Travelling can be an expensive affair, as I have recently discovered during my nine-day vacation in the Netherlands, especially coming from Malaysia where our currency, Malaysian Ringgit, is more than four times weaker than the Euro. Flying from Asia to Europe, I have already splurged on air tickets alone.
Coupled with the summer season, it was not easy on the pocket. Even hibernating in the hotel costs money. Travelling as a family will be even costlier, and so, a little savings here and there certainly help to stretch the Euro.
Therefore, let me share with you a few money-saving tips that I discovered during my own recent trip to Holland.
1) Drink tap water
Tap water, I am happy to say, is absolutely safe to drink in the Netherlands. It was good news to me and saved me a ton of money on bottled water!
Though this may not be applicable to the whole of Europe, it works in Holland, although you should always get your drinking water from the cold tap only.
2) Buy tickets online
Most tourist attractions come with an admission fee, unfortunately. However, if you are able to purchase your tickets online or make a pre-event purchase, you usually get to enjoy a discount on the ticket.
Do take note that sometimes, you are required to print out your ticket, and while travelling, you may not have access to a printer. Obviously, your hotel is happy to do this for you, but at a small fee. Is this savings worth the fee, then? Maybe, or maybe not.
3) Mini Cards
When I was in Holland, I found these Mini Cards (minicards.com) really useful. Cards give out a range of discounts and freebies to popular tourist attractions around the country, from a reduction of up to €4,50 per ticket to 25% discount and free postcards, pastries and other gifts.
Granted, even with Mini Cards at hand, tickets may not be as cheap as those purchased online. However, when these cards are easily and readily available at most hotels, they beat the hassle of having to print out your eticket(s).
4) 3-day OV-Chipkaart
A disposable 3-day OV-Chipkaart at €14,20 allows the holder to use the RET Metro (subway), tram and bus for an unlimited number of times throughout three consecutive days beginning on the day it is activated. Remember to check-in and check-out at the terminal for each trip.
Purchasing this card at the service counter incurs an additional transaction fee of €0,50 per card, which could be saved if purchased from the automated machine. You may require the assistance of an RET staff.
If you are planning a long stay in Holland, it’s definitely worth getting this 3-day card, especially if you are new to the country and thus, allowing for making errors in your travel plans.
1-day cards are also available at about €7,- per card (not worth).
5) HTM Dagkaarten
If you are travelling around The Hague on the tram, this 1-day HTM Dagkaarten for €7.50 is what you need. It allows for unlimited travel for one day from first activation until the end of service on all HTM lines and RandstadRail 3 and 4.
Similar to the OV-Chipkaart above, remember to check-in and check-out for every ride.
60-minute tickets are also available at €3,50 each (not worth).
If you have any other tips on how to lower your travel expenses, particularly in the Netherlands, do share via comments. 🙂
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