Welcome to the Luxury Backpack Guides! These guides bring you the best of a destination on a shoestring budget. Our ethos is that you can experience luxury for less, you just have to know the secrets, and through these guides all will be revealed!
Each guide will be a Q&A written by a different blogger who is an expert on luxury backpacking in the destination. If you would like to be featured please get in touch.
Tell me about yourself and why you’re an expert on luxury backpacking in New Orleans, Louisiana.
‘I grew up in a small town in Illinois, and am currently taking Chicago by storm. From 2010-2012, I lived in Hong Kong working as an elementary school teacher. There began my love of traveling and blogging. In those two years, I traveled to 10 different countries and have more than doubled that number since returning. I am a yoga instructor, avid reader, happy hour pro, and volunteer extraordinaire.
Last year, I took a solo trip to New Orleans. Since I was alone and work for a nonprofit, my budget was tight. I stayed in my first ever hostel, took free tours, listened to free concerts, and looked up happy hour deals.’
What made you choose to travel to NOLA (New Orleans) and why would you recommend it to other travellers?
‘NOLA has always been on my bucket list and I’m so glad I went! The food was AMAZING! The vibe is funky. The history is interesting. Definitely recommend it!’
What is the most effective and best value way of getting to New Orleans?
‘Thank you, Spirit Airlines, for having $100 roundtrip flights! I was only there for 4 days so I didn’t check a bag.’
Tell me about the best hostels and low budget hotels that deliver lux for less…
‘I have a penchant for staying on friends’ couches and consider myself a 3-star hotel kinda gal, but my trip to New Orleans was all about traveling on a budget. The best way to do that is by staying in a hostel. I stayed at a lovely, off the beaten path place called Auberge near the St. Charles streetcar. It was given really high ratings, and for about $30/night, I jumped on it.’
What did you love most about the food in NOLA? Are there any must-try dishes?
‘Must-eats: roast beef po’ boy, gumbo, red beans and rice, street daiquiris, and pralines. You’ll see these items everywhere and I can’t really recommend specific places to eat them, so try them out anywhere you go! Most importantly, though, get the beignets at Cafe Du Monde!’
Where would you go for early evening drinks? Are there any happy hours we need to know?
‘I love happy hour and good deals, so I sought out places to indulge. Two recommendations I was given: Muriel’s and Domenica, and I’m sure there are many more! I only went to the latter and it was delish – half-price pizzas and drinks. Because I was by myself, I didn’t really get to partying, though I did meet up with an old college friend and friends of friends for a drink. They gave me the insider’s view on where to go outside of the tourist area: Bacchanal and Sazerec are both awesome.’
What are your picks of the tourist spots?
‘My favourite site was Mardi Gras World. Since I will probably never make it to Mardi Gras, it was awesome to see all of the floats and hear about how they’re made. Bonus coupon found on many maps!
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).’
Hints and Tips… do you have any tips for luxury backpackers in NOLA?
- ‘Because I went to New Orleans by myself, there was no sharing a taxi fare to town, so I decided to take the airport shuttle. It was $38 roundtrip, which is more than I’d like to spend, but, while cheap, public transportation would’ve taken me quite a while.
- Public transport is super cheap in NOLA – $1.25 a ride. I definitely recommend the day passes if you want to travel multiple times in a day; you can get them at Walgreens. It is $3 a day and $9 for three-day passes, this includes buses and the streetcars.
- From the free concerts at the Old U.S. Mint to the Market Café and the many bands on the street, free music abounds in New Orleans.
- NOLA is right next to the Mississippi River and there are plenty of river cruises. I saw one for $50 (!!!) which is much more than I wanted to spend on my vacation. So, instead I took the $2 ferry to Algiers Point. It’s a super quick ride, but it gets you on the river for your photo experience and to another part of New Orleans. There’s not much to do in Algiers, but it’s a nice jaunt around a less crazy side of the city.’
And lastly: describe New Orleans in one sentence!
‘New Orleans is full of life – the best food, hopping music, and tons of history!’
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