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How much do I need to travel to France?

18th December 2019

Are you planning on saying au revoir to New Zealand and bonjour to all of your pastry dreams in France? 

Known for medieval castles, timeless art and culture, delectable cuisine and breathtaking landscapes, France is a hot spot for Kiwi travellers. When your planning on spending a few weeks in France, or a few days in Paris as part of a more extensive European itinerary, you're going to need to consider your travel budget. 

While France uses euros like most of Western Europe, their daily expenses vary slightly to what you might expect in other countries. We understand that this can get confusing, so we've whipped up a nifty little travel budget planner that covers France (and every other country you plan on visiting).

Before we jump into number crunching, let's break down what is included in a French travel budget. 

What goes into a French travel budget?


Unfortunately, scientists haven't mastered the art of teleportation yet, so you're going to have to stick with plain old air travel to get to France. Flights through Asia and the Middle East run daily and will connect you through to France and wider Europe. Thankfully the popularity of the route has brought down prices over time. While flights will likely be your most significant expense of the trip if you keep an eye on deals and fly outside of peak periods you can reduce costs further. 

Once you arrive in France, there are a few options for getting between cities and towns, flights and trains being the two most popular. There are 170 airports in France, so you should have no struggle getting a flight to an airport close to your destination. Low-cost carriers cover many of these, so check their website for deals. Just be cautious of extra baggage costs that may not be included in your ticket, especially if you are carrying ski gear. 

If flying isn't your thing, or if you're keen on seeing more of the countryside, train travel is your best option. The French Government has invested heavily in a fast and efficient rail network that connects the majority of France. Tickets vary in cost, and it is recommended to purchase in advance to secure your seat and a reasonable price. The only exception is if you have a Eurorail pass, which doesn't require you to reserve your seat in advance. 

Finally, if you're keen to travel at your own pace, car hire is a fantastic option. Ensure you have an international license and adequate travel insurance before hiring the car. Once these are secured, you are free to roam the French countryside as you wish. Tolls can quickly add up though, so depending on how much driving you plan on doing, you may need to budget around 10 euro per day for tolls. 

Once you arrive at your destination, your means of travel will vary depending on where you are. In Paris and other bigger cities, there is ample public transport via buses and metro systems. Aside from walking, they are the most affordable option of getting around. If you have hired a car and are choosing to drive around cities, don't forget to account for parking charges. 


France has accommodation options for every traveller and budget, ranging from 20 euro per night in a hostel bed to 3000 euro per night for master suites. Your style of travel will determine where you stay and how much you spend. 

If you do have a car, look for accommodation that offers free parking. Otherwise, aim for places that are close to public transport so you can easily get around. 

As you go further from cities into the French countryside, you will be greeted with gorgeous bed and breakfasts and rustic homestays. There are incredibly cosy,welcoming, and reminiscent of the culture of the area. 

Finally, if you are travelling to ski areas in winter, prepare for prices to be jacked up. Alas, the chalets and houses are well worth the cost. There is nothing better than cosying up next to the fire with a nightcap after a big day on the slopes. 


French cuisine is far more than buttery croissants, perfectly cooked baguettes and delicious crepes (though these are all very valid choices).

Different regions of France are known for different cuisines; however, through all, you're able to indulge in rich stews and casseroles, gooey cheeses, roasted meats, puffy souffle and everything in between. These are, of course, all washed down with a glass or two of world-renowned French wine. 

France is a culinary delight, and I encourage you to eat as much and as often as possible. However, it is worth knowing that the food isn't always cheap, especially if it is an up-market restaurant. As a rule of thumb, the closer you are to tourist attractions, the more you will pay regardless of how good the food is. So, with this in mind, do a bit of research and make an effort to travel slightly further afar to save some cash and delight your taste buds. 

As a rule of thumb, you can expect to pay around the following:

Croissants, pastries, bakery goods etc: 3 - 10 euros
Salads and soups: 10 euros and up
Meals at a restaurant (think stews, roasted meats.): 20 euros and up
Western food like pizzas and burgers: 10 - 20 euros
Escargot: 10 euros and up

If all else fails and you are running low on funds, croissants are 2 euros. So fill your stomach with pastry and your heart with joy. 


As you fill your stomach with incredible cuisine, be sure to fill your brain with plenty of French culture and history. In Paris alone, there are 130 museums, some of which charge entry and others which are free. In bigger cities, it's also worth taking part in a free walking tour, or some guided adventures. I highly recommend bike tours in Paris, ranging between 50 and 200 Kiwi dollars; they are a great way to see the city and gain an insight into history.

The French countryside also boasts plenty of wineries that you are free to explore on foot, by bike or as part of a tour. Otherwise, if you are visiting during winter, be sure to try your hand at some snowsports. The ski rental and passes can add up though, so account for them in your budget instead of making them a last-minute expense. 

Pre-travel expenses

Like any holiday, you also need to consider other costs like travel insurance, visas and any vaccinations. France is part of the Schengen zone, so Kiwi's don't need a visa for stays under 90 days. 

How much does a trip to France cost?

Step 1

Enter your destination (France)
Let us know how long you'll be away
Choose your currency. In this case, it will either be NZD or EUR
Start counting down to unlimited croissants  since you've started your holiday budget.

Step 2

I know it is hard to define how many pastries you will eat each day. The limit does not exist, and thankfully they are only a few euro. Will you be splurging on snails and fine wine each night, or opting to survive on fresh baguettes for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Here you need to account for what you plan on eating in France. Easier said than done, but a rough estimate will be enough to give you a substantial daily budget to work with. 

Step 3

Shopping time! Are you preparing to shop til you drop in Paris on luxury handbags and scarves, or instead opt for a few souvenirs? Let us know in this section. 

Step 4

This is for all of your transport outside of flights and significant journeys. So basically, your day to day means of getting around. Have a quick Google of the transport options available in your destinations, so you know what to expect. Chances are it will be buses and the subway. 

Step 5

The hard work is done! Here you'll find a simple layout of your planned expenses in both Kiwi dollars and euros. From here you can either go back and edit, or start saving for your holiday!

It's important to note here that this only accounts for your most basic expenses. You'll need to add in travel insurance and other daily expenses. It's also worth having a bit of wiggle room in the kitty for unexpected costs, like a 50 pack of freshly made macarons or a rather large shipment of French wine back to your home in NZ. 

French Budget Examples

Here are some examples of what the bones of your travel budget would look like. Please note all of these examples are based off seven nights accommodation and are quoted in Kiwi dollars. Prices will, of course, vary with seasonality and availability. 

Couples trip

This couple intends to splurge on a week of romance, luxury and leisure in Nice on the French Riviera. Oh la la. 


$2555 per person

Auckland to Nice return with Emirates.



One bedroom villa with a sea view.


$250 per day

Pastries on the morning on the balcony overlooking the water before restaurant meals for lunch and dinner. 


$200 per day

A day tour or two up and down the coast with other days spent exploring on foot and relaxing by the beach. 

Total for couple 


Less than 10k for a romantic week of incredible food and romantic strolls on the beach. 


Family getaway

Mum and Dad are treating the kids to a week of skiing and great food in Chamonix. If they are looking to adopt another child for this trip I will volunteer as tribute. 



Auckland to Geneva return with Air China, and return transfers from Geneva to Chamonix. 



Three bedroom apartment with kitchen.


$200 per day

Cooking breakfast at the accommodation, with plenty of hot chocolate and restaurant meals to warm up at night.


$500 per day

Enough to cover ski passes and rental for everyone with a few lessons for the little ones. 



Just imagine the memories you’ll make on the slopes. 


Solo traveller

This lucky lady is spending a week in the city of love, Paris. Pastry, painting and dreamy strolls throughout the city - what more could you ask for?



Auckland to Paris return with Etihad



One bed in a hostel dorm room in the city centre. 


$40 per day

Fresh and cheap market treats and pastries some days, a splurge on fancier meals on others.  


$50 per day

A few tours, bike rental and museum entry. Otherwise this vagabond is exploring the city at her own pace on foot. 



Turns out a trip to Paris is actually pretty affordable. . 


Last-minute tips

  • ATMs are easy to find it established towns and cities, just look out for extravagant terminal fees. 
  • Most restaurants vendors will take card, so load up your Cash Passport Platinum with euros and be on your merry way. It is worth having some cash on hand though, for street stalls or toilets that charge entry (it's quite common).
  • Freshly baked bread and pastries are not only super cheap but incredibly delicious. If you're after a budget meal just grab a baguette and some fresh deli meat and cheese — a few euros and guaranteed delicious.
  • Tipping isn't expected.
  • In Paris, the metro is quite easy to use and is the best way to get around the city. If you are there for a little while, consider getting a reloadable card.
  • Research your 'per day' budget and include the things you want to do. Once you know the costs, you have a savings goal to work towards.
  • Take advantage of Travel Money NZ's Best Price Guarantee. If you find a better price from a competitor, we will beat it*.
  • Hostels are a great way to save cash and meet like-minded travellers.
  • Check out reviews if you think something is too good to be true. Chances are it might be.
  • Don't forget to factor in pre-travel costs like travel insurance, immunisations and visas.
  • The French appreciate tourists that don't act like tourists. So learn a few French phrases and embrace French life - the effort will go a long way with the locals.
  • Sign up for Rate Alerts. We'll let you know when the NZD is doing well against the EUR so you can purchase and maximise your travel money.
  • Macarons are ridiculously expensive but oh so worth it.
  • Book your Eiffel Tower tickets in advance to save cash and waiting in long lines.
  • Bike tours are a great way to see the cities.
  • The Louvre has free entry for those under 26 every Friday from 6 pm-9:45 pm, and free admission for all on the first Saturday of every month. 

Flight costs based on search from and are indicative costs only for travel dates 4 - 11 August 2020. Prices were sourced on December 17 2019. ^Accommodation costs are based on an average per night price for budget, moderate or luxury hotels, as indicated in the table. ~Food based on the average cost of 1 coffee, 1 fast food meal and 1restaurant meal per person, per day. COST COMPARISON TABLE: All costs are based on estimated approximate costs from major metropolitan cities. “From” costs indicate costs that start from the indicated price and may be higher than shown. Average prices indicate a typical estimated cost you would pay for the indicated item. Prices may vary from time to time, and in different cities and towns within France. This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.