I am trying to help 2 young friends plan for a couple of days in Amsterdam, a city I am not familiar with. They have never been to Europe and were planning to go without hotel reservations, which seems like a bad idea to me. Of course they do not have a lot of money. What part of town would be best to recommend? Any hotel recommendations? Thank you!
They MUST RSVP for a hotel. It's very risky not to, esp during peak season.
And if they've never been to Europe, they really need to read the Rick Steves Book EUROPE THROUGH THE BACK DOOR - you can get it here on this site, or sometimes it's cheaper on Amazon. It'll teach them so much about how to take out money for Euros, how to use a CC, how to take the train, so much good info.
Plus, the Amsterdam Pocket GuideBook is very good. Rick Steves guide book will have hotel suggestions for all budgets.
We love THE CRAFTSMEN, but it's probably more than they want to spend.
Anne Frank Tickets need to be bought as soon as their opening day opens up online, or they won't get in. Most people wake up at 2am to get tickets online.
Be sure they check on their phone international plan.
Download WHAT'S APP before they leave the States - free way to stay in touch with people here.
Also, download the FREE Rick Steves app - he has FREE Amsterdam walking and history tours
And have them go to this Rick Steves site and read the TRAVEL TIPS SECTION - lots of important info - esp about money.
More details please so we can give better advice (same questions for your post in the France forum). When are they going (affects need for reservations)? How long are they staying? What is "not a lot of money" (xx euros per night)? Do they know how to use mass transit (could affect recommendations for hotels)?
I just found out last night that they are going - next week! - without hotel reservations in Paris or Amsterdam. These are daughters of my friend, but none of them have been to Europe before and I found out last night they did not know about phone plans or converters or anything! I was very concerned as one is 30 but the other is 17 and I think they are very naive. I think hotels that are 150E or less would be ok. I am trying to help because I am worried. I knew they were going but thought the older girl had planned things only to learn she has not. I have traveled a lot but would not go to Europe in the summer without reservations - I did it in 1990 with 3 friends and even then it was a pain and time-consuming to search when you are there. I doubt they know how to use mass transit. I just do not know Paris or Amsterdam at all so I don't know the neighborhoods.
See my response under your Paris entry.
OK, so one of them is a 30 year old adult woman, not a girl.
Thanks for the details, that is quite something, I would worry as well. I'd point them to booking.com and hostelworld.com (some have private rooms). They are going to be hard pressed to find something city center this time of year on short notice, I'd suggest they look outside the main tourist area for something affordable. Booking.com reviews are written by people who have actually stayed in the hotels, so they should look for comments about safety. And for sure they need to get the phone situation sorted out before they go.
Also, I don't know all the rules, but the 17 year old might need a note from parents indicating they are ok to travel with the 30 year old. I don't know the rules, but that could be looked upon with some suspicion. There might be some details buried here: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/travel-documents-minors/index_en.htm
I know 30 may not seem young but they are both somewhat naive and I think of them both as young! They have made no plans and originally I was only going to tell them to enroll in the STEP (Secure Traveller program) because their mother is very worried But today the 17 year old told me she is very nervous to go without hotel reservations, so I decided to help.
London, Paris, and Amsterdam, the 3 most expensive hotel cities in Europe, and " they do not have a lot of money". Hmm. Maybe they should reconsider hostels. I assume airline tickets are bought so its too late to pick some less expensive destinations.
Please point them to resources here online for quick access to essential information. For starters I hope their passports are up to date or they won't even be able to get on the plane. And I hope they have return tickets. This sounds like a disaster in the making. They have some cramming to do.
Travel Tips: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips
They both need to read and internalize the information there. They sound like they are totally unprepared for what they're going to experience. The Travel Tips will help them with the basics.
They already know the cities they're going to, but they most likely don't know how they'll get around the city or get in to see and do the things they want to. For help with that they need to go to Explore Europe, pick the country and the city in it they plan to visit: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe
With the spread between cities, assuming they have no idea how they'll go between them, they should take a look at the Man in Seat 61 for train information. This is a link to "A beginner's guide to Train Travel in Europe" and has links to a lot more on train travel in specific countries: https://www.seat61.com/european-train-travel.htm
Yikes! I would recommend that they purchase the RS guidebooks for the cities they are planning to visit and bring those books with them. They will find useful info there that may help them on the fly. Also tell them about the tourist info spots in those cities which will be listed in the books.
I just talked to the 30 year old and she had the idea that it would be more free and fun to find a hotel on the fly, but I convinced her that with such a short time in each place (2-3 days) they should not waste time looking for a place to stay. and she agreed. She feels they can spend about $250 per night so that is better! I told her about RS - she has never heard of him - wow - and about the audioguides. Thank you all for your great suggestions.
I'll be in Amsterdam with my 17 year old son this Sunday (8/6) for 3 nights. We are staying at the Moxy Utrecht for 92 EUR a night including taxes (rate for stay of at least 3 nights). Only 30 minutes to the airport and Amsterdam by train. Plus the hotel is located on a canal. Just checked and the rate is still the same.
Thank you samc!
Why is the parent of the 17 yr old allowing this? It looks like it's time for some helicoptering!
EDITED: I hope the 30 yr old has better sense than to go drinking in bars. The mother needs to have some serious talks with the girls and refuse to sign the consent letter if the 30 yr old doesn't start showing better judgment. And yes I know that could cause problems in the mother's relationship with both girls, but better that than for them to be crime victims. Remember those poor girls attacked by another American at Mary's Bridge in Germany.
The older one is taking the younger one for a graduation present, so her mom is letting her go. They have decided to book hotels though, thank goodness!
The Niu Fender has hotelrooms under €150,- last time I checked. That area (Zeeburg) is safe. I have family living in that area and have never felt unsafe. Area’s I would avoid are Bijlmermeer (doesn’t have a good reputation) and area around station Amsterdam Arena (that area doesn’t feel ‘good’ to me personally after closing hours of the shops). Can’t say much about other areas. In general Amsterdam is a safe city but like any other big city it is has its good and ‘bad’ neighborhoods.
They should be there now. I hope it all worked out.
Roubrat - it did! They left last night after a delayed plane, but they are there, and they do have hotel reservations in each place!
Oh, good! Hope they enjoy their trip.