A place in the United States that has always intrigued me was New Orleans. It’s a city with a rich history influenced by the Spanish, the French, the African-American, and the American South. All this creates a city like no other in this world! I was fortunate to visit there with my friends for a 4 day long weekend. I will let you know what we did and provide you a budget breakdown to get you an idea of how much a trip to New Orleans cost!
Flights to New Orleans from Toronto are more expensive compared to many other American cities I flew to because it is further away and there are not many flights between the two cities. I was able to save around $75 by not flying direct. I booked a flight for $491 CAD or $370 USD with Delta Airlines connecting in Detroit on the way to New Orleans, and connecting in Atlanta on the way back to Toronto. With supposedly only an hour layover in each city, it did not add too much time to our travels.
Unfortunately, our flight to Atlanta got delayed, which made us miss our connecting flight to Toronto. We had to stay over in a hotel near the airport, as the next flight available was the following morning. Fortunately, I was able to claim the hotel costs through my travel delay insurance as part of my American Express Platinum Card!
Food & Drinks
I was very excited about the food in New Orleans. Due to its unique culture and influences from many different ethnicities, food here is like no other! You have Creole food which are influenced from French, Spanish, West African, and Haitian such as gumbo, turtle soup, étouffée, jambalaya. There is Cajun food which is a style of cooking of the French-speaking Acadian people which have made their way from Acadia in Canada. Popular dishes include pralines, crawfish boil, and their versions of gumbo and étouffée. There is also Southern soul food such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. I was able to try out a lot of dishes and came back a couple of pounds heavier!
All in all I spent $308.96 CAD on food & drink, which included:
- Beignets from Cafe Beignet – 3 for $3.99 USD
- A bag of pralines – $10 USD
- Hurricane cocktail drink at Pat O’Brien’s – $9 USD
- Crawfish boils – $5 USD per pound
- Firecracker shrimp Po’ Boy from Parasol’s Bar & Restaurant – $10.50 USD
- Banana Foster Ice Cream Cake – $5 USD
- Fried seafood platters from many seafood restaurants – starting at $20 USD
- Fried chicken from established locations – starting at $14 USD. The fried chicken here is so good that I have made a post dedicated to the fried chicken in New Orleans! Check it out here.
- Muffuletta sandwiches from Central Grocery – $11.50 USD for a half sandwich
- Sazerac cocktail at Cure for $11 USD
- and more!
Make sure you check out my Top 5 Eats in New Orleans!
The French Quarter is where most of the action is for most tourists and is very walkable. Walking is actually the quickest way to get around as the roads are very narrow and can get congested very easily.
We rented a car for a day which we got for $77 USD which included a full tank of gas. We got this as we wanted to combine a day of exploring outside the French Quarter with our swamp tour (more below).
The rental car was from Hertz which I booked using Rentalcars.com. I find Rentalcars show more rental companies and better prices compared to other sites like Expedia and Kayak.
There are historic streetcars you can take for $1.25 USD. It is not very extensive but it may get you to where ever you need to go. We took the St. Charles line to explore more of the uptown area!
Uber and Lyft is also available in the city. We took them to and from the airport for around $38 USD. When arriving in the airport, try to see if you can split a car with other travellers as most likely, they will all be heading towards the French Quarter. We did that as soon as we arrived and we were able to bring down the costs of our ride!
If you do not have either, please use my referral links below so that you would get free rides and/or discounts. I would also earn some free rides and/or discounts! Win-Win!
We stayed at the City House Hostel in a 6 Bed Mixed Dorm for $30.75 USD per night. It is at a great location within the edge of the French Quarter, you’re close to the action but not in it! The staff were welcoming and also offered events every night so it was easy to meet new people. The rooms and beds were clean and there were facilities such as a kitchen and a common area with a TV.
Browsing Groupon, I stumbled upon a deal for a swamp tour in Jean Lafitte. A 90 minute swamp tour for four for $58 USD. The Tour guide was very informative and made lots of punny jokes, if you’re into that. You got to see alligators and even hold a baby one! Unfortunately I was expecting to head into more swampy terrains, but we just went through man made canals and open waters. Nonetheless, this was a great activity as we got do something different from the other activities within the city.
Other activities that we did
- checked out Louis Armstrong Park
- walked around Crescent Park
- watched a jazz performance at the Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub
- A fried chicken run
- Roamed around the Metairie Cemetery
- Got some smoothies and snacks at French Market Place
- Went on a Free French Quarter Walking Tour by Free Tours by Foot – tipped $10 USD
- A cabaret show at The AllWays Lounge & Cabaret – $15 cover (definitely worth it!, something you won’t see anywhere else)
- Went on a pub crawl – $19.50 USD (booked this before I knew the hostel had their own pub crawls)
- Went around City Park
- Take pictures around Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral
- Party at Bourbon Street
- Party at the alternative and less touristy Frenchmen Street
For my other expenses, I spent
- $2 USD for a poncho as I forgot to bring an umbrella and it was raining really hard one day
- $7 CAD for roaming data charges for one day
The Sum of the Costs of a Trip to New Orleans?
All together, the four day in New Orleans cost each person $1,096 CAD or $826 USD. It was an expensive trip for 4 days but we did get to do a lot and eat a lot too! New Orleans is an amazing place to go to and was money well spent!