Who doesn’t like traveling, right?
Unfortunately, It can get very expensive, especially if you want to visit some of the most iconic cities like Paris. The situation gets even more tricky if you are an eco-conscious person on a tight budget and eat vegan, or vegetarian.
Don’t worry! Your trip is still possible and this blog post will get you covered.
Last weekend me and my friends went on an amazing, quite a spontaneous trip to Paris, France. We traveled from Belgium, Kortrijk by train and bus so we didn’t have to buy a flight ticket which can get quite costly. However, there are also helpful tips in this article if you plan to fly.
Keep on reading and learn how to travel eco- friendly, cheap and still have a great time!
Hit the road!
This article is divided into 4 main categories. Let’s look at the first one – transportation.
The cheapest and most eco-friendly option is to travel by train or bus. Especially if you have a student ISIC card or ESN card. If you are under 26 years old then the train ticket in Belgium costs only 5.50 euros but Go pass with 10 rides is for 53 euros. You can buy it in a ticket machine at the train station or online.
I advise you to download the SNCB International app on your phone so you can easily show your train ticket without printing it and wasting paper.
According to the article from BBC A train journey from London to Madrid would emit 43kg of CO2 per passenger, but 118kg by plane according to EcoPassenger. More than 2 times less impact on the environment if you travel by train! Great!
For bus tickets check out Bla Bla bus or Flix bus websites. They often have cheap tickets. Each of us paid around 16 euros from Lille to Paris and back. Flix bus also has a carbon neutral ride program.
If you choose to fly then look into the Skyscanner website. Ryanair often has good prices especially with ESN card that gives you a 15% discount on a flight and 1 free checked-in baggage for free. Ryanair offers to its customers voluntarily to pay carbon offset 1 or 2 euros which they put towards sustainable initiatives all around the world. You can also donate money individually to have a carbon-neutral trip to organizations that plant trees and do other activities that support the wellbeing of the environment.
When we were in Paris we used the metro and walked a lot. I suggest getting 2 or 3-day pass or buy a pack of 10 tickets for the metro because it’s the easiest way to get around. Also, it’s possible to hire a bike or “Lime” electric scooter. The bike is around 2 euros a day. For a scooter, you need to download a “Lime” app on your phone. Even though I wouldn’t say that Paris is the most cycling-friendly city.
Good night sleep after an adventurous day
Me and my friends were hosted by Simo from Paris who I contacted through the Couchsurfing website. It was a great experience!We not only had a free place to stay but also the opportunity to engage in amazing conversations, get to know local people’s lifestyles and advice. Sometimes the hosts even cook something delicious.
You need to remember that Couchsurfing is not a hostel. You should respect your host and be polite, clean after yourself. I personally like to gift something sweet or a postcard or cook something delicious or teach, tell some story. In Couchsurfing, you need to be open-minded and friendly. I am planning to write an article about how to make a great Couchsurfing profile and get hosted fast without paying for premium. Stay tuned!
If you don’t prefer to stay in someone’s house you can find cheap youth hostels. In Paris, there is one very close to the center and for a good price. You can also look for Airbnb but for us, it seemed too expensive.
The best part - food
Yummy and healthy food is very important but also expensive part of every travel.
Often restaurants and cafes in the center have a very high prices. We tried croissants near the Louver museum which cost 3 euros but near the place we stayed in a small, local bakery it was only 1.50 euro. Twice as cheap! Save money and don’t go to eat near very touristic places.
Find some local, small markets or grocery shops like Fran Prix. If you stay in a place with the kitchen then cook for yourself, meal prep and take it with you for a day.
Japanese, Chinese restaurants, kebab places, and McDonald’s are cheap options to eat lunch and they often have vegetarian or vegan options. We used Happy cow app on the phone to find vegan-friendly places to eat and shop. Also, you can ask in a restaurant for a free water refill for your water bottle. Don’t forget to ask for no straw if you order a drink, as it is not possible to recycle them.
Be eco-friendly always carry with you a water bottle, termo cup for coffee or tea and utensils like spork or bring a normal spoon, fork if you plan to eat out. Bring some apples or snacks so you don’t need to buy on the impulse on the way.
Fun, fun, fun
Entertainment – can make or break the day and your wallet!
We visited The Modern art museum and Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur Basilica. For students from the EU and under 26, a lot of attractions, museums, and places are for free. On every first Sunday of each month, almost every museum is free for everyone.
I can highly suggest booking in advance free walking tour. We went to The Original Paris tour for 3 hours. Our guide was very knowledgable, helpful and told many interesting stories and facts.
Just walking around and going to the main street Avenue des Champs-Élysées can be a great adventure. It’s also free and very exciting to take a look at Eiffel Tower in night when it shines with many lights. It happens at the start of every hour. A very magical experience!
Do you have some great tips for traveling cheap and eco-friendly? Post in the comments down below! I am curious to read!
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