How to Travel Around France on a Budget

How to Travel Around France on a Budget

A lot of people think travelling to France will cost an arm and a leg. Don't fret, we've found helpful tips on how to travel France on a shoestring budget.

Many people assume that travelling around France is sure to take a big bite out of their savings. Isn’t it the country of world-class wine, champagne, exclusive cheeses and castle accommodations, after all? Yes it is, but that doesn’t mean that you have to drink a glass of champagne every night while staying in a château. There are plenty of ways to save money during your travels around Europe’s most visited country.

Thoroughly researching your vacation beforehand, looking up accommodation options, where to buy food, and cheap things to do, will make it totally possible to travel around France on a budget. Just be sure to set aside a little bit of extra money, just in case you want to indulge in the culinary delights and historic treasures that this amazing western European country has to offer.

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Also Read: France, the True Living – No Work After 6pm


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While flights to France may take a big chunk out of your budget, once you’re there, travelling around doesn’t need to be extremely expensive. Both Singapore Airlines and Air France have daily flights between their respective countries. Keeping an eye on deals and promotions, and knowing when you want to visit and booking a long time in advance, can save you a fine sum of money. Booking travel-related things is all about timing and planning!


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Within France, you can get around by plane, bus or train. Europe is well-known for its many budget airlines; airlines that fly to and from minor airports for sometimes unbelievably low prices. If you want to quickly get from one place to another in France, take your time to shop around. RyanAir, for example, operates budget flights within France and to and from other European destinations. Another carrier that has cheap flights between French cities and cities in other European countries is EasyJet. Again, shop around—sometimes flights from France to a city in another country, followed by a second flight back to France can, although longer, be cheaper than domestic flights operated by Air France, the largest French airline.

If you must travel within a city, buses are generally a convenient and cheap option. For interregional transportation in France, it is strongly recommended that you take a train. Rail passes are wonderful things to save money on transportation in France. They usually cost about the same price as one long-distance train ride, but are valid for more than one day, meaning that you can use them for more than one ride. TGV (high-speed) trains are France’s flagship transportation method. They are very effective to cover large distances and, moreover, they’re more comfortable than buses.


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Besides food and transportation, accommodation will be your largest expense on any trip you take. Luckily, in France, there are ways to save money on accommodation—you don’t need to stay in an expensive hotel every night, although one or two splurges are, of course, justified. Inexpensive places to stay in France include the so-called gîtes, which include bed and breakfasts and self-catering apartment; inns and hotel-restaurants; bed and breakfast farms; hostels; and, probably the cheapest yet one of the best places to stay, campings. Many campgrounds in France boast luxurious amenities that you won’t be able to find in many cheap hotels anywhere in the world. If you’re visiting a city, say Paris or Lyon, you will be able to find budget hotels there as well.

Also Read: 15 Websites Every Budget Traveller Needs to Know About


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Although many restaurants in France are on the expensive side, especially in popular tourist cities and districts, you won’t have trouble finding cheap food. When eating out in cities, it is good to know that the further you’re sitting from the bar or kitchen, the higher your expected tip will be. Eating at the bar is therefore an unexpected money-saver.

France is so full with excellent artisanal foods—think breads, cheeses, cured meat, wine and so on—that you can buy all the ingredients you need for a world-class picnic from local bakeries and cheese shops, as well as at local markets. Creating your own lunch everyday instead of buying a pre-made one from someone else will sure add up to some extra euros in your pocket in the end. Cheap, but good, wine can be found all over the country as well.

Also Read: 10 Delicious Foods You Must Eat in France


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Doing fun things in France can be expensive; there’s no denying. But, again, there are a few ways to save money on activities. Museums, for example, tend to have certain times in the month when they are free to visit. Cheap activities also include renting bicycles and exploring a wine region at your own pace, sunbathing on a Mediterranean beach, and walking around old cities with a map instead of taking tours or public transportation.

Additional Notes

When you want to travel around France on a budget, the time of your visit is of equal importance as what you do and how you do it. It’s strongly recommended to avoid visiting France during the French school holidays; particularly the weeks after Bastille Day (14 July) are incredibly busy. If you can, try and travel to France in June or September, the shoulder season that’s a lot quieter in terms of tourists and has cheaper accommodation rates than during the summer months.

About Author

Bram Reusen

Bram is a freelance writer, translator and travel photographer. He was born and grew up in a small town in Belgium and currently lives in a small town in Vermont, USA. He likes to try different travel styles and he has backpacked across Australia, cycled from Belgium to the North Cape and back, spent three months immersing himself in the Irish culture, hiked across England, climbed numerous mountains in New England, and visited many a handful of European cities. Besides writing and traveling, Bram spends his days reading, working out and trying to live a healthy life.


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