Are you getting ready for the trip of a lifetime? Travelling in France as a student may seem a little nerve-racking at first, but once you get there, you’ll be creating memories that last forever. While being a student likely means that you’re strapped for cash, don’t worry. There are plenty of student travel deals to take advantage of once you make the trip across the pond. Here are 10 of the best ways to save money when travelling in France:
Eurostar is the only high speed train that directly links France, the UK and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel, or “Chunnel”. Eurostar takes travellers from city center to city center, and is perfect for students travelling on a budget in Europe. Prices are affordable, starting at £45 for a one-way ticket from London to Paris.
To save money when travelling in France and throughout Europe, consider buying plane tickets through discount airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair. Tickets can range from $50-$80 in most cases, giving you an affordable and convenient way to visit other cities. There’s only one downfall – these budget tickets are usually non-refundable and non-changeable, so make sure your plans are concrete when you book a flight.
Take the Bus
Buses are a quick and inexpensive option when travelling around France’s cities. The bus system in France is extensive and you can reach most places by a local or regional bus, normally for just a few euros. While the bus systems can be confusing, you can contact the tourism office of the region or town you’re planning on visiting ahead of time to ask for information, recommended scheduling and a map.
Consider Flying into one of the Cheaper Airports
There are 155 airports in the country of France, meaning you should have several options to choose from when purchasing your plane ticket. The main airports that usually offer the cheapest airfare are:
- Lyon – Saint-Exupéry
- Toulouse – Blagnac
- Nice – Côte d’Azur
- Paris – Charles de Gaulle
- Paris – Orly
Buy Your Plane Ticket Before Peak Tourist Season
France experiences their peak tourist season from roughly mid-June through the end of August. Knowing this, you can save some money by booking your trip during the off-seasons. Booking from November through spring break in March can make a big difference in the cost of the flight.
Stay in Hostels or Try Airbnb
If you’re a student on a budget in France, hostels offer great accommodations, especially in Paris. You can find a common area, or dorm-style room in paris for just €15, while a private room is around €50. Another option is to check out Airbnb where you can find one-of-a-kind accommodations for fairly affordable prices.
Visit the Free Sights
France has many must-see attractions, like museums, churches, parks, and the Eiffel Tower. Many of these are free for tourists, such as the Maison de Balzac, and Maison de Victor Hugo (museums), the famous Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, or the beaches of Normandy where the Western Allies of World War II launched the largest amphibious invasion in history. If you want to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, we suggest walking to save some money; adults over the age of 25 willing to take the 704 stairs to the second floor pay €7, those aged 12 to 24 years pay €5 euros, and children 4 to 11 pay €3 euros. Admission tickets with elevator access to the second floor cost €11, €8.50, and €4, respectively.
Avoid Frivolous Spending on Shopping
If you’re travelling on a budget, especially in Paris, avoid frivolous spending on shopping. High taxes and labor costs can make material goods quite pricey for the average student. Instead, we recommend that you save your money and spend it on once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Head to the Grocery Store
Instead of eating out for every meal, head to the grocery store for a cheaper way to eat and refuel. Not only will they have everything you need to stave off hunger, you’ll find food that’s just as authentic at any restaurant. If you’re old enough, they have much better deals on wine as well!
Use the Bike Share Program
Many cities have bike-share programs that offer an affordable and active way to see the sights. For example, the Paris bike-share program boasts over 20,000 bikes at 1,800 stations located in convenient stations around the city. You can use the bikes by purchasing a one-day pass for €1.70 or a one-week pass for €8.
Take Advantage of Your Age
If you’re a student, most likely between the ages of 12-25, you’re in luck! In that age bracket, many of the aforementioned items are discounted even further, such as museum passes, metrocards, bus rides, almost anything. All you need to do is ask–and bring your ID to prove your age. Regardless of how old you are, many of these discounts are also available with a simple student ID (and most places accept international student photo IDs).
Best of Luck with Your Trip to France!
While travelling to France on a budget may seem tough, it’s more than possible to see all the sights when you’re a cash-strapped student. Just be smart with your money by finding public transportation, avoiding tourist traps like expensive restaurants and clothing stores, seeing free attractions, and taking advantage of student discounts. Once you’re in France, you’ll realize that you don’t need that much money to find student travel deals and create memories that will last a lifetime. Bon courage et bon voyage!