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Best times of the year to visit the Netherlands for cheapest flights, weather, and so on.

I am planning a solo trip to the Netherlands to see art museums, monuments, and so on, (I am open to seeing Belgium or towns outside the Netherlands if the Netherlands alone can’t occupy me for 10 days to 2 weeks) sometime in 2019, not earlier than the last week of June.

I want to request no more than 10 weekdays off of work. I prefer flights that leave on a Friday night or a Saturday and that return on a Saturday, but I could probably be persuaded to leave at other times if the costs are much cheaper at other times. My first thought was to travel so that my trip includes U.S.A independence day (July 4th) and July 5th, because my organization will be closed on these 2 days. But it seems that flights are significantly cheaper in October. For example, for me starting in Detroit, traveling for about 14 nights, starting the second to last or last weekend in June, there are non-appealing flight plans involving one stop, flying from Detroit to Toronto & Toronto to Amsterdam, which cost about $989 U.S. dollars and take about 11 hours, 45 minutes, not including ground transportation and waiting at the airport. The appealing flights leaving on on the second to last or last weekend in June, on a Friday night or Saturday, are sold by Delta, have no stops, and cost about $1,904. By leaving and on the last Tuesday of June at 10:42pm and returning on a Tuesday, the cost for a non-stop flight on Delta drops to $1,083.

By traveling from the first to the third Saturday in October, the price for the non-stop Delta flight drops to $759. Traveling from the third Saturday in October to the first Saturday in November, the cost for the same Delta flight drops to $444.

(This is the question this whole post is about!): Is it worth me putting my trip off until October to save money?

(My total trip budget is under $3,500, but I don’t like to spend more money than necessary, but I also will not travel in a stupidly cheap manner just to save money. For comparison, this year I paid under $1,486 U.S. dollars for plane tickets to Athens, Greece, round trip, the last Saturday in September to the 2nd Saturday in October).

Google flights is where I got my information but I know that there are many other websites listing airline ticket prices.

Posted by
4099 posts

Considering your budget OCTOBER would be ideal compared to the summer and November.

Posted by
11132 posts

Check actual day-by-day weather history on timeanddate.com for your potential travel periods. The Netherlands is notoriously damp and overcast. I see that the early part of October 2018 was nice, but that may have been anomalous. Look at several years' worth of data.

Posted by
10859 posts

I would spend the extra bit to go in early July , it will be dark out by 4:30-4:45 in October and could be coolish and more likely damp - which can make walking about less fun , and Amsterdam is a great walking city .

Posted by
128 posts

Ok - you know where you want to go but are working to hard to find the ideal.
You need to decide when you want to go and then work with what you have in regards to airfare.
Contact a travel agent; they can find some good deals and could give you advice on your concerns.
We went to Netherlands on a river cruise last April. we decided to use the travel company; we used Air Canada and were very pleased.
As a matter of fact, on the return flight we went through Canadian and US customs in Toronto so when we reached our destination in Atlanta, we did not have to go through customs - it was done.
Bottom line: you have a budget: Consider the weather and what you want to see and do. Don't be a slave to the high airline costs but consider changing your travel to a weekday rather than a Friday or Saturday. You might get a break in the fares. It looks like you want to pay for non-stop without a change of planes
In the meantime, consider a credit card that piles on the miles so you can get free trips.

Good luck!

Posted by
330 posts

Summer is the best time to enjoy the Netherlands. Family visits 20+ years all seasons, I now choose June - August. Weather is likely to be nice and around all that water cold and damp is miserable.

Posted by
248 posts

I looked up Amsterdam civil twilight stats in October, on Oct. 15 in Amsterdam civil twilights ends around 7:15 pm. Civil twilight is defined as the time, after sunset, where the sun is just below the horizon and one can see to do most outdoor activities.

Posted by
303 posts

I never used a travel agent. I am a librarian. I am like my own travel agent. We are in the information age and online booking exists. Why should I trust somebody else to make my reservations for me when I know that can do my own research and make my own reservations? ... Travel agents are an obsolent profession that serve a subset of older travelers who refuse to use the internet, refuse to learn to make their own reservations, lack confidence, and so on. ... I think there is a bit of skill overlap between learning to find sources of information for patrons, and travel research ... I have no kids, so I have time to do my own research...

Posted by
5621 posts

I would watch the Delta site and see if the fares drop for June/July. This may be internet mumbo jumbo but I’d swear I have better luck with Delta fares if I clear cookies after a search.

Also sign up for Delta marketing emails if you haven’t already. I never get good deals from my end of the line Delta-serviced airport but since you are traveling from a Delta hub you might get a deal.

I’d also seriously consider the daylight as mentioned above. Detroit is at 42 degrees (and change) latitude, Amsterdam is 52 degrees north so quite a distance north from you.

Posted by
4099 posts

The Netherlands is notoriously damp and overcast.

That look and feel is part of its charm.

Posted by
1812 posts

Mike, it is a little odd to ask for advice and then berate people for the advice they gave. (Travel agent). It would have been enough to simply say you prefer to make your own arrangements......

Posted by
1756 posts

I've visited in all seasons except the dead of winter and on the last trip went in November and paid under $400 for a non-stop flight.

If your budget is tight, then go in October or November - cheaper airfare, cheaper lodging, fewer crowds. Your trade off is shorter daylight hours, colder temperatures. Doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself - bring a warm coat and you won't be lacking things to do after the sun goes down - particularly in larger cities where many museums have 1 night of the week they stay open later. If you plan on spending the majority of your time outdoors, then you may place greater importance on having the warmer temps of summer.

There's plenty in the Netherlands to keep you occupied for 10 days or more - train service is good and frequent enough you can base yourself in 1 place the entire time and day trip, or break it up and stay in a couple different locations. That said, a 2 week trip is long enough if you really wanted to spend a couple of days in Belgium, you can do that. Before you buy any airline tickets, consider pricing what it costs to fly open jaw into Amsterdam and out of Brussels (or vice versa) so you save on time having to backtrack by train to your original point of entry.

Posted by
786 posts

Have you considered going the last two weeks of April? The tulips, etc. will be in bloom. To me, the Netherlands is synonymous with the spring bulbs. We went a number of years ago in late April early May. The weather was great - not too hot and not too warm and we had very little to no rain. Our visit to the Keukenhof Gardens was a highlight of our trip.

Posted by
303 posts

Mary: I am unable or unwilling to request time off work until my anniversary date of approximately June 23rd.

I do like museums and I realize that the most memorable parts of travel are what you see outside, typically what you see in bright daylight.

Campbelldp: I have never used a travel agent. Why should I pay somebody else to do travel research and make reservations for me, when I am already doing the research on my own? In the age of making reservations online, the travel agent’s profession is obsolete. ... I rationally know I shouldn’t need a travel agent or somebody else to tell me that my plans for this trip will be travel ok, as if the agent is supposed to be a substitute for my mother, who thinks I am nuts for traveling, and for doing it alone.

Posted by
742 posts

hey Mike L
when we travel, we keep alerts out with sites like kayak.com when you see a fare that suits you book it. look at a price, arrival and departure time, if early can you checkin early or dropoff bags without hauling them with you around town. are you doing roundtrip or multicity (into one city and out of another so no backtracking) i'll leave that for your decision.
summer is a busy time of year with travels and the weather could be hot, it's an expensive city. we used citymundo.com for an apartment for 4 of us. you may need to contact about what you need for 1 person. we also stayed in a houseboat in the jordaan area 2nd visit. used houseboatrental.amsterdam or houseboathotels.nl or bedandbreakfast.amsterdam. when you decide the exact days find your palce to stay book fast and check the cancellation policies. do you want to do a day trip to haarlem or spend time there.
look at brussels what's available, how long you want to stay and fly out of that city, you can take to train to paris for a few days, if so check train travel, costs (book early for cheaper rates)
make a list of what you want to see & do, exact days to be in each place.
you can always come back here when you havr your options figured out. these posters will give you good bad and ugly
aloha

Posted by
48 posts

Hi Mike, here’s my two cents: the crowds in July will be considerably worse than in
October. My preference would be to visit the Netherlands with less crowds, hence my vote is for Oct. I am just returning myself from a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands last week. I didn’t mind the short days and a bit of rain. I was still able to fully enjoy everything on offer, and felt more of a local than a tourist. I can recommend a trip to den Haag, which is a lovely city with an excellent art museum (Mauritshuis). It’s only a short train ride from Amsterdam. If you should add Belgium onto your adventure, Ghent is fantastic. Lastly, I find it admirable that you are a solo traveler. Enjoy your trip, whatever you decide!

Posted by
107 posts

Another vote to go in Oct or early Nov. I visited AMS in Sept, price for hotel is still at high range, but if you go in mid-Oct to early Nov, hotrl price is at least 30% cheaper of course depends on types of hotel and location.

Posted by
1814 posts

I, too, travel off season. I went to the Netherlands last March, which I would equate with October/November. Crowds are better off season. It is a mild country, weather-wise, compared with where I live so the cooler temps are fine. I don't mind it getting dark earlier than summer...lights exist for a reason and the world generally doesn't shut down just because the sun sets, in fact, to the contrary on many occasions. If you don't have to travel in the summer, don't.

Posted by
587 posts

I am assuming you check google flights often. Have you looked at flights from Toronto? My friends in OH drive there for much cheaper flights than from their local airport. Likewise, you can look to see how much flights are to Belgium from your local airport and from Toronto. Between these 4 cities and your possible dates, you should have some luck finding a deal.
I think the inverse relationship between weather and crowds has been covered. I have been in the Netherlands in summer and had lots of rain. You never know. Ive never found the crowds too bad, especially if you go to sites first thing.

Posted by
303 posts

I bought open jaw round trip tickets: Detroit to Amsterdam, leaving on a Tuesday evening in July, and Brussels back to Detroit, leaving on a Tuesday morning 14 dys later. I have 14 nights total, one on the flight to Amsterdam and 13 on the ground. It cost me just under $1,400, total for both tickets. No stops on either flight. I did a lot of searching and before I figured out that the dates I picked, and leaving and returning on Tuesday’s, gave me the cheapest flight plan. ... Detroit to Brussels and Amsterdam to Detroit, the opposite flight plan as what I picked cost more ... I tried selecting many different dates and days of the week - leaving on every day of the week, and returning on that same named day of the week but 14 days later. All of the appealing flight plans on dates I would have wanted - leaving on a Friday evening or a Saturday and returning on a Saturday, in late June to July, were just over $1,900, with some over $2,000. By being away on USA independence day, a Thursday this year, I get to request one less days off of work, and my company might even be closed on July 5th too. ... I bought my tickets from the airline website ... for comparison, I paid just under $1,500 for round trip tickets to Rome in 2017, and $1,486 for round trip tickets to Athens, purchased in January for a trip in October of this year.

Driving to the airport in Toronto takes more work than I am willing to do. I would rather pay more to fly out of Detroit.

Posted by
4335 posts

The problem is: either it's nice weather like in summer and airfare is expensive or the weather is awful and airfare is cheaper.

Posted by
587 posts

It sounds like you found something that works for you, and that is what matters

And now the fun part begins

Posted by
1729 posts

Mike -your last post saved me from a reply, which would have been to check for flights that were on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This is often the cheapest days during the week to fly.

Posted by
587 posts

Not helpful though Jazz. Everyone has different priorities, concerns, practical considerations, budgets, what-have-you. Whats interesting is to see how others do it, take that into consideration , and then figure out what fits you or doesnt fit you, right?

Posted by
5621 posts

"It cost me just under $1,400, total for both tickets."

That sounds like $700 for each ticket which sounds like a wonderful price. From my POV and departure airport $1,400 for ONE RT ticket is on the low end.

I'm glad you got things worked out! And yes, now you can start on the fun stuff....

Posted by
4099 posts

Everyone has different priorities, concerns, practical considerations, budgets, what-have-you

Duh....mine are never a criticism of a how someone spends their own money. The price is going to go down

Posted by
11561 posts

Okay, here are a couple of thoughts for saving money. Friends stayed in Haarlem and day-tripped to Amsterdam every day. They came back well satisfied with their choice. I think anywhere in the Netherlands will be cheaper than A'dam, so better to move around than to day-trip. If you stay in The Hague, there are some good art museums (including the Escher and the Mesdag) and you can day trip by tram to Delft. Ghent is better as a base in Belgium than Bruges - it's cheaper and a lot less touristy.