Cheese. Windmills. Fairy-tale towns. Food Markets. July 1-8, 2020 in Amsterdam was the perfect start to our summer in Europe!
Curious what it cost us? If you have never read one of our expense reports, we recommend that you read the background info below.
But if you are familiar with the way we travel, click here to jump right to the report.
Why we share our expenses
“Isn’t it getting a little personal to share on a blog how you spend your money?” Well, that’s one way of looking at it; but here’s another:
Before we started traveling, we had no idea what it would actually cost. We figured traveling Europe was mostly for the wealthy, or for those “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences you save for your entire life.
It was through others like us who were willing to get a little personal and post their spending and budgets that we started to realize that we, too, might be able to enjoy traveling Europeâ€“even on our budget! I meanâ€“sureâ€“you can blow it out and take luxury trips, and there’s no limit to the amount of money you can spend! But that’s only one way to travel. We hope that sharing our spending will help you discover your style of travel, too.
In addition to helping you, we find that it helps us as well! Writing posts about our spending forces us to actually track it, keeping us to a budget and allowing us to make adjustments as necessary.
Some apprehensions (translated: why we almost didn’t start sharing our spending at all!)
We’re not trying to brag or to impress you. We hope that nothing about this comes across as prideful. We’re grateful that we get to do all that we do, and we know that many can’t. But for those who want to travel more or travel differently, we hope it’s a window into possibilities and a doorway into transformational travels for you, too!
We probably don’t travel the way you imagine someone traveling Europe. We work while we go, to earn money to sustain our travels longer. We skip out on a lot in order to save money (experiences that travel guides would consider “essential”â€“yeah, we’ve missed plenty of them!). We stay in one place longer and rest more. Because, let’s face it, a permanent vacation would just be exhausting!
It’s a ton of work. It takes a lot of time to put a post like this together. And it might raise more questions than it answers. If that’s the case, leave us a comment or send us a message! We’d love to tweak these reports over time to make them more helpfulâ€”in fact, it’s because so many of you have asked that we’re creating these at all!
How to Benefit From These Spending Reports
There are probably as many travel styles, priorities, and budgets out there as there are people in the world! And you would probably do a lot of things differently. So keep the following in mind as you read to make this information as useful as possible:
We are a married couple traveling together. Obviously these numbers would be lower for a single person, or greater for a family with children.
This report begins upon our arrival in Amsterdam and wraps up with our departure. The costs of getting to and from a travel destination can vary widely, depending on whether youâ€™re coming from the U.S. or from within Europe, for example. Therefore, weâ€™ve attempted as much as possible to allow this report to reflect actual â€œon-the-groundâ€ costs. If youâ€™re looking for a run-down of everything we spend while traveling long-term, stay tuned for our month-by-month expense reports!
This report doesnâ€™t include the use of any credit card points and miles. Though we leverage points and miles extensively to minimize our travel costs, weâ€™re sharing the full cost of everything without those factored in. Weâ€™re doing this in order to make this report as accurate and helpful as possible. If you want to see how we used points and miles to minimize our costs during this trip, stay tuned for our monthly reports.
So take our info and personalize it for your own trip to Amsterdam! And finally, here we go!
The Cost of one week in Amsterdam: $931 ($133/day)
You likely won’t find Amsterdam on a list of budget travel destinations, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done affordably. Hereâ€™s a little of what we enjoyed during our week there:
Exploring the old windmills of Zaanse Schans and the traditional harbor town of Marken
A picnic in the park with locals
Eating our way through the Albert Cuyp Market
Read on for a breakdown of each expense category!
We spent 7 nights in the De Pijp neighborhood, which turned out to be an ideal location for us. We were less than 5 minutes by foot from a metro station that took us to Amsterdam’s central station in only two stops, and no more than a 15-20 minute walk to the city center. But De Pijp was so much fun with its incredible Albert Cuyp market, cafes, and restaurants that we spent very little time in the city center anyway!
Our apartment was small, but provided the essentials: a private shower room and toilet room, bedroom with a chair and dresser, and a little entry room that included a space for hanging clothing, a small refrigerator, and a table for eating/working.
To be honest, we for sure spent more here than we should have. Being our first stop in Europe this year, I think we had some extra excitement built up and unleashed it all on the food!
But as I look at what we spent, we enjoyed some amazing experiences and yummy foods that we don’t regret and definitely won’t forget!
Food Experiences: $68
Reypenaer Cheese and Wine Tasting (for 2 people): $41. This might have been the highlight of our time in Amsterdam! We tried 6 cheeses and 3 different wines, while learning so much about Dutch cheese-making. Even better? The tasting came with HUGE portions we were allowed to take “home,” so we kept on eating these amazing cheeses for days!
Restaurants: $56. We never really ate a “proper” restaurant meal (choosing instead to splurge on street food, cheese tasting, etc). But we did enjoy two lunches and one night of drinks and dessert for this price.
Groceries: $56. We did some of our grocery shopping in actual grocery stores and some at the markets. This number includes just the food we purchased for eating at home, and is quite low because we spent plenty of time eating our way through the markets!
Cafes, drinks, and treats: $54. This is where we like to splurge, and can easily be a budget category where we overspend. In general, this isn’t a terrible number, but I think we definitely could have limited our spending here knowing we’d want to prioritize other food experiences.
$23 – 4 cappuccinos, 1 cortado, 1 tea, and 1 soda
$10 – 3 croissants and 2 pastries
$10 – beer and hot chocolate
$8 – tomato soup to warm up in Marken (it was about 55 degrees fahrenheit and windy!)
$3 – open-faced sandwich for a quick snack near Zaanse Schans
Market Food (not including DIY Food Tour): $24. The incredible Albert Cuyp Market was just a block from where we stayed, making a convenient break on work days for some fresh air and a bite to eat. For less than the cost of a typical entree in a mid-range restaurant, we enjoyed a wrap, juice, smoothie, Dutch meatballs, chicken skewers, gouda cheese, and 2 more stroopwafels!
6 Metro, Train, or Tram Rides within the City (for 2 people): $45. Public transport in Amsterdam is certainly not cheap, but it’s convenient and very easy to use. We averaged about one ride per day, choosing to use our legs for the bulk of our transportation!
Round-Trip Train to Haarlem (for 2): $23. Jana had always wanted to visit the Corrie Ten Boom house, so this was our primary reason for visiting. But Haarlem itself was full of charm, and a great day-trip!
Amsterdam and Region 1-Day Pass (for 2): $44. Other than Haarlem, we did all of our exploring outside of Amsterdam in one jam-packed day (definitely getting our money’s worth out of these passes!).
How We Saved Money in Amsterdam
Many tactics were helpful to us in decreasing what could have otherwise been a costly 10 days. But the most helpful were:
Booking an apartment from a local
Staying for an entire week
Staying in a neighborhood of Amsterdam vs. the city center
Buying groceries and eating in local markets
Packing most of our exploring outside of Amsterdam into one day, and using a day pass for transportation
Brett is the numbers-crunching, analytical, spontaneous half of the duo Aplins in the Alps. Beyond working with his wife to help people travel Switzerland with confidence, Brett is the CFO and co-owner of a gymnastics business in Middle Tennessee. If his dreams came true, he'd spend everyday in the Swiss Alps with his closest family and friends. When he's not working or traveling, Brett enjoys playing board games, sharing a fine meal with friends, or appreciating the beauty of nature over a refreshing drink. Brett lives in Switzerland with his wife, Jana.