How to Travel from Houston to New Orleans by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

New Orleans

New Orleans is a near-mythical city whose reputation looms large in the global consciousness, and for good reason: There’s simply nowhere else like The Big Easy. When it comes to food, music, cocktails, festivals, and fun (in other words, all of the things that make life worth living), nobody does it quite like New Orleans does. And, conveniently, it’s located just 347 miles (or 558 kilometers) east of Houston, which makes for the perfect long weekend getaway destination for Houstonites. There are a few different ways to make the trip, either by flying, driving, or taking the train or bus.

If you’d prefer to avoid the busy I-10 altogether, flying can be a quick, convenient, and (depending on when you book) relatively affordable way to make the trip from Houston to New Orleans. There are a few carriers that offer nonstop flights between the two cities, and flight time is just over an hour. Fares tend to range anywhere from $130 to $250, though you may be able to secure a cheaper flight if you travel during the week or during the off-season (June to September). For an eco-friendly and cost-effective (albeit longer) journey, you could opt to travel by bus or train: Amtrak, Greyhound, FlixBus, and Megabus all offer regular routes between Houston and New Orleans. And of course, you can always drive; the trip takes roughly 5.5 hours, not accounting for stops. 

How to Get From Houston to New Orleans
  Time Cost Best For
Train 9 hours, 30 minutes from $50 Eco-conscious travel
Plane 1 hour, 10 minutes from $60 Arriving on a time crunch
Bus 7 hours from $12 Traveling on a budget
Car 5 hours, 30 minutes 347 miles (558 kilometers) Exploring the local area

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Houston to New Orleans?

Taking the bus is the most affordable way to get from Houston to New Orleans, and it's rather convenient if you’d prefer to kick back and relax while you travel. Luckily, you have your choice of bus operators: Greyhound, Megabus, and FlixBus.

Greyhound buses depart several times a day from the Greyhound station at 2121 Main Street. A one-way ticket can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. There are a few Megabus stations located in Houston: the parking lot of 815 Pierce Street, the Katy Mills Mall (Entrance 8), and the Select Shell Station at 13250 FM 1960 W (at the 290 intersection). Megabus offers five routes to New Orleans every day, with one-way fares usually hovering somewhere between $30 and $50. And FlixBus operates four routes per day, with one-way fares priced as low as $12. 

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Houston to New Orleans?

Flying to New Orleans from Houston takes just a little over an hour, not counting the time spent getting to the airport, checking your bags, and clearing security. Though it’s likely the most expensive mode of transportation (unless you find a good deal or travel during the off-season), flying is often the quickest, most convenient option.

The George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston is a beast of an airport, with five terminals and 25 airlines offering service, so you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to get through security and to your gate. The three carriers that offer nonstop flights to New Orleans are Southwest, United, and Spirit, with American offering connecting flights through Dallas. Very generally speaking, one-way fares start at $60, while a round-trip ticket typically costs anywhere from $130 to $250 or more. 

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

Driving may be a cheap and convenient option since you can leave whenever you want (as opposed to adhering to bus, train, or flight schedules). However, driving from Houston to New Orleans isn’t always the fastest way to go, as it takes around 5 hours, 30 minutes. This also tends to be the most stressful option, simply because I-10 is usually jammed with cars.

If you’re willing to brave the traffic, though, and you want to make a couple stops to help break up the drive, there are definitely a few towns and cultural sites worth checking out along the way. Port Arthur, Texas is home to the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site (a notable Civil War battle site), while Lafayette, Louisiana is known for its incredible Cajun food scene. Baton Route, Louisiana's capital, offers visitors a slew of restaurants, hotels, and attractions. 

How Long Is the Train Ride?

This is easily the longest way to get to New Orleans from Houston, though it is a good eco-conscious mode of transit. Amtrak operates a train from Houston to New Orleans three times per week, and the one-way journey takes around nine hours, 30 minutes. Tickets range anywhere between $50 and $70 for a one-way ticket. 

What Is There to Do in New Orleans?

If drinking, eating, partying, and just generally having a great time were an Olympic sport, New Orleans would win gold, every single time. The vibrant food scene has its roots in several different cultures and traditions, and sampling this enticing mix of African, European, and Caribbean-tinged cuisine alone is worth making the trip. Make it a point to sit and soak up live jazz at least once during your trip; New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, after all, and it’d be a crime to miss out on such a culturally important activity.

But to truly get a feel for the city, take your time walking or biking around all the different neighborhoods. From the offbeat charms of the Marigny and the Bywater to the buzzy attractions in the French Quarter, there’s much to be explored in this lively, colorful, deeply historic city.  

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