Stretching Your Travel Dollar

Cheap Travel to France!

By Elaine JS

You Can Visit France on a Reasonable Budget

If you want to visit France but think you can’t afford it, think again! You just have to make the right choices and avoid a few costly mistakes.

In the excerpt below is great advice about how to create your dream vacation to France and do it on a budget anyone could love!

Tips for a Cheaper Trip in France

Many people make a few costly mistakes when planning their travel in France, and this has led to the myth that the country must be expensive. Where you go is probably the biggest factor. If you go to Paris, expect Paris prices. It’s just the same as anywhere else. A vacation in New York City or San Francisco will cost dramatically more than one in Charlotte or Indianapolis.

Even if you want the true urban experience, there are ways to save. Stay in Paris, but in a less tourist-ridden neighborhood. Stay in an apartment in Paris by the week or month rather than in a hotel. Stay in Paris for a few days before moving on to a cheaper destination. You can visit one of numerous other fascinating and bustling cities in France that save you money without sacrificing a memorable trip.

When you go is another primary factor that affects numerous costs ranging from airfare (which can cost five times as much in summer as it does even in late fall or early spring) and lodging rates (which drop significantly in the off-season).

How you travel is key. The main credo is to go against the tourist grain. Go to different cities, or different places in cities, and go at different times. Not only will you save money, but you will also experience greater immersion in the daily life of the locals. In fact, you will receive far better treatment from locals who aren’t experiencing an onslaught of gawking tourists.
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Eat Well and Cheap While You Visit France

Eating is not optional – We all have to do it! It is a guaranteed expense for any trip. When you visit France, spending money on food brings the added benefit that the food should be sensational. You just want to be sure your bill isn’t through the roof!

Here are some great tips for eating your way through France and staying true to your idea of a reasonable travel expense.

Cheap Dining in France

Decide what type of food you wish to eat.
France remains the ultimate destination for lovers of fine cuisine, in my view. Some of the world’s finest chefs serve up fare at Michelin-starred restaurants throughout the country. The refined meals come with the expected exorbitant check in most cases, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge occasionally in fabulous French cuisine on a budget as you do while at home on special occasions.

A key way to save is simply to say no to included breakfasts at your accommodation. Many automatically include this in the price, so mention it when you book. These breakfasts, which are usually simply coffee, breads and pastries, can cost upwards of 20 euros per person.

You could have a breakfast that is just as good, if not better, by visiting the local boulangerie (bakery) or patisserie (pastry shop) for the same or better food at a fraction of the cost. Actually, your hotel likely got their breakfast from the same neighborhood spot, but venturing off-the-beaten-path may lead your nose to even better bakeries and to displays that are a feast for the eyes and often even better in actual taste.

Afterwards, visit a local cafe for a cafe-au-lait that will cost maybe 3-4 euros. All told, you will have better selection, and your breakfast of croissant and coffee will run maybe 5 euros. In Nice, the coffee is often as good as the best Italian.

Another great option for inexpensive morning meals is a visit to the local produce market, which usually features a wide variety of great locally-grown finds. Wild strawberries full of taste, and other just-picked berries, as well as other fruits are often found and need little to no preparation to take you to places your tastebuds have never been.

Since the French often turn simple meals into extensive feasts, you can have a large lunch or dinner and simply snack for the other meal without feeling deprived in the least. Although a late lunch can be difficult, as most French restaurants close between lunch and dinner, just plan accordingly. If you want to eat at an upscale restaurant, try to do so at lunch instead of dinner to avoid any potential tourist crowds and to enjoy the atmosphere with locals, while saving on similar (or the same) dishes that are served in the evening hours.

Also, always look for a prix fixe menu, which typically provides a small selection of starters, main dishes, and desserts for a fixed price. This can provide tremendous savings over ordering a la carte, or off the menu. Order a carafe of house wine, which is cheap and sometimes of better quality than bottled wines found in other countries. A glass of house wine will probably cost you less than a Coca Cola in France, tastes better with a meal composed of dishes often cooked or served with a wine sauce, and is far better for your health. – via

Have you ever considered a trip to France? How soon will you make your trip?

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