10 France Travel Tips for the Trip of a Lifetime
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Whether you’re studying abroad or visiting Europe on semester break, there are plenty of things you need to prepare for if you’re a student travelling to France.
1) Take Advantage of Off-Peak Periods to Save Money
Students have the most accessibility to off-season travel, allowing you to save major cash on costs. Using your long holidays, spring and winter breaks, you can take advantage of these lower prices, such as lowered airfare and discounted hotel rates, from November through March.
2) You (Most Likely) Won’t Have Access to Data or WiFi
Travelling internationally will cause your data rates to skyrocket. You also won’t come across free wifi too often unless you’re in a Starbucks. But this isn’t bad news! You may have to make some accommodations by bringing a paper map to guide you on your journey and a good book to keep you entertained during downtime. And you may actually enjoy the break from your devices.
3) Engage in Student-Focused Tour Agencies
Student-focused tour agencies are highly experienced in setting up successful and educational trips for students. They can plan everything from itinerary, accommodations, meals, tours and more. Reach out to one of these organizations if you’re looking for a low-hassle way to visit France.
4) Get to Know the Culture through a Hosting Program
Several of these student-focused tour agencies specialize in hosting programs. This is where the student stays with a French family to integrate himself into the culture. Companies like Vistas in Education offer customizable travel plans and various hosting options for students to choose from, such as living with a family or as a boarder.
5) Enjoy the Famous Cuisine
The best part about going to France is – of course – the food! Here, you can taste culinary masterpieces in the place they were born, so to speak. Try a fresh crepe in Paris, dine on delectable bouillabaisse from the port city of Marseille or taste the best champagne in the world in Champagne.
6) Utilize Your Student Status to Get Discounts
With your status as a student, you can sign up for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and receive reduced rates in museums, theatres, cinemas, bookstores, public transport and dining establishments in thousands of locations. Even if you don’t have an official ISIC, you can still ask businesses if they offer discounts in exchange for flashing a student ID, you never know how much money you could end up saving.
7) Travel on Trains, Buses or Ferries
As a student, you most likely don’t have the bankroll to take taxis or planes everywhere you want to go. The good news for those of you traveling on a budget, is that France’s public transportation system is easily accessible and goes all around the country. The train system Eurail is affordable and offers breathtaking sights of the French countryside, while busses offer an easy way to see the inner cities.
8) Finding the Best Places to Stay
Depending on where you’re staying in the country, you can normally find relatively-affordable accommodations. Dorm rooms can range from €15-40 per night, while a private room in a hostel can cost €75 a night or more. Budget hotels normally start around €60 per night, or give Airbnb a shot, which starts around €15 for a shared room.
9) Bring the Right Amount of Money
If you’re staying in a hostel, eating out once per day and cooking other meals, and using public transportation, you should budget €50-75 ($51-76) a day. Obviously, if you forego some of the more pricier attractions in France and cook most of your meals, you could see that number come down considerably.
10) Don’t Be Afraid to Splurge on What’s Important to You
While budgeting is extremely important to ensuring a successful trip, you shouldn’t be afraid to splurge on the things that you’re dying to try. Have you always wanted to travel through the valleys of Bordeaux, sampling the the famous wines of its historic vineyards? Perhaps you’ve always dreamt of dining on a three course meal while watching an authentic Moulin Rouge show. Whatever it is you want to see, don’t let your budget drag you down completely.
With these student travel tips, you’re now ready to travel all of France. Have fun and learn as much as possible – best of luck with your trip!