligence to research some unique NOLA veggie options in advance. Luckily, all are fairly cost effective. Not surprisingly, beans and grains are cheaper than alligator.
I might splurge a little on cocktails, as I know New Orleans is a hot spot for my favorite kinds of alcoholic concoctions. And since my total costs thus far are pretty close to zero, I’m willing to splurge on the specialty drinks.
As for activities (other than eating and drinking) I’m a walking kind of gal. I’ve plotted out three separate routes I want to explore some time in between meetings and conference keynotes. Between my Jazzy Pass and my own two feet, I don’t anticipate needing to spend much at all to enjoy the vibrant art, architecture, and culture of New Orleans.
Here’s what’s on the agenda…
If you’re looking for more budget itinerary ideas, here is a great one!
When all is said and done, without sacrificing the fun stuff, I anticipate the total cost of my roundtrip, four-night New Orleans on a budget itinerary to end up being no more than $200!