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Visiting Amsterdam this April, should we cancel?

We have plans mid April to stay at Marriott near airport and daily take train to Amsterdam central station. Because our trip relies heavily on public transportation, in light of the Europe travel alert, should we cancel?

Posted by
6876 posts

Because our trip relies heavily on public transportation

Most Europeans rely heavily on public transportation day-in-day-out and they're going to go about their daily lives. Why are you staying by the airport by the way, instead of in the center where you can walk or bike everywhere?

Posted by
2487 posts

I'm an almost daily commuter to The Hague, the government centre. The thought something could happen on these train trips hasn't crossed my mind for a second.
The chance of being the casualty of a traffic accident is much, much greater than that of falling victim to a terrorist attack of some sort. The figure of 35 victims in Brussels is horrendous, but Belgium has the same number of deadly traffic accidents every two weeks. Year in, year out.

Posted by
13670 posts

I'll throw my vote in with Ton and Agnes: it wouldn't bother me at all to take the train from airport to central Amsterdam today, tomorrow, next week…. We've done that, BTW.

We've used metro/trains in other European countries (including Belgium) and I certainly wouldn't cancel a upcoming trip if getting around involved public transit: that's the ONLY way we do it if our own feet can't travel the distance or that takes too much time.

Posted by
8497 posts

You are the only person who can determine your own comfort level. Most of the people who answer here are very focused on traveling and have been aware of bombings that have gone on for decades in London, Paris, and elsewhere, but we don't think twice about going there.

Posted by
2916 posts

We're heading to France on Wednesday, and never gave a thought to cancelling. The only concern I have with using public transportation is that there are strikes scheduled for the day we arrive.

Posted by
2436 posts

I read the latest Europe Travel Alert on the State Department website. Personally, I wouldn't cancel a trip to Amsterdam based solely on that. But if you are concerned enough about your safety to pose this question, then maybe you should cancel.

Posted by
5556 posts

mcollins, does your signature mean you live in Colorado? There are, on average, ten deaths by gun (alone) in Colorado each week. Gun deaths in the US now are similar in quantity to auto deaths. Most drivers believe, falsely, that their skills will keep them alive on the highway. Are you really worried about the "right" thing?

I've been to Europe dozens of times. In many ways, it can be said to be safer than the U.S. Please go ahead with your trip.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for input everyone! We will go and see the tulips! We chose Marriott due to price and being familiar with them. Not from Colorado, western New York. Hubby and my first trip to Europe and are rookies at international travel! Appreciate your comments! Thanks!

Posted by
13670 posts

It's a little too bad that you chose to be out by the airport instead of in the city center where all the action is. I can see doing that the night before a very early flight but it's really nice just to walk out the door in the morning and be right THERE! Same with going 'home' after an evening walkabout.

Posted by
5556 posts

mcollins, since you found this forum, I encourage you to either buy Rick Steves' Amsterdam (or Belgium and Netherlands) book or read it in the library. It is ideal for beginner travelers, as well as useful for more experienced visitors. His books are much easier to use than some of the other big travel book providers. Naturally, prices and hours may be out of date in the library copy, but the hints about travel are still useful.

I second the thought about hotel location, if your reservation is changeable without much cost. I think Marriott has several downtown properties there, so maybe a phone call could waive a penalty that the website cannot? I often advise those new to European travel to consider Amsterdam as the first place they go where the "nominal" language isn't English. That's not just because everyone you need to talk to will speak English perfectly, but because it's such a lively, attractive place. It will contribute to your "comfort" in a distant location that, after a day or two, you'll feel like you're going "home" in the evening. And buying a local transit pass will be even more useful, since you can drop off packages, take a nap, go to the manager's reception (!), or use the bathroom when you're in the neighborhood of the hotel.

Your return flight time is a factor, but you have not yet experienced how much better public transit is in Europe than in the U.S.!

Edit: (I don't work for Rick and he never gives me any free stuff!) The slightly less preferable of the downtown Marriotts is, AFAIR, walkable to the train station, which would make your airport return less stressful. But in fact, we took the first tram of the day from Dam Square to get to our airport train (well, on our fourth time in Amsterdam, just a few years ago), and everything went fine. As someone else noted, you don't need a U.S. brand, but I understood what you meant when you said you were comfortable with them. Next time, maybe ...

Posted by
6876 posts

I'm sure you can find a lovely hotel with character at different price points (although it may be a bit late to get a great price, especially at that time of year). Look on www.booking.com. It really is a shame to stay by an airport in an interchangeable business hotel (unless you have no other choice). There's nothing wrong with business hotels (if you're on business or have points) but they look the same whether you're in Pittsburgh or Dallas or Amsterdam Airport. Part of travel is experiencing something new and unfamiliar, which often surpasses expectations (not always, but it's worth a try IMHO). Also, it's great to stay in the center of things as opposed to the periphery. No matter what, have a great trip!

Posted by
6876 posts

Nancy, Rick Steves' recommended hotels (the topic of the thread) are a sliver of the total market - I'm sure you can find something else, although probably not at a great price.

Posted by
3562 posts

My daughter is in Amsterdam a lot for business and long term stays- when it is a short trip she stays at the NH City Centre Amsterdam. I happened to look up availability the other day when I saw that other post about lodging in April and it did have availability- not sure if on your dates though!

I only mention this because it is so nice to be right in the thick of things- and the NH hotels are a "chain" so would give you that familiar comfort level you seem to be looking for.
If you book on the NH website sign up for their membership program and you'll get a 10% discount. They have fantastic bkfts, well appointed rooms, etc.
http://www.nh-hotels.com/hotels/amsterdam

They have several other locations in and around Amsterdam but the City Centre is right near Spui.

It is super easy to get from the airport to the center- you can take the 197 bus for 5 euros or the Connexion shuttle for 17 Euros door to door service- or the train but I think the 197 bus will get you closer to the NH.
http://www.bus197.nl
http://www.schipholhotelshuttle.nl

Posted by
2487 posts

Schiphol has a superb rail connection to the centre of Amsterdam. Trains leave every 10 mins or less for the 16- tot 18-minute journey to Amsterdam Centraal. You can already buy the tickets at the yellow machines while waiting for your luggage showing on the belt.

Posted by
9 posts

I've stayed at the Marriott near the airport and the downtown Amsterdam Marriott. Both are very nice. One issue with the airport Marriott is that the Marriott shuttle bus to and from the airport is 5.5 EUR per person each way so you will pay 22.00 Euro's round trip per day for the ride from the airport to the hotel. If you wanted to go back to room during the day at all for a break add in another 22.00 Euros. However, I understand using Marriott points at this hotel is a much better deal than downtown Amsterdam. There is a Hilton at the airport that you can walk to from inside the terminal and thus you have no shuttle issue. Other options to think about include staying in another town where you can catch a train to and from Amsterdam very quickly such as Leiden, Haarlem or Zaandam. The hotels there are cheaper than Amsterdam and you can stay within a five minute walk from the train station. In Zaandam a fun but simple hotel close to the train station is the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam. In Leiden, I've stayed at the Ibis hotel across from the train station. It is much cheaper than the Marriott but it is also much simpler (basically clean but not fancy). I haven't stayed in Haarlem but I'm sure there are some good options there also. Enjoy the tulip fields.

Posted by
1581 posts

I vote for staying in Amsterdam too! You really have nothing to worry about if you read reviews and map out where the hotel is in Amsterdam. I found many very near the train station. That is where I stayed my first time as I wanted to be close to the station. I did not have to worry about getting an early morning train to the airport. There are trams that can take you farther into the city right near the train station. Branch out and get out of your comfort zone a little. I bet you would be pleasantly surprised.
If you do stay in the city, pack light. It isn't fun with lots of baggage to carry.

Posted by
919 posts

Hi -

I am leaving in 21 days for Holland/beligum 11 day tour. Our Amsterdam tour hotel is hotel expresso on 5-4 to 5-9, if you want another hotel option. It is kind of $$$, but I did not want to take the effort to find another hotel and move for the two extra days we are staying.

Kim

Posted by
24 posts

Returned from 11 day stay in Amsterdam last night. Rented an apartment so can't comment on that but go to the tourist center in the white building across from Centraal station and inquire about transit passes. Good for varying number of hours from first use. Very convenient. Don't be intimidated. Most people speak English. Be aware of cyclists though. Asphalt surfaces are for them. Cyclists won't slow down or stop if you get in the way.

Posted by
21844 posts

Agree with Nancy with their trip about a week away, it would be nearly impossible to find good, alternate hotel. We have never had good success with finding Amsterdam hotels. In someways I think Amsterdam is more packed with tourist (per sq. ft.) than Rome. Our first trip to Amsterdam was a little quick so we could not find anything reasonable in Amsterdam so we stayed in Haarlem - we really like Haarlem. The next trip had more advance planning but could not find anything that really excited us. So back to Haarlem. They last trip we just stayed in Haarlem in a hotel on the square next to the old church. It is so relaxing to come back to Haarlem, have a beer as the sun sets over the square. They is a great fry shop near the square and wonderful ice cream shop in the church. We have had better and more interaction with locals and other European tourists in Haarlem than anywhere else. The pace is so much more relaxed. Over the years we have seen a lot of Amsterdam so I think the next trip may go straight to Haarlem as a base for the coast area and biking.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you so much everyone! We are getting excited to go and booked a couple day trips through viator and will prob check out Harlem for an afternoon!

Posted by
228 posts

The bicycle riders in the Netherlands will be more dangerous to you than terrorists . Silent until you hear ' ring-ring ' and are about to be ran over , and they do not like to obey traffic laws .