After a long blogging break – I’M BACK!!!! Sorry for the quiet time, I just needed a break. Y’all know how that is. So, I’m back… from outer space… with no sad look upon my face… (Gloria Gaynor? Anyone?)
Well, since my travel posts always seem to be the most popular, I decided to return with a bang and a little tutorial / review on working the public transportation system in Amsterdam. The kids and I just went for a few days, you know, for a FIELD TRIP (homeschooling rocks!), and I’ll be sharing a series of posts on Amsterdam, day trips we took, and stuff we learned. I’ve traveled with my kids since they were little but this was our first international trio trip, so the curve was steep!
After stalking AirB&B and not finding anything in my (cheap) price range, I found a smoking deal on a hotel near the Schipol Airport. Now, this isn’t a “cool” option, but it was CHEAP through Hotwire, and the place was GREAT. As a result, I planned on making high use of the Amsterdam public transport. I looked online and researched a ton, but I didn’t find a lot on actual “how it works” – so here’s the skinny.
Day One –
The kids and I bought 3 3-Day Amsterdam Travel Tickets. We bought them at the airport, and they were 25Euro each. (Later in the week we needed another day, so we bought a single day for 15 Euro – yeah, I can’t figure out how to make the “euro” symbol work on my laptop). The tickets cover almost all your travel needs in the Amsterdam area. (You can see specifics HERE.) If you go out of the area – Den Haag, Utretch, or longer out-of-area bus rides, then you’ll need to buy a ticket specifically to those locations. For a reference, I think our one day, round trip from Schipol to Den Haag was 17 euro each. Day bus passes in the area were 6 euro.
Each pass comes with a built in map. Super handy.
This is the location in the Schipol Airport where you buy train passes (and tickets for long rides).
Handy time schedule, constantly updating, to find tracks and train information. The Amsterdam train system is awesome in providing a TON of useful information for travelers.
So, when you decide where you’re going to go, you just scan your card and head to the train. Buses and trams have the scan box on them, so you just scan when you get on. The machine will beep ONCE at you when you get on.
We mostly rode the train to the tram and then branched out throughout the city. So, when we got on the train we could make sure we were headed in the correct direction with the AWESOME signage everywhere. Next stop, arrival times, delays… EVERYTHING is on the list. SO, SO, SO helpful!! (I grew up on the T in Boston – and in the day – you got a HEAVILY accented local calling next stop… Good luck with THAT!).
Even on the longer ride trains there was information everywhere. And, people were so kind when we asked for help. I got lost a couple of times, but bus drivers and THE KIDS totally kept us going in the right direction. By the end of Day Two I turned over the transit control responsibilities to Big. It went much smoother.
You’ll hear it a million times, “Please remember to check out.” on the transits. It’s hard to mess it up (though we did once….we later checked in with the NS guys and they laughed it off…they’re AWESOME!!)
Again, one beep on, two beeps off…
That’s it – Amsterdam travel in a nutshell. Was the “Amsterdam Travel Ticket” the cheapest way? Maybe, maybe not. We used the hop on/hop off a TON, so I think it was for us. If you’re planning on a “there and back” approach, you may want to look at the single trip tickets. Either way, travel on public transit is so easy, so clear, and there lots of help when you need it. Please, don’t be intimidated like me!! My 14 year old managed it flawlessly and you can too!