The Experience New Orleans

New Orleans is a place I love to go and every time I go I have a different experience. New Orleans never disappoints. Whether you are soaking up the culture or partying on a no sleep weekend, you are guaranteed to have an magnificent time. I am TonShay Theresa and this was my New Orleans Experience.

My New Orleans Experience started with pre-planning. The first thing to planning any good trip is setting a budget. Your budget should include your transportation, hotel, activities and food. A budget is just what you want to spent on the trip. It’s okay to go over your budget if you have the extra funds. The best way to stay within your budget is to prepay for as many things as you can. My budget was $650 for a 3 day 3 night stay.

Now that my budget is set, the next thing I thought about was transportation. How was I going to get there? I was not in the mood for a road trip from Chicago to New Orleans so flying was my best option.

Airfare can vary depending on the dates and times you travel. I recently found out about an app called Hopper. Hopper watches airfare on several of the major airlines and notifies you every time the price drops. The thing to remember with Hopper is when the price drops you must be ready to buy because there may be a few seats at the reduced rate.

Hopper flights may have restrictions, so don’t forget to read the fine print. The restriction I noticed most was no carry on luggage. So you would need to check your bag if it could not fit under the seat in front of you. You can update your search to exclude these type of flights. The app is very user friendly and you won’t get frustrated. Using Hopper allowed me to get airfare from Chicago to New Orleans for about $200 during peak travel season.

Next on the preplanning list is lodging. Where am I going to stay? I love to stay at nice hotels but on a budget. The hotel of choice was the AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon. What’s great about this hotel was it’s off Bourbon Street so the noise level was low and the rooms were very contemporary and comfortable. The hotel was clean, the staff was amazing and the best part was I prepaid for the room on the Marriott website at $107 per night which was about $160 per person. The AC Hotel allows up to 4 people per room. As Lonnie Bee would say, if you don’t mind sharing a bed with your. ”Good Good Girlfriend then it’s $80 per person.

The AC Hotel check in process was easy as I was able to check in through the Marriott app. Also, my plane was delayed so I checked in 6 hours later than my original check in time. The front office staff was very understanding and could see the frustration of a weary traveler. Because I am a frequent Marriott customer my room was upgraded to a suite which kick started my New Orleans Experience in the right direction. The hotel also had a bar which opened at 4:00pm and a rooftop area.

The last of the preplanning is entertainment. Groupon is the best place to check for those activities you really want to do. Groupon allowed me to pre pay for my tourist activities and experience the culture of New Orleans at a discounted rate. Remember with Groupon to read the fine print as you may need to RSVP prior to traveling. Three Groupons under $100 gave me a exciting and eventful New Orleans Experience.

I decided to do a Groupon activity everyday and wing it the rest of the day. First up was The Harbor Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez was a great start to my Groupon deals and set the standard pretty high. This was a two hour cruise along the Mississippi River. There were food and drinks available for purchase. Live music played while the boat drifted along the Mississippi River. I love history, so the best part about the cruise was the live narration describing New Orleans port history and businesses along the river. Fun Fact, Domino sugar factory sits on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.

My second Groupon was a Burlesque show at Gravier Street Social. If you have never been to a Burlesque show you must try it. The best way to describe Burlesque is the Christina Aguilera Lady Marmalade’s video. The show is great entertainment for men and women. It’s colorful, great music, sexual dance routines, jokes and a whole lot of fun. These burlesque dancers do not show private area nudity; so if your not scared of a whole lot of skin, check it out. The place is very cozy with a tons of amazing art work. This Groupon was a great buy and it came with bottle service.

My last and final deal was Mardi Gras World. Mardi Gras World gives you a behind the scene look at how the floats are built for the parades during Mardi Gras. It also gives you the history of Mardi Gras. This tour is about 1 1/2 hours and most of it is spent walking, so wear some comfortable shoes. This is a great place to go see some of the floats and character statues used in Mardi Gras. You will be amazed at what styrofoam and paper mache can create.

Now to the fun part and where the rest of your budget will goNew Orleans Nightlife. Bourbon Street is always a good time. This is the place where everyone goes to let their freak flag fly. People will do some mighty strange things to get a bead or two. There is great street entertainment, the bars have free entry with a one drink minimum, and the party people dressed in costumes will spark your interest. Bourbon Street is the place to get the world famous Hurricane. This time I tried the Grenade. Please believe me when I tell you all you need is one.

My favorite place in New Orleans is Frenchman Street. French Street houses some of the best cover bands I have every heard. They sing all of your favorite tunes from all genres of music. There is non-thing like a good live band and on Frenchman you are guaranteed to find a band you like. It will be hard to sit in your seat on Frenchman Street. Once those grooves hit you, before you know it you will be singing along like a background karaoke superstar.

New Orleans is known for its seafood. I am allergic to seafood so sorry my friends this is not a place I go to eat so my budget for food was small. But whenever I’m in New Orleans I always stop by Cafe Du Monde for their famous coffee and beignets. These are always a fast treat and one order contains 3 beignets so there is plenty to share.

I’m TonShay Theresa and That was my New Orleans Experience. Thanks for reading. Until next time.

TonShay Theresa

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