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New Orleans is an affordable destination to get to, and there are plenty of options for getting there. The city is served by a number of major airlines, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport ( MSY ) offers plenty of cabs and other hired vehicles with friendly drivers that will take you straight to your hotel's front door in the French Quarter or downtown for a set price. The airport is probably about a 20 minute drive outside of New Orleans, in nearby Kenner. Most hotels will also help you arrange the trip back to the airport, making this one city where renting a car is largely optional.
Taxicab transfer to/from the airport to most points within New Orleans proper runs a flat rate $33 for up to two passengers. For three or more passengers the cost is $14 per passenger, plus any extra bag charges, and fuel surcharge. The Airport Shuttle, a shared passenger van service, costs $20 per passenger one way. They do offer a discount for purchasing a round-trip ticket, which cost $38. And, as you can see, there is virtually no cost advantage to taking the shuttle if you have two or more persons in your group (though lone travelers will save money). Plus it is not very reliable. Also, when taking the shuttle you are subject to the possible inconvenience of having to make multiple stops en route to your final destination while a taxi is direct. Gratuities for either service are additional. The E-2 Jefferson Transit bus stops outside the Delta door on the upper level about every 40 minutes during the day. For $1.60 and 45 minutes of your time, it will take you into the CBD. On weekdays only, it goes to the corner of Tulane and Elk Place (in front of the library), a five minute walk into the FQ. On weekends, it goes only as far as the Superdome.
There are a couple of other options for getting to New Orleans as well. Amtrak has a station located very close to downtown right near the Superdome, probably about a 20 minute walk from the French Quarter. Greyhound buses are another option.
Finally, more people have been choosing to leave New Orleans a whole different way - by cruise ship. The city has become an increasingly popular stop and departure point for tourist ships as they make their way to the Caribbean islands or to the relatively nearby Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.