7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Belgium

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2 months ago, a coordinated bombing attack occurred in Brussels. In the aftermath, controversy surrounding Belgium and its security issues began to swirl. Some travellers I know have put off their trips to Belgium because of their fears for their safety and security. However, my opinion is different. Read on to find out why I will still continue to visit Belgium!

#1 Gorgeous architecture

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Europe is ubiquitous for gorgeous buildings everywhere, but in Belgium, there’s an even better reason: not only are the buildings gorgeous, their architectural styles vary from town to town so you will never be bored.

#2 Waffle trucks

To be honest, I think this might be my favourite part about Belgium. Their waffles can be a little bit pricey, but they’re all over the place, and really, who doesn’t enjoy waffles day in, day out?

#3 A flower carpet

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Every other year, a flower carpet blankets the Grand Place in Brussels. There are some things in life that are just so majestic that you can’t really imagine it unless you see it in person. This is one of them. I have never seen so many flowers in my life, grouped together at one time. Never, except for in Brussels.

#4 The most beautiful public transit system

So the Belgians get a kickass railway, bus, and metro system, as well as a fancy flower carpet? No fair!

#5 Delicious chocolate

I kid you not, chocolate is a reason to live, and Belgium is full of it! At home, we fawn over Belgian/Swiss/Peruvian/[insert faraway country name here] chocolate, but in Belgium, most of the chocolate is Belgian! Their chocolate is just a beautiful way to replenish all the calories you just shed by walking around.

#6 Cheap but still amazing hotels

In Brussels, I stayed in a clean, reputable, nice hotel that went for under 70 euros a night, which is pretty good for a hotel close to the epicentre of the city. Good hotels in Belgium are everywhere, if you know how to find them!

#7 Because acts of terrorism are incredibly rare

My stance on acts of terrorism is this: Terrorism is rare, but it is always going to be a risk. In a global context, Belgium is one of the safest countries there is. I think that it’s important to be aware of risk, but also to understand that disproportionate fear should not impact how we live our lives.

6 Rules for Safety in South Africa

Is South Africa safe?

This question seems to be at the forefront of every traveller’s mind. We’ve heard the horror stories, seen the statistics that seem to undeniably confirm our fears: South Africa is dangerous. However, in our scramble to get as far away from South Africa as possible, we’ve neglected to recognize a simple fact. Every place is dangerous to a certain degree. That said, if you take a few simple considerations into mind, you can make the best of your South Africa trip, travelling in safety, comfort, and style.

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Cape Town ain’t got nothin’ on Queen Vic!

1. South Africa today is very different from South Africa in the past

True, South Africa today might not be the safest place in the world. However, it’s so much safer than the South Africa of the past. Though there are still many social issues, apartheid ended 20 years ago and the majority of South Africa nowadays is pretty peaceful.

2. Solo does not mean solitary

It’s great that you’re embracing solo travel, but it’s less great that you’re embracing secluded-area-dark-alley travel. Avoid going to secluded areas, especially if it’s dark out. However, going out alone in a public place should be completely fine.

3. Embrace the inner tourist

Sometimes, when you just aren’t too sure about your ability to have a great visit somewhere, going with a tour group can be a great option. For example, if you want to visit the Cape of Good Hope from Cape Town, you can usually go with a tour operator and around 7 or 8 other people. These tours can be arranged at the reception desk of your hotel and are a great way to meet some new people. I’m usually not a fan of group tours because they only give you the tourist experience, but sometimes they’re worth it if they provide you greater security and brainpower to enjoy the experience.

4. You are NOT afraid

If your appearance doesn’t give you away as a visitor immediately, your lack of familiarity with your surroundings will. Don’t carry yourself like you don’t know what you’re doing. Even if you’re so terrified you think you might piddle your pants, don’t show it. Those who prey on tourists can see your fear from a mile away.

5. Use your common sense

 

This is the best advice I can give you on safety while travelling anywhere. Your gut feeling is never wrong. If something doesn’t feel right, get yourself out of there! Book a hotel that’s reputable and has security or a 24/7 reception desk. Spend a little more money on a taxi or private driver if that makes you feel safer. Don’t wander around deserted alleys frequented by gangs in the dead of night.

6. Don’t let us turn you off South Africa

Now that I’ve given you all the ominous (they weren’t so bad, were they?) details about visiting South Africa safely, don’t let us turn you off your journey. South Africa is one of the most beautiful places in the world, in my opinion, and South Africans, 99.999% of the time are very nice people. Most of the people who visit South Africa do so with no incident. Heck, I’ve broken some of these rules when visiting South Africa (I don’t recommend you do the same) and I came out unscathed! South Africa is one of the must visit destinations of a lifetime and don’t let any of us tell you otherwise!

Happy travels!