Our Experience in Amsterdam
We use various travel websites, these are listed at the bottom of the page. Our flights were booked through Scotts Travel Deals and we paid $525 round trip from Phoenix, so we figured we had to go!!!!! This website is great to use for international flights you just have to be a little flexible and when a flight comes up you need to book it within 24 hours or the fare might be gone. This is a great website to check out, click on the link below to find out more details.
Our trip to The Netherlands started in Amsterdam, we spent 4 nights there. We toured much of the Old Town area and ate some great food along the way. So our only downfall was the weather was a bit chilly, so when I say chilly I mean really cold for this desert dweller, wind blowing along with temperatures in the 50’s was tough on this chick. Amsterdam is a great place to explore, they have great transportation with the tram, metro and city buses its very easy to get around. I will include a link below on transportation using the tram, bus and metro so that you can make good use of the transit system in Amsterdam. Also biking is huge in Amsterdam, they even have under cover parking for bicycles, our hotel had bicycles you could rent and there are numerous bike shops around the city that you can rent from. One thing we did hear while we were in Amsterdam is to always lock your bikes, even if you are taking a quick picture someone can grab your bike, bicycle theft is a big deal there. One of the days we decided to rent some bikes from our hotel and we explored the countryside, found some windmills, sheep and rode through some charming towns just a couple of miles outside of Amsterdam. It is worthwhile to check out some villages outside of Amsterdam they offer so much charm and the people are so very friendly.
Experience = priceless
where we stayed Amsterdam
In Amsterdam we stayed at The Crowne Plaza, this location in Amsterdam is within walking distance of the Metro station – Zuid. You can also catch the tram and bus line from this location. It is about a 5-10 minute walk to the hotel. As I mentioned before they have bicycles available to rent if you desire, they run around 24 euros per 24 hours. The rooms are very clean and the staff is extremely helpful when it comes to trying to catch a tram or metro line to a location. This hotel is more suitable to the business traveler, what I mean by that is that there are not a lot of restaurants nearby, so you might need to rely on the metro or tram to get you into town.
If you are using the tram, bus or metro purchase a pass from the hotel. This ticket will allow you to travel on any of these transits for 7.50 for 24 hours or for 14 euros will get you a 48 hour pass on the transits. We used these tickets quite a bit to get into the old town area, if we used a taxi or uber it would have been quite expensive. If you take the tram make sure to scan your ticket as you are entering the tram and also as you exit, otherwise your ticket may be invalid on your next ride. I have included some pictures below so you can see where to scan your ticket.
For other great accommadations check out the link below .
When you buy a ticket to travel on any transit system in Amsterdam you have to touch it to this pad to activate the card, make sure you touch your ticket again when leaving the bus, tram or metro otherwise your ticket will not be valid anymore.
While you are in the Netherlands try the Poffertijes, this is a small pancake that is a special treat that you will not be disappointed in. I had these every day while we were on vacation there, they are made with yeast and buckwheat flour, they are made in a special dutch pan. They are sweet and completely delicious!!!!! I have attached a recipe as well as a link to the pan from Amazon.
Our next stop was in Leiden, this little town is only 30 minute train ride from Amsterdam. Its really a great town to get away from the craziness that Amsterdam has to offer. We stayed 4 nights in Leiden exploring the little cafes, restaurants and countryside by ebikes. On this trip we had a couple of days of chilly weather, but that did not stop us from exploring this adorable town and all it has to offer. Make sure you check out the Windmill in the middle of Leiden, you can walk up inside the windmill and learn more of how windmills work. Below on this page I will include the Keukenhof Gardens and the canal tour we took in Leiden so you can check on those for your next vacation to The Netherlands.
In Leiden we stayed at The Holiday Inn, this hotel is about 2 kilometers from the train station. My suggestion is to take a taxi from the train station to the hotel and then after that you can use their free shuttle from the hotel to the train station- this is only offered during rush time. There is also a bus pick up within a 5 minute walk from the hotel but purchase your bus ticket ahead of time otherwise its pretty expensive to pay for it on the bus.
This hotel has been remodeled and this is one of the first Holiday Inn’s in Europe. This hotel is great for kids- they stay for free as well as kids under the age of 12 eat for free. They have a nice pool and kids recreational room, we noticed some parents would sit and have a glass of wine and just let the kids run around and play. Also if you want a quiet room ask for a room that faces the back of the hotel, we stayed in room 321 and it was very quiet even though there were a ton of kids staying at the hotel. They also have bikes as well as ebikes available to rent, check out the bikes first before renting them. We paid $24 USD per day to rent an ebike and was able to ride all over the countryside with the bikes, then in the evening you can charge the bikes up for the following day.
We also visited the Keukenhof Gardens, you can purchase the ticket at the hotel and then take the shuttle to the train station. At the train station take bus directly to the Gardens- you can purchase your ticket from the bus station. FYI the shuttle from the hotel drops you off on one side, you will need to walk around the backside of the train station to catch a bus, you cannot walk through the station unless you purchase a train ticket.
Visiting Keukenhof Gardens
This is a bucketlist for sure!!!! Do not miss out on the chance to see the amazing Tulips from The Netherlands. Keep in mind the park is only opened from March 21 – May 19th due to the short time period of tulips. If you end up going towards the middle of May you will miss the fields of tulips but I assure you the Park has millions of tulips planted. One thing that is nice is that don’t plant all the bulbs at the same time so there is always an abundance of flowers during March, April and May. So just a few stats from the park, there are over 10 million bulbs planted and 800 different varieties of tulips throughout the park.
So the best way to get to the Keukenhof Gardens is to take a bus which leaves directly from the Leiden Train Station. Take Bus 854 bus, you can pay for the ticket where the buses pickup and you can also pay for the entrance into the Gardens through them as well. We paid for our entrance fee from our hotel which came to $15 USD, but it may be easier to just pay for the bus and entrance fee at the bus station, you will see employees wearing coats that say Keukenhof Gardens on them and they will guide you to the right bus. Its about a 20 minute bus ride to the Park, when we went it was not so busy because we were at the tail end of the season. As you can see in our pictures the Gardens are truly amazing and if you are a lover of tulips you can spend the entire day here admiring the many tulips.
My go to products
International Travel Plug Adapter
This is a great travel adapter, not only can you use it to plug in your computer or curling iron but it has 2 USB ports on the bottom. You can never have to many USB ports when trying to charge up an ipad and iPhone.
We always take a backpack with us, this one is not too big and can easily pack in your suitcase, we both have this swiss backpack. This has 3 compartments and space to hold your water bottle. This is a great backpack for walking around town or riding a bike through the countryside.
Bose Noise Cancellation Headphones
Having a good set of headphones is extremely important, how many times do you want to tune out a crying baby next to you? These headphones are one of my favorites to take on my trips.
New York is absolutely gorgeous and such a fun place to explore, but the combination of winds in the city along with vehicle exhaust and dirt/dust can leave you feeling extra grimy. I carry these deodorant wipes with me so that I can clean up on the fly if I need to, or if I simply can’t deal with the grime.
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