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Do You Need A Rental Car In New Orleans?

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To rent a car or not? That is the question. If you're coming to visit New Orleans soon, you may be asking yourself this question. I know it's a pretty common question, I see it asked a lot.

The simple answer is that there's no right or wrong answer for everyone that comes to New Orleans, so I'll give you a few things to consider to hopefully help you make your decision a little bit easier.

WhyNew Orleans rental cars

Easiest, Quickest Way To Get Around The City

New Orleans has a vast public transportation system and when you throw in the taxis, there's nowhere that you can get with a rental car that you can't get to any way else.

However, there's no denying that you can probably get their quicker and with less hassle driving your own car. All you have to do is hop in your car, plugin in the address in your GPS and you're off. It doesn't get much quicker and easier, assuming that the GPS is accurate and there isn't a second line parade blocking your route. Plus, you don't have to wait for the shuttle, bus, or street car if you have your own vehicle.

Taxi/Shuttle Rates Can Add Up

If you're planning to go to a lot of different places, the taxi and shuttle rates can add up and renting a car might actually be more economical on the surface. Airport shuttles are about $38 per person and taxis are just a little bit more expensive, so if you throw in the taxi fares around the city, it might actually be cheaper to rent your own car.

Why Not

You Don't Need A Car In New Orleans

First of all if you're staying in the French Quarter or close by in the Central Business district, you won't need a car. You'll be within walking distance of the most popular restaurants, sights to see and other destinations. If you want to go somewhere else there's the beautiful and historic streetcars that can take you take you to locations like City Park and the Garden District. If the streetcar isn't going exactly where you're headed, there's an abundance of taxis throughout the city that would be more than willing to help you get there.

Parking Can Be A Pain

I love New Orleans, but I'll be the first admit that I plan some extra time into my schedule if I'm going to the French Quarter and have some place to be at a specific time. Finding parking on the street can be next to impossible, if not impossible during the popular weekends. Not every hotel offers parking, so this could be an issue that you want to look into ahead of time.

Parking Can Be Pricy

If you are staying a hotel that does have parking, I will warn you that just like any other city, parking can be expensive in New Orleans. This is especially true in the French Quarter. Rates average around thirty dollars, but can get much more expensive during Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and other popular times to visit New Orleans.

My Recommendation

Skip The Rental Car

Take a shuttle or taxi if you're coming in from the airport. If this is your first visit and your hotel is in or near the French Quarter, you'll be walking most of the time anyways. Paying for parking and daily rates for the rental car just wouldn't be worth it. Avoid the headaches and let someone else do the driving.Your car will probably spend most of the vacation in the parking garage, why pay for the car and the parking space when you don't need it?

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