Hi all, I'm a new member from New York, USA.
Some friends and I want to travel to Belgium in April, but it seems so expensive! We are planning to stay at a youth hostel, which is only $20 per night. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to keep the cost down? (Like cheap places to go, any hints about booking a flight, etc)
This will be my first time travelling on my own (without parents), so any information would be very helpful.
Thanks a lot!
Hostels are a good way to keep costs down for starters. Other than that, there are a few things that can make big differences.
1. Food - just get some cheap food from the supermarket and cook it yourself at the hostel, or get food that doesn't need cooking (ie. bread and butter ).
2. Alcohol - needless to say, filling a bottle of water before hand is much cheaper than buying drinks (particularly alcholic ones). Mind you, if you're in Belgium, it would be a crying shame to miss out on all their beautiful beers!
3. Entrance Fees - try to find free/cheap things. It's tricky though, because sometimes you just have to see something and it happens to cost a fortune!
Western Europe isn't a particularly cheap place when it comes down to it, so you have to have a bit of money available to spend. If you plan to travel around a Eurail pass may be a good idea. There is one available specifically for Belgium/Luxembourg/Holland I believe. Otherwise, buses are cheaper, but less comfortable.
Another very cheap way to see a lot of Belgium is by getting on bicycles - if you can manage to get a tent and some sleeping bags along, you will find that campsites are plentiful and will save you a LOT of money. Often the campsites are in very picturesque places that you wouldn't otherwise get to see! Anyway, that's a whole other topic unto itself, so if you're interested I'll try to expand on that thought
Good luck and welcome to the site!
Offcourse you can send a big smile to all the Belgian People around here and ask them if you could stay at their place... If you're in Antwerp I can try to arrange a very cheap (maybe free?) place to sleep. And offcourse I'm always willing to tour you around in Antwerp to all the nice (and cheap) pubs.
You can try what I did. My partner at the time had a salesperson from his company visiting clients in Brussels. They took us out to eat - my God! I stuffed down an entree, mussels (au gratin - with Gruyere...mmm), fries, wine, bread, creme brulee, a cafe au lait, and a Napoleon Mandarin (I'd always wanted to try one...). I was ready to burst.
We were on our own the next day, though, so we stuck to a cheap bowl of spaghetti and a beer. Still cost $40 Canadian, though. Maybe try picking up a few things together at a grocery store. I did that in London, and saved a bunch.
Here are a few tips for you….
Youth Hostals in Belgium are only about $17 per night 13.75 euro:
Join your national federation before you leave! (Hostelling International - USA) - This will save you money.
Get discounts as well on various attractions in Belgium! - Simply showing your membership card!
GOOD FLIGHT PRICES ARE HERE….. (Aprox. $507 Return - New York to Brussels)
Hope you find this helpful.
Have a great trip!
Wow Roger...you're helpful! Amazing bits of research...are you avoiding work or something? Anyway, if I ever need travel research done, can I pick you on my team? Sorry Hellen, not fogetting about you...have a marvelous time. I know you're on a budget, but you really have to spend some cash on the chocolate there. Don't miss out! Simone
You know, I think I must be hungry...I all my posts seem to be about food today. I better eat....
WOW! thanks to all for your help! i hope the trip works out, im still trying to raise money for the flight.
Hey Simone, you can have me on your ‘team’ any time………
…. but always trying to avoid work!….. ' just like to impart get info....
Go here and have fun too……………. http://www.seussville.com/ ………. !
HAVE A BALL Helen and if you need any more 'research' let me (or Simone) know!
I'm assuming you're planning to only travel in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (Holland).
I have only been through Belgium on the train on my way to Holland, but I can comment on Holland! The Hostel prices average the same (in Amsterdam, it deffinately depends on the season, though). I can recommend a reasonable hostel in Amsterdam, The Shelter Jordaan. They will also make you Dutch food like your mom would make for lunch and supper at a reasonable price, and breakfast (which is really good ) is free with your bed! In Holland, you definately have to try stroop waffles, and even better, stroop waffles bought from a vending machine and warmed in a microwave! Another thing you have to do if you haven't ever tried this beer in Europe is touring the Heineken Brewery- you get 3 free beers and a Heineken glass! Deffinately worth it! If nothing else, do some research on Holland from their website shelter.nl (links) to get tones of info on Holland (The Netherlands). There are lots of things to do in Amsterdam, including seeing the nearby art museums (Van Gogh, Rembrandt), and esp. the Anne Frank House which is down the street from the hostel I recommended.
About the other advice posted about Belgium, I am including Holland in the countries to bicycle around. It is the best and cheapest mode of transportation in the city of Amsterdam, also, and you will find most people have no clue there how to give driving directions, so it is also convenient. Don't bring your expensive mountain bike, though, because it might get stolen in cities. If you are hard core or really broke, deffinately do the camping thing (you might need to look into getting a Camping Card International, then, as well), but if not, hostels should be that average price as researched above me . I would not, however, recommend that you need an HI card to stay in hostels in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, but it is an option, though I have not stayed in Belgium. But you could, instead, get a Hostels of Europe discount card and it does, in fact, give you discounts on more than hostel accom. - then just stay in their "member" hostels. Ask someone at sta travel or council travel in the USA and they will be more than glad to recommend the best card to purchase (and you can purchase it there).
Booking a flight. I'm not an expert, but my inituition tells me that the best city to fly into would be Amsterdam from NYC, unless you intend to skip the Netherlands altogether.
If you bike, don't get a Eurrail pass, because it is never too expensive to take 2nd Class on a train within these 3 countries. So it wouldn't be worth it at all (Eurrail Passes are expensive, then, but if you plan to travel southwards, get one for sure, because it would likely pay for itself, maybe 2 times judged by how far you travel with it). If you go to Luxembourg, though, I've heard it is like one big City of Luxembourg, and I have also heard that there is a cheap, but good quality sushi restaurant there, so if you can track it down, and you love sushi, then it would obviously be a great idea (unfortunately I don't know the name of it, so check around in neighbouring countries, or there, in case a local has heard of it or been there). Because it is so small, take the train to the city of Luxembourg.
I hope this helps you out! Have a great trip!
ive looked at the eurrail pass and it does seem too expensive. but from my laptop in NYC i wasnt able to find the prices of a one way bus or train ticket from belgium to germany, or luxembourg, or holland... or from any of those places to the others. does anyone know the name of a bus or train company that has such trips, or a ballpark price that a ticket would be? the trip got bumped up to february- itll be a little cold, but im still excited! thanks again.