We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Ashley, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Ashley lives in the United States, and submitted the following report about New Orleans. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English
Reasons to Visit New Orleans
With four days off and vacation always on the brain, I decided to take a budget trip, so I went to Kayak.com/Explore and found that the cheapest flight was to New Orleans. NOLA was on my bucket list, so I was sold! My non-profit paycheck and my desire to go to South America in December, made the budget for this trip even tighter than normal. I was also going by myself, so there was no one to share a hotel bill or taxi fare with. Here are a few hints if you’re ever looking to go to NOLA on a budget and by yourself:
- Spirit Airlines is awesome and annoying all at the same time. The flights are super cheap because their bare bones flights get you exactly that – a flight. You have to pay to print your ticket, pay for baggage, and pay for water on the flight. So for US$97, I flew to NOLA for 4 days with one personal item (which must be less than 16 x 14 x 12). I stuffed all I could into my duffle and that was it!
- The ultimate accommodations in budget travel are hostels. At $26 a night, my hostel served my purposes perfectly.
- As I have done in Barcelona and many other European cities, I took three free tours when I was in NOLA – at the French Market, with Free Tours by Foot in the Garden District, and a ghost tour. 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 have been super fun if I’d been there on the weekend.)
- 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 have 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 a three-day pass, which 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.
- I love Happy Hour and good deals, so I sought out places to indulge. I was given two recommendations: Muriel’s and Domenica (and I’m sure there are many more!) I only went to the latter and it was delish, offering half-price pizzas and drinks.
- NOLA is right next to the Mississippi River and there are plenty of river cruises. I saw one for $50, which was much more than I wanted to spend on my vacation. Instead, I took the $2 ferry to Algiers Point. It’s a very 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.A few more tips:
- Always have small bills on hand. Everyone expects a tip, from the tour guides to bands on the street and in restaurants.
- There’s an obligatory note on safety here, especially if you’re traveling alone. There are a lot of homeless people and many more drunk people. As with every adventure, watch your belongings, don’t walk alone, and drink minimally if you’re by yourself.
- Must-eats: roast beef po’ boy, gumbo, red beans and rice, street daiquiris, and pralines. You’ll see them everywhere and I can’t really recommend specific places to eat them, so try them out anywhere you go!
- Do you know anyone in Louisiana? Do your friends or family know anyone there? Luckily, I was hooked up with three people that live in New Orleans who gave me the insider’s view on where to go outside of the tourist area. Bacchanal and Sazerec are both awesome.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)