I’m a creature of habit. Whenever I travel to a new city (especially if it’s a high-profile city), I usually try to get all the touristy things out of the way first, then I get myself acquainted with the transport system, and then I explore the city at my leisure. Paris was no exception.
If you follow my blog, you’ve read that Paris was not what I thought it would be. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t appreciate it. There’s so much history and culture here, which is intoxicating.
This was a spur of the moment trip, so even though I was only going there for a week, I wanted to get the most of my experience. Here are some of the tips I recommend when traveling on a limited budget of time and money!
My first day, I booked a Hop-On, Hop-Off tour from getyourguide.com. I ended up using their services a lot for my Paris sightseeing. The Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus tour was comfortable, clean, and it came with a free audio guide in my own language. Not only that, but doing the bus tour, it helped me get orientated in the city. I also got all the tourist highlights out of the way. Got some great photos too! That’s one of the awesome things about Paris. Everywhere you look, there’s something amazing to see or admire. The whole city is one big museum full of amazing art and history.
2. Skip the lines as much as you can. When I booked my getyourguide.com tickets, I always took that option. My visits to the Louvre and the Paris Catacombs were so much more enjoyable because I spent more time looking at the amazing art and history rather than waiting in line. The wait for the Paris Catacombs was 4.5 hours! Can you believe it? The whole tour didn’t last that long.
- Eat where the locals eat. I had the most delicious meals at local Brassieres around the neighbourhood I stayed in. Order from the set daily menus that range from 10-15 euros for an appy and a main or a main and dessert. I budgeted for one special meal at a fancy restaurant, but I can honestly say that all the places I ate at, the food was delicious. Parisians take a lot of pride in their food – and it’s obvious.
- Travel with a trusted credit card. I travel with a credit card that knows travel and travellers. I used my CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite Card so I could get the best rates and extra points to boot! Some people save their points for travel, but I like that I have the freedom to use my points for other rewards whenever I want, and at the last minute! The CIBC Aventura card is wonderful for planning short trips and even mini-vacations. Also, their concierge service is great for when you’re planning a short trip and you’re looking for tickets (Musee D’Orsay in my case), or even suggestions and tips. It takes some of the stress away from vacation planning so you can make the most of your time, money and points.
Make friends with the transit system. At first glance, the metro lines in Paris can be a tad scary. But with a little bit of planning and patience, you can navigate your way anywhere. I purchased a metro cardas soon as I got there. It costs 24 euros for a seven-day card that’s good for travel all five zones and lines. If you do the math, it costs 1.90 euros per trip and I used the buses and metro at least 4 times a day. A great deal in my opinion. Plus, taking the bus makes for great sight-seeing.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Aside from being able to redeem my travel points anytime and great rewards; My CIBC Aventura card has travel cancellation, medical, and flight delay insurance. It gives you peace of mind knowing that you’re covered.
With a little bit of planning, your Parisian vacation can be a fun, rewarding and memorable time! Happy travels.
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