Amsterdam FTW! (Video + Expenses)


Hallo there!

We spent 10 lovely days in Amsterdam and had an amazing time. This was the first itinerary stop where we were traveling on our own and also where we were spending a significant amount of time in one place. We were lucky to also have a friend living in De Pijp, a super cool neighborhood just across the Amstel River from our Airbnb in Oost Amsterdam. Anna was able to spend a ton of time with us and also took us on the most amazing canal tour in her adorable little boat, which I'm positive will be one of the highlights of our entire year of travel!

There's so much to do in Amsterdam (hello, 75 museums!), but there's also so much nothing-to-do to enjoy. We slept in almost every morning and took our time heading out for the day. We picnicked more in our 1.5 weeks there than we have in the last 3 years of our life. We strolled and admired the leaning buildings. We lingered over drinks at night watching the boats go by and made friends with the people doing the same at the table next to us. When people would ask how long we were visiting the city, they were always surprised by the length, commenting that most visitors are there for 3 days max. I guess this is a reaction we'll be encountering a lot over the next year, but even if your time is short (and I'm looking at you, fellow Americans), there's something to be said for allotting even a little bit of time for not rushing off to see the next sight and taking some time to - don't worry, I'm not going to say "be present"! - live a little bit like the locals. And if you can emulate their moments of joy, all the better!

Check out our time in this beautiful and charming city in video and pictures below:

    Video and Photos by Josh Meister Photo.


    • Private canal tour - Make friends with someone who owns a boat or sign up to do a tour with one of the really small vessels. People are so desperate to get on the water that at one point we saw 3 guys paddling through on an inflatable raft!
    • Canal bars, restaurants, or even benches - Boating on the canals is awesome, but so is just posting up with some food and drinks next to one and whiling away the hours people- and boat-watching.
    • The markets - There's so many cool markets in Amsterdam. The Albert Cuyp is the most well known, but it pales in comparison to the Pure Market (most Sundays at rotating locations), Marqt Farmers Market, and Roest.
    • Bikes - Ugh, this was so hard for me, but really the best way to get around the city. I'm possibly the world's worst bike rider, and Amsterdam is a city that doesn't tolerate second-rate biking. The bike lane system is immense and incredibly useful, but also entirely intimidating if you're not a confident or competent rider (um, me!). But you can get everywhere, and if you avoid rush hours, the 2-wheeled traffic is a lot more manageable, which makes it easier to focus on not hitting tourists that incessantly step out into the bike lane without looking.
    • The grocery stores - Groceries are incredibly affordable, even at the more upscale shops. At the basic chain, Albert Heijn, they're downright cheap, and the quality is amazing. If you have access to a kitchen when visiting, utilize it! We ate, at minimum, one meal a day off of groceries, and it was delicious and incredibly cost-effective.
    • Brouwerj 't IJ - Located in a former bathhouse next to the De Gooyer windmill with an amazing outdoor area and great (all organic) beers.
    • Foodhallen - European food halls are the most amazing invention, and this is a fun modern take!
    • De Pijp neighborhood - Venture further than the touristy part of it, and you'll get tons of amazing restaurants and shops.
    • Vondelpark - Amsterdamians are very proud of this park and for good reason. It's expansive and beautiful with tons of different unique sections as well as a few restaurants and bars. During the summer, they have free concerts throughout the weekends as well.

    • Reykjavik to Amsterdam flights: $250
    • Airbnb (10 nights): $0 (131,000 Amex Membership Reward points)
    • Metro: $55
    • Bikes rental: $108 (rent for 5 days, get 2 free!)
    • Food/drinks/groceries: $808, which comes out to $40pp per day
    • Extras (museums, tours, etc.): $158

    TOTAL: $1,379

    I'm giving us an A+ on our Amsterdam spending! We came in solidly under our goal of $1k/week, as we were in Amsterdam for 10 nights, and considering the flight should have been free as well (see this post), we did super well. Proost to getting our budget back on track!