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Best public transportation cards we should consider purchasing for a 5 day trip

We [2 adults + 2 kids (7 &9)] will flying into Amsterdam next week for a week. We already booked our first night and last night near the Schiphol airport. During the stay, we would like to maximize our time, visit Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans, Noordwijk (for their beach, kids asked), Rotterdam, and The Hague. What is the most economic public transportation card we should look into, to get us in and out of the aforesaid cities. We don't plan to do too many museums. The itinerary is never set for us (lol), so we would love to hear your suggestions on must-visit towns. Both my husband and I have only been to Amsterdam, but not surrounding towns/cities.

We haven't booked our hotels for other nights, as we want to keep it open for now? Any suggestions on where we should book our nights as our base (maybe) based on the above itinerary?

We appreciate any suggestions you have.

Posted by
3639 posts

You're planning to visit a small area, I'd do no more than 2 bases plus the last night at the airport. For instance Amsterdam and The Hague. Can you cancel that first night at the airport? I don't think it's very useful unless you arrive really, really late.
As for train passes, given the short distances I can't think of anything that's worth it but maybe others can chip in?

EDIT: forgot to add, that your sightseeing plans are very, very ambitious for just a week with kids. You'll have to make a few choices, can't help too much as I haven't been to every place you listed.

Posted by
2487 posts

First: your children can travel the trains almost free with the so-called Railrunner ticket. EUR 2,50 for the whole day.
The OV Chipkaart, available at railway stations, is only practical if you will also be using bus, tram and/or metro. But it will cost you EUR 7,50 for the card, needs a minimum balance of EUR 20 to be able to use it on the train (EUR 10 for bus, tram and metro), and you only get the unused balance returned at the railway station when it doesn't exceed EUR 30. I'd say buying separate tickets will be the more economical way. But make sure you have a working bank card when using bus or tram: they don't take cash anymore. (Both Amsterdam and The Hague have day tickets for the local transport, with special prices for children. Amsterdam is EUR 8,50/4,00; the Hague EUR 7,10/1,50.)
As noted above, distances are short, if not minimal, and there is no real reason for changing hotels. With your children Amsterdam might not be the best play to stay. Try Haarlem or Leiden, both manageable smaller and less crowded cities with a lot to see and do, and everything within walking distance.
There is also no need to have your first and last night at Schiphol airport, unless your flights arrive and depart at ungodly hours. From Amsterdam, Haarlem and Leiden the airport can be reached within half an hour on very frequent public transport, or even with a taxi without breaking the bank.
I am wondering why your children choose Noordwijk for a beach. It is awkward to reach (bus from Leiden) and not the most lively place. Scheveningen is much better and easily combined with a trip to The Hague proper, only a tram ride away.

There is one place which justifies a change of hotels: Dordrecht. The city itself is rewarding as a historical river port city and for all the river traffic around, but also a good base for the windmills of Kinderdijk, and the way to reach them with the river ferry Waterbus. The Waterbus continues to Rotterdam, which makes it a nice long day out (provided the weather is co-operating).

Posted by
306 posts

We stayed in Zaandam, on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Rented a very nice house at a reasonable price.through VRBO and bikes were included. It will give your children a little more room. It is easy to do everything in day trips from here so you don't have to keep relocating.
Would also consider taking them to Enkheuizen or the Batavia Shipyard at Lelystad. Both are a little over an hour by train from Amsterdam. They will enjoy Zaanse Shans.
We booked a hotel at Schipohl for our last night before leaving for the US because we had an early flight.
On arrival, we went to the house where we were staying.