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How to Save Money on your Amsterdam Vacation

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Looking to dropping by Amsterdam on a budget? Perhaps soaking up the arts and culture scene?

Amsterdam is indeed a great place for a fun-filled holiday but traveling around in this beautiful city can easily lighten your wallet.

However, there are ways in which you can cut costs and still enjoy the best of Amsterdam.

I-amsterdam Card

This discount bundle is perfect for the budget traveler. Sold at various shops and stations (including the Amsterdam Tourism desk at Schipol), the package is made of a travel card/ticket and a chip-card whereby users can access a number of attractions or services for free or for lower prices. With this, you can also travel without charge via most of the public transport (e.g. trams, buses, metros). I say most because train trips are not included in this package.

The I-amsterdam Card comes in a range of prices – Euro 38 for lowest one, Euro 48 for the mid-range one and Euro 58 for the most expensive one. These cards have limited validity period and the countdown starts from when it is first used. Hence, the Euro 38 card is valid for 24 hours, Euro 48 one is good for 48 hours and Euro 58 one is usable for 72 hours.

While Euro 38-58 range might appear a bit steep for limited hours of sightseeing, do note that these cards have other fringe benefits. Travelers can use the card and gain free access to more than 20 popular attractions. Examples include Museum Het Rembrandthuis, De Nieuwe Kerk, Hermitage Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum. While a number of locations do not fall under the card’s free access offer, you will find that a lot of these sites will provide 25% discount for I-amsterdam card-holders. Examples of such sites include Artis Zoo, Tun Fun, Canal Bus and Heineken Experience.

Check out the website for a full list.

Other Discounts

Other than using the I-amsterdam card, there are a few other ways to cut costs during your stay in Amsterdam. Many other sources like the Tourist Offices of Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board (ATCB) offices offer vouchers and discounts. Such vouchers – or Mini-cards as most of them are called – can be found at MiniCards and Holland Hotlinks.

MiniCards and Holland Hotlinks are websites that offers discount vouchers for various locations in the Netherlands. You can usually find the MiniCard vouchers in hotels and tourism offices. Holland Hotlinks vouchers, on the other hand, can be accessed online and printed out for use. Typically, these cards and vouchers will either reduce the price of admission tickets or grant you a freebie or souvenir at set locations. Check out the sites for full list of locations that accept these vouchers.

Eating out in Amsterdam

Eating out for every meal in Amstedam can become costly. Same has to be said about some of the pubs and bars. However, there are a few ways to save up an extra buck.

Firstly, opting for street food is one of the best ways to stick to budget and satisfy your hunger. The good news is that Amsterdam has a number of food options in this section – pizza, toasties, chips, fruit salads, Surinamese snacks and many more. As you walk around and explore the city, you will come across numerous eateries and stalls that sell these food. And of course, don’t forget that for something really quick and simple, there is always Febo, the automated food vendor. Finally, keep an eye out for the specials and discount offers of various restaurants. These are usually found on the menus or notices located in the windows or boards outside the eatery.

Secondly, what about drinks? Well, here are a few options to try. Generally, smaller pubs or at least the more rustic brown hall ones offer beer, wine and other spirits at decent prices. By brown hall, I refer to pubs which are decorated with wooden interior decorations as opposed to the sleek snazzy styles of the new bars and pubs. Travelers in their twenties might even want to try the pubs in various hostels. The drinks at these spots are lower-priced and are great places to meet folks of the same age. Lastly, do ask the hotel staff about local eateries. In a lot of cases, they can suggest wonderful off-beat places not listed in major tourism sites as well as tell you about the specials offered at nearby eateries and pubs.

Top 5 Budget Hotels in Amsterdam:

Photo of Amsterdam by Gipigrl

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer ami k. goemans

Ami K. Goemans is a freelance writer and webdeveloper who is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She moved to Rotterdam from South Africa after living there for 5 years. In addition to visiting little eateries, she loves exploring book stores, museums and computer game stores.

6 responses to “How to Save Money on your Amsterdam Vacation”

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  1. Roberto says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 06:39

    Great advice, thank you for sharing. But I have one quick request: I’m curious as to how much savings the I-amsterdam card can actually give me. Can you tell me how much I can expect to spend with a Euro 48 and without it on a basket of expenses (e.g. buses for two days, museums, etc.). Thanks again!

  2. Ami says:
    January 7th, 2010 at 13:27

    Thanks for the comment.

    Regarding the I-amsterdam card, it depends on what places you would like to see.

    The admission fee for a lot of top favorite spots (e.g Rijksmuseum, Van Gough Museum, Tropen Museum, Science Center, Rembrandt Huis, Amsterdam Historic Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Museum of Bags and Purses) can add up to a hefty amount. As an example, all the locations I just listed will cost you around Euro 90 altogether in admission fees. However, if you bought the i-amsterdam card, all those sites would grant you free access. If you bought the 3 day card, at Euro 58 card, that would save you around Euro 32 plus extra transport costs (since you also get free public transport using that card).

    Admittedly, I don’t suppose anyone would visit all eight sites I listed in just one day. But if you were to visit just Rijksmuseum, Van Gough museum, Hermitage Amsterdam and Science Center, that alone comes up to Euro 54. Thus, the Euro 38 card would work nicely in this case.

    I had a visiting family member who used the 25% discount offered by I-amsterdam card for a canal bus day pass (amounted to Euro 53 for both canal bus pass and a 24 hour I-amsterdam card). She used then used the canal transport system to visit a number of the free entrance spots listed above. For her, it was a way to check out the famous canals and visit the must-see sites on her list.

  3. Roberto says:
    January 8th, 2010 at 17:02

    Very informative, thank you.

  4. Andi | says:
    January 24th, 2011 at 09:54

    Hi Ami,
    my son is going to Amsterdam next month and me and my wife would like to purchase him such an I-Amsterdam card…
    Is there a possibility to purchase it in advance or get a gift voucher or something for it?
    Best wishes,

  5. dels says:
    August 3rd, 2012 at 07:21

    hi ami ,
    could you please advice if there are any pre paid hotel vouchers that we can get in amsterdam .

  6. Shoes Online Sale says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 14:11

    That is great, I never believed about Nostradamus in the OR

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