A road-trip to Paris with a broken car, psycho friends, and absolutely no money sounds like a hell of fun . . . but only in movies and books. There won’t be any I-know-what-you-did-last-summer visual effects without a thick wallet and a safe bank account.
What Do I Save For?
Discussing why would someone go to Paris is meaningless. It’s already clear. We’d better focus on what exactly we want to save the money for. There are a few things that form the flavor of the city. Even if they seem to be a waste of money at first, the memories of those will be the only ones coming to you when the older you sits on a rocking chair and remembers the life he/she had.
Strolling through museum rooms? Really? . . . . . Yes! Parisian museums are uniquely interesting. First, the designs and collections won’t let you get bored. Second, some of the most exceptional works of art are gathered in this city, there is nothing more thrilling than seeing the Mona Lisa up close.
You can actually skip a few attractions, but some of the museums are a complete must. Here are a few of them: the Louvre (surprised?), Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, and Musée Rodin. The tickets to these museums will hardly be too expensive, but you might also not resist the temptation of the gift shops. You need to take care of your lunch in case of the Louvre, keep your fingers crossed that a day will be enough for it.
If you’re not useless in the kitchen, you might think snails can be cooked at home too. With this exact thought you’ll walk proudly into the Parisian McDonald’s with your head high, thinking you’re saving for a good cause. But there is no better cause in Paris than trying the French delicacies. Make sure you have enough money to have a decent meal (classy French wine is a must) at a nice restaurant.
By the way, food is not limited to dishes only. You can set a goal to try series of macarons, one from each color. Now, this sounds like a worthy cause to me!
You would feel disappointed to come back to a low-class hotel from the luxurious bedrooms of the Versailles. You’ll want a king-size bed, flowers all around, an exciting view from the window . . . . then start saving your money right now!
Of course, don’t fall for the you-can-do-anything attitude: you will hardly manage to save up for the Hotel Louvre in a piggy bank.
Bars and Clubs
Don’t forget to visit the local bars (if you’re traveling alone) or clubs (if you have company). They’re perfect for meeting new people and, perhaps, finding your own Prince Charming.
How Do I Save?
Just when you imagine how many cultural wonders Paris hides, budget travel doesn’t sound fun anymore. And it shouldn’t. There are so many means of saving money for things we really want. Here’s how I deal with the shopaholic syndrome.
The Right Bank, the Right Account
Even if you think you’re wallet is a safe enough place, banks can save your money more efficiently. The trick is to choose the right bank, the one you trust. However, it doesn’t end there. Take your time and read through different account types, choose the best savings rates, and you’re all set!
Moreover, open a new bank account that will be dedicated to your travel expenses only. It’ll be easier to save and not overspend, plus, you will have a chance to correctly estimate the cost of your trip.
Time for Some Sales!
Do you ever notice the lamp on your desk that you never turn on? Now look at it once more. Don’t you see the sign “I can be worth a Louvre” on it? Interestingly, I’m sure there are many items in your room (imagine how much you can find in the whole house?) that will be worth a museum ticket.
Even if you think the whole junk won’t be too much, they’ll be worth at least an additional evening-in-a-bar in Paris. You don’t even have to sweat for it, just sell them online or organize a yard sale.
Exchange to Euro
It’s hard to resist when the banknotes blink at you all the time. If you don’t trust the banks, just make the money unusable in your country. Say, if you live in the UK, exchange your Pounds to Euro. If you live in a European country, where Euro is the currency . . . let’s get back to the banks and piggy jars.
Find a Travel Buddy
Traveling alone is much more expensive than with a friend, especially if that friend wants to save up too. You can make a deal and save each others’ money. Or you can open an account together and make fixed monthly payments to it. This way you’ll feel uncomfortable saying “Sorry, I can’t save for Paris this month, because I have to buy those shoes.”
If Nothing Works, Work the Impossible
If everything’s so hopeless, go to Plan B. You will see Paris if you really want it. Find a training course, short-term volunteering vacancy, or a temporary job there. You will have a chance to travel at the same time. Fortunately, such programs usually co-finance your trip. Even if they don’t, you’ll be eligible for travel grants. After all, Paris is fantastic, especially when you’re not paying!