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France on a budget: planning your vacation

Going on vacation doesn’t always have to involve staying in five star hotels or spending an unthinkable amount. By making a few clever choices, and even starting the planning process a few years in advance, you might be able to find ways to book your vacation while sticking to a more restricted budget. Generally speaking, the earlier you start this planning process, the longer you might have to be able to save up and really consider each decision.

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Booking excursions

While getting to France may be rather costly in itself, you might also want to do a range of fun activities when you get there. These can include touring some of the country, seeing some of the popular sights, and even taking your children to meet their favorite Disney characters. Booking these attractions, such as a Disneyland day ticket, ahead of time could allow you to find the best deals available. In addition to this, that means that these items will already be in place, and paid for, when you arrive. This can allow you to create plans for each day based around options you’ve already booked, and free up cash for spending money.

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Cut traveling costs

Some people might get to see the world through their working role but, for most people, travel abroad may be solely for leisure. Finding ways to fly for free can help to dramatically reduce the cost of your vacation, especially when you want to go to France or somewhere else deemed further afield.

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One way that some people manage this can be through the use of credit cards which offer airmiles as a reward. These can be used within your daily life, and then paid off immediately to fit within your budget. You may find yourself accruing miles on each statement. Once you have enough, you may be able to exchange these for travel tickets, allowing you to turn your normal spending into the chance to take a vacation for less.

Eat Local in France

country. However, eating out in France can be expensive, especially in tourist areas. Here are some tips on how to eat like a local and save money in France:

  1. Head to local markets: Local markets are a great place to find fresh, affordable food. You can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, bread, and pastries, and put together a picnic or a meal at your accommodation. Many markets also offer cooked food to take away, such as rotisserie chicken or crepes.
  2. Look for prix fixe menus: Many restaurants offer prix fixe menus, which are set menus at a fixed price. These menus often include several courses, including a starter, main course, and dessert. They are usually cheaper than ordering dishes à la carte and are a great way to sample local cuisine.
  3. Avoid tourist areas: Restaurants in tourist areas are often more expensive than those in local neighborhoods. Head off the beaten path to find cheaper options that offer authentic cuisine.
  4. Go for lunch instead of dinner: Many restaurants offer lunch menus that are cheaper than their dinner menus. If you want to try a fancy restaurant, going for lunch can be a more affordable option.
  5. Try street food: France has a vibrant street food scene, especially in bigger cities. You can find crepes, sandwiches, falafel, and other affordable options that offer a taste of local flavors.
  6. Drink wine in local bars: Wine is an important part of French cuisine, and drinking wine in local bars can be a great way to experience the local culture. Instead of ordering wine in a restaurant, head to a local bar or bistro, where prices are often more affordable.
  7. Cook your own meals: If you’re staying in an Airbnb or apartment with a kitchen, cooking your own meals can be a great way to save money. You can shop at local markets and supermarkets and cook your own meals with local ingredients.

Visit less known destinations in France

France is a popular tourist destination with many beautiful and historic cities, stunning landscapes, and cultural attractions. While some destinations in France can be expensive, there are also many affordable options. Here are some of the cheapest tourist destinations in France:

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Vineyards in Burgundy are best traveled by Bike
  1. Marseille: Marseille is the second-largest city in France and offers a rich history, beautiful coastline, and vibrant cultural scene. It’s also an affordable destination, with affordable accommodation and food options.
  2. Lille: Lille is a city in northern France that offers a mix of Flemish and French culture. It has a charming historic center with cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and plenty of cafes and restaurants.
  3. Nantes: Nantes is a city located in western France, famous for its history and culture. It’s a vibrant and affordable destination with a beautiful historic center, museums, and plenty of green spaces.
  4. Strasbourg: Strasbourg is a beautiful city located on the border between France and Germany. It’s famous for its stunning architecture, including the Gothic Cathedral Notre-Dame and the picturesque Petite France district. It’s also known for its affordable accommodation and food options.
  5. Montpellier: Montpellier is a vibrant city located in southern France. It has a beautiful historic center with winding streets, beautiful architecture, and plenty of cafes and restaurants. It’s also a popular student city, making it an affordable destination for budget travelers.
  6. Lyon: Lyon is the third-largest city in France and offers a mix of history, culture, and gastronomy. It has a beautiful historic center, including the UNESCO-listed Old Town, and plenty of museums and galleries. It’s also an affordable destination, with affordable accommodation and food options.

Look into accommodation types

It might be nice to stay in a fancy hotel when on vacation but, realistically, you may not be able to afford to do so. Sometimes, you may find that it is cheaper to stay in an Airbnb property, or other self-catering accommodation, than a hotel. By figuring out how much you would spend on this type of property, along with groceries, you may be able to compare it to the cost of an all-inclusive hotel package, and then book whichever comes out cheaper. While this may mean you still need to cook and do some chores, it can be worth it if that means extensive savings.

Your vacation to France may not be so out of reach when you consider the different ways you can reduce the costs as much as possible. If you start planning and saving now, you may find that, in some months, you are able to start putting those bookings into place and making that travel dream a reality.