Sequel to ‘How to Waste Money in Western Europe’
So after wasting too much money in Belgium, I learned how to be very… cheap 🙂
1. Stay in a 6-bed (at least) dorm room
This will cost you about 17 euros/night (definitely on the cheap end. In Western Europe, you really can’t get anything cheaper than 15 euros per night). You might have reservations about dorm rooms – accidently sharing a room with a psycho, stuff being stolen etc But its more likely you’ll find awesome people who are just like you – educated, excited to see the world and trying to see as much as they can while spending as little as they can. You probably won’t like it when the German girls open the blinds at 7am or when you get stuck with the dorm mates who snores like a friken boar. BUT you will love the money you’ll save every night – saving more than 15 euros is worth losing a bit of sleep over.
2. Find out where the supermarket is – and fast!
As soon as you arrive at the hostel, grab a map and pinpoin a nearby large supermarket. Then you have the go there straight away because you don’t want to risk getting really hungry, not having any food and be tempted to go to a restaurant do you? NO! So grab a baguette or pastry, a few pieces of fruit, some ham and cheese and nuts – and voila you have a perfectly filling and satisfying lunch.
3. Make going to the supermarket a competition
with your travel buddy, dorm mates – whoever wants to be as tight as you. See who can come up with the cheapest meal – a can of tin soup and half a baguette? That’s less than 2 euros for dinner – beat that!
4. Buy you’re ‘food’ specialities the way the locals do
– My expertise is in Belgiun chocolotes and here’s what I learned
1. Never under any circumstances buy Belgiun chocolates from a shop which has signs written in English on it. If the menus are in English as well – run in the opposite direction. If English is not an official language in the country, do you think the locals go there?
2. Ask a Begliun where they buy their chocolates – they’ll point you in the direction of a shop which is probably not that far away, but off the main tourist drag. You’ll get a fair price and genuine, hand made Belgiun chocolates.
3. Go to the supermarket – this is the cheapest way you can buy Belgiun choclates and truffles to your hearts content. You’ll find all the famous brand names like Guylian and then the supermarket brands – not the most exotic chocoaltes but they are the cheapest. You can get three boxes for less than 15 dollars
5. Eat the hostel’s free breakfast – no matter how shit it is
It may not be the breakfast of your dreams – a bowel of corn flakes, a few pieces of toast with jam – but its edible. And what’s even better – it’s frree.
6. Walk everywhere
This will be easier if you’re staying in a central location and can avoid paying overpriced bus fares, trains and the dreaded taxis (I should also add horse-drawn carriages to the list, something you’ll see all the time in Bruge) If you really need some type of transportation, why not hire a bike? Its a cheaper option and much more FUN 😀
7. Fill up your water bottle every day with tap water
No more buying 2 euro bottles of water for me everyday, filling up your bottle with tap water will give you a deep sense of satisfaction as you know you won’t be sucked in buying any tourist water haha
8. Study the tourist map – even better, memorise it!
Spend your spare afternoons analysing the tourist map (hostels usually have great maps aimed at budget travellers) for good deals and cheap eats. By taking a little extra time you can find things like a restaurant which serves a huge portion of pasta for 4 euros and attractions which have big discounts for under 26 year olds or cost as little as 1 euro.
With all this advice, you’ll now be on your way to having the holiday you’ve always wanted minus that sinking feeling that accompanies looking at your bank balance after a week of travelling. You even got this advice for free – now who can complain about that? 🙂