Moving on from the the expenses of Paris I made a short stop in Brussels. I still had a lot of countries to see on my trip and I knew the further north I went, the more expensive everything was going to become. So the plan was simple, meet up with a friend that had been one of the winners of my easter competition and enjoy a few beers.
And that is exactly what I managed to do over the two day stop. Two days you say? how can two days be a good guide to costs in Belgium? I agree spending such a short time anywhere isn’t a very good guide to the overall costs of a place so feel free to take these costs as you please. With that said, here are my expenses.
|Day||Transport||Hostel||Attractions||Lunch||Dinner||Misc||Total €||Total $AU|
In just two days I really only spent money on trains to get to and from Ghent on the first day I was there, even then my Eurail pass made the cost next to nothing because it was on my designated travel day. I did manage to avoid paying for the couple of trains I caught getting around in Brussels, but only due to not being able to find a working ticket machine at any of the stations.
I found finding a hostel in Brussels really difficult because there just wasn’t many listed on the hostel booking sites. I even adjusted the arrival dates to see all the hostels in the area with the hope of rocking up at the door without a booking. Alas it wasn’t to be and I ended up in a place that wasn’t worthy of being the same price as the one I had just paid for in Paris. Cramped rooms, no breakfast and they closed the common area/kitchen for the major part of the day.
This prompted me to think next time I’ll take into account the stop ahead to ensure I have an idea of what I was heading towards. I could easily adjust my stay in one spot to work in with when the hostels in the next country were quieter, like the middle of the week.
Most of what I saw while in Belgium was free. The afternoon I spent in Ghent didn’t cost me anything to walk the streets and admire the buildings. I did pay to enter the City Museum in Brussels but otherwise I took the free option and used me eyes to explore. The town square in Brussels is beautiful and you can’t forget to stop in and see Mannequin Pis, who is just down the road a little.
All up my food budget was rather conservative. Sure I splashed out at great ribs restaurant the first night with my friend but OMG it was all you could eat and they were seriously huge ribs. The 20 euro I spent there was worth the food and the beer any day of the week.
I also ate waffles, delicious chocolate brownie’s and of course some frittes an mayo. Buying from the street stalls really didn’t cost the earth and it allowed me to taste all of the treats of Belgium as I pleased.
My extra costs were spent on beer, beautiful beautiful beer. All of the beers I bought cost me around 3 euro each but I could have easily spent more had I wanted to have a night on the town. It’s just a shame my hostel didn’t provide the atmosphere or the people that wanted to party.
Total Cost for Brussels
Now for the total, two days in Brussels cost me 98.2 Euro or 144.41 AUD (at an exchange rate of 1 AUD = 0.68 Euro). This averaged out to just on 49 euros a day, which was a big saving on the budgeted 70 a day limit I set. Getting ahead at any stage in the money stakes before I landed further north was a real bonus in my eyes.
To compare that to today’s exchange rate, if you left Australia now (November 2014) it would cost you $140.36 AUD with the current rate of 1 AUD = 0.70 Euro.
I know I didn’t spend long here, and completely missed Bruges which I slightly regret when I think about what happened next in Amsterdam. Chalk it up to a rookie mistake if you like, it sure wasn’t going to be my last learning experience I’d have as a backpacker. Sometimes you come out in front, other time your getting taken for a ride.
Bruges will always be there, you can return some day 🙂
I sure hope so Ayngelina, everybody that has been there says its worth a visit. Besides who am I to turn down the chance of more Belgium beer.
It’s good that the attractions there are mostly for free. At least one would just have to worry about transportation costs as well as lodging. Two days is not long but at least you’ve given us an idea of how much we’re going to spend there. Thanks.
Brianna, there were sights that did cost but to be honest I enjoyed just walking the streets and dropping into a local pub for a quiet beer all at my own pace.
such a good idea to track expenses this closely — arrrggggg. The stuff I should have done and will do in the future.
haha Michael, it has its good and bad parts. I read ahead to my time in Krakow and oh not good, not good at all.
That’s very much my style mate – all too often I choose to explore cities on my own as opposed to shelling out big bucks to get into the tourist attractions. Great second part in your series.
Cheers Matt, I was also looking forward to taking it easy in Brussels as well so just doing my own thing worked out well.
I’m glad you shared this. Europe is just so expensive when compared to elsewhere on earth. I had a several-hour layover in Brussels in ’09 and didn’t even bother to leave the airport – my flight arrived I think at 5:00 a.m., so there wouldn’t have been aything open anyway before I had to head back to the airport. Maybe someday I’ll end up there for a while, though.
Sabina it certainly is not the cheapest part of the world to stop and visist for awhile. Still with so much to see an do and all so much closer together than say Australia. Is it really as expensive as we make out?
When it comes to budgeting during travel I am one of the economical travelers… Every cent does matter. With my experiences on travel much of the expenses really are food. The transportation are just fix expenses but food I don’t think so. I really spend a lot on food but good thing I can manage to eat street foods etc which is cheaper.
I’m not a real fan of numbers… and maths wasn’t my favorite class at school, but that tip rocks & is really useful! Thanks!
Cheers for the comment Melvin. I was big on maths at school and planning to head to Europe, at least for me was all about the numbers.
Next time when you come back to visit Bruges, make sure you give me a shout and I`ll meet you there 🙂 (Live about 2hour train ride from Bruges)
Isabelle you have got yourself a deal. Contemplating stopping off there on my way down to Spain this summer so could be soon.
Yea I heard Northern Europe gets really expensive…luckily I have some friends up there for when I go! 🙂
Although, Australia is pretty expensive too!
Hi Michelle welcome to my little blog. North is where it really hurt my bank balance but in saying that I had a lot of fun there as well.
I totally agree with you about Australia. It’s only something I’ve discovered since leaving home as well.
Hello from San Francisco! Michael Shodson shared your blog with me.
When you find yourself back in Bruges, here’s a post I put together on “Things to See and Do in Bruges.” It is a wonderful place and, from reading your post, I think you will definitely enjoy the waffles and beer!
Thanks for stopping by Nancy. I never made it as far as Bruges but I’ll be sure to check out your post for ideas on when I make it back there.
I didn’t find Brussels to be that expensive (I did fly there from Germany though so maybe a skewed perception. I wrote a 2 day itinerary of some cool stuff to see there as well, check it out!