How Much Money Should I Bring to New Orleans – 7 Steps

How Much Money Should I Bring to New Orleans

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New Orleans is a vibrant and exciting city that attracts millions of tourists. With its rich history, lively music scene, and mouthwatering cuisines, it’s no wonder that people are eager to explore this captivating destination. However, when it comes to planning a trip, one common question arises: how much money should I bring to New Orleans?

In this blog post, we will delve into the various factors to consider when budgeting for your trip to the Big Easy, from accommodation and transportation to dining and entertainment. Whether you’re a budget traveler or looking to indulge in the city’s offerings, we’ve got you covered with expert tips and insights to ensure you have a memorable and financially stress-free visit to New Orleans.

How Much Money Should I Bring to New Orleans

1: Understanding The Cost Of Living

Planning a trip to New Orleans and wondering how much money to bring? While it ultimately depends on your spending habits, it’s recommended to have some cash on hand as there are many cash-only establishments. Additionally, New Orleans has a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other cities in the United States, making it possible to enjoy the city’s attractions and cuisine while sticking to a budget.

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Living In New Orleans

New Orleans is a vibrant city known for its rich history, unique culture, and lively music scene. Before planning your trip to the Big Easy, it’s important to understand the cost of living and how it can impact your budget. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Housing: The cost of housing in New Orleans can vary depending on the neighborhood and the type of accommodation you choose. Renting an apartment in the city center will generally be more expensive than renting in the outskirts. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, consider staying in an Airbnb or vacation rental.
  2. Transportation: Getting around in New Orleans can be affordable if you take advantage of public transportation options like buses and streetcars. However, if you plan on renting a car or using rideshare services, keep in mind that these expenses can add up quickly.
  3. Food and Dining: New Orleans is famous for its delicious cuisine, from gumbo and jambalaya to po’boys and beignets. While you can find affordable eats at local dives and street food vendors, dining at upscale restaurants can significantly increase your food budget.
  4. Entertainment and Activities: From live jazz performances to exploring historic sites and museums, there’s no shortage of things to do in New Orleans. Keep in mind that some attractions may have admission fees or require reservations, so factor these costs into your budget.
  5. Shopping: If you’re planning on indulging in some retail therapy during your trip, be mindful of your expenses. New Orleans offers a diverse shopping scene, from local boutiques to well-known brands, so it’s important to set a budget beforehand.

Researching Typical Expenses In The City

Before setting your budget for your New Orleans trip, it’s crucial to research typical expenses in the city. This will give you a better understanding of how much money you should bring. Here are some resources to help you get started:

  1. Online Travel Forums: Websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp have dedicated forums where travelers discuss their experiences and share budget tips. Look for threads specifically concerning the cost of living in New Orleans or how much spending money to bring.
  2. Budgeting Websites: Platforms like provide average prices and estimated expenses for various destinations, including New Orleans. These websites can give you an idea of how much you can expect to spend on accommodation, food, transportation, and more.
  3. Local Blogs and Websites: Seek out local blogs and websites that cover topics related to travel and lifestyle in New Orleans. These sources often provide insider tips and recommendations for budget-friendly options in the city.
  4. Personal Budgeting: Every traveler has different spending habits and priorities. Consider your personal preferences and create a budget that aligns with your needs. Track your expenses and adjust accordingly during your trip to stay within your set budget. Remember, while it’s essential to have a general idea of typical expenses in New Orleans, it’s also important to be flexible and prepared for unexpected costs. By researching and planning ahead, you can ensure that you have enough money to fully enjoy your time in this vibrant city.

2: Accommodation Costs

When planning a trip to New Orleans, one of the most important aspects to consider is the cost of accommodation. With a wide range of options available, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly alternatives, it’s essential to find the right fit for your budget. In this section, we’ll explore the average cost of hotels in New Orleans, compare hotel prices in different neighborhoods, and also suggest some affordable alternative accommodation options.

Average Cost Of Hotels In New Orleans

When it comes to hotel prices in New Orleans, it’s important to note that they can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, season, amenities, and the overall quality of the establishment. On average, though, you can expect to pay around $150 to $250 per night for a standard hotel room in the city center. Prices may be slightly lower in the off-peak season, and higher during special events such as Mardi Gras.

Comparing Hotel Prices In Different Neighborhoods

Different neighborhoods in New Orleans offer varying hotel prices, allowing you to find more affordable options if you’re willing to stay outside the city center. Here’s a comparison of average hotel prices in some popular neighborhoods:

NeighborhoodAverage Hotel Price per Night
French Quarter$180 – $300
Garden District$150 – $250
Central Business District$160 – $280
Marigny/Bywater$120 – $200

As you can see, staying in neighborhoods like Marigny/Bywater can provide a more budget-friendly option while still being within close proximity to the city center and its attractions.

Affordable Alternative Accommodation Options

If hotels are not within your desired budget or if you prefer a more unique and local experience, there are several affordable alternative accommodation options to consider:

  • Airbnb: Renting a private room or an entire apartment through Airbnb can be a cost-effective option, allowing you to have a more home-like experience and the opportunity to connect with local hosts.
  • Hostels: New Orleans also has a few hostels that offer budget-friendly accommodations, ideal for solo travelers or those looking to meet fellow travelers.
  • Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts: These smaller establishments often provide a more intimate and personalized experience at a lower price compared to larger hotels.
  • Camping: If you enjoy the outdoors, New Orleans has several campsites in and around the city where you can pitch a tent or park an RV.

Exploring these alternative options can not only help you save money but also provide a unique and immersive experience during your stay in New Orleans.

3: Transportation Expenses

When planning your trip to New Orleans, it’s important to budget for transportation expenses. Be sure to bring enough cash to cover any cash-only establishments and avoid ATM fees by planning ahead. New Orleans offers a variety of options to fit different budgets, so you can enjoy the city’s attractions without breaking the bank.

Public Transportation Options In New Orleans

When visiting New Orleans, you’ll find various public transportation options to help you get around the city conveniently. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operates buses and streetcars that cover major areas, making it easy to explore the city’s attractions at a reasonable cost.

Estimating Costs For Utilizing Buses And Streetcars

If you’re looking for an affordable way to navigate New Orleans, utilizing buses and streetcars is an excellent option. The cost of a one-way fare is $1.25, while a 24-hour Jazzy Pass, allowing unlimited rides on buses and streetcars, costs $3.00. If you plan on using public transportation frequently during your stay, it’s recommended to purchase a multi-day pass for even more savings.

Ride-hailing Services And Their Costs

When it comes to ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, they are readily available in New Orleans, offering a convenient and on-demand transportation option. The cost of these services can vary depending on factors such as distance traveled, time of day, and demand. However, it’s good to have an estimated budget of around $10-$20 per trip when utilizing ride-hailing services within the city.

Parking Fees And Alternatives For Drivers

If you plan on driving in New Orleans, it’s essential to consider parking fees. Parking rates can vary depending on the location, with rates typically higher in busy areas such as the French Quarter. It’s recommended to budget around $20-$40 per day for parking if you decide to park in a lot or garage. However, if you’re looking for more budget-friendly alternatives, consider using street parking (where permitted) or exploring parking apps that offer discounted rates at certain lots.

In conclusion, whether you choose to utilize public transportation, ride-hailing services, or drive yourself, it’s important to factor in transportation expenses when determining how much money to bring to New Orleans. By estimating the costs for utilizing buses and streetcars, ride-hailing services, and parking fees, you can plan your transportation budget accordingly and ensure a smooth and affordable travel experience in the vibrant city of New Orleans.

4: Dining And Food Costs

Planning your trip to New Orleans and wondering how much money to bring? While it’s possible to spend a lot, you can also enjoy the city on a budget. From delicious food to iconic sites, there are plenty of affordable options to explore in The Big Easy.

Typical Prices For Meals At Different Types Of Restaurants

When it comes to dining out in New Orleans, the prices can vary depending on the type of restaurant you choose. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a quick bite at a local eatery, here are some typical prices you can expect:

Type of Restaurant Price Range
Upscale Restaurants $30-$50 per person
Mid-range Restaurants $15-$30 per person
Casual Restaurants and Cafes $10-$15 per person
Food Trucks $5-$10 per person

Recommendations For Affordable Dining Options

If you’re on a budget but still want to enjoy delicious meals in New Orleans, there are plenty of affordable dining options to choose from. Here are some recommendations:

  • Explore the local street food scene: New Orleans is famous for its food trucks and street vendors. Grab a po’ boy sandwich or a plate of jambalaya from one of these vendors for a budget-friendly meal.
  • Visit neighborhood eateries: Look for small, family-owned restaurants in the neighborhoods. These local gems often offer tasty dishes at lower prices compared to touristy areas.
  • Enjoy happy hour specials: Many restaurants and bars in New Orleans offer happy hour specials with discounted prices on food and drinks. Take advantage of these deals to save money while still enjoying a great dining experience.
  • Order from the lunch menus: Some restaurants in New Orleans offer special lunch menus with lower prices compared to their dinner menus. Consider having your main meal of the day during lunchtime to save some cash.

Estimating Grocery Costs For Self-catering

If you prefer self-catering during your time in New Orleans, estimating your grocery costs is essential. Here’s a breakdown of the average prices for common grocery items:

  • Bread: $2-$4
  • Milk (1 gallon): $3-$4
  • Eggs (1 dozen): $2-$3
  • Chicken breasts (1 pound): $3-$5
  • Fresh vegetables (per pound): $1-$2
  • Snacks and chips: $2-$4
  • Bottled water (1 liter): $1-$2

By estimating these costs, you can plan and budget accordingly for your self-catering meals in New Orleans. Don’t forget to factor in any additional groceries you may need based on your personal preferences and dietary requirements.

5: Entertainment And Attractions

One of the highlights of visiting New Orleans is the wide array of entertainment and attractions that the city has to offer. From historic sites to lively bars and clubs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. When budgeting for your trip, it’s important to consider the costs of admission fees for popular attractions, as well as free and low-cost activities and events. Additionally, if you plan on exploring the city’s vibrant nightlife scene, it’s good to know about cover charges and drink prices at bars and clubs. Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories:

Admission Fees For Popular Attractions In New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its rich history and unique cultural heritage, and there are several popular attractions that are worth visiting. Here are some examples of admission fees for these attractions:

Attraction Admission Fee
The National WWII Museum $29 for adults, $18 for children
French Quarter Walking Tour Prices vary, starting from $20 per person
St. Louis Cathedral Free, but donations are appreciated

Free And Low-cost Activities And Events

If you’re looking to explore New Orleans on a budget, there are plenty of free and low-cost activities and events to enjoy. Here are some examples:

  • Exploring the vibrant neighborhoods like the French Quarter and Garden District
  • Visiting the historic Jackson Square
  • Listening to live music in the famous Frenchmen Street
  • Walking along the Mississippi Riverfront
  • Attending free festivals and parades

Cover Charges And Drink Prices At Bars And Clubs

New Orleans is renowned for its lively nightlife scene, with countless bars and clubs offering live music and a great atmosphere. When planning your budget, it’s important to consider cover charges and drink prices. While cover charges can vary depending on the venue and the night of the week, expect to pay between $5 and $20. As for drink prices, a typical cocktail can range from $8 to $15, while a beer may cost around $5 to $8. It’s also worth noting that some bars offer specials during happy hours, so be sure to take advantage of those if you’re looking to save some money.

Now that you have a better understanding of the costs associated with entertainment and attractions in New Orleans, you can plan your budget accordingly. Remember to factor in admission fees, consider free and low-cost activities, and account for cover charges and drink prices at bars and clubs. By doing so, you’ll be able to make the most of your trip to the vibrant and exciting city of New Orleans.

6: Shopping And Souvenirs

When it comes to shopping and souvenirs, New Orleans offers a wide array of unique items that are sure to catch your interest. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind keepsake or trendy local fashion, the city has something for everyone. To help you prepare for your shopping adventures in New Orleans, here are some key points to consider:

Budgeting For Shopping In New Orleans

Setting a budget for shopping is essential to ensure you don’t overspend during your trip. Consider allocating a specific amount of money for shopping activities and stick to it. New Orleans has an abundance of shops, boutiques, and markets that offer a range of merchandise, so having a budget in mind will help you make smart purchasing decisions.

Here is a breakdown of average prices for shopping in New Orleans:

Item Average Price Range
Local Artwork $50 – $500+
Mardi Gras Masks $10 – $50
Jazz Music CDs $10 – $20
Handcrafted Jewelry $20 – $200+
T-shirts and Apparel $15 – $40

Unique Items To Consider Purchasing As Souvenirs

When it comes to souvenirs, it’s always nice to bring back something that encapsulates the spirit of the city. In New Orleans, there are plenty of unique items that make for memorable souvenirs. Some popular choices include:

  • Mardi Gras Masks: These colorful and elaborate masks are an iconic symbol of New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras celebration. They make for stunning display pieces and conversation starters.
  • Local Artwork: New Orleans is known for its thriving art scene, and you’ll find a variety of paintings, prints, and sculptures showcasing the city’s vibrant culture. Support local artists by purchasing a piece that captures your imagination.
  • Jazz Music CDs: Bring the soulful sounds of New Orleans home with you by grabbing a few jazz music CDs from local musicians. These CDs offer a soundtrack that perfectly captures the city’s rich musical heritage.
  • Handcrafted Jewelry: New Orleans is home to many talented jewelry designers who create unique pieces inspired by the city’s architecture, music, and history. Consider investing in a handcrafted piece that will remind you of your time in New Orleans.

Flea Markets And Thrift Stores For Affordable Finds

If you’re looking for affordable shopping options in New Orleans, flea markets and thrift stores are your go-to destinations. These hidden gems offer a treasure trove of unique and budget-friendly finds.

Here are some popular flea markets and thrift stores in New Orleans:

  1. Frenchmen Art Market: Located in the Marigny neighborhood, this market is a haven for local artists and vendors. Here, you can find handcrafted jewelry, artwork, vintage clothing, and much more.
  2. Magazine Street Thrift Stores: Magazine Street is known for its eclectic mix of boutiques and thrift stores. Explore stores like Buffalo Exchange and Blue Velvet for vintage fashion finds at affordable prices.
  3. Swap Shop: Located in the Bywater neighborhood, Swap Shop is a curated thrift store where you can uncover unique clothing, accessories, and home decor items at bargain prices.
  4. French Market: This historic market in the French Quarter is known for its diverse selection of vendors offering everything from local crafts to fresh produce. You’ll find affordable souvenirs, spices, and even delicious street food options.

Exploring these budget-friendly shopping spots will not only save you money but also provide you with the opportunity to discover hidden gems and support local businesses in New Orleans.

7: Emergencies And Contingencies

When planning your trip to New Orleans, it’s essential to set aside funds for emergencies and contingencies. While we hope that nothing goes wrong during your vacation, it’s always better to be prepared. In this section, we’ll discuss how to budget for unforeseen circumstances, recommend travel insurance coverage, and consider budgeting for potential medical expenses if needed.

Setting Aside Funds For Unforeseen Circumstances

It’s important to have a cushion of funds for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during your trip. This could include unexpected travel disruptions, flight cancellations, lost baggage, or even emergency medical expenses. While the amount you set aside will vary depending on your personal circumstances and the length of your trip, a general rule of thumb is to allocate around 10-20% of your total travel budget for emergencies.

Recommendations For Travel Insurance Coverage

Travel insurance is another crucial aspect to consider when planning for emergencies and contingencies. It provides financial protection in case of unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost luggage. Before purchasing travel insurance, carefully review the coverage options and ensure that it includes the specific needs of your trip. This may include coverage for medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip cancellation/interruption, and baggage loss or delay. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so investing in comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended.

Budgeting For Medical Expenses If Needed

While no one wants to think about falling ill or getting injured while on vacation, it’s crucial to budget for potential medical expenses, just in case. Healthcare costs can vary significantly depending on the nature of the medical issue and the treatment required. To avoid any financial burdens, it’s advisable to carry adequate travel insurance covering medical emergencies. Additionally, you may also want to set aside a small amount of extra funds specifically for any incidental healthcare costs that may not be covered by insurance. This will ensure that you can access necessary medical care without worrying about the financial implications.

By setting aside funds for emergencies and contingencies, investing in travel insurance coverage, and budgeting for potential medical expenses, you can have peace of mind during your visit to New Orleans. Remember, it’s always better to be prepared for the unexpected, so plan ahead and enjoy your trip without any unnecessary stress.

Tips For Saving Money In New Orleans

Wondering how much money to bring to New Orleans? While it depends on your travel preferences, it’s best to plan ahead. Consider the cost of accommodation, meals, transportation, and any activities you want to do. Researching average prices and creating a budget can help you save money during your New Orleans adventure.

Local Advice On Minimizing Costs While Enjoying The City

When visiting New Orleans, it’s important to make the most of your budget so you can fully enjoy the city without breaking the bank. Fortunately, there are plenty of local tips and tricks on how to minimize costs and still have an amazing time. By following these insider recommendations, you can experience all that New Orleans has to offer without emptying your wallet.

Happy Hour And Special Deals At Bars And Restaurants

One of the best ways to save money on dining and drinking in New Orleans is by taking advantage of happy hour and special deals at local bars and restaurants. Many establishments offer discounted prices on drinks and appetizers during specific hours of the day. Be sure to ask about their happy hour specials or check their websites for any ongoing promotions. By timing your meals and drinks during these discounted periods, you can enjoy the city’s vibrant food and cocktail scene without overspending.

Money-saving Strategies For Transportation And Attractions

Transportation and attraction costs can quickly add up during your trip to New Orleans. To save money on transportation, consider using the city’s public transit system, which includes buses and streetcars. These options are not only affordable but also allow you to experience the charm of New Orleans while getting around. Additionally, consider purchasing attraction passes or combo tickets for popular sights and activities. These packages often offer discounted rates compared to buying individual tickets, helping you save money while still enjoying all the must-see attractions in the city.

Frequently Asked Questions On How Much Money Should I Bring To New Orleans

Should I Bring Cash To New Orleans?

Yes, it’s recommended to bring cash to New Orleans as many places are cash-only, including popular spots like Cafe Du Monde. Although there are ATMs everywhere, avoiding surcharges by planning ahead is advisable. New Orleans offers a reasonably affordable cost of living compared to the rest of the United States.

It’s possible to have a great time, enjoy delicious food, and see the city’s iconic sites even on a budget.

Is New Orleans Cheap Or Expensive?

New Orleans is affordable compared to the rest of the United States. You can have a great time, eat well, and see all the famous sites even on a budget. However, it’s possible to spend a lot of money if you stay in upscale hotels and eat at expensive restaurants.

Are Things Expensive In New Orleans?

Compared to other parts of the United States, New Orleans offers affordable living and travel. While some upscale options can be pricey, you can still experience the city’s best attractions, delicious food, and local sites on a budget. It’s always a good idea to bring some cash for transactions as certain places may only accept cash.

Is New Orleans Cheap To Visit?

New Orleans can be affordable if you’re on a budget. You can have a great time, eat well, and see all the famous New Orleans sites without breaking the bank. Avoid pricey hotels and rideshares, and opt for budget-friendly accommodations and public transportation.

With careful planning, you can enjoy your visit without spending a fortune.


To make the most of your trip to New Orleans, it’s important to plan your budget wisely. While the cost of living in the city is relatively affordable compared to other places in the United States, it’s still a good idea to have an idea of how much money you should bring.

Take into consideration expenses like accommodation, transportation, food, and activities. Keep in mind that New Orleans has many cash-only establishments, so it’s wise to plan ahead and bring enough cash to avoid any surcharges. Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking to splurge, there are plenty of options to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and delicious food that New Orleans has to offer.

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