By Monika Salita
@monikasalita or about.me/monikasalita

With late October holidays coming up for many teaching assistants, many of you may be thinking of how to spend this break away from your new city exploring a new one. Here are some of my tools for successfully creating an exciting trip in and around ever-captivating France, via trains and planes.

TRAINS

SNCF (France’s national railway company) runs a program called “Carte 12-25.” This is a card that people between the ages of 12 to 25 can purchase which allows them to then buy train tickets at a reduced cost, ranging anywhere from 25% to 60% savings. The initial fee of approximately 50 Euros pays for itself within your first few voyages if you plan to travel anywhere via train with regular frequency. Proof of age will be required, so bring something with your date of birth on it with you when you plan to purchase your card at your local train station.

Luckily, older travelers, those aged 30 or younger, have the option to purchase a limited edition 12-30 travel card as well from now until 31 December 2011, or until 400,000 units are sold, whichever comes first. More information about the card and related 12-30 card promotion are available on SNCF’s English-version website.

Also, you will need at least one small, passport sized photo to affix to your new card. Local train stations should also have more useful travel information available for you at a ticket counter or information desk.

PLANES

Europeans are in luck. There is a variety of low-cost airlines which fly all over Europe, affording travelers the option of inexpensive exploration. Airlines such as Easy Jet and Ryanair are able to sell tickets at a lower cost because many, but not all, airports they use are in smaller towns, located a bit further from major cities. Access to these smaller airports is available via efficient tram, train or bus service.

This list of airports in France should show you which airlines service your local airport, which can help you see from which airline you should focus on buying your plane tickets. An aggregator like Sky Scanner can also help you find cheap flights.

Now that you’re one step closer to exploring a new city, I wish you bonnes vacances!

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