We have all dreamed of visiting Paris, whether be it to see the beautiful Eiffel Tower, stroll the romantic streets or simply enjoy some freshly baked French bread! Some of us have been able to make it there and some have yet to. So why haven’t you been able to? As amazing as it is, Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Unless you have unlimited vacation funds, I think most of us have to go back from our vacations and pay bills. (ughhh)
I was able to visit Paris last year which felt like a dream come true. With a little planning, I was able to do it on a budget and even afford to visit Italy in the same trip! Check out my previous blog posts on Paris here and Italy here. So how exactly did I manage to stay within my budget and still enjoy every single minute there? Continue reading my tips to find out more and how you can make Paris your next destination. It is a lot easier and affordable than you think!
–Metro: At first glance, the Paris Metro is a complex grid with lines and circles, however, with a little homework you can master it and move around the city like a local. Start with where you are going to stay and then where you are trying to get to. I found this website to get a closer look at the map. The Paris by train website gives you more information on how to navigate around the city and the costs, click here. A detailed post on the Paris public transportation system is coming up soon. Stay tuned!
–Hop on and off buses: Several tour buses can take you around the city to the major landmarks. If you are short on time, these buses are the perfect way to see the city at your own pace. Click here to get details on one of the popular tour company.
–Public buses: Just like the metro, the public buses run frequently in the city. It is a great way to get around with the locals and inexpensive. Click here to estimate your costs, view the itineraries and the map. The buses are operated by RATP.
–Uber: I used Uber several times while I was in Paris but mostly for short commutes (when I didn’t want to walk around in high heels!). Uber was very reliable, however, can get pricey for longer commutes.
PRO TIP: Your phone number remains the same on your Uber app, we aware of internatinal calling charges if you have to communicate with your driver.
–Cycle/walking: If you are on the tightest budget, pack some comfortable walking shoes and get ready to test them out. Paris is a walking city, enjoy the views and the beautiful architecture in ever corner as you stroll around. If you are looking for some stylish and comfortable shoes, check out my post how to mark your footprints instyle.
PLACES TO STAY
–Airbnb: I am a big fan of airbnbs for many reasons, and saving money happens to be the biggest one. I look for fully private houses/apartments, near public transportation such as the metro, outside the city center. Airbnbs are great if you are traveling with other people, making it cost effective. These are the 2 places I stayed at while I was in Paris last year, which most me under $40 per night.( total cost was split between 4 of us). Place 1 and place 2.
–Hostels: It you are traveling solo, hostels are another cost effective option, just make sure you read the details and the reviews before booking anything.
–Hotels: If hotels is your thing, consider options under 4 stars. Not all 2 or 3 star hotels are bad. Check out Groupon for any deals as well as Hotels.com. Review the fine print to ensure there are no additional charges such as parking.
-Skip eating all 3 meals at fancy restaurants. Have just 1 or 2 meals at a sit down restaurant.
-Grocery shop and prepare your meals at home. You have this advantage if you are staying at an Airbnb. A friendly message to your local host should get yo the location to the nearest grocery store.
-Avoid the restaurants near the touristy landmarks. These are generally very overpriced.
-Pick up some fresh French bread or chocolate croissants for your breakfast at home and then enjoy your cup of coffee at a local cafe while you people watch.
–Museum pass: The Paris Museum Pass is totally worth it if you are planning to visit several of the museums. It gives you access to more than 50 museums and saves you a ton of money compared to purchasing individual passes. Click here to purchase yours.
– You can also skip going inside every single landmark and just pick and chose a few and explore the free places such as the Notre Dame de Paris.
So there you have it, these are some of my tips that helped me stay on a budget during my visit to Paris. Hopefully they can be helpful to you too. What are some of your tops to save money while traveling? I would love to hear them.