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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Perfecting Your 3-1-1 Bag for Spring and Summer

Packing light is a must when traveling and those 3-1-1 bags aren't that big, especially when you're flying during the spring and summer and have to squeeze sunscreen in there, too. While you can buy it once you get there, many resorts, theme parks and grocery stores have outrageous prices on these items. I have ways you can find room in your travel bag for sunscreen and still look great in all your pictures.

packing light

Tinted Moisturizer

You may be used to taking your foundation wherever you go, but a tinted moisturizer can do double-duty as a foundation and a moisturizer. Most even have built-in SPF, so you don't have to bring a second sunscreen specifically for your face.

Powder Foundation

Avoid taking two products and opt for just one with a powder foundation. Not only does it save space, but a good one, like Laura Mercier's Mineral Powder, will be long-lasting and give you a flawless finish over your moisturizer. This can be paired with tinted moisturizer to give you more coverage.

Tinted Lip Gloss

Get a fresh summery look by bringing along a tinted lip gloss that also moisturizes. Leave your heavy lipstick at home and you also won't have to tote around a tube of lip balm. SmashboxO-Gloss brings out the natural hue of your lips, plus it gives you a slight shine and locks in moisture.
photo credit

Trial Sizes

Those fun trial sizes that you get with makeup purchases are your best friend on vacation. Save those tiny tubes of mascara, lip glosses, and eye shadows, and pack them in your travel bag.

Shampoo bars

Shampoo and conditioner can take up a lot of room and also contribute the most to spillage in your bag. There's nothing worse than getting to your destination and having to wash off everything in your 3-1-1 bag because your shampoo or conditioner exploded. Shampoo bars don't ever have to go in your liquids bag, they never spill and are super easy to use. They work just like a bar of soap and have all the benefits of a great shampoo. You can even get solid conditioners which will leave your hair silky and manageable. I like the ones from Lush or Basin.

Want to save money on top of space? Not only will you eliminate baggage fees, but if you use Ebates you can save even more on your beauty purchases, too. With awesome stores like Sephora, Philosophy, Ulta, Drugstore.com and many more, you can find everything you need for your trip, look like a million bucks, and save a few dollars, too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Visit to Mardi Gras World

With Mardi Gras in full swing and Fat Tuesday coming up next week, I though it'd be fun to give you a quick overview of my visit to Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. If a float is being made for one of the parades (did you know there is more than just the one big one?), then it's being made at MGW. Pretty cool, right?

preparing for mardi gras

All the sculptures and flowers and other items for floats are handmade by artists in the warehouse. Most things are made by sculpting foam layers to form 3D images, then they are sanded and painted before they are ever attached to anything. Most of the sculptures are not used again, so they get reused as something else or sculpted into something else later to use on a different float. 

Your visit to Mardi Gras, includes a short film to tell you about the different krewes that run each parade, the history of Mardi Gras and then a tasting of King Cake (the official Mardi Gras treat). Next you go into the different sections of the warehouse with your guide, who explains what is done where, answers your questions and then turns you loose to wander and take as many photos as you want. 

Did you know that krewe members have to pay a hefty fee to become a part of a krewe? 

Or that they have to supply their own beads and other throwaways? 

A parade may last for 6 or more hours, so you have to make sure you don't run out of beads and other throws. 

Alcohol is a given for krewe members, and floats are equipped with (apparently rudimentary) bathrooms. I didn't get to actually go on a float to see one, but I'm told they all have them, and they can get pretty gross. 

All krewe members must wear masks. I'm still not sure why this is, but they all match each other.

I also learned that each krewe runs their own parade and each has a theme every year. Once the current Mardi Gras is over, the folks at Mardi Gras World immediately start prepping and sculpting for the next year. Parades are big business. 

Want to visit Mardi Gras World on your next trip to New Orleans? A tour lasts about an hour, depending on how long you hang around to check out the stuff that you saw with your guide. Prices are less than $20 per adult, and are cheaper for children and seniors. Buy your tickets online before you go, or just show up and get in on the next available tour. The gift shop has a ton of stuff to enjoy while you wait for your tour to start.

Have you ever been to Mardi Gras?

Monday, February 20, 2017

How to Fit Airfare into Your Budget

No matter where you go, airfare can be a big chunk of your vacation budget. If you know what you’re doing, it can be a smaller one than expected, even during the more expensive times of the year. Of course, planning your trip in the off-season can save you big time. Here are my best tips on how to get cheaper airfare:

airfare tips

Book/Look on Tuesday or Wednesday

Airlines set their prices for the week on Tuesdays, this means that if you're going to find a sale on your chosen destination, this is the likely day to find it. Know that once an airline posts a sale rate, other airlines may jump on the bandwagon to lower their prices on those same routes as well, in order to gain your business. Now, that doesn't mean they will, but it's probable. Sale wars last until Thursday and then prices begin to rise again, as airlines want to take advantage of travelers who don't check prices until the weekend.

Know that sale seats are often limited so if you wait, you may not get a seat at the rock bottom prices offered. Generally, I don't find deals on the weekend, but that's not entirely a hard rule either. Sunday seems to be the new Tuesday, as I've discovered and booked a few cheap flights on that day. My tip: keep checking all week until you find a flight that fits your budget.

Fly on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday

The majority of people are trying to fly so they get the full weekend into their schedule. This means Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday are the most popular days to fly. It enables people to get a full three days out of their vacation and the airlines do their best to make the most money on these days. 

Aim to fly on less desirable days. We often fly Saturday to Saturday or Wednesday to Wednesday, because we get a price break and the added benefit of a less crowded airport. Security lines are shorter, there's always a seat at the gate and sometimes the planes aren't entirely full either.

Like everything else, there's an exception to this rule, which may depend on the popularity of the route/destination on any given day, so you'll have to do a bit of research to see if your destination fits into this criteria. I've gotten a great deal on a flight to Vegas arriving on a Monday and leaving on a Friday, but then again, it was in February, and that's a downtime for tourists.

Fly in the morning

Ugh, nobody wants to get up before the sun rises, especially to lug a bag with them and endure the airport nonsense. I love the airport, but I'm not a morning person, so I am not the most fun person to deal with early, unless you just ignore me and play on your phone or read a book or something. My husband knows this. Fortunately, I'm a bit more people-y when I'm headed on vacation. I'm willing to get up while it's still dark to head to the airport, because I know I've saved money and I'll probably get to my destination at a reasonable time and not miss a whole day of stuff.

You might hate it, and your family might hate having to take you, but if you could save a significant chunk of money, wouldn't you do it? You can call an Uber. You can sleep on the plane (bring ear plugs and an eye mask). You can indulge in the biggest coffee Starbucks can legally sell you. However you deal with it, think of what you can spend that extra money on. A bonus is that when you get there, you have a lot less chance of your flight being delayed, because you're on one of the first flights of the day.

Make a flight with several bookings

Don't limit yourself to those round-trip options given when you search. Instead, book your legs separately, possibly on different airlines, to save as much as possible. Make sure if you have any connections, that you have enough time in between flights. It might be annoying to do this extra work, but once it's booked, all you have to do is print your boarding passes and figure out how to get from gate to gate.

I just booked a flight this way, because I had enough miles for one way (see below) and I also had an airline credit to spend. I got the flights that fit my trip, on airlines I actually wanted to fly, and I paid less than $20 for the entire round-trip flight. If you can save hundreds of dollars by booking flights separately, why not do it?

Search for a single seat

As I said above, sale seats (and often rewards seats) are limited, so you might be screwing yourself by searching for multiple seats at once. If you look for everyone at once and don't find anything cheaper, then search for seats one at a time. Here's why: If there are two sale seats available for $97, but you are searching for three, you aren't even going to see this option. Instead, you'll see the next price tier that has enough seats to satisfy your search. If there are only two, you can snag those at the sale price and then pay the higher price for the third seat, not the higher price for all three. You can choose your seats after booking, so you can all sit together, so don't worry about this at the time.

Set up airfare alerts

Know when your desired trip goes on sale! Set up airfare alerts on our preferred airlines and get notified right away when those route's rates drop! 

Let an aggregate site do the searching for you

Set up airfare alerts on aggregate sites, too. But when you search, make sure to check your favorite aggregates, because you can see a bunch of airlines all on one page and make a more informed decisions. Sites like Webjet can help you find cheap flights every day, by finding the best deals across the board and putting them in front of you. Not only that, but you can book a package deal too, weather that includes a car rental and a hotel or just one or the other. You don't even have to purchase airfare through them to book the other services. Score! 

Use your air miles

Anytime you book a flight, a hotel, or a car rental, make sure you put your frequent flyer number in that box they provide for you. I don't always fly the same airlines, but I will always put in my American Airlines' number if they let me. With them being partners with Alaska, they flight just about anywhere I want. We use Eric's Alaska card to book most of our flights, which gives us more miles and a cheap companion fare each year, so when I fly again during the year, I check my mileage total to see if I have a free flight coming. 

On my next trip to Vegas, I found I didn't have enough miles to book a full free flight, but I did have enough for a one-way trip, so I booked that trip on the American site for an Alaskan flight. Then I went to Alaska and booked my return flight using the credit I received on my last flight when I got stuck on the tarmac for almost an hour coming home from LAX. 

You only pay taxes and fees when you book using these methods. The new rate is $6, so both flights cost me a total of $12 + the slight extra I paid for the rate over my credit, which still came under $20 in the end.

Is there a magic formula?

The answer isn't simple, because there is, but there also isn't. The window to find the best rate on a certain flight is 5-7 weeks out for domestic and 3 months for international, but that doesn't mean those are the only times to find deals. I've found awesome rates 3 weeks before a flight, but also several months out for a domestic flight. Set your budget and keep looking until you find something that works for you. Worried that you're going to miss out on a better deal, use a service like Yapta to monitor rates on airfares you've already booked. If you're eligible for a refund of any sort, they will let you know and tell you how to go about getting an even better deal.

What are some of your best tips on getting cheaper airfare?

Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by Webjet.com.au, where you can book your airfare, hotel, car rental and cruise for less. Find them on your favorite social media outlet: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Eating For Cheap In Las Vegas

It used to be really easy to find cheap eats in Vegas, but over the years the prices have risen as more and more haute cuisine options have moved in. While this makes it one of the ultimate destinations for foodies, it's not so fabulous for those on a budget. People I talk to often ask me how I can afford to visit Vegas several times a year. Well, for one, when I go alone, I probably eat one meal in a restaurant the whole time I'm there (which is usually only three days). Two, I avoid the Strip if possible, but I also have a vacation rental and make breakfast in my room each morning.

Vegas cheap eats

When we visit as a couple or a group, we also have a vacation rental and we stretch our meals. Our first stop after getting our rental car is the grocery store to pick up staples, because having breakfast and snacks on-hand are rule number one. Now, I love to eat, so I'm not willing to just skip eating out altogether, but I look for cheaper options that are just as delicious as the more expensive venues in the resorts.

Gordon Ramsay's Fish & Chips 

I've been waiting for this quick-serve joint to open for two years. I love a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and have tried several of them. His traditional sit downs can be expensive and, though they are worth it, not always conducive to budget traveling. Well, if you love a good fish and chips plate, you're going to adore his new location on the Linq Promenade. The outside is gorgeous and bright and the inside is inviting. There are some tables inside and out, but you're looking at a dining venue that is more takeaway than anything else. 

My mom and I popped into Fish & Chips after reading the menu and seeing that not only do they have fish and chips, but also chicken, shrimp and sausage. They even have a fishwich. The prices are reasonable, with a combo (meat, "chips", a drink and two different sauces) costing just $13.99-15.99. We were able to split a chicken combo, as we weren't starving, but I'm looking forward to trying the fish on my next visit. The chips were amazing, and we only just ordered the natural sea salt. Your other choices are "dirty": 1- chipotle, jalapeno & chorizo, 2- truffle, parmesan & chives, 3- cacciatore spices & basil. The menu includes some fancy sauces, shakes, beer and homemade lemonades. Because this is a quick service restaurant, no tipping is required.

Crown & Anchor Pub

I found this pub by luck, I believe by searching on TripAdvisor, and have since visited multiple times. It's difficult to find a good English pub in America, but this one does it and has delicious menu choices that will satisfy everyone in your party, and also satisfy your wallet.

Crown & Anchor is in a cute little white building off The Strip on Tropicana Blvd. It's really easy to get to and the service is wonderful as well. I've been glad I've made the effort to eat there.

Bad Owl Coffee

I love coffee and I love Harry Potter, so when I heard that there was a Harry Potter coffee shop in Henderson, NV, I knew I was going to make every effort to visit at least once. I was worried it would be hokey and/or the food would be a let down, but quite the opposite happened. The decor is pretty perfect and not overly done, the menu has Potter-esque options, British themed options and your favorites alongside. 

The first time we went, I ordered the Butter Brew latte and yum! We also tried the English trifle latte, lavender latte and, on this last trip, the Nutella latte. All were delicious. But it doesn't stop there. We grab an early lunch here, because the food is out of this world. The above is the Siriusly Prosciutto sandwich. I also made my mom share the Tonks Italian Turkey with me on this last trip and I was in love. It came with a side salad that was mostly lettuce and carrot shreds, but OMG was it good. And filling. It's worth the trip out and takes about 20 minutes to drive from the center of the Strip. The prices aren't super cheap, but they are way better than much of what you will find near the casinos.


This is one of my must-eat destinations in Vegas. Located at The Park Las Vegas between New York New York and the Monte Carlo (soon to be The Park MGM), it's easy to get to, the food is amazing, even if you don't love fried chicken or waffles, and the prices are reasonable as long as you don't order a bottled water. The portions are quite large and we've been known to be able to split a waffle sandwich and an order of fries or Irish Nachos (shown above). My mom has been very vocal about not liking fried chicken (whaaaaaat?!) and waffles, but I ordered the original chicken and waffle and after she tasted it, she ate half of it. Bruxie has other locations as well, and we hit up the one in Brea, California on our Christmas trip with the same delicious results. Head over in the middle of the week for their $5 Wednesday deal on sandwiches.

In-N- Out Burger

I know I'm in the minority of people who doesn't think In-N-Out is phenomenal. I mean, it's fine, so I'm good with going with friends when they want to go. Now, you don't have to drive off the Strip to get your fix though. The new location on the Linq Promenade is open and doesn't require you to have a car to get to it. Their burgers are fresh and never frozen and you can get plain fries, animal style (like you see above) or no fries at all. Sure, it's fast food, but since many people go out of their way to eat there anyway, it's an easy way to stretch a buck.

Hash House A-Go-Go

Now, I don't particularly think you need to visit this particular establishment, though I found their food really delicious and beautifully presented, but the portions are so large, you can easily share between two or three, making it perfect for budget travelers. You even get a free southern biscuit per person before your meal and it's as big as your head. For real.

Ninja Teriyaki & Sushi 2 Go

If you love sushi and have a rental car, then it's worth the drive into Vegas proper to visit this little hole in the wall location in a strip mall. It doesn't look like much, but the sushi is made to order, it's affordable and the rolls are monstrous. I was hungry when I ordered mine and got the above roll (that's 8 pieces!) and salmon nigiri, plus an order of egg rolls on the side. It was less than $15 and I couldn't finish it all...though I tried hard to get through it. It was some of the freshest sushi I've ever had, and I go out for sushi at least twice a month. We've ordered their family meal as well that comes with a ton of sushi and teriyaki and eight of us didn't finish it all in one sitting. Look for Groupons, as they are pretty regular for this location.


I love a good buffet, but I can't justify spending $30+ per person to indulge. I mean, I don't think I eat $30 worth of food, even for dinner. That said, we splurged on a few buffets on our last trip, because we used our points from MyVEGAS to get a 2-for-1 certificate. $30 is a lot better than $60 and easily more justifiable. The only thing is that you'll have to eat Monday through Thursday and shell out a few bucks for tip. 

If you don't know how MyVEGAS works, you play on Facebook or download the app to your phone or tablet and play slots to gain points that you can turn in for things like free food, attractions and more. Your MyVEGAS account connects to your MLife card (used at MGM and their resorts) and you just head to the MLife counter, show your code, along with your ID and MLife card (they can give you one if you don't have one) and you have that day to use your reward. We often use it to get a 2-for-1 crepe at New York New York, because yum!

Split a large platter

And even a small one, depending on how hungry you are. Here's a huge thing we ordered at Chili's that we barely finished. It was less than $20 for two of us and it satisfied our craving for BBQ. Plus, if you've indulged in a buffet that day, you probably don't have room for a full meal later anyway. If it's just you, then take half of it with you to eat for another meal. I've done this myself when I had a full order at Serendipity 3 to myself. Later, when I didn't feel like finding food for myself, I heated up the oven, put it all on a baking sheet and made it all crispy and warm again to eat for dinner.

Though these are by no means the only way to eat cheaper in Vegas, they are some of my favorite ways. I'd rather indulge in one really good meal and save on the others on my trip. I never feel like I'm missing out and it makes that one expensive meal very special.

What are you favorite ways to save on food in Vegas? Or where do you have to eat when you visit?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ethel M & Free Las Vegas

I just got back from another trip to Vegas. My mom and I had a great time, despite being on a budget. We wanted to spend most of our money on food, and we did, so we filled our time with some activities I purchased tickets for in advance (for her birthday) and with quite a bit of free ones. 

Vegas is constantly changing, so there are always new things to do and eat, but that also means you have to plan what you want to do in advance, because what was there last time might be gone or replaced the next. There are quite a few free things to do though that are ever-present, which I tend to do each time I visit. Here are some of my picks for making your dollars stretch during your Vegas vacation.

Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden

This is pretty much a Vegas institution, even though it's technically in Henderson. If you like chocolate, and you have a car, make sure to take a few hours to head over here. The factory is a self-guided tour where you can see chocolates being made and read about what's happening.

The factory portion isn't large, but it was fun to see the machines and equipment, plus the chocolatiers making things like chocolate-covered apples. At the end you can take a picture of yourself with giant chocolates. You also get a free sample and, obviously, can make a purchase in the gift shop. 

Head outside and take a stroll through the cactus garden. It's totally free and open until 10pm. They light the garden up at night, which gives it a whole different feel. During the day, though it may be hot out, you can see a large variety of cacti and desert plants. Even living many years in Arizona, I've seen some plants there that I hadn't grown up with. They have plaques to teach you about them and there a lot of places to sit and hang out, including a lovely little gazebo.

Bellagio Conservatory

You already know how much I love the Bellagio Conservatory, but let's talk about it again for a minute. If you like flowers (and even if you don't), this place is amazing. It's a large open space with a glass ceiling off the Bellagio's lobby that has a new theme every season. This season they had it decorated for Chinese New Year, with giant roosters, baby chicks, a model of the Shanghai hotel and a koi pond. The conservatory and botanical garden is open 24/7 and makes for some amazing photo ops. There are almost always a ton of people in it.

The Fall of Atlantis and aquarium

This animatronic show has been in the Forum Shops at Caesars for many years. Unfortunately, it feels that way and could really use an update, or at least a rerecording, but it's still quite popular. The show takes place on the hour throughout the day and tells of the passing down of ruling over Atlantis. If nothing else, there's fun effects, including water and fire and a demon(?) with wings. It's cheesy, but I still think it's worth a view at least once, plus there's a great aquarium on the backside of the fountain with rays and sharks and colorful fish (there's also a restroom right there and a wonderful art gallery that showcases some fantastic artists, like Roy Lichtenstein, one of my personal favorites.

Palazzo Lobby

The lobby of the Palazzo Hotel and Casino, much like the Bellagio, has a large centerpiece that is changed out seasonally, and usually consists of large women made of flowers. This time it was done up for Chinese New Year with huge gold coins, lanterns, roosters and orange trees. Head back out and go into the Canal Shops that connect the Palazzo with the Venetian.

The decor in the shops mimic the lobby. This trip, there was a large dragon in the fountain and this awesome metal art in front of the waterfall. We were lucky enough to get a photo of us with it while we were there. Tip: Always ask a  stranger to take a pic and reciprocate for them You can get some great pics that way.

If you go a little further in, you can catch the gondoliers singing. It's like being outside in Venice, except with a ton of fancy shops. It can be pretty relaxing though, so take a stroll through at least once. You can take your photo on one of the many bridges that stretch over the river.

The Flamingo Habitat

I'm pretty sure this isn't going anywhere, because people love it and the pool is right behind all this bird stuff. It can be difficult to find the flamingo habitat, but if you follow the signs toward the buffet and pool, you will find the doors to go outside. The Flamingo namesakes are out there, along with ducks, pelicans and other birds, plus turtles and koi. The habitat has a waterfall, several ponds and a pretty fountain. It's easy to get engrossed in all there is to look at and feel like you aren't in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.

The Gold Nugget and the Golden Nugget

Again, this might be difficult to find and I've actually just asked someone in the past, but if you're going downtown or just to Fremont Street, duck into the Golden Nugget and check out the largest gold nugget (and the second largest). If you turn around, you'll also find one of only two known gold ATMs in the world. The only other one is in Dubai, and while you probably can't afford to take out money in the form of a gold ingot, it's fun to look and take pictures. I think last time I checked, it was something like $320 for the least amount you could withdraw as gold.

Downtown Street Art

You don't need to go to a museum to see amazing art. The streets of Downtown Vegas are literally packed with fantastic murals, signs and sculptures. The city works with local artists to make the downtown area a "place" to visit and give people a reason to get off Fremont Street and out of the casinos.

The Container Park

Just a few blocks from the Fremont Street Experience, you'll find the Container Park. It's stacks of shipping containers made into an outdoor mall. Shops, restaurants and other great little places are all in the space, plus a huge playground to keep the kids busy. On certain nights you can head in and see free movies in their "park" for 21 and over. There's even a huge art installation at the mouth of the park which takes on a different vibe after dark.

The streets of New York (New York)

You can also walk the streets of Paris (at the Paris), but I really love New York for some reason. I think it's the tiny balconies and the shop fronts and street signs. It's adorable. I always stop and get something quick to eat so I can eat "outside" and soak it in a bit more. Even if you don't gamble or stop to eat, just wander around the streets and don't forget to look up, because that's where some of the best details are.

These are just a few of the free things to do in Vegas, but ones that won't be changing or leaving anytime soon. They are ones that I visit nearly every time I'm in town and are truly worth the stop. While you can certainly add the Bellagio fountains and the Mirage volcano, it's not always fun to be outside in Vegas, and those are always packed as well, making it hard to view comfortably. 

What are your favorite free (or practically free) things to do in Vegas?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Non-Traditional Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is on the horizon. February 28th is the end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which is a week-long celebration of excess. If all the crowds aren't for you, which I can totally understand, then you may want to enjoy some of what else New Orleans has to offer, like its rich history and it's haunted side. You may remember my post on voodoo culture and free art, but what about heading to see some of the most haunted locations around the city? Perhaps you'll even want to stay in one of these hotels.

New Orleans has always claimed to have a rich history in the occult and creepy myths, so taking a trip to indulge in the historical part of this city is definitely a must. The city has long been called one of the most haunted cities in America and for several reasons – catastrophes, violence and close quarters being among them. Everywhere you turn, you can find ghostly haunts:

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The Omni Royal Hotel
Once the building for the city’s slave market and the site of great brutality, the hotel is now a grand place to stay and home to many spirits. If you stay here, you may see lights flicker and faucets turn on and off.

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The Bourbon Orleans
This former orphanage run by nuns still has kids running along its corridors. Guests have reported hearing children’s voices, seeing nuns in the hallways and feeling electrical charges near the stairwells.

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The Dauphine House Bed & Breakfast
Some guests just refuse to leave. This historic house, built right outside of the French Quarter in the 1800s, has doors that open and close on their own.

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Brennan’s New Orleans
A staple of the city since 1946, Brennan’s is not only a highly rated fine dining establishment, but it also has its own ghosts. In the Red Room, a man living in the building hanged himself after murdering his family. One of the cooks loved his job so much he continues to try to do it after his death and pots and pans clank in the kitchen when no one is around.

The owner of this well-known eatery was so deeply devoted to his restaurant and its patrons, that he is said to come back night after night – sometimes with other dearly departed family members – to check on how things are going.

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Not one to dismiss the presence of ghosts who roam the earth, Muriel’s greets wandering spirits with a waiting plate of food and has even turned what was once the old slave quarters into a séance room. A former owner, devastated by losing his home in a poker game, committed suicide in this same room, making it a hotbed of paranormal activity.

The Pharmacy Museum
Set on the site of the very first apothecary shop, the Pharmacy Museum holds a wide variety of cures and artifacts from old medical practices and voodoo rituals, including ghastly instruments used in the past for dentistry, many by the former owner, a dentist known to conduct grisly experiments on patients.

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St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
Nearly everyone has heard of the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and you can visit her tomb in New Orleans’ most haunted cemetery. Hundreds of thousands are buried in this one square block, with the tombs being reused over and over. Because of vandalism, you'll have to book a tour to visit now, as individuals are no longer allowed to wander alone. You also have to go during the day, as the church has set the closing time to 3pm now. Fortunately, it's well worth the effort and cost, especially if you book a city tour that includes a visit to the cemetery, because you get more for your money that way.

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Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Located in the Garden District, this beautiful cemetery is full of the tombs of those who died of yellow fever in the 1850s. It is surrounded by stately homes and mansions and has free tours each day. Shadows are seen frequently around the grounds. I didn't see any ghosts while I was there, but it was also pretty busy. Entrance is free, but you must go during the daytime. Look online to find a self-guided tour to learn more about the different tombs you'll see, though you can also book a free guided tour online as well. I enjoyed going on my own and taking time to take pictures and read the various tombs. 

Everywhere you go in The Big Easy seems to have an interesting story behind it. I was glad we booked two tours (made cheaper by Groupon) the week we were there and also toured alone, so we had the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, even though I learned a lot about its haunted past, I didn't see or feel any ghosts during my trip.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience in a haunted destination?
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