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From: Jason H. Cunningham
Date: 01-15-2015 13:16:39 pm

Subject: Tourist Traps to Avoid While Visiting Paris


Tourist Traps to Avoid While Visiting Paris

By Jason H. Cunningham

Hostels in Paris are a superb accommodation option - not only for finding a cheap place to stay but to meet other like-minded travellers at the same time. This kind of interaction can make a visit to the City of Love all the more memorable.

If you're exploring on a budget, you'll need to keep an eye on your purse strings in other ways too. The city is a magnet for tourists, which also means it has its fair share of tourist traps that may charge you an arm and a leg for a sub-par experience.

Here are some of the most common tourist-traps you'll want to watch out for, if not avoid completely.

Pavement Caf?s - As a general rule of thumb, pavement caf?s near tourist hotspots, like the Champs Elys?es, tend to charge significantly more than those further away. Quick tip: avoid caf?s and restaurants that don't advertise their prices openly on their front windows. These types tend to be very expensive tourist traps that don't want you to realise how much they charge until you are comfortably seated.

Taxis - Many hostels in Paris are conveniently located near public transport stations, so it would be a huge waste of money to hire a taxi. If you do decide to take a taxi, then make sure not to take roundabout routes to avoid traffic. You'll just end up paying more, since the total fee is more affected by the distance travelled than by the time spent on the road.

Currency Exchanges - You are better off changing large sums of money each time in order to make the most of the flat commission rates. If you change small amounts often, these commissions can stack up over time, even in banks that charge lower fees. Just consider how much you plan to spend, though, as it is never a good idea to carry around too much cash on your person.

Water Peddlers - The centre of the city (especially around the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre) is rife with water peddlers who charge two to three euros for a half-litre of water. Some hostels in Paris offer unlimited drinking water, which is great for filling up a water bottle prior to exploring the city. If this is not possible, visit a grocery store to buy a one-litre container for a euro or two.

Public Toilets - It's a fact of life that you can never really say when nature will call! If nature does call at an inopportune moment, look around for museums or department stores that offer free access as they often have toilets you can use. Top tips: the Pompidou Centre is free to enter the foyer and you can use the toilets for no charge, and BHV, a large department store, has toilets that are not only free, but have a wonderful view over the city rooftops). Always carry lots of spare change with you since the automatic public toilets only accept exact amounts. Of course, you could always hold on until you return to the well-facilitated hostels in Paris, but that could make for a very short day!

Souvenirs - The city is, naturally, chock-full of souvenir shops, especially near the major tourist attractions. Avoid the ones closest to the attractions since they tend to charge more for their wares.

Keep all these tips in mind and you'll be able to better avoid the tourist traps that abound in this wonderful, but mind-boggling city.

Looking for your dream travel experience? Jason H. Cunningham works for Hostelling International, a company with more than 4,000 hostels worldwide in fantastic locations. For the best hostels in Paris, or anywhere else, join our global community and say hi to the world. From quality, affordable accommodation and backpacker tips, to meaningful volunteer opportunities and enriching our eco footprint, we are the world's local hostelling hub.

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Europe -    03-02-2007 02:21:52 am
      France -    03-02-2007 01:27:03 am
            Paris -    11-06-2006 07:40:34 am
                  Tourist Traps to Avoid While Visiting Paris - Jason H. Cunningham   01-15-2015 13:16:39 pm


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