Posted by: nancycurteman | August 2, 2010

How to Travel Smart and Save Big Bucks

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Most people who visit Paris also elect to take a couple of excursions out of Paris. The smart traveler will not automatically book a tour from Paris. She will save money, time and see much more if she creates her own tour. Here are a couple of comparisons between commercial tours and a personal tours.


Royal Day at Versailles is a 9 hour tour offered by an agency which I will not name. The cost is $145.

You can plan your own tour by hopping on the RER Line C5 train for $8 round trip and buying a $24 Passeport ticket direct from the Versailles ticket office that includes everything on the Royal Day at Versailles Tour .

Do the math:            Commercial tour            $145            Your Tour            $32

How about a trip that is much farther from Paris?

Mont Saint-Michel and The Normandy D-Day Battlefields and Beaches

The 14 hour commercial MONT SAINT-MICHEL GUIDED TOUR gets you to the monastery in the early afternoon after about a 3 hour drive from Paris. You’ll take a short guided tour and spend a couple of hours exploring on your own. Then back in the bus for a 3 hour drive back to Paris. Price? $219.

Let’s add a commercial Normandy D-Day Battlefields and Beaches Day Trip out of Paris to the tune of  $220 that takes an exhausting 14 hours—five to six hours of which is driving a round trip from Paris to Bayeux.

You plan your own tour or shall I say two tours: Mont Saint-Michel and the Normandy Beaches. Here’s how:

Book a round trip train to Bayeux for $98. Train time is 2 hrs. 19 min. Stay in a hotel in Bayeux for $131 which is cheaper than the one you would be staying at in Paris so we won’t add that into the trip cost. Take the shuttle to Mont Saint-Michel for  $65. Pay $16. for entrance and an audio tour. Total for your tour $179.

With your good planning, you can get up the next morning, take the same Battlefields tour that includes everything in the commercial one for $111. Then hop on your already paid for train for your trip back to Paris in time to relax with a nice glass of wine.

Now do the math:

The two Commercial tours: $439                        Your two tours:  $290

Plan your own tours. You’ll save considerable money. You’ll have better trips. You’ll control your own visit rather than being part of a herd of cattle.

Photo: edificios


  1. I want one to Périgueux! Unfortunately I can’t manage the regular one much less the extra excursions, but I can wish.


  2. Thank you for this post! I am heading to Paris in November and will certainly be on a tight backpacking budget – this helps greatly!!


    • Have a wonderful trip to Paris. I suggest you do some serious excursion planning before you leave.


      • Thank you for being so kind.


      • I will most definetly!


  3. This segment of my life I am a caregiver. Travel is not an option. I do enjoy reading about the travels of others. Don’t feel sorry for me. My life is wonderful.


    • You sound like a wonderful, giving person. You will never regret caring for someone important to you.


  4. Excellent post, nancy

    Often travelers are nothing more than a bunch of lazy sheep waiting to be herded from one place to another. Baa . . .

    (Or should I say, Bah! Humbug!)

    Travel should be an exciting adventure. Planning excursions on our own allows us to both think for ourselves and immerse ourselves more fully in the experience.

    That said, I would like to hire you to be my tour guide the next time I want to leave the states. : )


    • I’d love to hear about your travels. Travel for me is one of the most exciting experiences in life.


  5. Luv your travel advice.


    • Thanks. I hope you some ideas from my posts. I will be adding more travel pieces


  6. […] For more money-saving travel tips, visit Global Mysteries:  How To Travel Smart and Save Big Bucks […]


  7. Thanks for the link.


  8. For lunch today, we toured the Normandy region, D-Day Battlefields, and Mont St. Michel with Samantha Brown!

    She took us around to see the sites. Mont St. Michel and its surrounding village is gorgeous!

    Samantha stopped for a light lunch (an omelette) at La Mere Poulet on one of the steep streets leading up to the monastery.

    She also stayed in a gorgeous little village in Normandy, with “Fleurs” in the name, but I can’t recall the whole name. Do you know perhaps? It was near the D-Day battlefields.

    Anyway, having just enjoyed this post, the show was a real treat! Thanks, again.


  9. Yay, found it, Honfleur, not fleurs:

    Hotel Absinthe in Honfleur:

    Now, I’m ready to pack my bags! : )


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