First time traveller here. I am trying to put together a travel route/trip plan for my vacation this August. I've done some research, but I feel like I can benefit from the advice of someone more experienced (a local, perhaps?). I'm planning to visit Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Ghent (with a day trip to Bruges) and Brussels. I decided to rely on services like Airbnb and rent rooms which, it seems to me, is not that much more expensive than staying in a dorm room in a hostel.

I took a rough figure of 30€ per day for food/travel/sightseeing expenses (excluding accommodation) solely based on the information from the internet. On average, it seems like a correct figure for both countries provided, of course, I am modest with my choices.

The trip should take 16 days.

The actual plan with expenses:

  1. Amsterdam

Arrive via plane -- ~200€ (as of now per cheap ticket from my country of stay)

Stay for five days -- ~200€ for accommodation + (30€x5 days) = ~350€

  1. Rotterdam

Arrive via bus -- ~15€

Stay for three days -- ~130€ for accommodation + (30€x3 days) = ~220€ (30x5 = 150€)

  1. Ghent

Arrive via bus -- ~15€

Stay for four days -- ~130€ for accommodation + (30€x4 days) = ~250€

Day trip to Bruges via train -- ~25€

  1. Brussels

Arrive via train -- ~10€

Stay for four days -- ~110€ for accommodation + (30€x4 days) = ~230€

Leave via plane -- 130€ (as of now per cheap ticket to my country of stay)

Total without plane tickets: ~1115€

Total with tickets: ~1445€

Am I overestimating/underestimating anything?

Can I improve my expenses somehow or is there a reality check waiting for me?

How much 'extra' money should I take with me?

Should I worry about not knowing Dutch/German/French?

Any specific things you can advise are greatly appreciated, like places to visit or places to eat/buy food at or anything else. I want any feedback I can get.

  • 1
    Note sure the question is really appropriate for the site but it sounds doable to me, even if your food options will obviously be quite limited (i.e. only fast-food/döner/sandwiches/take-away chinese or thai food, self-catering if you can; it will be difficult to fit even a cheap sit-down restaurant in €30 IMHO). Personally, I prefer to cut down on length and/or number of destinations and have more available for bars, restaurants, or even shopping and souvenirs but that's a matter of taste. Also no money to go out in bars and the like? In any case, no reason to worry about the language. – Relaxed Apr 24 '16 at 15:55
  • 1
    Also, why bother with the bus (and which one are you contemplating?) when the regular train fare is €15.10 between Amsterdam and Rotterdam (to which you might have to add a €0.50 charge if you pay by credit card and €1.00 if you won't get a pay-as-you-go card)? – Relaxed Apr 24 '16 at 15:58
  • @Relaxed Thanks! I still have time to accrue some more money over my budget, so I'll definitely make sure to bring extra for nightlife and 'Amsterdam fun'. :) I suppose trains are an option. I just assumed that busses are cheaper by default. – nainy Apr 24 '16 at 16:03
  • 1
    Within Belgium, look for Go Pass Single Tickets. You can travel between any two points in Belgium for 6 Euros. I see that your train tickets with Belgium looks much beyond how much it must cost. So Ghent to Bruges, and then Bruges to Ghent or Bruseels, wherever you go, 6 Euros each. You can get it online or at the counter in the railway station. Have a safe trip. – trollster Apr 24 '16 at 18:09
  • 3
    If you add 25€ per day, then that amounts to 400€ for the trip more, less than a third of the total and it would make your trip a lot more comfortable. – Count Iblis Apr 24 '16 at 18:17

If Amsterdam has any place to sleep for €30 per night, grab it as soon as you sure you will travel there at the time.
But do read the reviews as the cheapest places are often cheap because they are very dirty and unsafe.

60€ is more likely and that only on early booking. I have no experience with Airbnb for Amsterdam, for all places I have checked their offers they came close to hotel prices, not hostels anymore.
Amsterdam is one expensive city, I always end up spending more than I intent and so I hear from others. Double what you expect for food and entertainment, I'd say. And that is without doing expensive things like drinking all night.

While there are buses between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, nobody uses them for the whole distance. Train is so much better and hardly more expensive.
The buses are mostly for local transport for the people who live between the cities.
Train is just over €15 if you buy online, or if you have a chip card with at least €20 on it. Which might not be a bad idea, you are likely to use trams or buses in Rotterdam, for which you can use that money.
Rotterdam is slightly less expensive than Amsterdam, might have a bit more in cheap accommodation, but again, book early.

Train to Belgium, is easiest, €34,20 for an adult, there might be a youth reduction I did not find. Coach might be cheaper.
Go for Gent Dampoort, if you have the option, that station is closer to the center of the town.
Again a bit cheaper than Amsterdam, specially a few beers will set you back less, but again not a cheap option.
Not sure about accommodation, I just booked hotels and B&B's and had plenty of choice. But I was not in August, which is main season.

Bruges is even more touristy, worth it, but likely more expensive.

I have no experience with Brussel, but it is not known to be cheap, think prices near Amsterdam again.

As I read somewhere on internet, "Your budget will get you there but without money to enjoy it". Not worth it in my view.

I am a regular (if only for the day) visitor in both Amsterdam and Rotterdam and have been in both Bruges and Ghent for a few days, twice each, in the last 4 years.

In the whole area you will get by with just English, although in Brussels it will be appreciated if you speak French. German is not much of a help anyhow, non of the areas you mention prefers German over English if you do not speak the local language, which is Dutch for most of your trip.

Look for places to eat just before you think about dinner. All places you mention have plenty of restaurants, often also in the cheaper ranges. You may want to look at the smaller side streets for the cheaper ones, which will be needed as your budget is low.

Or get a place to sleep where you can cook and use cheap (super)market food, which makes you miss a whole facet of the countries.


The International Youth Hostel Association provides accommodation with meals provided and /or a kitchen where you can prepare your own food. Also a great opportunity of getting to know other guests. Book as soon as possible.

Bruges is picturesque but not exactly alive and popping.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.