smart spending

7 classic American vacations on the cheap

New Orleans
New Orleans © iStock

New Orleans

Fine food, never-ending nightlife and well-preserved history draw millions to New Orleans every year. "The Big Easy doesn't have to dent your wallet either," says Julia Kamysz Lane, author of "New Orleans for Dummies."

To stretch your travel dollars, spend $1.25 on the Regional Transit Authority's St. Charles Avenue Streetcar ride to the Uptown section of New Orleans.

Then take a self-guided walking tour of the Garden District and Audubon Park. Or, sign up for a free guided tour of the French Quarter conducted by national park rangers, Lane says. The French Quarter is part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, which also includes a nearby nature preserve with free hiking and walking tours through the Southeast Louisiana bayous.

Dine in the city's many famous restaurants, such as Commander's Palace and Galatoire's, for less by going for lunch. "Some restaurants also offer early bird or summer dinner specials to lure in diners," Lane says.

To save on lodging, steer clear of the French Quarter and instead aim for the nearby Central Business District or the Garden District. "It's easier on the budget, and you'll experience the city more like a local," she says.

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