Celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans has always been one of my bucket list items, so I was thrilled to get it done on a budget. We were able to get the flights and hotel for $22.20 all-in.
Here’s how it was done:
In December, I was playing around on Skyscanner to find cheap fares and happened upon a round trip flight from Newark (New Jersey) to New Orleans leaving the Sunday before and returning that Wednesday. The round-trip flight was $264 but I wanted to minimize out of pocket costs so we used 25k American Airline miles for the Sunday flights and 25k United miles for the return flights to save us $528. We only had to pay $22.40 in taxes on the award flights. Sometimes when the fares are this cheap, it means there will be available reward seats on the flights.
For hotel, I used 45,000 Wyndham points to stay at the Wyndham New Orleans – French Quarter right in the heart of all the Mardi Gras festivities. This saved us $1,350 it would have cost for the three nights. We were even able to book a double room which allowed us to host any friends who wanted to stay with us. Our friend Eric was able to make it down for a few days.
Here’s the trip in pictures
You can’t go wrong with happy hour oysters at $0.75 each at Grand Isle Restaurant. Here’s Eric enjoying a dozen gulf coast oysters.
Open containers are allowed in New Orleans (although technically you’re only allowed to drink from plastic). Stop by any liquor store and pick up a few.
People get much more festive than I expected.
I’ve always loved the French influenced architecture. It was great to walk around the neighborhoods with the homes decked out for the festivities.
The parades are billed as the “Greatest Free Show on Earth” and they do not disappoint. The floats are very generous with the beads and various other things (I caught a small xylophone off one).