Are you traveling to Amsterdam? Are you looking for some advice so you are more prepared once you arrive there?
Well, you have come to the right place because I have spent time in Amsterdam. And here I have listed *18 things to know before traveling to Amsterdam.
Read how to avoid getting sick on a plane if your travel to Amsterdam involves flying.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. Almost one million people call this cosmopolitan city home.
Due to all the canals, Amsterdam is referred to as the “Venice of the North.”
Did you know that Amsterdam is below sea level? Yes, Amsterdam is 2 meters, (six feet) below sea level, as is half of the Netherlands. And the reason for all of her beautiful charming canals.
If you are flying a long distance while traveling to Amsterdam, read my 7 tips for surviving long haul flights.
The epic history, the food, the architecture, and the people all are wonderful reasons to explore, discover, and visit this lovely European city.
18 Things To Know Before Traveling To Amsterdam
Check On Your Country’s Netherlands Visa Entry/Exit Requirements
Americans traveling to the Netherlands are not required to obtain a visa. However, only a 90-day stay is permitted within all of the European Union without a visa. For tourist or business purposes.
So if you are not holding an American passport, it is prudent for you to research your country’s Irish visa requirements.
Read my tips on how to spend 2 days in Amsterdam.
Check Your Passport Before Traveling To Amsterdam
You will need a current and valid passport to enter the Netherlands.
Your passport’s expiration date must extend six months longer than the duration of your stay in the Kingdon of the Netherlands.
Also, travel to Amsterdam requires TWO full empty blank pages for entry stamps.
Check your passport dates and empty pages well in advance of your trip because expedited handling fees to renew your passport are quite expensive!
If Amsterdam is only a stopover for you, read what to do in Amsterdam in 1 day!
Purchase A SIM Card For Your Phone
When traveling to Amsterdam, one of the best pieces of advice I can share with you is to purchase a SIM card for your smartphone before you leave the airport.
With the new SIM card, the cell towers will recognize your phone as from the Netherlands and you will have improved cell service and much-improved Wifi.
Your phone number will be new as well. So it is best for you to remain in contact with your family and friends through Facebook Messenger or the What’s App.
There are kiosks at the airport in Amsterdam. And there are many phone stores and shops on the streets of Amsterdam that sell SIM cards as well.
Cash or Credit Cards? What Is Best To Have?
The simple answer is when traveling to Amsterdam, you will want to have both!
Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Amsterdam. However, if you are using cash, only the euro is accepted.
You will get the best exchange rate when traveling to Amsterdam if you use an ATM. I highly suggest you use an ATM before you leave the airport to withdraw money in the local currency, euros.
Be aware there are fees to use an ATM. So, may I suggest you withdraw a larger sum of money, that can last a longer period of time, so you do not keep having to pay the transaction fees.
Also, check with your bank at home before traveling to Ireland and find out the names of fee-free “in-network” bank ATMs in Amsterdam, so the out-of-network fee is not charged you as well.
If you need to exchange money from home into the local currency, your safest and fairest bet would be a bank in Amsterdam.
You Will Feel Safe As In Any European City While In Amsterdam
Let me start out by saying my family and I were robbed in broad daylight in Paris France. That would be 3 out of 4 of us. All in the same day. At different locations. So we are aware of unsafe circumstances.
I always felt safe everywhere when traveling around Amsterdam.
I walked the streets of Amsterdam both day and night. I never ever felt uneasy or unsafe.
Of course, remain vigilant with your personal space and your belongings.
Bring Along A Travel Adapter When Traveling To Amsterdam
Do not count on your Air B & B or hotel to have enough electrical power adapters for all of your devices. You must bring one (or some) of your own.
If you have multiple devices to charge every night, as we did, you will want to bring along several devices just in case, to fit into the 230V Netherland outlets.
Should You Tip When In Amsterdam?
Tipping in Amsterdam is always an option. Especially for exceptional service. But not mandatory.
The standard tip is 5%. Another suggestion is to simply round up the bill.
For exceptional service, you can leave 10%. All tips are up to you.
Book Attraction Tickets Online To Save Money And Skip The Lines
It is generally wise to select which major iconic attractions you want to visit and secure tickets online before traveling to Amsterdam.
You will save money, sometimes significantly. Also, some if not most of the attractions allow you to skip the wait lines and walk right on in.
This is a great convenience especially if your schedule is jam-packed with things to do when traveling to Amsterdam.
You will have more time to spend at the attraction since you will not be waiting in the entrance line. Also, you can better pace yourself during your busy days.
Save Money By Getting Snacks And Convenience Foods At Local Grocery Stores
Yes, it is fun to visit as many restaurants as possible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when you travel to Amsterdam. However, that may put a strain on your budget.
There are a lot of grocery stores in Amsterdam you can visit. You can buy sandwiches and snack foods to carry along in our backpacks for the long days of touring. Which was exactly every single day for us.
Fresh fruits, such as apples and oranges are sturdy enough to last several hours in a backpack and remain intact. Plus, they are much healthier than sugary and salty. Granola is another tasty snacking alternative.
Yogurt, drinks, and chips/snack foods are all items to have available where you are staying or on the go, to save a little or a lot of money when traveling to Amsterdam.
There Will Not Be A Language Barrier When Traveling To Amsterdam
The national language of the Netherlands is Dutch.
However, most of the locals you will encounter speak fluent English. In addition to this most residents are knowledgeable in several other languages as well.
You will not have any difficulties when you travel to Amsterdam even if you do not know a word of Dutch!
Public Transportation In Amsterdam Is Easy and Inexpensive
Once you are settled and well-rested, it is time to set out to explore Amsterdam.
There is a dizzying array of options when you travel to Amsterdam to get you where you want to go. You can choose to ride the metro, busses, trains, ferries or the train.
Do not rule out using taxis or Uber, either as they both do offer convenience and reliability. Depending on your destination and those traveling with you, either one can be a great option.
Walking Is A Wonderful Way To Discover Amsterdam
When you are traveling to Amsterdam, plan on walking a lot!
Walking gives you a unique experience. Not only is walking the best form of exercise, but it is also a great way to explore Amsterdam up close and personal.
Everyone walks about in Amsterdam. You can meander the various neighborhoods, look at the lovely cafes, or simply people-watch.
Yesssss! There Are A Lot Of Bikes In Amsterdam
Cycling is extremely popular in Amsterdam. Most residents use their bikes as their primary form of transportation. It is said there are more bikes than cars in the Netherlands, and Amsterdam is no exception.
That said, be extremely cautious when in Amsterdam because of the sheer volume of bike riders.
There are separate lanes for bike riders. Separate signals and stop signs for bike riders.
Look both ways and then again when attempting to cross the street, as bike riders often have the right of way! Be on the lookout for your safety and theirs as well.
And even consider taking a bike ride around the city yourself. How fun and what a unique experience.
Eating Out Is A Pleasure Even With Dietary Restrictions
Do not worry when traveling to Amsterdam if you have specific dietary requirements. Amsterdam is a major cosmopolitan city and in tune with all the diet options.
As a vegan, I had delicious meals in Amsterdam with no difficulty. Gluten-free? No problem!
So enjoy the stroopwafel, (Dutch pancakes), Dutch cheese, the kibbeling. But if you cannot due to your food preferences, you will still be greatly taken care of in Amsterdam.
Notify Your Credit Card Company
Call your credit card company to notify them of your dates that you will be traveling to Amsterdam. And our of your home country. This is for your safety.
Check to see the credit cards you are currently using charges foreign transaction fees every time you use it when you are out of the country.
If it does, inquire about applying for a credit card that does NOT charge such fees.
Can You Drink The Water In Amsterdam?
The answer is yes you can.
The Netherlands in general, and Amsterdam specifically, has some of the cleanest tap water in all of Europe.
You can even ask for a glass of tap water in a restaurant. And it will be safe to drink. And free.
Pick The Location That Is Best For You When Traveling To Amsterdam
The neighborhoods in Amsterdam are as varied as its residents! Choose one that fits your needs the best.
If you want to be where the attractions and museums are, look into staying in the Historic Center.
If you are minding your budget, Oud-Zuid may work best for you with lots of options. To fit into your budget.
If you are desiring to travel to Amsterdam and looking for a quieter non-touristy respite, consider looking into the Oud-West neighborhood.
Whatever you require, you can easily find it in one of Amsterdam’s varied neighborhoods.
Packing Tips For Traveling To Amsterdam
I think that using these useful packing tips will enhance your travel to Amsterdam and help you remain organized while there.
Looking for specific packing recommendations? Read this next: How To Pack Lightly Using Only Carry On Luggage.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring when traveling to Amsterdam. This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors.
It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can keep your most valuable documents safe and secure next to your body.
This configuration comes with enough passport and credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your current pouch or wallet.
Don’t forget to bring along a universal power adapter on your travel to Amsterdam. This worldwide power plug is a great example and will charge your phone at the end of your busy days.
And this world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time.
This is what you will need when there are several people traveling in your group, or if you bring several electronic devices on your trip that require charging at the same time.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips. It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have.
And wow is it fast! I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about. And if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use.
It is made of durable aluminum and is very lightweight and easy to carry. I love mine and I think you will enjoy it too!
I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am sold. These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now!
Hydration is so important. You want to remain hydrated to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels. You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it will fit nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse. Also when filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you.
Would not take up much space in your suitcase at all. And you will be receiving a set of two.
You will want to bring a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great.
It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.
Perhaps you need a more substantial backpack for your international travel. This antitheft backpack has a charging port, is water-resistant and can comfortably carry up to a 15.6″ laptop.
It comes in a range of colors to choose from and it is inexpensive as well.
You will be walking more than usual when visiting Paris. A sturdy and comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must-have.
These waterproof all-season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable. Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable.
You may be visiting Paris in warmer weather, and you may want a pair of sandals to wear exploring. I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals.
I have several pairs of these exact Vionic sandals in several colors that I bring with me *everywhere* I travel. They are very comfortable.
I also sometimes bring along my Vionic Tides flip flops. The toe post is so comfortable which makes wearing these super comfortable.
Bring a lightweight scarf or shawl. Scarves and shawls are very popular in Europe, and Amsterdam is no different. Both men and women wear scarves, both decoratively and as a layering piece to keep warm.
This cotton unisex lightweight scarf is versatile and can be worn in any season. And here’s another option to consider: this lightweight sunscreen shawl scarf would do double duty to protect you from the sun in the warmer seasons as well as being a fashion accessory layering piece.
We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you. I like polarized sunglasses because they remove the glare and help you to see things more clearly. This will be very helpful in Paris.
If you are in need of new luggage, this expandable soft side spinner luggage is affordable and comes in lots of colors. If you like hard-sided better, then you may favor this hard-sided luggage set better.
Both sets come with TSA approved zippers locks and 8 wheels per piece. Either will be great for the plane or train or even your car depending on how you plan to travel to Italy.
I know my 18 tips will help you when traveling to Amsterdam. If you are reading and you have already visited Amsterdam, please add any tips in the comments section below that helped you travel to Amsterdam!
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