If you haven’t read any of the prior expense reports from our trip, check them out below:
- Madrid, Spain
- Portugal (Porto, Caldas da Rainha, Lisbon, Lagos)
- Spain (Seville, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona)
- France and Luxembourg (Paris, Reims, and Luxembourg City)
- Belgium (Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp)
After an awesome week spent in Belgium, ending with a great Airbnb with some awesome hosts in Antwerp, we were legitimately sad to leave, but the trip had to go on and that meant catching a bus to The Hague, Netherlands. We knew we wanted to visit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, but didn’t want the craziness of Amsterdam to be our only impression of the country on this trip. We spent quite a while deciding between The Hague and Rotterdam, but what we read was overwhelmingly in favor of The Hague. We were really glad we chose that as our first stop in the Netherlands when we got there and saw how small and beautiful the city was. Even though Amsterdam is the capital, the king’s palace is in The Hague, as well as many of the other government buildings. It was surprising to us how pretty the scenery was there despite their being so many government buildings.
Amsterdam certainly lived up to our expectations as the party capital in Europe. The red light district there was unlike anything I’ve seen before, even in Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand! Aside from the red light district, there were a seemingly infinite number of museums and galleries to visit. I have no doubt that we will return to Amsterdam in the future once we recover from our first visit!
Our next stop after Amsterdam, Hamburg, Germany, however, was a disappointment for us. We had high hopes for it since we enjoyed the cities that we visited in Germany so much last year, but we struggled to find positives about our time there. It also didn’t help that it was rainy and cold for our entire stay there, and our Airbnb situation left much to be desired. Maybe with better weather and a better housing situation, we would have felt differently about the city, but under the circumstances it’s near the bottom of our list of places to return to in the future.
We spent a total of 10 days/nights in the Netherlands and Germany between the three cities we visited, broken down as follows:
- 2 days/nights in The Hague
- 5 days/nights in Amsterdam
- 3 days/nights in Hamburg
Stay tuned for Whitney’s next post about all of our adventures on this part of the trip, but for now I’ll focus on the expenses incurred while traveling through Netherlands and Germany. Keep in mind that all of the expenses that I’ll talk about below are my expenses only, since Whitney and I have quite different spending habits. We split all shared expenses evenly, so I calculate the numbers below with my half of the shared expenses and then my individual expenses.
Accommodations: We stayed at AirBnB’s (this is my referral link which you can use to get $55 off of your first stay through the site!) in The Hague and in Hamburg, but since all of the Airbnbs were very expensive all around Amsterdam, we decided to use hotel points for 5 free nights there. We took advantage of some of the points from Whitney’s recent Hilton Aspire signup bonus and paid a total of 120,000 points for 5 nights at a Hampton by Hilton near the airport. It wasn’t the most convenient location unfortunately, but we made it work. A train into the city didn’t take very long, but it was pricey, whereas a bus was much cheaper but took quite a bit longer. We decided to take the bus most mornings when we weren’t in a hurry, while saving the more expensive train journeys for evenings when we were tired and wanted to get back to the hotel quickly. The hotel came with a free breakfast buffet as well which saved us some time and money in the mornings.
Our Airbnb in The Hague was nice, clean, and in a good location. We didn’t have much contact with the host while there, but overall it was well worth the price we paid. The Airbnb in Hamburg as I mentioned wasn’t great. The host and her son both smoked inside, which we didn’t realize when we booked the place and would have been a deal breaker if we had. In addition, the host had a dog that had recently had puppies which meant that she was overly protective and would bark at any noise throughout the night. This woke us up several times each night. The good part is that it was relatively cheap for Hamburg, which is an expensive city, and the host was very friendly when we interacted with her.
Our most expensive lodging was in The Hague where my part of the cost was $21/night, and the cheapest was in Hamburg where my cost was only $20/night, besides the free hotel stay in Amsterdam of course.
- Total for my expenses: $103
Food and drink: In all of these cities, food and drink costs are expensive in most places. Not nearly as bad as in France, but still more than the rest of Europe we’ve visited to this point. We spent more than I would have liked at restaurants here, but that was expected, especially in Amsterdam with so many tourists. We did our best to take advantage of the free hotel breakfast in Amsterdam and then just have one big meal later which helped. We also picked up food at the local Lidl when we could to cut down on costs.
Total for my expenses: $125
Transportation: We took buses to get to each city. The buses to The Hague and to Amsterdam were both cheap, but the bus to Hamburg was much more expensive than usual for some reason. There was no way to avoid paying for public transportation in these cities since we were quite far from the downtown area and far from the bus stations to get to and leave each place. In Amsterdam we paid for the I Amsterdam City Card which had free public transportation included, but unfortunately did not include the train back to our hotel (outside the city center) that I mentioned earlier.
- Total for my expenses: $101
Activities: We did “free” (tips based) walking tours in all of these cities which are always a great way to get a brief overview of the city, the main sights, and the history. The “I Amsterdam City Card” we bought for 3 days cost us a whopping $105 each- but after a lot, probably too much, contemplation I decided, YOLO! There were a lot of museums and galleries that we wanted to visit in Amsterdam, and the free public transportation was a nice selling point as well. I think it was worth the price and we saw some things that we otherwise wouldn’t have, including a day trip on a ferry to Zaandam where they have beautiful old windmills and a museum dedicated to the history of the windmills and the town. We also visited the Amsterdam museum, Tulip museum, Micropia museum, the Foam photography and video museum, Jewish museum, the Rembrandt house, and the Van Gogh museum! It was an action packed 5 days! In Hamburg and The Hague, the tips on our walking tours were the extent of our paid activities.
- Total for my expenses: $119
My total expenses for 10 days and 10 nights in the Netherlands and Germany including accommodations, transportation, activities, and food were approximately $448!
Running total for entire trip to this point (my expenses only): $2,694 ($46/day average)!
Stay tuned for our next posts about Poland! Keep an eye on the Facebook page where we are posting much more frequently about the trip including our favorite pictures!