Paris On A Budget: 5 Tips For Student Travelers

paris on a budget 5 tips for student travelers

I think we’ve all dreamt of going to Paris at least once in our life. And some of us may have even been thinking about it since we were kids. I, for one, couldn’t stop thinking about going to Paris ever since I watched Mr. Bean The Movie. Wouldn’t you wanna try fresh oysters and huge ass prawns in Paris after watching Mr. Bean? But here’s the problem, you’re tight on budget. You’re only a student (or on a student budget) and you think you can’t enjoy the best of Paris. WRONG. Anyone can enjoy the city of love without spending a million bucks. And I’m here to tell you how to visit Paris on a budget!

1. Buy food from the farmer’s market

paris on a budget
Avoid eating out in restaurants. Opt for buying food from small stalls or better yet, cook your own meal

Restaurants are crazy expensive. One meal can cost you up to €25 (Php 1,500 or 30 USD) and the cheapest meal costs €15 (Php 900 or 18 USD). And most of the restaurants you’ll probably end up going to are tourist traps. I know you may think “Oh, I’m in Paris so every restaurant must be good” but that’s what they’re counting on you to think. You’ll usually find them right next to popular tourist attractions and oftentimes, they’re just really overpriced low quality meals.

So, you’re better off buying from small food stalls and the farmer’s market. You can make your own sandwich by buying bread, cheese, greens, and meat (ALL FRESH) and it will only cost you more or less €5 (Php 300 or 6 USD). If you can cook your own meals, then it’s also really cheap to buy from the grocery store. You can even find absolutely delicious French wine for as little as €1 (Php 60 or 1.20 USD).

2. Shop at thrift stores

paris on a budget
There are many thrift stores in Paris and you can snag books like this for only €0.20 (Php 15 or 0.30 USD)

Paris is home to so many quirky and charming thrift stores selling items ranging from books to clothes to vintage items. You can spend a whole day walking around little alleyways and I’m telling you, you won’t miss a single thrift store. If you look hard enough in these stores, you might even snag branded clothes from Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton at a really discounted price! Crazy!

3. Visit museums for free

paris on a budget

Most entrance to major museums in Paris are FREE but you have to be an EU citizen. For holders of tourist visas and short term ones (less than 3 months of validity), you can enter some museums in Paris for free but only on certain days of the month. But for non EU citizen who have long term Schengen visas, then you can visit all major museums in Paris for free. For a more detailed post, read my post on free admission to Paris museums.

4. Use automated public toilets

paris on a budget
Look for these free public toilets which are open 24/7

It may sound like a weird tip for how to travel Paris on a budget but using toilets in Paris will cost you at least €1 (Php 60). And you may not notice it but every little thing adds up. I actually prefer using these automated toilets because they are cleaned automatically every after use and they are open 24/7. And of course, because it’s for free.

5. Rent a bike with Velib bike-share

Like most major cities in Europe, Paris has a really great bike-sharing system called Velib. If you rent the bike for less than 30 minutes, it’s free. How does it work? First, you have to register in one of the bike stations. Make sure to fill in your credit card details in case you lose the bike. Then you will get a number as a key-code to open the lock of your bike. If you go beyond 30 minutes, they’ll charge you around €2 (Php 120 or 2.40 USD) per hour.

So what I do is I return and rent a bike every 30 minutes. That way, I get to explore Paris the whole day without spending a single cent on metro tickets, which cost at least €1.20 (Php 77 or 1.50 USD). Nor do I have to spend for the bike rent itself. Note that Velib will automatically charge your credit card once you exceed the free 30-minute window. So better set an alarm clock!

paris on a budget
Treating myself to a delicious dessert after I saved money from following these tips on how to travel Paris on a budget

I traveled Paris (on a budget) while I was doing my Erasmus in Prague back in 2017. For 5 days I was able to cover all major sights in Paris because of these tips. And because I traveled Paris on a budget, I got to treat myself with a fancy lunch complete with dessert .

So like I told you, every little thing adds up. These 5 simple tips to travel Paris on a budget will definitely help you save money. If you like doing activities, then try to use Klook.com. I love using this website because they always have discounted vouchers for a lot of tourist sights and adventures. And in case you haven’t booked your accommodation, here are my suggestions:

For solo travelers: I recommend you to stay at a hostel. This way, you can stay at the cheapest dorm room possible while making friends along the way. You can search through Hostelworld.com for the hostel that best suits your preferences!

paris on a budget
Click this link to book at Hostelworld.com

For group travelers: Try using Booking.com which gives you a list of hotels around the city. You can sort and filter it based on your preferences as well. If you use my link, you can also get 10% OFF your booking! Or for a cheaper alternative, try Airbnb! Sign up using this link and get

paris on a budget
Click this link to get 10% off your accommodation from Booking.com!
Click this link to sign up for an Airbnb account and get up to $40 OFF your first booking!

 

If you plan to travel Europe by bus, then make sure to book with Flixbus. They offer the cheapest fares and have the most convenient app to manage all your bookings. I personally used Flixbus when I traveled Europe for 5 months! Click the link for a discount!

If you have any more tips, please do share it in the comment box below!

28 Comments

  1. Kate
    April 6, 2018

    Great post – all of these points are so helpful. I’m looking to go Paris in the summer and although I’m not a student, I don’t earn that much either so I’ll definitely be using your tips. 🗺

    Reply
    1. christinewillg0
      April 10, 2018

      Thank you Kate! I hope you enjoy Paris! It’s beautiful in the summer.

      Reply
  2. sumit walia
    May 18, 2018

    never traveled when i was a student but loved reading travel from the perspective of student life 🙂 . toilets are expensive , i perfectly relate to this

    Reply
    1. christinewillg0
      May 18, 2018

      Thank you! I think even long after I’m a student, I’ll still travel like one– always frugal and street smart 🙂

      Reply
  3. oasis
    May 19, 2018

    Hi Christine, I share your experience too on the public toilet. At first, when i come to Paris, I had to spend 1EUR!! crazy right?

    Reply
  4. Kate
    May 19, 2018

    Those are great tips – useful for anyone travelling on a budget, not just students. I’d love to go back to Paris so will keep your tips in mind when I do!

    Reply
  5. Patricia-Ann Que
    May 19, 2018

    been a ling time since i travelled there but i always remembered it being expensive. but then it is paris so i guess it is all right to indulge a bit! great tips and will keep it in mind, im sure it will be very handy!

    Reply
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    May 19, 2018

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  7. LaiAriel Samangka
    May 20, 2018

    Just like you, since then, I also dream to visit Paris, but until now I didn’t get a chance yet, hopefully soon. Anyway, your tips here are very useful and I love that ambling around Paris is not really that expensive. And knowing that there are free entrance for museums to enjoy, this made me really happy. Buying food in the farmer’s market is sound great.

    Reply
  8. Paulo
    May 20, 2018

    Great post about Paris!

    A bit like you i also travel a lot to Paris , at least once a year and your tips are gold for who want to visit the city of light.
    Did not knew about the farmers market.

    Need to check that out!

    Reply
    1. christinewillgo
      May 21, 2018

      I’m glad you found my post helpful! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  9. What Corinne Did
    May 20, 2018

    I have been living in Paris for 7 years and can only tell how the cost of life has increased ever since. Paris can be quite an expensive city if you don’t know where to shop. Velib is defo a must! I love baking. Cheap and so good for your health!

    Reply
  10. Rachel
    May 20, 2018

    Great tips for those on a budget – so helpful when places like Paris can be super expensive!

    Reply
  11. Laura Dove
    May 20, 2018

    Great post! I have been to Paris several times now and it is still one of my all time favourite places in the world to visit! This is so helpful!

    Reply
  12. Val
    May 20, 2018

    My best friend recently visited Paris and also talked about how it was so much more affordable to shop at the Farmer’s Markets!

    Reply
  13. Sondra Barker
    May 21, 2018

    These are such great tips! I have to agree, Paris is such a beautiful city. The farmer’s markets there are actually really great!
    xo, Sondra
    cuisineandtravel.com

    Reply
  14. HartWanders
    May 21, 2018

    I started traveling when i was already working. But i usually travel on a budget so this still helps. Lol. And yes, Paris has been in my travel list eversince i was little. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  15. Elizabeth
    May 21, 2018

    I visited Paris as a solo traveller several years ago – booked myself a studio appartment for 5 nights via Booking.com and explored the city on foot. Such a great trip!

    Reply
  16. Meagan Badore
    May 21, 2018

    These are great tips for non students too. I want to take my daughter’s to Paris one day and these tips will help us enjoy on a budget plus give us more money for things we want to splurge on.

    Reply
    1. christinewillgo
      May 23, 2018

      I’m glad you found my post useful. I wish your daughter an amazing time in Paris!

      Reply
  17. Heather
    May 21, 2018

    I’ve never been to Paris but it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. This is great information to keep it on a budget, thank you!

    Reply
  18. Ada
    May 21, 2018

    These are some amazing tips! Paris is still on my bucket list and need to visit soon!

    Reply
  19. Kiwi
    May 21, 2018

    I would love to thrift in Paris! Everyone thinks you have to be so lavish in Paris but I believe in traveling anywhere on a budget.

    Reply
  20. Gloria
    May 22, 2018

    Paris is great and can be visited on a budget if you manage to avoid the costly tourist traps. I found that streetfood vendors are also a great alternative when it comes to food and they can easily accommodate various dietary needs because they assemble the food in front of you. They can be found outside the farmer’s markets as well. Love the tip with the bike rental. Never thought of that one before.

    Reply
    1. christinewillgo
      May 23, 2018

      Oh I didn’t know that but that sounds like a great hack as well. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  21. Terri Beavers
    May 22, 2018

    Great tips and I’ll sure put them to use if I ever make it there. It will have to be a budget trip but Id like to eat out at least once then will stick to smaller places that are more affordable.

    Reply
    1. christinewillgo
      May 23, 2018

      I did the same thing actually! I traveled on a shoe string budget but allowed myself to indulge every once in a while. I hope these tips will help you as I did the same

      Reply
  22. Ariana
    May 23, 2018

    this is super cool! i know a friend that could really use these tips. i would to travel to paris one day.

    Reply

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