Save Money While Travelling in Europe
Already back from my big OE, I thought I would recap on the money saving tips offered in my earlier blog post and share new insights on how you can save a bit of moola while exploring France (namely, Paris) and Italy.
Although 12 euro may not seem like a lot of money to pay in order to visit the Louvre, it’s good to know that you can still save on museum entrance fees on Bastille Day (July 14) and every first Sunday of each month – if you are travelling there from October to March. Remember that time is money – especially when you are travelling – so here is another money-saving tip: skip the queue by pre-ordering your Louvre tickets online or buying a pass; or get in faster by using one of “the other” entrances (at the Porte des Lions, 99 the Rue du Rivoli, or the Arc du Crousel).Depending on what you have in mind, one of the passes – such as the Paris Pass – could be of good value. For example, if you are planning on visiting a number of museums, such as the Louvre or Palace of Versailles; doing a river cruise, a bus tour and a wine tasting tour, it may be cheaper to get the pass, especially because it often lets you skip the queues. However, if you mostly want to visit museums only, or completely different places which are not included in the Paris Pass, I would recommend considering purchasing the Museum Pass or simply paying for entrance on the spot.
With Paris being one of the biggest cities in the world – plus a major tourist destination – it’s only natural that they have super-efficient and cheap public transport, so make sure you use it. With one metro ticket costing just 1.70 euro (or cheaper, if you buy a pack of ten – which is called “carnet”) and metro trains arriving every few minutes, you can get pretty much anywhere in central Paris in under 10 minutes. It takes time to figure out how the metro system works, but once you get it, you will enjoy taking rides on the Paris metro – just like the locals! (How cool would it be to have something similarly efficient and cheap here in Auckland?)
Keep in mind that drinking coffee and even eating by the bar (not at a table) or simply getting a takeaway meal can save you money, especially in Venice! You will notice the two price columns on most menus, one for table service and the other one for takeaway/consuming by the bar. At some cafes, you will also be paying extra to enjoy the atmosphere – the views and the orchestra playing nearby; according to my friend, an espresso by St. Mark’s square in Venice can cost as much as 20 euro, so watch out!Don’t pay for bottled water if you don’t have to: drinking tap water in Italy is safe pretty much everywhere; there are also drinking fountains available in most touristy places. Make sure you carry an empty bottle, so you can refill it where possible.
Paying for using public toilets in Europe might come as a shock to many New Zealanders; one way to avoid having to unnecessarily fork out 0.50 – 1.50 euro is by going to a nearby cafe instead and ordering an espresso for just slightly more than that (1.50-2.50 euro) and using their bathroom facilities for free – talk about mixing business with pleasure! If you are going to travel long distance in Italy, keep in mind that auto grills along all major highways offer free facilities as well.