I am so excited to have decided on my next adventure…Paris! I have dreamed about traveling to the City of Lights so many times and now it seems like that dream is becoming a reality. I wish I could hop on a plane right now and spend several weeks there, but in order to travel you need two things: time and money. Unfortunately, Paris is also one of the most expensive cities in Europe. I have some saving up and overtime at work to do before September comes.
Have you dreamed about traveling to Paris? I didn’t think I’d be able to afford to go this year, but with some smart budgeting, I’m squeezing it in. Here are a few tips to help you that I used myself when putting my plans together for flights and a place to stay.
Budget Carriers and Stopovers Are Your Friend
If you live in a city served by the budget carrier Norwegian Airlines, that is the first airline I would check when considering a trip to Paris. They are a no-frills carrier who will get you to Paris possibly on a direct flight! I’ve flown them twice to London now and have been impressed with them. The key is to only have a small carry on bag and to bring your own food. Norwegian operates a fleet of newer Boeing 787 Dreamliners that are well maintained.
If you are looking for a full service carrier, consider stopover connections. Just ensure you allow at least 2 hours between the connecting flights. When I was looking this time around it was about $500 cheaper to connect from Amsterdam to Paris than a direct flight. That $500 is three nights of hotels for me. The more stops you have, typically the cheaper the airfare is. These stopovers are usually through major hub cities of the carrier (ie: Atlanta for Delta, Dallas for American, Chicago for United and so forth).
You may find that flying into London or another European city and booking a separate ticket on a budget carrier is the way to go. I also considered using Zurich or Munich with a ticket on Easyjet or Ryanair to travel to one of Paris’ other airports like Orly, but to me I valued time over saving maybe $40.
Lastly, I’ve touched upon basic economy fares many times before, but if you are on a budget and don’t have luggage to check and don’t care about seat reservations consider it. United has the strictest basic economy fares allowing only 1 personal item while Delta allows for a carry on item and personal item. Do you research. You will find Google Flights as a fantastic tool!
Hotels on the Outskirts Are Cheaper
Are you willing to take public transit into the city center? If you are, you can get some amazing deals on hotels versus the tourist areas. I like to stay within a 20 minutes train ride, but the Metro and RER services in Paris look like they are very reliable and user friendly. Paris is a large city with many different types of hotels. Hotels are ranked using stars from 1-5. I like the 2-3 star hotels and am always willing to pay a little more for a quieter room.
I would recommend using a Trip Advisor, Booking.com or Hotels.com type of site to look over what area the hotel you are interested in may be, the reviews and amenities included. After that, visit the hotels’ official website. If the hotel is a boutique hotel not owned by a chain, you can usually get a better rate by contacting them directly. I was offered free breakfast everyday by booking directly this time. If you will not be spending much time in the hotel room, why spend a lot of money on a room with a nice view? Don’t forget about hostels!
Do you like posts like this? This is only the first part of my Paris ideas as I’m literally working on putting together all the details of this trip myself! I’m debating on putting together money saving tips like this one. I am not quite as sure in the direction I want to take this blog. I’m leaning towards how to posts as and trip reviews, but let me know your thoughts! Until next time, happy travels!