PARIS- The city of love and lights, the fashion capitol and a destination on just about every wanderers bucket list. Paris is known for its luxury, its famous attractions and world-renowned cuisine.
Which makes it safe to assume it’s not fit for a budget traveler right? Well I love a good challenge! So here is an itinerary on how I managed to plan my Paris trip for under $500 including flights.
Let’s begin with the generally largest expense for travel:
I generally stay on the lookout for discount airfare, so when I saw flights from Newark to Paris for under $300 with WOW air, I jumped! I specifically found this air fare from secretflying.com. I highly recommend bookmarking their website and checking their site frequently. The hottest deals are sure to go quickly, even within an hour.
For more tips on how to find great airfare deals: https://goo.gl/JBGH68
WOW air is a budget airline, so I already expect to have less comfort and entertainment on board. Which is true for this airline, they are known to have hard, cramped quarters and no on-flight entertainment.
Not to mention more additional fees. an a la carte if you will of fees to be precise. However, luckily I was prepared for them with my $300 Travel reimbursement provided by my Ritz-Carlton rewards card. I booked my seat upgrades and baggage fees separately for an easy reimbursement.
Only 4 full nights are needed for accommodation because of the massive time difference. I looked into hostels, however this trip I am traveling with a friend of mine, and we were wanting more privacy. But we know we will be on the go for most of the time so we didn’t need anything luxurious.
We went with Hipotel Paris Voltaire Bastille for $220 Euros. Since my friend and I are splitting costs, my portion is 110 Euros including fees. We’re not expecting any first class service since this is a VERY basic hotel, but it has an amazing location, just steps from local transportation which convenience and budget friendly price was what we were looking for. Plus free wifi was also a must-have. Otherwise if I was traveling solo, I most likely would have found a hostel with a female dorm, or taken advantage of a complimentary stay with one of my reward programs.
Getting around in a foreign location can be very stressful, but with technology and a little research, using public transportation doesn’t have to be such a hassle. There are many APPS that also work off-line to guide you through the Metro/RER.
Of course it helps that Europe has one of the most intricate and advanced subway systems in the world. You bet we will be skipping the high cost taxi fares and opting for the Metro/RER. Since we picked a very central location for our accommodation, we can get a low cost 3 day pass ticket for $28.69 USD. For pass breakdown in Paris: http://parisbytrain.com/paris-rer/
Tip: The RER is faster in central Paris with more direct routes, however traveling outside there are less frequent rides compared to the Metro which is at most every 10 minutes.
Also a fair warning, if you hear a beep, the doors will be closing in 2.5 seconds, and take it from me, it hurts if you’re in it’s path! I won’t go there!
To get to and from the airport, there is an airport bus which seems to be the cheapest option if you book ahead online at $17.74 USD. https://goo.gl/NdB5zO
Paris is known for it’s elegant dining, inviting cafes and scrumptious treats found in its many bakeries. Which means we’re leaving our diet at home, because you cannot pass up on their fresh baguettes! Or crepes, and maybe some croissants and one or two eclairs. Don’t judge!
Many of the cafes and small restaurants have very budget friendly options, and you’ll still enjoy the Parisian food without having to go bankrupt at a fancy five course restaurant. A great reference for a foodie on a budget in Paris: https://goo.gl/faj9UE
Also through my Ritz-Carlton Reward Card, I was provided a membership to Priority Pass Select lounge, which have over 300 worldwide airport lounges. I plan to take full advantage of the lounges and their free food and drink to minimize my spend on such during travel.
Many attractions in Paris are free to see, and a full tour is not necessary. Since we will be short on time, we have opted to skip the tours you have to pay for and just visit the many iconic places Paris has to offer.We can still enjoy the experience, see the beautifully crafted architecture and take some awesome photos. Plus we need to walk off all the delicious treats we will be eating!
We categorized our explorations by section of Paris to make the most of our time. In the heart of Paris, everything is by Arrondisse
ment, and if you stay within the center of the city, everything seems to be around a 30min subway ride.
Here are our top 11 sites to see:
Day 1- Many of the top attractions are in the 7th Arrondissement We’ve included:
Pont Alexandre III
Day 2- 1st Arrondissement
Musse de Louvre
Day 3- 4th Arrondissement
Notre Dame Cathedral
Place des Vosqes
Day 4-18th and 8th Arrondissement
Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
Arc de Trio