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Crescent Park at Sunset - Bywater
Crescent Park at Sunset - Bywater
Crescent Park at Sunset - Bywater

International Travel Tips

Info to explore before exploring New Orleans.

New Orleans is unlike any other city in the world – foreign, in many ways, to even other Americans. Here’s some information international travelers may find useful in the Crescent City.

Airport Information

The Armstrong International Airport is located in Kenner, Louisiana, just 12 miles from the French Quarter. Travelers can fly direct to New Orleans from 53 cities across the United States and 6 cities abroad. For transportation information from the airport to your hotel and back, click here.

Alcohol Laws

While the legal drinking age in New Orleans is 21, bring your ID to bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, no matter how old you are. Alcohol is available 24/7 and bars can stay open all night. You’re allowed to drink on the streets, but glasses and bottles are prohibited. (Ask for a “go cup” before you leave.) Although the good times roll in New Orleans, public intoxication and disorderly conduct are not tolerated, nor is drinking and driving, driving while under the influence, or carrying open containers of alcohol in your car.

Average New Orleans Temperatures


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All embassies are in Washington, D.C. For consulates in New Orleans, click here.

Currency Exchange

Along with some local banks, currency exchange service is available at Armstrong International Airport at TRAVELEX AMERICA in the Concourse D Lobby. Customers may also request currency exchange service at the Whitney Bank on the Mezzanine Level above Concourse C. Learn more.
Additionally, Bank ATMs are prevalent throughout New Orleans should you wish to use your bank card or credit card.


In the United States, drive on the right side of the road. Speeds are measured in miles-per-hour and speed limits are clearly displayed by signage along streets and roadways.

Age 16 is the legal driving age. Car rental companies rely on a different standard of minimum age, often requiring renters to be 21 years old, with surcharges for people under age 25.

If driving a private vehicle, you are required to possess a valid driver's license and insurance. International driver are not required to carry an international driving permit in the U.S., but must possess a photo ID along with their native driver's license.


For police, fire, or ambulance, dial 911 (the call is free).

Getting Around

New Orleans is one of America’s most walkable cities but your feet aren’t your only available means of transportation. Streetcars, buses, taxis, ride sharing services, pedicabs, ferries, and mule-drawn carriages are all available. You can even rent a car, a bike, a scooter or a motorcycle, if you are so inclined. Learn more here.

Louisiana Tax Free Shopping

Louisiana Tax Free Shopping provides refunds of Louisiana state sales taxes, and in some cases, local sales tax. Tax refunds are available only from retailers who are members of LTFS. International visitors with a valid foreign passport and roundtrip international travel ticket of fewer than 90-days duration are eligible for a sales tax refund. Learn more at

For more information on shopping in New Orleans, click here. 

Phone Calls

Mobile phone and texting service in New Orleans is good (all the larger carriers provide excellent coverage), but you may want to consider buying an inexpensive, no-contract phone locally. Make sure to compare sign-on offers, roaming and data use charges, usage requirements, and limitations. Of course, if you have Internet service, you can make free international calls or your devices with Skype, Viber and Vonage. International calling cards are also an option.

Plug Adapters

The United States uses 110 to 120 volts AC (60 cycles). Chances are you’ll need an American plug adapter to power and charge your phone, tablet, laptop, camera, razor, electric toothbrush and other electronics while in New Orleans. Universal plug adapters that work in more than 150 countries are available online.

Sales Tax

In Orleans Parish, where the city of New Orleans is located, there is a combined sales tax rate of 10% added to most purchases. This includes the Louisiana state sales tax of 5% and the parish sales tax of 5%.  This tax provides funding for a number of governmental services such as first responders. 

Smoking Ordinance

Like almost 700 cities in America, New Orleans has gone smoke-free. The City’s comprehensive smoking ordinance goes above and beyond state law to include restrictions on smoking and vaping (use of electronic smoking devices) in locations such as bars, casinos, hotel rooms, and even some outside areas. Learn more.

Time Zone

New Orleans is in the Central Time Zone (CST), which is 6 hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time. The clock moves ahead an hour here for daylight saving time (DST) which is in effect from 1 a.m. on the second Sunday in March to 1 a.m. on the first Sunday in November.


In the United States it is customary to tip for certain services. Standard tipping includes 15% - 20% for servers at restaurants, $1-$2 for hotel bellmen and airport porters per bag, $2 for hotel housekeeping per night,  $2 for parking valets,  $1-$2 per drink for bartenders, 10% of the taxi fare. Tips can be added to most credit card purchases at restaurants and bars; but most bellmen, valets, porters and houskeeping can only be tipped in cash. 

Travel Visas

Visa requirements to travel to the USA are set by the federal government. To learn more about travel visas, click here.

U.S. Customs 

For details and information on what you’re allowed to bring home, consult your home country’s customs services agency. In the U.S., direct questions to or call 877-227-5511.