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Amsterdam Public Transport for Tourists

When we first arrived at Amsterdam Centraal Train Station we were aware that their public transport system had recently phased out paper tickets and required users to buy a OV-chipkaart. Similar to Sydney’s Opal card and Londons Oyster Card.

We proceed to buy two cards at the train station ticket machine. Note that their are two types of machines, one to check balance of the cards and one to purchase new ones and add credit. The machine you will need is one with the rail logo on the top of it. 

We found out by trial and error that you need to have a minimum of €20 on the card to make any train journeys and a minimum of €3 to make any tram journeys. 

You can get a refund for any unused credit on the card at the end of your stay.

Our hotel was located in Sloterdijk which is only one train stop away from Centraal which was really handy and easy to get into the centre. We would highly recommend Mecure Hotel Sloterdijk Station as it was close to the city centre, clean and modern and very friendly service. To get from our hotel it is a very short walk to the station, you can actually see the hotel once you get out of the station it is that close. It cost us €2.20 for the train ticket each way from Sloterdijk to Centraal and vice versa. Most of the tram journeys around Amsterdam were around €1.50 or less depending on the journey. 

Moving around through Amsterdams city centre we found it was best to use the tram service as they travel frequently and there are lots of stops close by tourist key areas. From Sloterdijk to Amsterdam Centraal it is quickest to go via Train but it is more expensive. 

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European Train Travel – Rail Europe Alternatives

After deciding James and I were going to spend 1 month travelling through Europe together one of the first questions that crossed our minds was ‘how?’ How are we going to navigate our way across the hotspots of this huge continent?

We spent long continuous hours of trawling through options and came to the decision based on the amount of trips we were planning that a combination of rail and flying was the best option. Rail Europe  was the most popular option for booking trains. Rail Europe also allows customers to use a Eurail or Interrail pass when booking. After comparing both Interrail (as we both hold UK passports as well as Australian which allows us to be eligible for an Interrail vs a Eurail pass) and paying for each ticket individually we found that it was cheapest without a global Interrail pass and simply book the train tickets by themselves. Our itinerary ended up working out so that we only had 5 train journeys, 2 of which were Eurostar trips which are excluded from the Interrail and Eurail pass.

Once we added our 3 journeys into the cart on Rail Europe it seemed very expensive with additional booking and service fees as well as an additional $8 for printed tickets which were the only option for some routes. We decided we should take a look around at some alternatives to Rail Europe and we came across DB Bahn and LOCO2.

DB Bahn is a German rail company so after finding the correct route and time on Rail Europe we noticed it was run by DB Bahn and by booking directly through their website we were able to save $33.91 each on the Amsterdam to Berlin route as seen below.

 

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We also saved another approximately $50 between the two of us for our Berlin to Prague train and just over $100 between us for the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona which we booked through LOCO2 as DB is mainly for German trains and didn’t offer this route.. If you are travelling on a budget then this tip is a must-know! Hopefully, with these savings you can shell out on a delicious meal or on more sightseeing for your next trip.

 

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20 Days till take off!

Here we are at 20 days until we fly out of Sydney to London and start our month long European adventure. I think this minor milestone deserves an update post to let you know what we’ve been doing. 

So, what have we done so far? 

  • Booked accommodation for Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague. 
  • Booked return flights from Sydney to London.
  • Organised lists of activities and sites we want to do for each city we are visiting. 
  • Ordered our International Student card.
  • Bought a GoPro!
  • Arranged travel insurance. 
  • In the process of finalising the itinerary and booking all accommodation. 
  • Done a practice bag pack.

But, what’s left to do in 20 days?

  • Buy our interrail passes
  • Book train reservations and internal flights within Europe as well as ferry tickets. 
  • Finish booking accomodation.
  • Start booking any big activities or tours in advance.
  • Get a travel card and load currencies onto it.

Hopefully this post jogs your memories on what you should be doing before you travel. 

Trying to plan travel while studying full time and working part time has been hard work but with only 20 days left to wait, we couldn’t be more excited!

Our Top 5 Travel Apps

rome2rio@2x1. Rome 2 Rio

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/rail-planner-offline-timetable/id579547877?mt=8

Rome 2 Rio is a must have app whilst travelling. I find it super useful for the early stages of planning when you are playing with different ideas and routes. The app in essence, shows you the best way to get from A to B including price estimates which makes it simple to compare methods of travel.

 

skyscanner.png2. SkyScanner

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/skyscanner/id415458524?mt=8

If you’ve found that flying is the best method of transport for you Skyscanner is a great tool to compare lots of airlines at once, check which days are the cheapest to fly on and compare ratings and reviews. If you’re on a budget like us then Skyscanner is a necessity to avoid hours of comparing and pricing flights.

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3. Viator

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/viator-tours-activities/id434832826?mt=8

Viator is a company by TripAdvisor which generates activity ideas for any city in the world. These are generally tours but also have a range of other activities like day trips, outdoor activities like bike riding or snorkelling as well as some great deals for dinner and wine or beer tasting.

 

airbnb.png4. Airbnb

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/airbnb/id401626263?mt=8

If you haven’t heard of the amazing Airbnb you may have been living under a rock but we thought it was best to put it in here anyway! Airbnb combines the best BnB’s in the world and allows you to book them feeling confident and safe. They use ID verification, reviews and social media verification to ensure the hosts and guests are both given the correct information before their trip. Airbnb encompasses the idea of living in someones local home and being richly involved in experiencing the culture the city has to offer as a nice alternative to simply staying in a generic chain hotel.

 

railplanner5. Rail Planner

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/rail-planner-offline-timetable/id579547877?mt=8

As fas as european travel goes, train is often the best option. My go to train app is the Rail Planner app as it is the Eurail/Interrail official app. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Eurail it is a train pass that allows you to travel from country to country within Europe. They have different kinds of passes at different costs depending on your trip duration and the countries you are intending to go to. For more information visit http://www.eurail.com/ or http://www.raileurope.com.au/ for a desktop version of the Rail Planner app.