I’m a fan of scouring travel websites non stop for deals when I’m in the mood to go somewhere new. In this case, it was to Amsterdam! Delta was having a flash flight sale and I ended up purchasing my ticket for $450 roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Amsterdam (AMS). It’s a by-chance type of thing if you manage to catch Delta’s flash sale, so another awesome way to find cheap flights is by going on Kayak > Enter where you want to leave from and then leave the “To?” blank and you’ll see the “Can’t decide where to go?” > Enter in your desired dates of travel. > Press the search button. > Scroll the map around various parts of the world and you will see all the prices for flight options! That’s how I get inspiration on where to go for the low.
Amsterdam. Oh glorious Amsterdam. The home to winding canals, insane bike riders, narrow homes, and legalized marijuana. It’s a beautifully clean city in the Netherlands with so much spunk. I went for five days in March and the weather was brisk at about 55°F. I spent one of the days on a day trip to Bruges, Belgium. Four days in Amsterdam is all you really need to thoroughly explore the city.
As someone who used to bike ride a lot as a kid/teen…. I thought that I’d be handy-dandy biking in Amsterdam. First off, nah, I almost died. When I say I almost died, I really mean it. Biking in Amsterdam is a completely different game for people who are experts at navigating the streets. If you weren’t raised in AMS, don’t ride a bike. Just don’t do it. I was two inches away from hitting another biker and I was almost hit myself (somehow I avoided that). The streets are like a maze and you may just find yourself lost in the red light district in broad daylight with weirdos asking you for a quickie. IF YOU WANT TO ALMOST DIE WHILE BIKING, the cost of renting a bicycle for 3 hours is 10 USD. Instead of biking, simply just take the tram! It’s safe and easy to maneuver your way around the city. I purchased a 3 day transportation pass in the central station. It costs about $21 USD and includes unlimited rides on the tram, bus and train.
I stayed in an airbnb right outside the central part. It was a 10 minute subway train ride to central station and then I rode the tram everywhere. The airbnb I stayed in was not much to write home about but I saved money by getting a private room and then shared the common areas with others. Staying right in the central part of the city gets expensive. If you want to have an entire place/ decent hotel, expect to spend at least $175 a night versus a private room at $100 a night. Those are the prices for staying right there in the main part of the city. You can stay right outside the central part, and prices drop to half. Another option is staying in a hostel and risking sharing a room with a loud snorer!
For the people who LOVE museums, it’s worth the money to purchase an I amsterdam card. It is €84 for a 3 day pass that includes transportation and access to a bunch of Museums. I only wanted to check out a couple of museums, so for me it wasn’t worth it. I just paid the individual admission tickets for the RijksMuseum(€17.50) and the Moco Museum(€13.50). The Anne Frank Museum(€10) is a MUST SEE. Be aware that ‘winging it’ or ‘going with the flow’ and not booking your ticket until last-minute, is a mistake. Tickets are booked weeks in advance.
Buy a coffee at a cafe and sit down at a table outside and just admire the views. I promise that it’s worth it. Amsterdam has a magical appeal to it.
The Red Light District
- There’s plenty of women behind glass doors ‘advertising’ their services.
- Sketchy thirsty men are all over and it makes you want to hold on to your wallet much closer to your heart. It is really not a scary place to be, just don’t keep your passport on you while roaming the streets.
- Tons of bars, dessert shops, prostitutes and overpriced-yet-not-good peep shows line the street.
- Quirky sex shops that are perfect for taking selfies in. Why? Because once you see a 2 ft long dildo, you’re gonna want to selfie it up. Make sure to send the photos to your parents! —–»Only do that if your parents have a sense of humor.
Canal Rides are offered everywhere in the central part of Amsterdam! It’s about $18USD for a ticket and quite charming. Some sites offer a discount if you buy it as a package for two attractions at once, so make sure you check before you purchase!
If you want a photo in front of the Iamsterdam sign, there are two locations: one right outside the Schipol Airport and another one in front of the RijksMuseum. The airport sign is where to take your photo. Once you land, take a picture there and maybe you’ll get lucky and have one or two other randoms in the picture versus 55 others.
If you’d like to do a day trip to Bruges, Belgium, don’t get your hopes up. It’s a very cute city but very underwhelming. There isn’t much to do besides walk around and look at the buildings. Personally, 3 hours is more than enough in the city of Bruges. You can find day trips on Viator for $85 USD. It is a 3 hour bus ride from Amsterdam so I say skip it and go outside Amsterdam and see the windmills and tulip fields. If you must go, buy some Belgium chocolate at the grocery store rather than a specialty shop. They taste the same, except you save half.