Visit France on a student

How to Explore France on a Student's Budget

  • Travel Team
Jul 12, 2012

When trying to conquer the world of travel on a tight budget, some students may be confused on where to start. They may think that some destinations, notably large urban centers in countries like France, are off-limits due to budgetary constraints. However, if you plan in advance and remain flexible throughout your journey, you may be surprised to find that the wonders of France can be accessible to anyone with a few travel-savvy guidelines.

One way to avoid financial emergencies on the road is by investing in student medical insurance. While these plans may cost a little up front, they can be a beneficial asset if the unexpected happens, such as a medical emergency.

Where to stay on a French adventure

Before heading off to France, you can gather a list of all the places you want to see and then conduct some research on where to stay. Check out Facebook, student travel forums and news articles to see people’s opinions on booking accommodations and where the cleanest, mostly friendly and most affordable places to lay your head are located. Many hotel rooms can be booked online, were you can see currency conversions and reviews by other backpackers. Additionally, Strasbourg, Nice, Paris and Angers are all destinations that offer hostels for less than half of what a standard hotel room rate can be in the area.

Finding free and cheap things to do in France

After reserving hostels or other accommodations, you can choose the attractions and points of interest that are must-sees during your adventure. While standard landmarks throughout Paris such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower are a given, there may be some more affordable (or free) hidden gems you haven’t considered.

Parks, public gardens, open-air galleries and river walkways are all beautiful areas to visit without blowing your budget. Fancy tour buses can be tempting, but taking public transportation paired with a free smartphone travel app can save a few euros and allow you to see all of your points of interest.

In the summer, many of the cities and rural areas host free events and festivals, offering guests a closer look at the culture and tradition of this vibrant country. For instance, The American Church in Paris has complimentary outdoor concerts featuring talented singers and musicians from the area performing classical and contemporary religious tunes.

While in a new village or city, getting to know the locals can be a great way to find special discounts, smaller attractions or even access to exclusive nightclubs. The French, like most people, love to be complimented, so a kind remark about a meal, someone’s clothing or their pet could spark a memorable conversation or special travel tip.

Other ways to save while touring hotspots in France

If you want to experience high-end French cuisine but are balking at the prices, grabbing a light lunch can avoid expensive dinner fees for large portions. Many elegant establishments will offer lunch menus featuring the same dishes, albeit smaller, so you can sample delectable dishes for a fraction of the cost. Dining at small cafes or gathering fresh foods from an outdoor market for a picnic can also save your food budget from dwindling too quickly.


Have you found other inexpensive ways to explore France?

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