It’s been a longggggg time since I first visited Belgium back in 2013!!! Just look at these baby cheeks and horrid side bangs ?:
Still, I love looking back on my past travel adventures and re-living my experiences. So, when Suzanne contacted me about contributing a post on practical planning advice for a trip to Belgium, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to do so! After all, it was a super fun (& funny) trip:
There are some really interesting countries to visit, in Europe, one of the nicest being Belgium. This country has a lot to offer visitors!
Despite not being a big country, Belgium does not have a pretty pronounced national identity. There are three main cultures for you to experience and enjoy. Many visitors are surprised by how different the Walloon, Flemish and Flanders regions are. It goes far deeper than just the language. So, if you get a chance to visit Belgium take it. As you will see it is a relatively easy place to travel to.
Here is some practical advice for planning your trip:
Work out if you need a visa.
Most people do not need a visa to travel to and stay in the country for up to 90 days. You can use the Belgium Visa Guide from UHC Safetrip to work out if this applies to you or not.
Unless you are an EU citizen you will need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months beyond the length of your stay. EU citizens can use their ID cards provided it is valid for the duration of their stay in Belgium.
In addition, most travellers are required to have a valid return ticket or demonstrate that they have sufficient funds available to buy one, when entering the country. Again, EU residents are not required to do this.
Travel insurance is essential.
You are not legally required to buy a travel insurance policy to enter the country, but it is wise to do so. Healthcare in Belgium is not cheap, so even a relatively short stay in a hospital could leave you with a big bill to pay. Add in the fact that the cost of repatriation (not that we want to think about that!) from Europe to the USA can easily reach $50,000 and you can see why it makes sense to have insurance.
Get the full experience.
As I mentioned before, Belgium is divided into three main parts. It would be a shame to go there without experiencing all 3 of its main cultures. So, you will want to plan to travel around a bit, while you are there. For most travellers the train is the best option. Using that network you can get to all of the country’s biggest cities fairly easily. Before you go, investigate Belgium’s various rail passes. Buying one will save you a substantial amount of money.
Another alternative is to hire a car. If you decide to do that double check what documentation you will need. Be careful to check what the insurance that is provided by the car hire firm covers. Some of them do not cover things like tire damage or lost keys. Make sure breakdown insurance is included.
Regardless of where you travel in Belgium you will very likely find someone who speaks English. This is the case across all of the generations. It’s very common for people in Belgium to speak three or four languages. French, Flemish and Dutch are all frequently spoken. But, how much depends on where you are in the country. If all else fails have Google Translate on your phone. It is wise to download the relevant language packs too. That way if you run out of data or cannot get a good signal, you will still be able to communicate effectively.
There you have it! Follow these tips and you’re sure to enjoy your stay in Belgium.
This is a sponsored post, contributed by Suzanne Elly. Please see my full disclosure policy here.