Trip Coach: July 18, 2006
Budget Travel editors answered your questions about travel
Budget Travel Editors: Welcome to this week's Trip Coach. Let's get to your questions!
Littelton, CO: New Orleans--How many of the venues are open? What are the don't misses for the moment? Thinking of traveling to New Orleans in November '06. What are the weather conditions?
Budget Travel Editors: First off, more and more places in New Orleans are opening every day. The city has been working overtime for almost a year now to resume a sense of normalcy. NOLA's official website has a wealth of information for visitors, including running lists of what hotels and restaurants are open, slated to open, or still closed for repairs. We also suggest checking out our article New Orleans Right Now.
We think it's terribly important that tourists start enjoying the city again--there are loads of ways to have fun. In fact, it's the key to NOLA's full recovery. However, we should also tell you that it's officially hurricane season in New Orleans, and the whole Gulf Coast for that matter. The months between October-June are the best in NOLA, and the coolest.
Jacksonville, FL: What are some creative ways to obtain a rental car at a reasonable rate? We will be in New York City for 10 days in October, and I cannot find any car under $500.
Budget Travel Editors: Ouch! We New Yorkers feel your pain - prices for car rentals in this city are notoriously expensive.
First, do you really need a car for all 10 days? I'm assuming you will be doing some sightseeing in Manhattan. For that, you won't need a car. Driving in the city can be nervewracking, to say the least, and parking is limited and outrageously expensive. Instead, why not travel like a local: take public transportation whenever possible--it's cheap, easy, and safe. 7-day Metrocards, good for unlimited rides on buses and subways, cost $24, or $12 for seniors, and up to three children can ride free with a fare-paying adult. Or you can buy a pay-per-ride subway card; rides are $2/per person and you'll receive a 20% bonus if you put $10 or more on your card (for example, a $20 purchase gives you $24 on your card - 12 trips for the price of 10). Subway and bus information, including downloadable maps, is at mta.nyc.ny.us.
If you do plan on driving in and around the city, there are a few options. Zipcar is a great new service that allows you to rent a car for just a few hours - or an entire day in U.S. cities, including NYCty. They offer a few different pricing plans, including an 'extra value plan' that starts at $50 per month, plus a one-time $25 application fee. Gas, parking, and insurance are included. Check out Zipcar's New York rates here: zipcar.com/nyc/check-rates.
If you truly do need a car for all 10 days, and are willing to do a little legwork, look into renting a car outside of NYC. Try renting a car in New Jersey. A quick check on expedia.com shows rates from $163/week in Newark, NJ for an economy rental in October. There are a few ways to get to Newark: from Penn Station in New York, take either a NJ TRANSIT or Amtrak train to Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station, and take a taxi to the car rental agency. More information can be found here: panynj.gov.
Houston, TX: Can you share a list of locations that are good walking towns that have nice hotels close by so we dont have to rent a car? We like trolleys, busses, and monorails. We enjoy museums, local specialty sights and events, good food and three or 4 star hotel chains. We have been to San Antonio, TX, and Seattle. Both of these were perfect for us. We are looking for more of the same.
Budget Travel Editors: You're in luck! Our current issue has an entire feature devoted to four walkable U.S. destinations: Burlington, Vermont, Madison, Wisconsin, Portland, Maine, and Wilmington, North Carolina. We also put together interactive maps highlighting the affordable hotels, cafes, and attractions listed in each place. Major cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Diego--with its revitalized downtown Gas Lamp District--are also great car-free options. Check our downloadable New York Snap Guide for insider favorites; Secret Hotels of Chicago for lodgings outside the loop; and our round-up of Boston hotel deals, Beantown Bargains. To make filling up at the pump less painful, consult our state-by-state list of Deals for Drivers and Gas Watch for tips on getting the most gas mileage, finding the cheapest nearby gas, and online resources for calculating the cost of your trip.
Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com
Budget Travel Real Deals