What's an average trip to New Orleans cost?
A one-week trip to New Orleans for two people costs around $2,700 on average, covering accommodation, flights, dining, activities, and transportation. This budget-friendly destination allows you to enjoy street food, free attractions, and a diverse culinary scene while exploring the city’s unique culture and history.
New Orleans contains a magic completely unique among all the big cities in the world. Its seamless blend of haunting history, clashing cultures, and global cuisines – finely seasoned by its inimitable Southern graces – make it a destination you’ll never forget.
At least, I’ve never forgotten my trip to New Orleans, a one-week affair that combined the best of the city’s sights with charming cable car rides, crawfish dinners, and strolls beneath the towering live oaks.
In New Orleans, it’s impossible to stay long enough to try all the delicious beignets and hear all the scary stories, but a week will give you a good start.
Part of its glory stems from the fact that New Orleans was once a capital city, gracing the heart of French Louisiana before it was sold to the United States. Founded in 1718, it has its share of heartbreak and horror, making it one of the most haunted cities in the US.
Seriously, if you’re a ghost-lover, this one’s for you. If you just prefer dining out, fishing trips, walking tours, and really really really (really) good donuts, then New Orleans is for you as well.
And best of all you can do it on a budget! Here’s a handy look at how to plan an amazing trip without breaking the bank — let us be your guide!
Average Trip to New Orleans Cost in 2024
An average one-week trip to New Orleans for two people will cost around $2,700:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $75 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $300 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $100 per person, per day
- Transportation: $100 total
- Total Cost: $2,700
As you can see, New Orleans is a genuinely affordable vacation. There’s so much to see, but much of what makes it noteworthy is free. Unlike other amazing tourist destinations such as Disneyland, you won’t have to pay exorbitant entrance fees.
And in contrast to other famous cities with amazing culture, architecture, and nightlife (think New York or LA), you won’t pay a massive cost-of-living fee simply for being there. Instead, New Orleans is the perfect combination of awe-inspiring and affordable.
You can travel with one other person or a group – or even by yourself – and fill an entire travel diary in a single week.
Between the boutiques and the restaurants, the architecture and the walking tours, the nightlife and the breezy morning coffees, it’s a dream vacation right in our own backyard.
Now for the good part — here’s how to see it on a budget!
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New Orleans Trip Cost: Average by Item
When planning your trip, you naturally want to know how much it’s going to cost. Note that these prices are all averages, so you shouldn’t hang your hat on any one estimate until you’ve taken to the interwebz and found that deal yourself.
However, the following numbers are pretty reliable. Just make sure you look into special holidays and festivals, which can dramatically increase the cost of hotels and flights during specific windows.
You can stay very comfortably in New Orleans for $75-$80 a night per couple, if you know where to look. Try lodgings such as the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, the voco St. James Hotel, or the Le Méridien for very affordable accommodations.
If you want to save even more money, try a hostel. Younger travelers tend not to mind having less space and sharing bathrooms, and you can get prices down to around $30 a night, which will give you more funds for crawfish, beignets, and the best coffee you’ll ever taste.
Word to the wise … many cities in the US are more affordable to visit if you purchase an airfare + hotel package, but this isn’t the case with New Orleans.
Flight costs are so reasonable, and you save enough money sharing a room with your traveling companion, that you won’t see considerable savings by buying a package. Most likely all you’ll do is limit your options.
Overall, if you’re not fussy and willing to stay in a 3-star hotel, $75 a night is plenty so long as you book ahead and don’t go during holiday celebrations. Even during Mardi Gras – which is when I went – there was a range of affordable lodging if you planned ahead.
I’ve got some happy news. Getting to New Orleans is as affordable as staying there! A round-trip flight from LA to New Orleans will only run you around $150 on average, less if you’re a consummate price shopper.
And, as I always warn people, if you shop flights in incognito mode so that browsers don’t know you’ve searched that area before and hike the rates on you … yes, it’s a thing.
From New York City, it’s a little more expensive, about $275 per person on average. From a smaller international airport that’s not a hub, such as Portland, Oregon, you’ll pay about the same.
If you’re flying out of a regional airport, tack on $100 or so. On the other hand, if you’re flying from the South, you’ll pay almost nothing. On average, you can budget about $300 for a round-trip flight and get there from anywhere in the country.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
How much you spend in New Orleans depends on what you want to do there. If you’re the type that travels to tie one on, then you should plan to spend buckets.
Canal Street – the main thoroughfare for drinkers – is spendy. So are other bars and restaurants in trendy or touristy areas. Plan to spend about $10 for a cocktail, though if you avail yourself of happy hours and specials, you can of course save money.
Street food, happily, is very inexpensive. The po’boy is a favorite of mine – French bread stuffed with fried seafood, pickles, and veggies.
You can also find crawfish on the street, tacos, and basically everything else ever invented on Earth. Save your funds for a few nice dinners while you’re there – around $50 a plate – to get an upscale dining experience.
As mentioned above, New Orleans is a truly amazing city to see without paying a dime. It contains multitudes of amazing chichi neighborhoods, such as the Garden District, Lake Terrace and Oaks, and Lake Shore.
Plan to hop a bus to the area to do some walking and sightseeing, and you might even spot a star. Being especially fond of universities, I also toured Loyola and Tulane.
They are a lovely hodgepodge of architectural styles set amidst neat lawns and pretty landscaping, with palm trees waving in the breeze. If you, like me, enjoy a good stroll around a campus, you won’t be disappointed – and like any other campus, they’re free to walk around.
If you’re the type who needs to see the fee-charging attractions, then you absolutely must buy a Go City pass.
For $74 a day, you can get into a ton of the city’s main attractions, from the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen Cruise to the Long Vue House and Gardens to various cemetery and voodoo tours. Just make sure to plan this day carefully so you can truly leverage the cost savings.
Overall, plan to spend $100 per person per day.
New Orleans has a great public transportation system. It is efficient, reliable, and affordable. You can hop a bus for a flat fee of $1.25 or buy a Jazzy Pass – $3 for a day, $8 for three days, and $15 for seven days.
It’s hard to beat those kinds of prices given the pass allows you to take unlimited rides at any time of day or night.
Taxis are pretty affordable too. As the city explains on its website, “Because New Orleans is really a ‘small’ big city, it’s actually quite affordable to go from here to there by cab.”
A cross-town ride from your French Quarter/downtown hotel to an Uptown jazz club or neighborhood restaurant is typically under $20.” Moreover, “A cab ride costs about $36 from the airport to the city center for one or two people and $15 per passenger for three or more passengers.”
In other words, you shouldn’t plan to spend much getting around. Assuming a few cab rides, lots of walking, and a one-week Jazzy Pass per person, a couple could safely budget $100 for the entire week.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to New Orleans:
- Make sure to take the ferry! New Orleans’ ferry leaves from the bottom of Canal Street, located next to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. It travels along the river, giving passengers a close-up look at the French Quarter and the city’s skyline. At just $2 per pedestrian, it’s a charming way to spend a half hour. When you disembark at Algiers Point, you can stroll around the lovely historic neighborhood there and pass some more time for free.
- Public transportation runs all night in some places, but in others, it shuts down around 11, especially in some of the most touristy places. Make sure you check the schedule before you rely on public transport for all your getting around.
- Definitely have the gumbo. It’s a Louisiana special, perhaps the truest expression of Creole cooking, and it’s unbelievably delicious. Filled with seafood, andouille sausage, and vegetables, and served over rice, it’s impossible to describe this flavor unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Don’t leave New Orleans without some!
- Don’t call it “Nawlins” if you don’t want to look like a fool. Although this classic movie pronunciation makes it seem like all the folks who live there actually say it that way, this is a lie. You will not make friends with the locals or impress your existing (soon-to-be former) friends by pronouncing it this way, so stick with New Orleans.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best celebrations to attend in New Orleans?
When planning a trip to New Orleans, most people envision celebrating Mardi Gras. Known as “Fat Tuesday” in English, this traditional pre-Lent festivity helped people get their wiggles out before Ash Wednesday, the traditional start of the Lenten stretch that leads up to Easter.
While Mardi Gras is certainly a grand old time, with food and drinks flowing, it’s not the only celebration to hit up in New Orleans.
If you’re a jazz enthusiast, then you’ll love French Quarter Fest and the Jazz Festival, both in April. Fourth of July is a can’t-miss party, while Christmas and New Year’s Eve are both amazing events as well, with that New Orleans-style twist.
Is New Orleans expensive?
No, you should be able to have a lovely time in New Orleans on a budget. The combination of low accommodation costs, amazing free activities, and delicious street food make it a dream destination for any American, who will also save on flight costs versus an international destination.
Is it safe in New Orleans?
You should not consider New Orleans particularly safe when traveling there. It has high street crime, drug-related crime, and petty theft. There’s lots of bribery and corruption, which instills an atmosphere of further insecurity.
All of which is to say, be cautious whenever you’re out and about. Keep your belongings on you at all times and close to your body. Do not walk alone at night, no matter your gender. Stick to the tourist areas in the evenings and after dark. If you do all that, you should be fine.
Where should I go?
Um, everywhere? Kidding. If you only have a week to spend in New Orleans, plan to check out the neighborhoods mentioned above, take the ferry ride, and walk down Canal Street. You should also scope out a cemetery or two, just to say you’ve done it.
Is it easy to get around?
Yes, it’s easy to get around New Orleans. Between cheap cab fare, excellent public transportation, and your own legs, you’ll find it simple indeed.
So, What Is the Average Cost for a Trip to New Orleans?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost
|$75 per night
|✈️ Average Flight Cost
|$300 per peson
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities
|$100 per person, per day
|💲 Total Cost
The average cost of a one-week trip to New Orleans is around $2,700 for two people.
Plan to spend more if you want to pay for lots of drinks or eat in restaurants, and even less if you’re happy simply walking around and seeing the sights with an ice cream cone in hand. Either way, don’t miss the Big Easy!