June 30th-July 5th, 2012
My hubby and I had a great vacation in New Orleans. I think what stuck out to me the most was the people. I miss them. Seriously. Everybody was so friendly and laid back. I feel like we did okay staying within our budget. However, I did learn a few things about a good vacation budget:
Make a budge- We had a certain amount in mind. I put savings away from my Christmas bonus from the previous year for this vacation, so we took the cash with us and wanted to only spend that on everything (minus any big tours if we decided to do one). We didn't quite succeed on this as planned because...
Research Food Costs- We figured we'd spend quite a bit on food, but not quite as much as we did. The biggest problem was we planned on buying stuff from a grocery store and eating at the hotel (came with a kitchenette). However, we could not find one until the our last day there! And it was still kind of pricey...so we had to eat out for every meal AND that got expensive.
Try to stay away from tourism- There were some tours (plantation/alligator/cemetery) that looked fun, but not worth the money. I'd recommend doing them if you really really want to because you'll regret it if you don't (I learned this by skipping a broadway show in New York), but I had already visited a plantation in South Carolina, so instead we just walked around a neighborhood and rode the trolley down St. Charles to see some of the unique houses, which was awesome. Instead of going on an alligator tour in the 100 degree humid weather we tried some alligator on a pizza :) Not quite the same, but worked. Instead of taking a cemetery tour for WAY too much money we hopped the trolley and walked around ourselves. That way we could go at our own pace. I even did some internet searching before about the cemeteries. It was perfect and saved us a ton of $$.
Don't always take the easy way- Instead of taking the easy taxi from the airport to the hotel we decided to save $30 and take the bus. Yes, it took us 3 times as long, but we got to see some of the city and meet some great people! We waited about an hour for the city bus, which we had to change buses and wait for another (20 min), but we met this awesome guy from Australia who backpacks all over the place and this other guy from Colorado. Then we walked with our luggage to catch the trolley (30 min). It was hot and we were drenched in sweat, but I wouldn't change what we did. We felt like we were really getting to know New Orleans. However, we knew better and took the taxi back to the airport when we left-didn't want to risk missing our flight!