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1st time solo female traveler to Amsterdam

Hello all!
I am a female in my 20's embarking on my first solo, and international, adventure. I will be spending 7 nights in Amsterdam/Copenhagen and am grateful for any and all advice you can toss my way. I will be arriving in AMS on Sept. 5th and departing from AMS Sept. 12th. I plan on spending the first 3 nights in AMS and then flying to CPH to spend 2 or 3 nights (haven't decided), and then returning to AMS until my flight on the 12th. From what I have read it appears that it is more cost effective to book in advance, rather than waiting until I arrive to book the flight to CPH, is this accurate? Round trip fares are currently ~ £80. I would love to visit more cities, but I don't want to stretch myself too thin so I will just stick to a couple of day trips from the aforementioned cities, any suggestions? I am a nurse so my budget isn't too tight, but I don't want to break the bank. I'm relatively active, enjoy a good adrenaline rush, being near water, smoking, befriending locals and experiencing their cultures, food, art, architecture, museums to an extent, bars that aren't too busy, and just adventuring in general, especially going off the beaten path. I'm a fan of hole-in-the-wall places and am uncomfortable in crowds. I'm very laid back and open to seeing where this trip may take me, but would like some structure. Thank you for taking the time to read the rambles of a young traveler!

Posted by
650 posts

Fly into Amsterdam and fly home from Copenhagen. There is no need to return to Amsterdam.

Posted by
7 posts

I chose round trip AMS because it was only $432. Flying out from CPH would have added hundreds of dollars, unfortunately.

Posted by
12397 posts

Hi Becky -

I will be arriving in AMS on Sept. 5th and departing from AMS Sept.
12th.

Realistically? You only have 6 full days to work with and you'd lose a chunk of one of those to travel between Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Unless you're flying to Amsterdam from Copenhagen on the 12th, you'll lose a chunk of the 11th returning to Amsterdam for your flight out on the 12th. This really doesn't leave you much time for day trips.

Copenhagen also doesn't strike me as a great destination for someone not wanting to "break the bank" as it's an expensive city.

I might opt for staying in Amsterdam for the duration and taking day trips to other locations in the Netherlands from there: maybe Leiden, Utrecht, Edam, etc.

If intent on staying in a 2nd location, you might consider Belgium? Take the train to Ghent or Antwerp for a couple of nights. You might might like Ghent; very pretty and a fun, relaxed, youthful vibe. Oh, and then there's that killer Belgium beer!

Sept. 5th: arrive in Amsterdam
6th: Amsterdam
7th - day trip
8th: Amsterdam or day trip or on to Ghent in the afternoon
9th: Ghent
10th: Day trip to Antwerp?
11th: Ghent - returning to Amsterdam by train in the PM
12th: fly home

Editing to add: here's a link to a couple of pieces which illustrate why you might like Ghent. I'm NOT promoting the site but it's a good capture, by a young adult, of what we saw while we were there:

http://travel-hunter.org/the-ghent-flow-what-it-really-feel-like/
http://travel-hunter.org/ghent-why-would-you-leave-a-place-like-this/
http://travel-hunter.org/ghent-belgium-where-the-night-is-always-young/

Posted by
2154 posts

I just visited Amsterdam solo last month and absolutely loved it, if you poke around you can find my trip report. 5 full days and there's still so much more I want to see. Very easy city to navigate on their efficient public transit system, I used the trams extensively. If you hate crowds stay away from the tourist hell that extends out from Centraal station--lots to see that is worthwhile, but a little bit of the milling confusion goes a long way, and there's plenty to see in the quieter areas just a block or so away, especially the 9 Streets area.

You don't mention where you're staying, but you might want to research a bit and see if the Airport Express bus 197 will work for you--ridiculously easy, 5 euro and it took me within 2 blocks of my hotel. I had also researched the hotel shuttle but without a reservation I would have waited 45 minutes and I was ready to start exploring, not wait at the airport, so off I went in bus 197--just as easy for the return to Schiphol, about 25 minutes.

Posted by
650 posts

How did you find r/t for that price? I usually Pay $1500. What airline and what is the secret. Wow am I envious :)

Posted by
16847 posts

[Edited] I'd go for 3 nights in Copenhagen, if you're flying that far. It's safer for your budget to book the Copenhagen flight in advance, as well as lodging there, which is your greatest expense. Rick's book lists several single rooms in the $65-80 price range, and of course a hostel dorm bed is cheaper.

When you return, you might find a better room value for the last night or two in Haarlem, instead of Amsterdam. For there, direct bus or connecting train to the airport each take 40 minutes.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all for your feedback!

Kathy, thank you for your valuable advice! You made some very good points. Copenhagen is a city that I have been wanting to visit for a long time, and I'm not sure when the opportunity will arise again so I don't want to let this one slide by. It should only be 1.25 hr plane ride, if I'm correct. I will look into Ghent as well, I have heard that it is worth checking out. Maybe I can add Belgium to my next adventure!

Christa, I will be sure to check out your trip report! Thanks for the heads up, I'll try to tackle Centraal Station one day, if I'm feeling brave enough ;) I have not booked my lodging yet. I am still researching the cities to get a feel for where the best place to stay will be. I am ok with spending a little more, for convenience sake. I would rather that than spend valuable time commuting.

Steve, I subscribe to Scott's Cheap Flights and saw this deal in one of the emails. It lasted less than 48 hrs. I will definitely book the Copenhagen flight in advance as soon as I decided which days would be best spent there. Are there any regular weekend happenings/events that I shouldn't miss out on in either city?

Laura, that's a good point. I might as well get the most bang for my buck! I feel like there is just so much to see/do in Amsterdam that I won't have enough time! And I will be sure to check out the lodging in Haarlem for the last night.

Thanks again, everyone! :)