Intro to Planning the Trip of a Lifetime on a Small Budget: Three Days in Paris

James and I spent our honeymoon touring Italy, France & Spain and this week I'm going to talk about my favorite city we went to, Paris! Paris is everything you want it to be and more. From the quaint cafés nestled along the The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, to the gorgeous glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower at night, it really does have that magical feel you see in the movies.

Gloomy day in Paris, still beautiful!

Our first Parisian café

Since we were already flying from Orlando (MCO) to Italy (FCO) for our 7 night cruise along the Mediterranean, we decided at the last minute to book a stopover in Paris on our way home and I couldn't have been happier with that decision!

On the way to Paris!

A stopover is when you stop at a city along the way to your final destination. It’s basically a long layover. To be considered a “stopover”, it needs to be more than 24 hours long. Stopovers are such a great way to see a second city in addition to your original destination! PRO TIP: United Airlines offers 1 free stopover on international flights. Since we were flying with United, we would have definitely been missing out if we didn’t utilize this opportunity for a free flight! I’ll be covering how to book a stopover flight with step-by-step instructions in the next part of this series.

Let's be real...Paris is EXPENSIVE and planning out your trip ahead of time is a must if you don't have an unlimited budget (like most of us.) Utilizing airline miles and hotel points are the best way to travel on a small budget in my opinion. I am not going to lie, it does take time but it's totally worth it!

Outside the Louvre
 I knew I could plan this short trip for little to no cost, so I did my research & started planning away! Planning a detailed honeymoon while trying to save as much money as possible AND planning a wedding while simultaneously running a business with a full-time job is probably the most stressful things I've done thus far. Even just writing that sentence exhausted me. In the end, everything worked out great and I was so happy I put the time into planning the best honeymoon ever! My college degree was in Event Planning, so I guess it wasn't completely worthless? Thanks UCF!

This trip would have cost us a total of $2995.50 (including the three hotel nights & one way trip to Paris from Rome) How much did we end up paying you ask? It came to $39 per person (taxes for our flight into Paris) and $29.82 for hotel taxes which is a total of $107.82. We SAVED a cool $2887.68.

Our Room at the Park Hyatt
Here’s the breakdown: 

What the flights would have cost:
FCO (Rome, Italy) to CDG (Paris, France)
Two adult tickets - $377.60
Taxes & fees - $107.00
Total = $484.60

What we paid:
Taxes & fees - $39 per person
Total = $78

What the hotel would have cost:
3 nights at the BEAUTIFUL Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme
Night #1 - 756.50 €
Night #2 - 756.50 €
Night #3 - 756.50 €
Subtotal: 2.269,50 € 
City Tax: 13,20 €
Total Per Room: 2.282,70 €

Converted to USD:  $2510.90

What we paid: 
$29.82 for hotel taxes

 I would have never spent almost $3,000 knowing what I know now about how to travel large on a small budget. With points & miles, it really is a reality and with some time & commitment you can too! I'm here to share my knowledge on utilizing airline miles & hotel points to travel for free or little cost. I am also going to share all the highlights from my trips and give you recommendations based on all my research and first hand experiences.

On a Seine River dinner cruise, one of my favorite things we did!

UP NEXT: A review of the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme and HOW we stayed there for free, as well as how to book a stopover flight.

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Apply for my FAVORITE credit card I have had for years and get 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (enough for a round trip ticket to Europe!) Apply here: Chase Ink Bold

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