Paris is one of the most desired travel locations on the planet. Not only is it the romance capital of the world, but it's also filled with iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. Paris offers world-class shopping and at the same time, intimate cafes and neighborhood brasseries. If going to the City of Lights is on your bucket list but you're worried you can't afford it, here are six tips to make that trip a reality.
Rearrange Your Finances
Before you consider traveling, it's important to have your finances in order. You can't stop paying your bills to go globetrotting, as tempting as it might be. That said, it's entirely possible to travel to Paris on a budget. For example, consider consolidating your debt and refinancing your mortgage with a low-interest conventional loan. Payments that always stay the same make it simpler to stay organized. Once your finances are stable, travel is completely feasible.
Dress the Part
Although Paris is one of the fashion hubs of the world, you don't have to dress like a model to visit. In fact, while Parisians are very well-dressed, they prefer neutral and black apparel. Take three or four outfits that can be interchanged and remember to take a scarf. Bring black sneakers and one pair of dress shoes and you'll be all set. This makes packing a breeze and you won't have to spend money on expensive clothing.
Save on Airfare
When searching for cheap airfare, keep in mind that the most affordable time to visit Paris is in the winter. Prices are better, crowds are down and everything is open. Summer is the worst, as Parisians are away on vacation and many establishments are closed. Check a variety of travel websites for airfare as well as the airline's websites themselves. Flying during the week, say on a Tuesday or Wednesday, is always cheaper than leaving on the weekend.
Find the Best Rate on Euros
France uses the euro, so you'll need to plan ahead for your currency. The cheapest way to get euros is to wait until you're in Paris and go to a bank. You'll get the best exchange rate and remember to take your passport. If you prefer having euros in your pocketbook before traveling, you can order them through your auto club or a currency exchange. Be advised that exchanges charge a fee for convenience.
Stay in the Center of Paris
Paris is set up into twenty different districts called "arrondissements". They form a spiral shape around Paris with the smaller numbers in the middle. To save money on transportation, find a hotel close to the center where you can walk to major attractions. For example, the 7th arrondissement has the Eiffel Tower and is within walking distance of the Arc de Triomphe. You can also pick up bus number 69 that travels across Paris and back for under two euros.
Learn French on the Cheap
Most people that visit Paris are surprised when restaurant staff and store attendants approach them in English. Although that's convenient, it's still a good idea to learn some French before you go. However, don't spend money on expensive language programs or sign up for classes. You can learn French on the cheap right from your own home. There are a number of free videos and podcasts that will teach you all the French you need for interacting in restaurants and hotels in Paris.
Don't Put It Off
If you're dreaming of a trip to Paris, there are plenty of ways to make it a reality. Having your finances in order gives you more freedom to plan your journey. Searching for the lowest prices in airfare, simplifying your wardrobe and saving money by staying in the middle of Paris will all help make your trip more affordable. Whatever your budget is, a trip to Paris is within your reach, so don't put it off!