An Essential Travel Guide To New Orleans

Experience the deep south in New Orleans, Louisiana. Where horse and carts still roam the streets, you can grab a drive through daiquiri or walk around the French Quarter with your cocktails, there are jazz bars on almost every corner and you’re only a short drive away from the an airboat ready to fly you across the swamps spotting alligators.

Here’s everything you need to know about New Orleans, to help you plan your visit to Louisiana.

new orleans french quarter

Where is New Orleans?

New Orleans is located in Louisiana, in the deep South of America. New Orleans follows the Central Time Zone UTC -6.

Getting To New Orleans

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is the main airport in New Orleans. From the airport you can get an airport shuttle service to your hotel for about $24 USD per person, alternatively you might find that a taxi or Uber driver is a cheaper ride (Lyft doesn’t have a permit to pick up from the airport yet). The airport is located about 25 minutes out of the city centre.

Find the best flight deals to New Orleans

Climate in New Orleans

Louisiana has a subtropical climate, with pleasant temperatures all year round. Visiting in February it was beautifully sunny but quite cool in the early mornings and the evenings.

jackson square new orleans

plane ticket graphic

Visas for USA

As an Australian passport holder you need to apply for an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program to enter the United States. It’s pretty easy and painless, you just need to fill out the online form and submit it off for approval from the US Government. Generally the approval comes back within 24 hours, but it’s a good idea to apply a couple of weeks before you go just in case there are any delays.

You are able to apply for an ESTA if you don’t currently hold any other visas for USA (such as a working or visitors visa), you’re travelling to the States for less than 90 days and you’re travelling on a passport from one of the approved countries.

You can apply for your visa or find out more about whether you’re eligible for an ESTA on the US Customs and Border Protection website.

An ESTA costs just $14 USD and is valid for travel to the United States for 2 years. You can travel on the same ESTA multiple times during its 2 year validity, as long as no trip is longer than 90 days.

READ MORE:
The Ultimate NOLA Bucketlist

Getting Around New Orleans

If you’re just exploring around the French Quarter you can pretty much get everywhere on foot.

For trips that were a little further out we found that the best way was by ride apps Uber or Lyft. Most drivers work on both platforms so compare both apps for the best price.

If you have a little more time up your sleeve the best way of getting around is often by renting a car so you can explore at your own pace, venture out of the city as far as you want to and not have to worry about time restraints or inflation periods on ride share apps.

Compare the best prices for car rental in New Orleans HERE

jackson square

Currency in USA

Currency is USD $. Credit and debit cards widely accepted in all hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. ATMs easily accessible.

Internet Access in New Orleans

No problems – most hotels offer free wifi as well as some popular restaurants and dining establishments.

The Main Streets of New Orleans

Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, Frenchmen Street for local hangouts and live music,  as well as Magazine Street and St Charles Avenue which is where you will find the street cars. Canal Street is the traditional “main street” of New Orleans, and is definitely worth a visit at some point during your trip.

Check out the best places to stay in New Orleans

Best Time To Go to New Orleans

February – May during the spring time is the most popular time to visit New Orleans due to the mild weather, as well as heaps of special events around the city.

READ MORE:
Living The Southern Dream: Airboating in Louisiana

hurricane cocktail in new orleans

Can’t Miss Experiences in New Orleans

+ Mardi Gras Season, January to March – make sure you check the actual date of Mardi Gras so you don’t miss the parade and celebrations
+ Explore the French Quarter
+ Take a sightseeing tour of the city to learn a little about the area and it’s history, especially during the time of Hurricane Katrina
+ Take your cocktails to go and enjoy the historical beauty New Orleans has to offer
+ Experience the true deep south with a day trip out to the swamp lands where you can airboat and search for alligators

Good To Know for your trip to New Orleans

Always be careful around Bourbon Street. While it is the most popular and recognisable street in New Orleans it’s actually quite seedy, and with people trying to sell you things and get money out of you left right and centre it can be a bit overwhelming.

READ MORE:
The Ultimate List of Travel Resources

Check out more of our adventures around New Orleans

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AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO NEW ORLEANS

Happy travels,



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Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started Explore Shaw to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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Just two twenty-something married Aussies, visiting as many places as we can in between normal life, and hoping to inspire and offer advice for your travel planning.

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