With inflation at its highest level for almost forty years and ever-higher fuel costs, a legitimate question could come to shade the rays of the summer sun: how to enjoy your holidays without spending too much? The concern is general and, according to the annual study by Cofidis on the summer vacation budget, the French should spend an average of 1,641 euros this summer, compared to 1,765 euros in 2019. But if the holidaymaker sees his power to purchase decrease, he doesn’t have to be stingy with good ideas.
With prices at the pump in places exceeding two euros per liter of gasoline, the car is clearly not the preferred means of transport to get to your vacation spot. Going through a station seems more judicious since the prices of train tickets have not increased, the SNCF having already bought all the electricity it needs for the year 2022. Most French people have therefore logically planned opt for rail, so much so that more than eight million tickets have already been sold for the months of July and August. That is 10% more than in 2019, the last reference year. To cope with this influx, the CEO of SNCF, Jean-Pierre Farandou, announced the upcoming sale of 500,000 additional tickets. And if the ticket remains too expensive, know that you are entitled, once a year and without conditions of resources, to a reduction ranging from 25 to 50% on a round trip.
For destinations not served by train, carpooling and bus platforms are always cheap options, and for those only accessible by plane, the best option is to go through online comparators. With flexible dates, very good surprises can even fall from the sky. Beware, however, of the difficulties encountered by airlines and airports in recent weeks, forcing, for lack of arms, some to cancel flights and others to lengthen waiting times to clear customs or security.
Still according to the Cofidis study, 64% of French people will, this year, pay more attention than usual to their spending on their vacation spot. And often, it is housing that worries, occupying the most important part of the budget, especially since prices have increased by 7% over one year. Unless you opt for couchsurfing, a fashionable practice which consists of staying for free with the locals, or of exchanging, for the time of a stay, your accommodation with another. Several sites, such as Intervac or Homexexchange, connect people who want to try the experience. If you like animals, you can also do pet-sitting, that is to say staying with someone for free in exchange for paying attention to the pet that has stayed there. For low-cost accommodation, it is also possible to go through family allowance funds, some of which have entered into partnerships with 3,600 holiday villages. Under the Vacaf label, underprivileged families can thus go away for a few days by the sea or in the mountains.
If the hotel sector may fear being shunned by the French because of its cost and the many alternatives that now exist, it can count on foreigners to have a great summer. According to a survey by the Gfk institute, American tourists planned to spend up to 7,650 euros for a ten-day stay, the Germans 2,321 euros and the British 1,740 euros.
Alongside the obligatory expenses of transport and accommodation, those concerning activities adapt more easily to the budget. According to the Cofidis survey on the upcoming summer holidays, 59% of French people will limit “pleasure purchases” and 56% will go to restaurants less often than in previous years. For good reason, the bill increased by 4.3% between May 2021 and May 2022. Everyone can in any case benefit from a wide range of free activities, such as walks and shows. To find all the good plans, the best thing to do is to go to the tourist office of the town. On the internet, it is also possible to find volunteer guides, often locals, who in addition to being free are very passionate.
If the activities you wish to do are paid for, it is possible to benefit from financial aid. And there’s something for all ages. For children, in 2020 the government launched the “Learning Holidays” program, which includes formulas combining school reinforcement and leisure activities. The State can finance up to 400 euros per minor and per week. To find out about all the stays offered, go to the official website. For 18-25 year olds, scholarship students or engaged in an integration process, it is possible to receive an allowance of 250 euros per person, usable on a defined catalog of stays. Go here to test your eligibility. Finally, for retirees with a reference tax income not exceeding 14,961 euros, there are various stays at very low rates.