Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Hidden Gems in Party Cities
Destination: New Orleans, Louisiana
Accommodations: JW Marriott New Orleans on Canal St. – Centrally located, safe area.
Brennan’s Restaurant – Opened in 1946. Classic New Orleans. Food is a combination of French and Spanish cuisine. Elegant, old-world dining rooms.
Commander’s Palace – Refined Creole fare & an elegant jazz brunch. Been around since 1880.
St. Louis Cathedral – Church where Harry Connick Jr. got married. Opened in 1794 and is the oldest cathedral in the United States.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – The largest free-standing American museum dedicated to insects.
When to visit:
Looking to party for Mardi Gras? Arrive the weekend before Fat Tuesday and stay through that day. If visiting for Mardis Gras, be sure to book your hotel a year in advance!
Looking for less crowds? December and January are the least busy and “coldest” months (temps in the 40s – 60s). For less crowds and warm weather – Early March and late April, and between September and November
Cost of flights: As low as $120 from Chicago in off season, like September (sometimes cheaper). Cheapest in July, August, and September.
When to book:
For Mardi Gras, book in Sept. (about 5 months out)
For off season, book 4-6 weeks in advance
Airport to fly into: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, located about 15 miles east of downtown New Orleans.
How to get around: Walk or pedicab, also streetcars.
Any other tips? Best (and safest) place to stay is on Canal Street in the French Quarter. It’s popular place to stay, but while it may be more crowded, it’s easy to access a lot of places from the area without renting a car.
Destination: Las Vegas, Nevada
Accommodations: The Venetian Hotel and Ride a Gondola or Bellagio Hotel. You can even watch the fountain show!
Meal/Restaurant: Firefly and Beer and Tacos
Activities: Red Rock Canyon, take in a show. Lady Gaga has an open run. Janet Jackson too!
When to visit: March to May and Sept to November
When to book: The best time to book flights to Las Vegas is roughly four weeks before departure. You may be able to find flights that are 10% cheaper than average fares or more.
Cost of flights: Currently anywhere from $135 on Spirit nonstop to $330
Airport to fly into: McCarran International Airport
How to get around: Take a taxi or airport shuttle to the Strip or your hotel. Public transportation to the Strip takes about an hour and requires a transfer. A taxi or rental car can get you there in half the time.
Any other tips? Las Vegas is also home to hundreds of conventions each year. Be sure to check which hotels are hosting them ahead of time so you can avoid high room rates.
“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”
What’s in Your Suitcase?
CORSAIR RADIO WITH BLUETOOTH
$89.95 on www.crosleyradio.com
Vintage-style radio that comes in a variety of colors (we got one red, one black). It also has a CD Player, AM/FM Radio, Dual Alarm Clock, Dynamic Full Range Stereo Speakers and a Headphone Jack.
CRUISER DELUXE PORTABLE TURNTABLE
$79.95 on www.crosleyradio.com
Crosley’s most popular vintage turntable, also available in a variety of colors available (we got sand white). Encased in a portable, suitcase-style shell, plays at 3 speeds, and you can even sync to the Bluetooth connection and stream digital music right through the built-in speakers.
What’s on your phone?
Trail Wallet – Free to download with in-app purchases – iPhone
Trail Wallet is an easy travel expense tracker, where you can organize your expenses by trip or by month, set a daily budget, and easily add expenses. Great for traveling on a budget!
What’s the tip?
7 Ways to Travel Abroad for Free (MyBankTracker.com)
House swap – Many websites where you can swap homes with someone.
Become a WWOOFer – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms gives you the chance to volunteer on a farm in exchange for food, accommodation and learning opportunities.
Exchange and accommodation programs – Sites like GlobalFreeloaders or BeWelcome provide cultural exchange, free accommodation
Apply for scholarships or fellowships – Students or recent college grads
Volunteer or apply for an exchange program – Try Workaway.com
Crowd fund a passion project – Try Indiegogo.com