5 Ways to Celebrate Mardi Gras on a Budget
One of the craziest celebrations in the world, Mardi Gras, is fast approaching. French for “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is world-renowned for its balls and parades. Held in New Orleans, LA, the event draws in 1.4 million people each year, almost 4 times the city’s population. If you’re planning on making the trip, you might be thinking, “How am I going to afford this?” Just because you’re going to the biggest party in the U.S. doesn’t mean you need to break the bank! Here are 5 ways to celebrate Mardi Gras on a budget:
How to Get There
If you live too far away to drive, make sure to secure your travel arrangements early. It’s best to book your flight at least two months out to get the biggest savings. Tuesdays at 3 p.m. are the optimal time to purchase your flight, according to FareCompare. Consider taking a budget airline such as Spirit or Frontier. You might have fewer perks and legroom, but your wallet will thank you later at the parade!
Where to Stay
You’ll want to book your lodging well in advance. Getting a hotel room for Mardi Gras can be difficult, especially if you wait until the last second. If you do wait, try calling different hotels to see if there have been any cancellations. You may be able to get a great deal by doing so. The prices for a double room on Bourbon Street increase 151% during Mardi Gras over any other time of the year, according to Fast Company. If you want to save some money on accommodations, skip the hotel and book an Airbnb instead. Keep in mind, you won’t be spending too much time in your room anyway with all the festivities.
With so many people all visiting New Orleans at the same time, traffic will be highly congested. Skip the rental car and utilize the local streetcar instead for only a few dollars. If you’re staying a little further away from the main strip, use a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft. Of course, due to increased demand, there may be some surge pricing applied. Don’t forget — cabs are also readily available as well.
Dining on the Cheap
With all the drinking you’ll probably be partaking in, make sure to get some food in your stomach first. There are plenty of delicious food options around Bourbon Street. However, most of the restaurants increase their prices and are crammed with people looking to celebrate Mardi Gras with NOLA cuisine. If you don’t want to brave the waitlist and want to save some cash, grab small bites throughout the day at the numerous food stands. You’ll want to bring your own snacks and water as well (water is even more expensive than alcohol).
Party It Up
Mardi Gras has been called the “the greatest free show on earth,” and it lives up to the name! There are so many free festivities to enjoy. Of course, there are several krewe balls that do sell tickets to the public if you’re looking for some added spectacle. “Krewes” are the social organizations that put on the parades and balls for Mardi Gras.
Whether you’re a foodie in search of authentic cuisine or a party animal looking to let loose, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Mardi Gras. It’s an epic party that inspires people to leave their cares behind and live in the moment. And the best part is, if you follow these tips, it doesn’t have to be expensive.