Traveling in Amsterdam? Then you have to read this post.
Before I landed in Amsterdam almost 10 years ago, I was worried and nervous because I had no clue about Amsterdam. Back then, not many travel posts shared critical information.
Now, I have my website sharing Amsterdam travel tips (including exclusive discount information) and have this post to remind you of all the essential things to know before you go to Amsterdam.
Read on; you do not want to miss a single line here. This post includes the following topics:
- Public transportation within Amsterdam
- Travel from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station
- Cheap train tickets (exclusive local deal)
- Important to know when paying cash in Amsterdam
- Reasonable hotel recommendation at Schiphol Airport
#1 Public transportation is cash-free
In Amsterdam, public transportation, like buses and trams, is cash-free, which means no cash payment is allowed. Only card payment (VISA, Master Card, Maestro) is accepted.
Highly recommend buying OV-Chipkaart by using the yellow ticket machine ( EUR 7.50 only for the card), or you can buy a day pass for public transportation (bus, metro, and tram) or at GVB service points.
#2 Understand the “Dutch cash rounding logic.”
Although cash payment is not allowed on the bus/tram, you can still pay cash at supermarkets, bars, restaurants, etc. Please note the “Dutch cash rounding” concept. Important to know when you pay cash in the Netherlands!
Dutch people were very easygoing. They do not use 1 or 2 cents coins.
If the total amount to pay is: EUR 39.93 and 39.94, please pay EUR 39.95EUR 39.98 and 39.99, please pay EUR 40.00
On the other hand, if it is 39.91 and 39.92, please pay EUR 39.90.EUR 39.96 and 39.97, please pay EUR 39.95.
I didn’t know when I had just arrived in the Netherlands. I even asked for 1 or 2 cents.
#3 bring enough coins to buy train tickets
If you do not have a credit card but would like to take the train. Please bring enough coin money with you. The machine does not accept paper money.
If you do not have enough coins to buy the train tickets, you can go to the service counter, but they most likely charge a service fee. (Trust me; nothing is for free in the Netherlands)
#4 OV chipcard: remember to check in & check out
If you use the OV Chip card for public transportation, please keep in mind to check in & check out. If not, you will get a hefty fine (EUR 4 for bus/tram/metro; EUR 20 for the train)
#5 train tickets for kids under 4 years old
#6 save money tip: buy e-tickets for trains
If you buy a paper ticket from the yellow ticket machine, you need to pay EUR 1 extra for the paper ticket. Recommend you buy an e-ticket on NS.nl/en or OV chip card to save the unnecessary cost.
#7 pay supplement for ICD train
Intercity Direct (ICD) is a high-speed train in the Netherlands. The regular route is Amsterdam Central Staion – Schiphol Airport – Rotterdam – Breda. Please pay a supplement (Dutch: Toeslag) if you travel between Schiphol Airport and Breda. Otherwise, you will get a fine.
Please swipe your OV Chip card on the red machine below only once (not twice) to pay for the supplement (Dutch: Toeslag). If you don’t have OV Chip Card, please buy it at the yellow ticket machine.
#8 Where to buy cross-country train tickets from the Netherlands?
If you want to take the international train between the Netherlands and surrounding European countries, I recommend booking it under NS International. Their service is excellent, with good English communication and instant service (Facebook/WhatsApp/hotline).
#9 Don’t get off at the wrong train station in Amsterdam
If you are going to Amsterdam Central Station from Schiphol, please do not take the route (like below) where you need to transfer at Amsterdam Sloterdijk. Platform Numbers 8 and 9 are not on the same platform but at different stations.
Most likely, you will miss the train since the walking distance is at least 5 minutes and you do not want to walk with your luggage.
#10 First thing to know: cycling path
Be aware of the cycling paths all-time in Amsterdam. Dutch Cyclists, especially ones in Amsterdam, are not very friendly if you block their way on the cycling path. When I arrived in Amsterdam, I often walked on the cycling path.
#11 Be aware of pickpockets
Please keep your eyes on your personal belongings at all times in the city center, especially when you are close to the red light district. Do not put essential items in your backpack, and I do not use my backpack while I am in the city center.
#12 Say no to “nice people” on the train
If someone is nice, ask if you need help with your luggage on the train, especially between Schiphol and Amsterdam Central. Please say no. Possibly they are pickpockets and take your essential items when you do not notice.
#13 Check if Schiphol is busier than usual before you leave
13. The busiest time for incoming tourists is between April and September. Please check the Schiphol Airport website regularly and see if the airport is fully packed and if you need to go to the airport earlier.
#14 Free discount code for duty-free shops
Schiphol Airport See Buy Fly shop offers a free voucher. Click here to get it for free.
#15 Schiphol hotel with reasonable price and 24-hour shuttle bus service
If you arrive late or have an early flight the next day, we recommend NH Schiphol Hotel. They have a 24-hour shuttle bus service, and the rate is very fair. I booked it 6 months in advance and paid less than EUR 70 per night. The hotel is spotless and new.
Hope you find this post helpful and welcome to share it with people around it! I am dedicated to sharing more posts about traveling in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities. Stay tuned for our Amsterdam travel tips.