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The Ultimate Solo Female Travel Guide for an Affordable Amsterdam

Are you a solo female traveler looking for your next affordable and yet unforgettable trip? Look no further than this ultimate solo female travel guide for an affordable Amsterdam, Netherlands! In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make your solo adventure in Amsterdam not only memorable but also budget-friendly.

Why Amsterdam?

Amsterdam, the vibrant capital of the Netherlands, despite some of the reputations it has, it is a wonderful destination for solo female travelers. Amsterdam has an extremely rich history that is apparent just by looking at its architecture. It is easy to spend hours or days soaking up it’s culture and history. In addition, one thing I loved about Amsterdam was the multicultural aspect of the residents and social scene. Not only is Amsterdam a international tourist hotspot, but it also is home to residents from all over the world. While English tended to be the most used language, I met travelers and locals from all over the world at a higher rate than many other destinations I’ve traveled to. Its welcoming atmosphere, diverse culture, and rich history make Amsterdam an ideal place to explore independently. 

Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers in Amsterdam

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index (SCI,) which ranks 60 international destinations on digital security, health security, infrastructure, personal security, and environmental security, ranked Amsterdam as the 6th safest city in the world in 2021. Amsterdam has been a fixture of their top 10 list since 2015. Overall, I agree with this determination. I generally felt safe during my trip even at night. One of the largest factors for me was the constant police presence throughout the city. As an American, I was surprised to see how young, fit, alert, and numerous the police officers were around the city. In addition, the city employs “hosts” that monitor the streets on busier nights. Overall, I never had an issue but if I did it felt like help was always close by.

Things to Consider

Amsterdam is generally a safe city, but as female travelers, it’s always wise to stay informed and take precautions. It’s important to understand that unlike most places in the world; marijuana, magic mushrooms, and sex work are all legal in Amsterdam. Due to this, it is a hot spot for tourists all over the world looking to take part in a little debauchery. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I definitely saw hordes of men on “lost weekend” type trips looking to get as wild as possible throughout the city. There was some catcalling and leering I experienced, but nothing egregious. To avoid unwanted interactions as much as possible, I rented a bike to get to all my destinations quickly and uninterrupted. Plus, I used the NS app to utilize all the public transportation offerings which was great. 

Overall, as with any travel destination, stay aware of your surroundings, don’t automatically trust any strangers, make smart choices and you should be fine.

What to Know about the Red Light District

I’ve read many similar blog posts about Amsterdam that urge readers to stay clear of the red light district to stay safe. I am here to say I definitely disagree. The Red Light District was one of the most populated, well lit, and highly guarded areas of Amsterdam that I visited at night. I am highly fascinated in the legalization of sex work so absolutely wanted to see this famed area of the world in action. The main thing I noticed was there are cops all over the place. I learned that all the sex workers have panic buttons to summon police if they feel unsafe, which was great as I did see a fight break out between two groups of men and the cops were onsite in less than 60 seconds. Another surprise was the amount of women I saw walking around. I expected the streets to be overrun with desperate men, but was surprised to see tons of couples, girls trip groups, and elderly women exploring the area at night.

Overall, I would describe the Red Light District as more of a crowded tourist trap than a seedy, dangerous neighborhood it has a reputation as. While I think the district is safe to walk around at night, I wouldn’t recommend staying there as it continues to be very loud and crowded until the early hours of the morning seven days a week. Plus you’ll be increasing your chances of having rude, loud, and drunk hotel/hostel mates which is never fun. 

Getting There on a Budget

While not the most expensive of the European cities, Amsterdam wouldn’t exactly be considered cheap. Good meals and accommodations tend to be priced similarly as they are in the United States. But there are some things you can do to ensure you reach Amsterdam affordably:

Utilize platforms like Skyscanner to find affordable flights

As I’ve said in other blog posts, the cheapest way to travel is to not care where or when you’re going. That’s how I stumbled upon a great flight deal to Amsterdam using Skyscanner. I flew from New York to Amsterdam via Reykjavik for less than $500! If you’ve already made up your mind about your destination, experiment with different airports and departure times if possible to find the best deal. 

Use a VPN or incognito mode when booking to potentially find better deals

VPN’s are the best option as it helps you manipulate the “dynamic pricing” many airlines use that changes price based on location, travel dates, demand, interest in the airline, and more. The same flight can have a different price tag depending on the country where it’s purchased. So if you have a VPN that says you’re in India for example, you may get a better deal! If you’re not ready to invest in a VPN, make sure you use an incognito browser when researching and purchasing flights to avoid Google’s algorithm artificially inflating flight prices. 

Bundle your flights with accommodation for additional savings

Once I decide on the flight and accommodation I am using, I love to use expedia to check whether bundling both together yields additional savings. This doesn’t always work, but does sometimes depending on the trip. Plus, purchasing through Expedia gives you points you can use towards your next trip.

Travel during the off-season to avoid crowds and high prices

Everyone wants to go to Europe in the summer, and I totally get it! But that’s always when it is far and above the most expensive to go there. Plus it can be very hot and crowded. For this reason, I highly recommend going to Amsterdam outside of peak times. Spring is tulip season in the Netherlands which is absolutely beautiful. I went to Amsterdam in early October myself and it was incredible. The weather was still warm and the city was beautiful, but it was far less crowded and expensive. I also hear Amsterdam is magical in the winter.

Affordable Places to Stay for Solo Female Travelers in Amsterdam

Hostels:

For solo female travelers, hostels are great as they offer opportunities to be social and meet people while staying on a budget. Here are some recommended hostels based on their unique features:

Meininger Amsterdam Hostels

Type: $ (30-40 USD)

Laid-back atmosphere, suitable for families and non-partying travelers.

Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark

Type: $$ (Over 40 USD)

YHA-associated, ideal for couples and families, with a good continental breakfast.

The Flying Pig Downtown

Type: $ (30-40 USD)

Popular for a social atmosphere, especially among travelers looking to relax and socialize.

Durty Nellys Inn

Type: $$ (Over 40 USD)

A classic fun backpacker hostel, known for creating a great community and offering a party atmosphere.

Hotels:

If you prefer a more private and upscale experience, hotels could be a better option. This is what I went with myself to ensure additional safety and privacy. This option will make your trip less affordable though so it is up to your personal preference. Check out these cool hotels:

Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre:

Type: $$$ ($130)

Stylish hotel centrally located, offering chic rooms and modern style at a fair price. This is where I stayed for a week and loved the location, rooms, and staff. 

INK Hotel Amsterdam

Type: $$$ ($200+)

Modern and quirky, housed in a former newspaper building, providing an upscale design-focused experience.

Affordable Excursions for Solo Female Travelers in Amsterdam

The best part of Amsterdam was the huge number of things to do. I spent days spending very little money just exploring the architecture and culture of the city. Here’s a list of some (but not all) of my favorite things I did there.

Canal cruises ($20-50 USD)

One of the first things I did in Amsterdam after arriving was go on a canal cruise around the city. This was probably the best choice I made on this trip as it was a great primer for learning about Amsterdam. There were also several solo female travelers and groups of women on the boat with me that I befriended. Overall this was a wonderful thing to do that I highly recommend!

Visit museums (Free-$50 USD)

Amsterdam is full of fantastic museums and art installations throughout the city. You could spend an entire week exploring all the museum quarter, so if you’re on limited time definitely do your research ahead of time. Some of my favorites were the contemporary Moco Museum and the famous Body Worlds exhibit (for my science and anatomy lovers). There also the famed Rijksmuseum, but if you don’t have the funds to shell out for a ticket, be sure to check out the gardens surrounding the museum as those are open to the public!

Take the free ferry to A’dam Lookout ($14-$40)

This was likely the most unique thing I did during my time in Amsterdam. Since I was staying in the city center, I took the free ferry across the bay to the A’DAM Lookout. The A’DAM is an observation deck with a panoramic view of Amsterdam. This is another great way to prime yourself of the city early on in the trip. The A’DAM Lookout is also home to Europe’s highest swing for my thrill seekers! The ticket I purchased included entry, one swing ride, a ticket to their VR ride, as well as a meal and a drink. 

Enjoy a movie at Pathé Koninklijk Theater Tuschinski ($15-20)

While I’d usually never decide to watch a movie while on a trip abroad, the Tuschinski Theater is the perfect time to make an exception. This art deco style theater first opened its doors in 1921. Both the inside and outside of the building are incredible architectural feats and allow for a truly unforgettable movie going experience. 

Explore Dam Square, Jordaan neighborhood, and Vondelpark (Free)

The best part of Amsterdam is the amount of things you can see affordably/free. One of my favorite parts of my trip was simply exploring the wonderful areas the city has to offer. I absolutely loved the Jordaan neighborhood full of adorable shops and cafes. Dam Square is another can’t miss as it gives you a wonderful view and photo op of the Royal Palace, is close to shopping, and is at the heart of Amsterdam. Finally, if you are renting bikes, head to Vondelpark on a nice day to spend time in the Netherlands most famous park!

Visiting Other Cities

Make sure you don’t limit yourself to Amsterdam. Public transportation is amazing in the Netherlands, so you can get to most other regions of the country in under an hour. I took some fabulous day trips to Rotterdam, Den Haag, and Utrecht who definitely proved that the Netherlands have a lot more to offer than just Amsterdam!

In conclusion, for solo female travelers, Amsterdam offers a perfect blend of affordability, safety, and vibrant experiences for solo female travelers. Whether you’re exploring the city’s cultural gems or venturing into nearby towns, Amsterdam provides a delightful journey for the independent female explorer. Enjoy your ultimate solo adventure in this charming Dutch city!

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