Are you planning to visit France soon or want to visit but are on a tight budget and are wondering how to make it all possible? Well, who wouldn’t love the chance to visit France? It has so much to offer, including the Eiffel Tower, Disney-like castles, and of course the beautiful and breathtaking beaches.
With tons of history to explore, France is one of the most attractive places for tourists, but at the same time, it can be dreadfully expensive for people who are on a limited budget.
Are you considering some cheap ways to travel to France and need some help regarding that? In this article, I will be sharing some insights on cheap ways to travel which will hopefully allow you to plan your dream trip to France as soon as possible.
1. Plan a Trip during the Off Season
This is the best way to get the most bang for your buck! As mentioned above, France is one of the most attractive spots for most tourists, so it is natural for the country to be over-priced and expensive. When you are on a tight budget during travel, you should avoid the high season for traveling. Honestly, this is true for any place you want to visit.
Also, if you don’t like a bunch of lines and crowds at all the big attractions, this could benefit you as that means you will be getting a lot of time to yourself. Not traveling during the high season will also help with ticket prices, flights, and accommodations.
France’s high season is considered to be June to September. Consider scheduling a visit during one of the shoulder seasons, like fall. I would highly recommend October because of the cooler temperatures and the beautiful autumn colors that start to come out. This makes visiting a castle even more magical.
2. Take the Train
A road trip can be expensive because you will have to pay for not only the rental car, but the fuel, extra insurance, and the tolls.
If you are not wanting to spend a large amount of money on transportation around France, then don’t rent a car and instead use the rail system. Europe is known for its extensive railways that are easy to navigate and use. If you take the slow trains or have a rail pass, you can save plenty of money which can be spent on other essentials. Plus, it is a great way to see the countryside as you ride along.
3. Purchase Local Food
Another good tip for saving your money and traveling to France on a budget is that you should give local eateries the chance to blow your mind and avoid the expensive ones. Honestly, this is how I travel! I love checking out restaurants that are frequented by local residents. In doing this, you will get a real taste of the authentic food France has to offer, along with exploring the other cuisines you find.
As France is known for its incredible wines and a range of mouth-watering dishes, it wouldn’t be right to leave France without trying out any of those. When you are spending money on local food, it will be the cheapest option if you ask for ‘plate of the day’ in whatever restaurant you’re eating at. Moreover, you will be surprised to learn that you might get phenomenal food options for as low as 10 euros and a glass of wine for as low as 3 euros. Doesn’t that sound like a steal?
Dinner prices can be a little higher at times, but if you stay within a budget, you will easily be able to enjoy something tasty and exotic at the same time. I use TripAdvisor to find some of the best places to eat while traveling, and you can filter by budget!
Don’t overlook local bakeries and sandwich shops. I have gotten some of the greatest food, like brie and French bread with fresh butter (excuse me while I drool), from small shops scattered around the towns I am visiting. For example, the last time I was in France, I picked up a bottle of wine, a loaf of fresh French bread, a wheel of Brie, and a few pieces of fresh fruit for under $20! It was the perfect picnic!
Another tip to save money while traveling in France is going to the grocery store. This is always my first stop when I arrive in another country. It’s a great and inexpensive way to stock up on bottled water, snacks, and whatever you might have forgotten at home.
4. Do Not Book a Tour Guide
With the rise of the internet, it has made having a tour guide more of a luxury than a need. There are definitely times and places when having a guide is a great idea and I would highly recommend it.
However, tours can be quite pricey and sometimes unnecessary. Do your research before going to France to find out where you might need a guide or if you can do without. So much of France is very user-friendly and signs are typically in multiple languages (almost always including English).
If you find yourself needing assistance getting around or finding something you can always ask a local shop owner or go to the nearest tourism office. The tourist offices are great because they can also hook you up with coupons and discounts for some of the attractions you are interested in visiting.
Overall, not booking a tour guide will help you become independent as you will be able to do things at your own pace without feeling the pressure to cover a lot of things at once or be on a schedule.
5. Shop at the Local Markets
If you want to get a real feel of what it is like to shop in France just like the locals do. Head out on the streets and have the time of your life. Picture Emily in Paris. When you are at the outdoor market, you can visit different stalls such as the cheesemonger, the fishmonger, and the baker. All of them will not only be very welcoming, but you will be able to get your hands on the best ingredients and whip up a French dish of your own. This is especially great if you are renting a place with a kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the best season to travel to France?
The cheapest time to travel to this beautiful country is in February and March when the temperatures are a little chilly but spring is on its way. October and November are much more inexpensive as well because the summer crowds are gone but the holiday season hasn’t started up yet.
Q2. Can I travel on a budget to France?
If you’re on a tight budget, then there is no need to skip France as you can always plan around the amount you have to spend. Traveling on a budget to France is no problem as there are multiple options such as shopping and eating local, ditching the toll roads, staying with a local, and not booking an expensive hotel or a guesthouse.
There are cheap ways to travel to France! France is one of the most breathtaking places to visit, so make sure you book in advance to save money. I hope this guide was useful for you and you could learn all the budget-friendly tricks so that you can take that trip to France that you have been dreaming about.