Thursday, September 24, 2015

Travel Therapy: Amsterdam + how to travel the world on a small budget

In 2013 I made a vow to be more adventurous and travel as much as I could. As we all know, travelling is very expensive, and the fact that I hadn’t yet won the lottery or met a rich Arabian prince meant I had to be very creative with my budget. Despite financial limitations, I was able to visit 14 new cities in 2014 alone (7 countries). Read on if you’d like to learn tips and tricks to help you fly on a small budget.(Tips are under the first few pictures)

I hope you guys find these tips helpful. Below are pictures from my short stay in Amsterdam--enjoy!

 I amsterdam sign at  Museumplein area

Tip 1- Pay for a plane ticket to one city and take the train/bus to nearby cities: Last spring, I spent some time in Europe and visited multiples cities. Before I bought a plane ticket from the US to Europe, I had done a research on the proximity of certain European countries from each other. I flew into Geneva from the US and spent 3-4 days exploring Switzerland. Paris which was one of my must-go destinations was only an hour flight from Geneva, so I flew to Paris and spent two nights there, (ticket was about $60). Brussels was only an hour and a half away by train from Paris, so I took a train to Brussels and spent a full day there. Italy rated high on my to-go list, so I flew in to Rome from Paris and spent 3 days exploring the ancient city. I also made sure to visit Florence which was only an hour away via train from Rome.

Peace from Vondelpark

Tip 2-Stick to one hotel & flight booking website: I use for all my hotel bookings, and because of this, I am able to accumulate points and get free hotel nights.

I woke up early to catch the sunrise at Vondelpark

Tip 3-Stalk travel site & sign up for notifications: I have never purchased a ticket during a fare glitch, but I have heard of people who stalk airline sites and are able to take advantage of airlines erroneously publishing shockingly low fares. Sign up for email alerts on sites like and be sure to follow travel sites on social media. Someday, I too shall benefit from these screw ups. *knock on wood*.

Taking in the view

Tip 4-Buy your ticket way ahead of time: Rarely are plane fares reduced,so make up your mind about where you want to go and buy your ticket ASAP.

Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world-Wikipedia

Tip 5- Be flexible with travel dates: In the past I'd get notifications for extremely cheap flight/hotel fares and if I hadn’t planned a trip around that time, I would ignore the notification and then later feel like I'd lost out on a good deal. Well, now if I find an unbelievably cheap deal, I go far and beyond to make the time work for me. Last November, I visited Montreal, Quebec because I got a notification for a $40 per night hotel. I did a quick research and saw that the hotel typically cost $150. Montreal is is a few hours away from me, so I jumped on the offer and went off to explore the lovely city.

Amsterdam is the first home of the world famous beer, Heineken

Tip 6- Multi Stops: Unless you are pressed for time, NEVER buy an international ticket directly to your destination city. Last December, I visited Dubai and made sure I bought a ticket that had multiple stops. For my departure trip, I chose a ticket that would stop for more than 24 hours in Amsterdam. I had the choice of Moscow or Amsterdam, but I chose Amsterdam because the main tourist sights are in a central location. The trick however, is to make sure that the stop over is in the morning or early afternoon. Night stop overs are a waste of time as most places of interest are closed. For my Amsterdam trip, I arrived at Schipol Airport at 3:00pm in the afternoon and left at 2:30pm the next day. Being there during the day afforded me the opportunity to visit the tourist sights and experience the night life as well. 

I Amsterdam sign at Schipol Airport

A cute Dutch street
The dome of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam
Exterior of Rijks Museum

Dam Square

At Dam Square
Had to make a stop at the world famous Bull Dog Cafe

Made it to the Anne Frank House. Her story is intriguing yet sad

Leidseplein Square is the party district of Amsterdam 

View from the morning canal boat cruise I took

A ride through the canals

And of course I had to make it down to the Red Light Distict. Ahem--lips sealed

That's all folks enjoy the rest of the week.


Sing of Singature Style said...

Nice tips. Thanks for sharing.

Beauty said...

Lovely Pictures and great tips; you have surely visited lots of cities; you were even in Minnesota a few weeks ago! Great adventures...:-),

Have a fun weekend.

Kreyola said...

Great tips. I pretty much follow all of these. Traveling does not have to be expensive.

Kreyola Jounerys | Instagram

A Very Sweet Blog said...

What a fabulous trip! I try and do the same: plan ahead, notifications, and deals online. It really helps.

Paola Lauretano said...

Beautiful city and cool colorful look!
Kisses, Paola.


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Uzo O said...

So glad i came by to read these tips, last Christmas i traveled to Germany and was only able to visit 3 cities before heading to Portugal, i intend to travel more in the coming year because i already have two countries to visit this Christmas. That Sunrise picture you took is everything , You know you could frame it up and hang on the wall.It will make for a good art decor.

Jeanne said...

Very useful tips Naija! Thanks for sharing! ;)

The White List said...

Naija, these tips are absolutely spot on! Love every single one of them! :-)

Audrey Allure said...

Great tips & amazing photos!

- Audrey

Brittany from said...

I so want to go to Amsterdam. These pictures are great!

Brittany x

The Glossychic said...

good tips. thanks for sharing

jackie jade said...

these are such great tips and i'm amazed how much you've been able to travel! i love how things are pretty close together in europe so you can visit a lot of cities in a short amount of time.

Unknown said...

These are some wonderful tips! I never tried doing multiple stops, I guess I get so tired on overseas flights, but I definitely need to try this! Have a nice weekend :)

Unknown said...

Beautiful pictures and great travel tips.

Chi-Chi said...

Great tips! I especially liked tip 6; and will look to try that one out in the future!

Diary of a Fashion Enthusiast said...

Love these tips! Learnt a couple of things and I'm so using them next time I travel.

Caro * said...

Beautiful photos. Your green coat is fabulous, I love it ! :)

BB said...

Great tips. I live for #6 haha

rochinha said...

Love the tips!! I need to finally get courage to travel alone... get a flight to one place and travel by train to near places is something I started to search but never conclude yet. I have to try the flexible dates.