What’s up everyone?
Wow has it been a looong minute since I have written a blog post. If you follow my instagram you might have seen what’s been going on in my life! I recently took a week’s trip to the lovely PARIS, France. Yes, PARIS. And wowieee, was it mystical.
First off, I want to start by saying that I love to travel, but by no means do I have the funds to do it as often as I would like. The only reason this trip was possible is because of my intense research skills. So be prepared to dedicate a lot of your time and patience to research!
With that being said, let’s get into how I traveled to Paris for less than $1,500!
The first thing I typically focus on when I travel is the costs of the flight. Flights to Europe can really put a hole in your wallet if you don’t do your research, and most basic economy tickets run for up to $1500 or more. But, it’s your lucky day because I am not going to let you make the mistake of paying that much. So, I’m going to make it easier for you and just direct you to the right place. I’ve mentioned this site in a previous blog post but it is worth mentioning again because it is the sole reason I was able to make this trip happen in the first place. Momondo is hands down the best travel site I have ever encountered. And no, this is not sponsored. I am just super passionate about travel and Momondo actually wants to help wanderlusters like me, make their dreams become a reality. Now, when using Momondo you also have to know what factors are going to give you the price you want. For example, try different airports around you. I live in South Bend, Indiana but I fly out of Chicago O’Hare because it is always cheaper that way. So, start by weighing your options for airports. Next is researching dates that would be the cheapest option for your budget. I went to Paris for spring break so I didn’t really have too much flexibility on dates but thankfully the days for spring break still worked out in my favor. When I found the ones that worked for me, I cleared my schedule and BOOM booked them without looking back. And guess for how much…. a whopping $400 round trip! Now yes, it was basic economy but when it comes to traveling on a budget, I would have taken a boat if I could. The cool thing is that I found a $400 round trip ticket with United. Meaning the airline was reliable too! We had to pay $60 for checked bags each way but we were able to take 1 carry on and 1 personal item which was awesome. And when it comes to the costs of bags, $120 altogether is still less than any plane ticket I would have found on another website. So huggggeee shout out to Momondo!
Side note when I book plane tickets I usually don’t have the rest of the money for hotel, food, and transportation until we get there. I do this because if I sit around and say to myself “you don’t have money to make this happen” then I won’t. So instead, I purchase the plane ticket and hit the ground running in search of ways I can come up with the money.
Next typically comes finding a place to stay and let me tell you.. it was pretty difficult to find an affordable place to stay that wasn’t too far from Paris’s city center. BUT, after countless nights of researching and researching, we finally found an apartment that was way below our budget and immediately booked it through Booking.com. We stayed at the Aparthotel Adagio Paris Montmartre, a 4 star hotel, for $800 for the whole week! Split between the two of us was $400 each. Now we are up about $920 in expenses which is STILL less than a typical plane ticket. We were a bit nervous about the quality and accommodations of our hotel but when we got there, it completely took our breath away. This place was incredible. We were on the top floor with a view of all of Paris and the beautiful sunrise. The Aparthotel was located right near the Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) Basilica and by many gorgeous shops, cafe’s, and boulangeries (YUM). I was just in disbelief that we had this beautiful apartment, with a super clean and modern bathroom, located right by the Basilica for ONLY $800 for the week. It was crazy to me.
Now that we booked this beauty a month prior to showing up in Paris (it’s just how I do things), we just had to come up with as much money as we could for the rest of the trip. I consistently saved money from my paychecks every week, sold clothes I didn’t wear, picked up small photography jobs. I did whatever I could to raise a lump sum of money before I left the first week of March. I knew from the start I wasn’t going to be dropping benjamins on clothing and souvenirs, so my budget was most likely way less than the average.
When we finally arrived I had budgeted around $600 for spending money because we had already bought all the tickets to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and monuments like these. So I had $600 left for food and transportation. I will warn you, Paris is very expensive even for the bare minimum so I did spend it all within a weeks span. But it was SO worth it.
So let’s talk transportation.. this can really take your money if you don’t do it properly. Do NOT take taxi’s in Paris if your destination is far from where you currently are. For example, we were at the Palace of Versailles and had Ubered there for 25 Euros (which wasn’t bad). We didn’t have service when we were done touring the Palace so we mistakenly jumped in a taxi and were taken a complete different way home and purposefully taken through traffic. Once we got near the Arc de Triomphe we literally had to get out because I only had 50 Euros in cash and the cab fare was nearing 50 Euros! AND we still had a good 20 minute drive until we got home. So, with that being said. Do NOT take a cab. If you have Wifi, use Uber. People always say how sketchy Uber is in Europe but they are actually super nice and convenient in Paris. AND the best part is waaayy cheaper than taxi’s. I’ve also heard good things about the metro. I’ve never even been on a train in the U.S., so I was a bit skeptical on taking the train throughout the city. WE took the metro (RER) to Disneyland which was about an hour and a half outside of Paris and the fares were only 13 Euros roundtrip! So, super super cheap. The trains were very clean and convenient so if you have a fear of the metro like I did, just know it’s not so bad!
Let’s talk food, so we all know I love to eat. And I’m not going to sugar coat this… Food is freaking expensive in Paris. The good thing is, it’s not expected of you to tip. I would say every meal cost about 13 – 18 Euro’s and even more when you eat closer to the Eiffel Tower. So definitely set aside a lump sum of money for food. We weren’t very smart about the food situation because a kitchen was included in our aparthotel, we just didn’t utilize it. So that was our fault. And the best way to limit your spending on food is to make food at home, which I 100% recommend for breakfast and lunch! For dinner go ahead and splurge because who cares and you’re in Paris! And the cuisine is spectacular so don’t be too sheltered in cooking at home unless you really want to save!
To roughly sum up how much I spent in each category:
Flight: $400 (basic economy) + $120 (checked bags)
Hotel: $800 (I paid half, my travel buddy paid the other half)
Food: rougly 250 Euros
Transportation: roughly 350 Euros
Shopping: NONE (if you want to save, simply don’t buy stuff you don’t need)
I must say, some of these amounts are high for a weeks worth of travel. For example, transportation.. Like what?? 350 Euros! That’s insane. But you can definitely be more cautious with money than I was. I mean can you blame me? I was a young, college student, roaming the streets of Paris… Money was not even on my mind. I was truly living, without a care in the world. I wasn’t going to let money hold me back from being free. So with that being said, you can deff do the whole Paris thing for significantly less than $1,500. I still think $1,500 is sooo much less than what people typically spend on a trip to Europe, so i’m virtually patting myself on the back.
If you’re holding back from getting out there, book that ticket. I promise you the money will return, but the rush of living your life and experiencing the world will not, if you don’t go. So… go. Just. Go.