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How to Enjoy France on a Budget

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Of the many destinations in Europe, France has got to be one of the most beautiful and expensive places to be spending a holiday. A vacation shouldn’t break the bank, even if you have enough saved up for such an occasion. Saving money is a difficult and tricky endeavor if you’re not careful, so make sure you don’t blow all your savings on a vacation where prudent planning can stretch your funds and let you enjoy your time spent without worrying too much about cash and how you’re going to pay for it.

Plan Ahead, Book Early

It pays to have a plan, so if you’re thinking about going to France, do all your planning six months in advance. You can get a lot of cheap flights when you book early, so check out Skyscanner for the cheapest direct flights to France. Discount airfare is always an option, but be sure to check for all the hidden charges and fees. Plan where you want to stay, what places you want to visit first and how you’re going to move around. Trust me, being prepared and knowing where you have to go for cheap transportation is a budget saver.

Make Some Friends

The best way to experience a country is by hanging out with the locals. They can take you to places no guidebook will ever show you and even teach you a thing or two about where to eat for cheap and where to go for fun. It also won’t hurt to learn a little French before heading off for your vacation, so be on your best behavior and make some friends!

Avoid Pricey Hotels in the City

Hotels in France, especially in Paris, can cost two arms and a leg. A good strategy would be to find a place just outside of Paris. AirBnB and Couchsurfing can be a great resource if you want to experience France on the cheap. With AirBnB, you pay a small fee to a host, while Couchsurfing is free. Hosts are locals who are usually eager to get to know their guests, so be sure to make the most of your stay because they can be your friends for life. No need to get professional French translation services when going around town because your hosts may come with you from time to time.

There’s also the Gîtes de France, an organization that lists several types of low-cost accommodations in France. You can also try Logis, a listing of over 2,300 hotel-restaurants that can be heaven for foodies. The accommodations here are usually cheaper than the food! Bienvenue a la Ferme is a government sponsored program where farm owners provide accommodations to tourists, from no electricity camping sites to farm house B&B’s that serve delectable fresh produce.

Avoid the Peak Season

If you want to save even more money, avoid France during the high season, which is from May to September. This is the ideal time to visit the country due to the warm weather, but everything will be expensive and lodging options will be limited. The most pocket friendly time to go to France is December to March because there are fewer tourists milling about and prices are generally lower.

Have a smart Breakfast and a huge Lunch

France is a foodie’s heaven, but it can be expensive. Instead of a 20 euro breakfast, look for bakeries and pastry shops where you can buy cheap bread or croissants. Then head over to a local café for coffee. This little adventure would probably cost you 5 Euros not bad for an awesome breakfast. For lunch, look for a prix fixe menu, where you can have a set meal of starters, main dish and dessert for a fixed price.

Final Thoughts

France can be an expensive destination, but if you plan ahead, choose where to stay and figure out the best dining options in the area you’re in, the country of fine wine and cheese can be a delightfully budget friendly place to visit. Just don’t take cab rides or other expensive modes of transport. France’s buses can take you wherever you want to go and are cheap. The cities also have metro subway stations you can ride for faster travel within the cities. So, what are you waiting for? Book a flight now so you can get there in December and have a romantic Christmas in the city of lights.

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