Flower stall in Paris, France
Destinations,  Europe,  France,  Travel Budgets

Two months in France | September/October 2022 Travel Budget Breakdown

I spent slightly over two months (65 days) traveling in France in September-October 2022. While there’s a few days overlap on either end, to make it easier on myself to calculate totals and whatnot, I’m going to show what I spent within those two months.

Within this time frame I also went on a 7 day cruise with MSC, which is included on a separate line item but within the larger total.

All prices are in USD.

France Travel Budget

Traveling in Western Europe is one of the more expensive things to do, and if you’re not doing things like housesitting or work exchange the costs can be exorbitant. Since my trip in 2022, accommodation costs even in hostels seem to have doubled, and food prices have also risen. So just keep that in mind while you read my budget, and maybe add a few hundred dollars to it for today’s cost.

Another note: I went during shoulder season, so not the high Summer or Winter seasons that cost way more. That also helped keep costs down!

Total: $3,535 or $1,767/month or $59/day

My budget goal for 2022 was $2,000 USD per month, and I went over that in September but was under it in October. And of course the average evens out to under $2k for both months. Ha! Just goes to show that a flexible overall yearly budget often works better than a rigid monthly one, as you can adjust for times you overspend with months where you under-spend.

Accommodation: $1,866 or about $31/day

If I were doing this again, I’d spend more time in hostels and shared accommodation spaces. That would definitely bring down my accommodation costs, which is one of the largest expenditures for these two months.

At the time, I was particularly concerned about COVID-19 and monkey pox, so I sprung for private rooms and apartments when I could. The only hostel I stayed at was in Paris for 3 nights. This pushed my accommodation costs WAY up. To offset some of the cost, I used Chase credit card points to book 8 nights in hotels, about $583 worth.

I also spent 1 week on a cruise ship, but that particular accommodation cost is on its own “Cruise” line item below.

See where I stayed in France, with photos and video tours.

The most expensive place I stayed was Hotel La Residence in Narbonne, which cost $108.64/night. This was one of the places I used my credit card points for, luckily!

The least expensive place I stayed was an AirBNB in Rouen, at $37.66/night. This one was in a converted barbershop, and while it was a good location I felt very exposed because the shop windows were the entire front of the apartment. On the whole, though, Rouen is cheaper to stay in and it’s a good place to base yourself if you want to do day trips into Paris and other nearby cities.

My favorite place was a different AirBNB in Rouen, at $43.08/night. It was a cute lofted apartment tucked away on the edge of the university area, five minutes away from the river.

Groceries: $277 or $4.54/day

Excepting the occasional McDonald’s meal (surprisingly affordable), I cooked at home for the majority of my time in France. I actually didn’t find grocery stores to be that expensive (at the time), and to keep costs down I went to Lidl and Aldi a bunch. Carrefour City also had some good deals, and the local grocery stalls had the best vegetables.

Some favorite foods I discovered at the grocery store:

  • Petits suisses yogurt — these are tiny yogurts, very thick and super sour. To eat them you plop them onto a plate, remove the wrapper, and sprinkle with sugar. Yum!
  • Drink syrups — basically flavored sugar that you mix into carbonated water to make soda. Very cheap! Mostly all fruit flavors (including black currant, my favorite), but also mint.
  • Bread and cheese and butter — good god, the BUTTER was amazing!! I ate tons of it! A baguette can be had for $1, a small thing of brie for $1.50 and a big chunk of butter for about $3 or so. Add some fruit and BAM: delicious meal at any time of the day! Bring it down to the riverbanks to eat and feel like a true Parisian.

Food (Eating out): $104 or $1.70/day

Look, the only reason I was able to keep this so low is because I literally didn’t eat out at any restaurants except for some occasional fast food. Everything else was stuff I bought at the grocer store! Restaurant food wasn’t crazy expensive (maybe $20/meal), but it wasn’t in my budget, either.

If you watch a lot of travel influencers on Youtube or Instagram, it can seem like they’re eating at fancy restaurants every meal and spending $$$ on their trip. And maybe they are, but they’re also probably being paid to do that! Also, they’re only going on a short trip of like a week! Vacation spending is way different than full-time travel spending.

If you’re a solo budget backpacker, you just aren’t going to have an influencer travel budget lifestyle. Don’t feel bad about that! Embrace it! Save the money you would’ve spent on that high-priced meal and use it to buy a train ticket to Spain instead.

I may not have any restaurant recommendations to share from my time in france, but I managed to stay 2 full months on a budget that other people might’ve blown through in a week. Yay for me!

Anyway, let’s keep going:

Tourism: $162

I focused my sightseeing on either free or cheap things– there’s TONS of churches and ruins to see– and only spent money on a few things. This includes a day trip to Disneyland Paris, another to Versailles, some tours in Paris and one walking tour in Toulouse.

I’m still working on writing up my 2022 travel diary, but here’s some of what I did in France:

Transit: $229

Toulouse train station

This includes train rides around the country, plus metro tickets in Paris. Long-distance trains generally cost about $25, while shorter ones (3 hours and under) could be had for $5 or so. I also took a bus from Perpignan to Barcelona for $15.79, which was way cheaper than the train.

I spent $39 on an overnight train from Paris to Barcelona that got canceled because of the strikes, but when I asked for a refund they just gave it to me as a credit which I couldn’t use because I had already left the country by the time I got it. What a waste!

I came to France via Eurostar right at the end of August so that cost isn’t included in this budget, but it cost $76.00 and I had to book it months in advance.

Cruises: $671 (~$96/day)

Cruise ship docked in Cherbourg

This covers a week of accommodation, food, transit and tourism! Aren’t cruises handy? Ironically, it’s the highest daily expense in a trip otherwise relatively cheap at an average of $61/day.

I spent one week on the MSC Preziosa and documented my trip here. We went to England, Germany, and two stops in France before disembarking in Le Havre.

Shopping: $90

This is another category where people tend to splurge, especially on luxury purchases. I restrained myself and only got a merino wool sweater from Uniqlo, a thrifted Eddie Bauer backpack, some souvenir coins at cathedrals and whatnot, and a few Disneyland Paris goodies for me and my parents.

Cash: $116

Within this category is mostly food, the Paris Metro, and tips for tour guides. France is basically a cashless country and you can use your credit card everywhere. I used my Chase Visa card everywhere I went.

Medical: $109

I have a monthly insurance policy with SafetyWing, so this is 2 month’s worth of membership. I haven’t had to actually use them so I can’t vouch for anything other than affordability, but I prefer having it just in case I need it.

Because this was COVID times, I had to get tested before I got on my cruise. A same-day COVID-19 test cost $15.96 at a Pharmacie, which is pretty darn cheap. I also bought some paracetamol at a pharmacy during my cruise, as I was running low.

Other: $29

This is a mix of stuff, but one thing is ISN’T is a SIM card, because at the time I was using my (very slow) T-Mobile cellphone plan. What I actually spent was: portable battery rental at Disneyland Paris for $3.89, cruise documents printed at Mailboxes Etc. for $4.93 and a year’s Google One subscription at $19.99 so I could automatically back up my photos from my phone.

Thanks for reading! Here’s some more of my travel budget breakdowns:

Here’s some other travel bloggers’ France budget breakdowns, for comparison:

Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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