Practical tips for travel in Budapest

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I wanted to take a moment to share our top tips for traveling in and around Budapest with kids. We learned very quickly through our own adventures (and misadventures) that you have to be a little more prepared on an everyday basis when navigating Budapest. You don’t necessarily need to carry a Mary Poppins bag, but taking a few extra steps can help make your travels go more smoothly.

1. Carry Cash

My husband and I rarely carried cash in the states, but in Budapest, cash is a must. Not all restaurants and vendors accept cards and a pocketful of coins is especially important for public restrooms (see #2). If possible, opt for a bank account without international ATM fees and a travel credit card with zero foreign transaction fees.

2. Public bathrooms (or lack thereof)

Shockingly, there are not typically public restrooms in public spaces and if there are bathrooms, they most likely come at a cost. This is where the importance of carrying coins comes in. Some bathrooms are automated, where you have to have exact change, while others have attendants that you must pay. Even though you might be paying to use the restroom, there may or may not be toilet paper or soap. So always, always carry toilet paper/tissues and a bottle of hand sanitizer. These items also come in handy if there are no public restrooms in sight and the only option is a bush.

3. Shoe choice

Even if you think you won’t be walking very far, you never know. Always be prepared by wearing good walking shoes. Think practical. If visiting, consider packing an extra pair of shoes for the kids because you never know when they might fall into a fountain.

4. Extra bag

Pack an extra collapsible backpack or reusable bag that can be easily pulled out when you stop at the market or end up toting special “treasures” because you can only carry so much in your hands and bags aren’t free.

5. Water

Plan ahead and pack water for you and your family, as water is sold by the bottle at most restaurants. Toting giant plastic bottles of water from the grocery store is cumbersome (and bad for the environment), so we recommend a brita filter for unlimited, free, clean water.

6. Navigation

Google maps is a great resource for trip planning by public transportation. Just make sure you are standing on the right side of the street so you aren’t heading in the wrong direction (lesson learned). Also, keep in mind that child walking pace can be significantly slower than Google maps estimates.

7. Patience

Service is slower, lines are longer, and just about everything requires more time. People are also less in a rush and less likely to complain. A difference in expectations. Leave extra time, slow down, and breath. Not a bad lesson.

With a few adjustments and a little preparation you will be well equipped to explore all that this amazing city offers. Budapest is full of fun adventures.

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