Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.
― John Green
― John Green
The Dutch capital, Amsterdam is one of the most happening cities on earth. Known for its stunning renaissance architecture, impressive museums, cozy cafés, and legal drug culture, the city is a tourist's mecca. However, there is much more to the city than what it is popular for. With great outdoor markets and glamorous bars, the city boasts of numerous exciting possibilities, but it is definitely not one of the cheapest vacation destinations in the world. However, you can still plan an affordable trip to Amsterdam if you consider certain small but useful tips, which this Vacayholics article brings to you.
Going to Amsterdam
The peak season to visit Amsterdam is between the months of June and September. Obviously, during this period, the city is crowded with tourists, and one has to pay higher prices for accommodation. Therefore, visiting the city during the off-season can be beneficial, in that you can not only avoid large crowds, but you will also get some really cheap lodging deals.
✲ Quick Tip: If you are planning to travel to Amsterdam during the off-season, remember to carry warm clothes with you, alongside some rainy gear. Buying these in the city can cost you a hefty sum.
Booking Airline Tickets
Your very first step in planning a budget vacation to the gorgeous Dutch capital is to get good deals on airline tickets. While you can book directly from the airline itself, it is better to compare prices offered by various travel websites, such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz. These websites often have some of the best deals on airline tickets, which can help save a significant amount of money.
✲ Quick Tip: Look out for any sort of hidden costs or surcharges that the displayed price may not include. If you find any such cost(s), it is better to look for other (more) economical options.
Peak season prices are much higher, as mentioned above. There are a number of budget hotels and B&Bs as well. It should be kept in mind that cheap accommodation options will not offer you many services. Moreover, they might not even have elevators, but only steep staircases. However, if you are willing to compromise on the amenities, these places can help save a substantial amount of money.
✲ Quick Tip: If you suffer from vertigo, steep staircases may elevate the problem. So, ensure that the room you have booked is on the first or second floor of the facility.
Getting Around the City
According to Lonely Planet, the taxis of Amsterdam are amongst the most expensive ones in the whole of Europe. So, opt for them only if you have no other option. The cheapest, rather free, option to get around the city is on foot. It is absolutely overwhelming to walk around Amsterdam and explore its culture. If you intend to make longer commutes, trams and buses are affordable options.
If you are interested in exploring the city by foot, you can also join one of the heritage walks, which are conducted for tourists. These attempt to acquaint tourists with the local culture, traditions, and architecture. While some of them are free of charge, others are nominally charged.
✲ Quick Tip: Get an I amsterdam City Card for yourself, if you wish to explore the city thoroughly. It will give you free access to public transport, free entry to the city's major museums, and even free cruises through the city's canals. Moreover, you will also get great discounts in restaurants, pubs, etc. You can either buy it online, or from any tourist information office in the city.
Food and Drink
Amsterdam has numerous cheap snacking options to choose from; however, these are not always healthy. If you are looking for a budget meal, the various Falafel and Shawarma restaurants in the city are excellent options. Avoid eating fast food snacks from coin-operated walls―the quality can be really horrible. Indulge in drinks at hostels as they offer some of the best deals in the city.
Most have their own bars that offer really cheap beers. Coffee shops can be found in abundance around the city, which also offer an extremely cozy atmosphere.
✲ Quick Tip: Due to the legal drug culture in Amsterdam, some of its coffee shops and snack bars do use them in their preparations. So, if you are buying food for your family, do not hesitate to inquire whether any drugs have been used in the items that you have ordered.
The key to plan an affordable trip to Amsterdam is to plan well in advance. However, once you are in the city, it is also very important that you keep your hands away from your pockets for as long as possible. Amsterdam has several tourist traps, and you never seem to realize how and where you tend to spend. So, enjoy Amsterdam, but do not get carried away by its glitz and glamor.