Saving Money Paris Edition
We took our family of 4 to Paris with a stopover in New York City and only spent……
Stay tuned for the answer!
Paris Edition: How We Saved $$$$$
As a family, we usually take a spring and fall vacation every year. We home school and that allows us to travel outside of peak seasons. Most recently our many trips have been to Disney.
FIND INFO ON SAVING MONEY TO DISNEY WORLD HERE: COMING SOON!
Our Disney passes expired last fall and after our youngest turned 3 and Disney had a bit of a price hike, we decided against renewing and to instead take some less expensive trips elsewhere.
Paul and I had yet to decide on where to take a spring vacation when my phone rang one day in October 2019.
What had happened…
RING RING: Hello
It was my best friend and he started with “Does Everyone have their passports?”
“Yes, but why?”
“I found an amazing deal on trips to Paris!”
After much discussion, number running, and schedule adjusting…..we decided to do it!
Deciding against Disney trips for awhile in an effort to stash some cash meant that if we were going to make this happen, we needed to do it CHEAP!
I love to find a deal and hate to feel like I have overpaid for something. I knew that this trip would be no different.
Keep reading to find out some ways we saved money and how much we spent.
Know your trip style
You will probably see me write this in every single trip post! It is the most important thing in my opinion!
I know that Paul and I travel the same. We don’t need expensive meals or swanky accommodations. We will forego sleep to see and do as much as possible. We don’t care about shopping but love museums.
Nick and his husband, Derek are the complete opposite! Nick and I know this and plan our tandem trips with lots of not togetherness to compensate. This trip did have much less togetherness than expected and I wish it hadn’t. Between travel party conflicts and ill kiddos, we really only had one day together.
Plan your must-dos
Knowing that you have the list of your top few things you must do gives you a great place to start and helps you save money by price shopping. Also, knowing what you want to do can help determine when to go and where to stay.
Since we were skipping our usual Disney and instead heading to Paris, we knew Disneyland Paris was a must!
We also wanted the Louvre, Versailles, and the Eiffel Tower.
We do not avoid the Tourist attraction travelers, those attractions are why we travel!
Know your budget
Under no circumstances should you go into debt to travel. We were able to save money in lots of unexpected ways that made this trip possible.
Let me share our how
Family of 4, Leaving Houston 1/13/2020 and returning to Houston 1/21/2020
This is a slow travel season and base prices are much lower during this period
The flights that Nick found were through a travel agency called Sky Tours
Total price for 4 round trip travelers was $1356.00 1/14/2020-1/20/2020
The flights were from JFK in NYC to CDG in Paris, France. Direct there and a short layover in Amsterdam on the way home.
This meant that we needed to get from Houston to New York.
Thank you Southwest! Thank you Nick’s Frequent flier points!
We flew from HOU to LGA one way on generously provided points from Nick and one way on Points earned via our Southwest Credit Card. We paid for 1 ticket out of pocket at $108.98 and the other 3 TSA fees totaling $16.80
Total Flights $1481.78
We really struggled with a hotel. It is so hard to choose the perfect one. Keep in mind “Twin Room” really means twin beds in Europe!
We finally settled on a Novatel Property outside the city center but it offered great family rooms and free breakfast. The staff was amazingly accommodating and we greatly enjoyed our stay!
We checked in 1/15/2020 and checked out 1/20/2020. They had a room ready for us when we arrived after our overnight flight at 9 am. Bless the hoteliers!
Keep in mind the breakfast buffet, which was plentiful and amazing was included for all 4 in our party.
Hotel bill was $761.52
We were able to book and pay with our Southwest Card because it has no foreign transaction fees.
For our 2 stays in NYC, again Nick used his accumulated Hilton Points to cover our hotel rooms. So no cost to us.
I knew that Disneyland Paris was on our must-do list!
I was able to do enough research to find a discount ticket broker that is authorized by Disneyland Paris
After quite a few emails back and forth, I felt pretty comfortable using them for our ticket purchase.
Since I had done the research and Nick had been so generous, we bought their Disney tickets as a way to say thanks.
We bought our family of 2 adults and 2 children 2 mini tickets each, to go during the designated period on 2 different days. For more info check out this other post: COMING SOON
We also bought 3 adult and 1 child mini tickets for Nick’s family.
The total on the Disneyland Paris site was $852.41
We paid $652.68 using this ticket site.
SAVINGS OF $199.73
We used taxis to and from airports because we have kids and luggage. Honestly that cost was worth every penny!
Once in NYC and Paris we were able to purchase train tickets to use on buses and metros. This saved us a ton of money and the Paris Rail Pass came with a discount book for other attractions.
Believe it or not, our kids were free to most museums in Paris. Some are 18 and under free, almost everything was 4 and under free. This saved us a ton of money!
We ate free breakfast in our hotel. I packed snacks in our luggage. Granola bars and crackers, our usual grab and go snacks. This kept us from stopping to buy food so often. This also serves as a nice distraction to cranky folks to help reset.
Help from the Big Guy!
We did know that we would be traveling prior to Christmas. Luckily, Santa helped us out with some much-needed gear. This not only saved us money by not buying both gifts and travel needs, it gave us some great gift ideas we would not have had otherwise.
TRAVEL MUST-HAVES: COMING SOON
So all in, every transaction we charged to our card, plus the Disney Store gift card purchase ($35.08) and changing $20 USD to Euros for the carousel we spent…..
GRAND TOTAL (including a Guinea Pig Sitter!)
This may be my favorite kind of math! I encourage everyone I know to use it because big numbers are scary but breaking it down, it isn’t usually as terrifying.
I love to take the amount spent $4838.06
Then divide by # of travelers $4838.06/4=$1209.52
Then divide by # of days $1209.52/8=$151.19
So we spent $151.19 per person per day.
I don’t think that is too bad for food, travel, lodging, and all entertainment.