How to have a cheap holiday in France: what you need to know
Who isn’t looking for cheap vacation ideas these days? All of us, no matter where we live, are feeling the credit crunch.
Here’s how you can stretch those precious holiday euros, and still have a wonderful and relaxing vacation in France (without compromising on comfort and style…well, we are in France after all ).
Sun, Sand and Sea…All Free!
Getting to France
It’s really worth spending some time shopping around before booking anything. Whether you’re looking at cheap flights to France, train travel, ferry or car hire, there will always be discounts or special deals to be snapped up whatever time of year.
Travel search engines can search across a range of operators, which will save you time having to compare prices individually.
Cheap Vacation Ideas: Accommodation in France
The next money spender (or saver) is where you will stay. For a cheap holiday, skip the hotels, including the budget ones. Try vacation rentals instead, where you rent an apartment or home, normally for one week minimum. You’ll have space to store food and facilities to cook yourself so you don’t need to spend money on eating out.
Travelling in a group will make it even cheaper still – you can rent homes for 10 with a pool for example. You won’t even need to leave the house if you don’t want to!
Please see our vacation rentals page for suggestions on where you can look for holiday homes to rent in France.
You could also consider staying on a farm – and the kids will just love it – although we would recommend that you have a fairly good grasp of the language, unless the owner can speak english well. This is another option where accommodation can be much cheaper than a hotel.
You could try the Bienvenue a la Ferme network, where you can stay on a farm – some offer camping as well as holiday homes.
Stick To the Rural Areas
Where you stay in France – in other words, the physical location – will also impact your budget.
This might sound like an obvious thing to say, but if you base yourself away from the big cities and well known destinations, the price for almost everything will be cheaper.
This will include food and wine, accommodation, local transport and equipment hire – everything really, where you might need to spend money. So keep this in mind especially when looking for accommodation.
Cheap Vacation Ideas: What To Do and Activities
If your trip is as a group of adults, or a couple making a romantic getaway, you can easily spend two weeks in France, not doing much more than sleeping, sitting in cafes, eating, driving, cycling or walking around and exploring the countryside.
You don’t need to go to (paid) attractions; simply experiencing the french joie de vivre and local food can be enough for wonderful and cheap romantic vacations or group holidays with friends.
Travelling as a family, though, will be a little more challenging…how to keep the kids amused without having to spend a fortune on theme parks or ski equipment.
Holiday homes will come to the rescue again – many places cater very well for children and have swimming pools, outdoor play areas, tennis courts and so on. So the ‘entertainment’ will be in-house – and often, free and/or included in the cost of the accommodation.
More Cheap Vacation Ideas
Other cheap vacation ideas and great family vacation ideas include:
- Going on walks/cycling trips and packing a picnic;
- Visiting the local markets (there is one in virtually every town across France) – these can be food markets or flea markets with clothing and lots of other goodies;
- Most towns also have music and arts festivals throughout the year. You can check the www.whatsonwhen.com website for more information about events and festivals in the area;
- Some villages have local artist workshops or art galleries where entry is free;
- Looking for fun and cheap vacation ideas? Try a beach holiday!