Aaaand we’re back! to impart some more Budget travel tip knowledge with you all. Today we’re covering Belgium and more specifically Brussels. So wether you’re already on your way, arrived, or planning your travels. Sit back, relax, and read our handy guide to Belgium on a budget!
- Tip one – let’s talk about the prices..
Brussels is the hub of Belgium so of course its expensive! When we arrived (in a bit of a daze) we found ourselves paying for expensive food and drink at all the places in the city centre.
Our best advice for people not wanting to blow their budget on one meal is to shop at the supermarket and have a picnic instead. We found ourselves going to Lidl for lunch most days as we could buy food and drink for both of us for around €6. The alternative is to go outside of Brussels. We found a great place called Antwerp which has lower prices and a less busy vibe.
- Tip two – pay to pee
Our main qualm with Belgium is that most places have a service charge for using the toilets. It can range from 30 cent to 60 cent which doesn’t sound a lot but can add up during your stay in the country. We found that even places like McDonald’s and smaller independent cafes still had the charge even if you were buying food from them.
Find yourself a free pee spot so you’re not having to pay for the toilet each time. We found that the Eski chain cafes had free toilets so that’s one you can go to if you’re stuck without change.
- Tip three – rain, rain, rain
They say in Brussels rain is typical.. however if you’re from the UK it’s nothing you’re not used to!
Yes it does rain quite a lot but we found that it remains quite warm regardless, so don’t go packing your heaviest rain coat! We survived with a stylish light poncho which kept us dry and cool.
- Tip four – traffic jam!
Belgium is one of the worst places for bad traffic especially towards Antwerp! To fix the problem a lot of people are paid to cycle to work to reduce the amount of cars on the road; but it’s still pretty bad.
The best way to get around is by bike or metro. We took short boards with us and found most of the cycle paths pretty useless for skating as a lot of them are built with cobble stones. Defo avoid buses and taxis especially in rush hour if you’re wanting to travel quickly.
- Tip five – no drugs for you!
We got to Belgium feeling pretty run down. Cole has a chest infection which only seemed to be getting worse and I myself have begun to feel pretty ill as well. However if you find yourself in a similar position in Belgium I have some bad news..
Medicine is regulated heavily here so the only place you can buy it is in appoxthes (you can find them by the huge green light up crosses outside them) however they are mega expensive! Even a pack of paracetamol can set you back €8 as well as having to give the doctor a detailed description of your symptoms before being allowed to buy anything. A lot of the medicine is also prescription only.
Our advice is wait it out.. try fix your ailment with herbal remedies (we’ve legit been living off mint tea the past week to fix our throats!). If you really need medicine you can always pay the expensive prices for over the counter drugs and for anything major get a prescription and claim it back using your travel insurance.
Belgium is defo worth a visit especially if you’re going for a drinking holiday! Beer is served pretty much everywhere, including McDonald’s and take always! You can drink out on the streets and there’s no time restrictions on when you’re allowed to buy booze from shops!
From a backpacking view point we felt that three days was more than enough time to spend around the area. We spent almost five days in Belgium and found towards the end of our stay, we were just wasting money on things because we were bored. However it’s an easy place to couch surf and has a friendly vibe so check it out if you’re trying to decide on a location to visit and have never been before.
Thanks for reading and as always if you have any questions or advice for us feel free to contact us or comment down below!
Planning to head to Barcelona any time soon? Check out our advice on that! HERE
Want to know about our travel experience while in Brussels? Check it HERE
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Stay sounds ya’ll
April and Cole
P.s where should we travel next??