Passports and Visas
All passengers require a machine-readable passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip, with appropriate visas. You should carry your passport with you at all times to ensure against its loss or theft in hotels. Check with the Belgian Consulate to determine if any visas are needed. Securing required documents is the responsibility of the traveler. This information is a guide only and it is essential that you check all current passport and visa rules with your travel agent before departure.
Belgium uses the euro. There are eight coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 euros. Notes are issued in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. You can change US dollars at banks and currency exchange agencies for the best rates, hotels and some shops can also change them for you, but the rate will likely be much higher. ATMs are also an efficient way to get money in the local currency.
Belgium has 230 V at 50 Hz, with a type E socket. America's electrical currents are 120 V at 60 Hz, with a type A or B socket, so you'll need a converter and an adapter.
Wireless and wired Internet access is widely available in major cities throughout Belgium. Many of the hotels we use offer this service free or at a small charge. There are also Internet cafés in main cities that allow you access, usually for a small charge.
Phoning home from another country can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be very high. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones (payphones) if your cell phone is not set for international calls. Your Travel Director can explain how to dial internationally if you are unsure.
You'll want to go shopping in Belgium! Store hours are generally from 10:00 a.m.-6 or 7:00 p.m., Monday-Saturday.
Look for delicious Belgian chocolates, lace, ceramics, hand-beaten copperware, crystal, diamonds, jewelry and woodcarvings.
We suggest the following tipping rates: Hotel housekeepers $1-3 per day (or the equivalent in the local currency), Taxi drivers won't expect a tip, but rounding up the fare on the meter is appreciated, Restaurants and bars, if a service charge has not already been added to your bill, 15-20%.
For travel within cities, you'll find a mix of underground, bus and tram services. If you want to take a taxi, look for a vehicle with a blue and yellow plaque on the roof. You can also rent a bicycle. To travel between cities, try the train or motorcoach.
Generally, casual jeans or slacks, shirts, sweaters, a waterproof jacket or coat and comfortable walking shoes are all you'll need. If you plan on an evening at a nicer venue, dressier clothes may be called for.