In March 2020, wanting to go from Amsterdam, get off the train for 3-4 hours in Brussels and then continue on a different train to Paris - all on the same day. If I purchase an AMS to BRUSSELS train ticket and then purchase a second ticket from BRUSSELS to PAR, it's almost double the cost of a direct AMS to PAR train ticket. Is there a way to book this specific itinerary economically?
Not sure if what you suggest is possible. Between Amsterdam and Brussels there are two expensive but fast speed train options (Thalys or Eurostar) which both take a bit under 2 hours. There is also a Dutch Railways Intercity train that is about a third of the price but takes an hour longer. The journey planner on Dutch Railways at https://www.nsinternational.nl/en/train-fares-and-discounts shows prices for all all three options. You can also research the Brussels-Paris leg on this site. Two tickets might be the only option but booking 3-4 months ahead gives good discounts. March rates start from £25 to £27 for each leg. Rates for next few days are around £99 per leg.
It is probably a balance between time and cost. And whether you are able to commit to a specific train now for your March trip. Good luck.
Tiffany, if you find additional details, please post. I may do the same travel in April and if I find additional detail, I'll do the same. I did see on another thread that one of the stations (from AMS to Brussels) has lockers - not sure if that helps.
The cheapest option is to use the Dutch rail company mentioned above and not Thalys. Then from Brussels to Paris use the company Izy.com which is a lower cost brand owned by Thalys. The difference is the trains are slower than Thalys but not by much
Update: Thank you all for suggestions and input. Decided on booking fast train directly from AMS to PARIS and maximizing our time in Paris. Riding a fast train will be an unusual experience for our kids and they are ecstatic about this change of plan! The earlier train tickets are purchased, the better the price. My original plan of stopping in Brussels might've been feasible/economical with additional planning time. For this trip, I am too close to the departure date. Shout out to danehenshall for the tip of storing luggage in Brussels train station; very doable and great idea!