Amsterdam’s Cheese Museum and Bike Parking Garages

The final stop on our nine week, fourteen city summer vacation across Europe brought us to Amsterdam, Netherlands for a quick three day stay before flying back to North Carolina (and home!).

While in Amsterdam we explored canals and rivers, centuries old streets and buildings, and some more modern spaces like the iconic OBA Amsterdam Public Library.

If you’re just tuning in to Root of Good, here’s a summary of our trip in Europe so far.  We started our journey in early June, 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal, then flew to Malaga in southern Spain before taking a bus to Granada, Spain.  After Granada we visited Seville, Spain.  From Seville, we flew to Milan on a super cheap two hour Ryanair flight. After a two hour train ride from Milan, we arrived in Venice.

Then we took a four hour bus ride to Ljubljana where we spent a week exploring the city and the nearby caves before we headed an hour north to the edge of Slovenia to Podkoren to explore the Soča Valley and river and the Julian Alps.  After Podkoren we visited Salzburg, Austria with a side trip to Hallstatt and the Dachstein ice caves.  Leaving Salzburg, we drove two hours west to Munich, Germany.

From Munich, we took a four hour bus to the northeast and crossed the border into the Czech Republic where we soon entered Prague.  We took a train from Prague to Berlin where we stayed for a week.  After Berlin, we spent a week in near the city of Koblenz, Germany.  From Koblenz, we hopped on westbound train to cross the border into the Netherlands destined for the city of Amsterdam. Then we flew back home to Raleigh, North Carolina. We arrived home in mid-August 2017 after nine and a half weeks in Europe.

 

The Canals of Amsterdam

When some people envision Amsterdam, they think pot shops and brothels. What drew this former transportation engineer to Amsterdam? Canals.

In the central section of the city, we were never more than a block or two from a canal. As we strolled along the sidewalks lining the canals we watched the boats glide through the water as they ducked underneath the low bridges.

A water-based “intersection”

 

 

A narrow opening underneath the bridge

 

 

Pure Amsterdam – a multi-floor bicycle parking garage overhanging the canal.

 

Exploring downtown Amsterdam

The central section of Amsterdam dates back to the 1100’s.  It’s such an old city, even the “New Church” (Nieuwe Kerk) was built more than 600 years ago!

 

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam with a tiny slice of the New Church in the far right of the pic

 

View from Dam Square

 

The Magna Plaza shopping center.

 

Saint Nicholas Church

 

Courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum. We enjoyed a nice picnic lunch here.

 

Begijnhof Park was tucked behind rows of houses and accessed through a barely marked archway.

 

The line for the Anne Frank House extended for several blocks. We skipped the Anne Frank house (and the lines).  Apparently it’s possible to buy tickets online which is a must.

 

Amsterdam Cheese Museum. Free samples of dozens of different kinds of cheese, many of which I’ve never tasted before. Amazing place for a cheese-lover like me.

We visited the Cheese Museum instead of the Anne Frank House.  We were Nazi Atrocities’d out after visiting Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich and all the holocaust memorials and museums in Berlin.

 

Amsterdam Public Library (the “OBA”)

The main building of the Amsterdam Public Library opened in 2007 along the waterfront. It’s a modern architectural masterpiece inside and out and free to explore. The kids enjoyed taking a break from exploring the city while lounging in the children’s area. The top floor offers great views of the harbor and cityscape below.

 

Relaxing like they’re early retired in this pic

 

Great views of the boat-shaped Science Museum across the water

 

This library comes with a cafe!

 

The Ferry on the River IJ

Right behind the Amsterdam Central Station is the ferry dock where the ferries cross the River IJ to the northern section of the city every 15 to 30 minutes. We boarded a ferry that travels about a mile and a half to the NDSM ferry terminal.  We stayed on board as the ferry disembarked passengers and took on a new set of passengers.

Back we went to the Amsterdam Central Station. Total cost for a 45 minute tour along the River IJ?  $0. The ferry is free to ride at all times, so it’s a great way to get out on the water for a harbor cruise if you don’t want to pay for a canal tour.

 

Did someone say “Free Ferry”?

 

Along the ferry route we saw this out of commission Zulu Class Russian submarine docked in the harbor.

 

Lodging for three nights in Amsterdam with Airbnb

Amsterdam wasn’t a value priced city. We paid $172 per night for a three night stay.  And that was after deciding to stay 1.5 miles outside the tourist part of town so we could save money and get a nicer, newer apartment (which really means under 100 years old in Amsterdam).  Finding anything decent for under $200 per night in the tourist district was impossible during the summer high season.

For $172 per night, we found a nicely appointed three bedroom, 1.5 bath apartment with a nice kitchen, dining room, and living room.  A perfect place to wrap up our final three days in Europe.

 

Plenty of room for the whole family to relax.

 

We cooked some good eats in the kitchen.

 

Al fresco dining in our rear garden, anyone?

One of the true joys of going with airbnb and renting an apartment in a residential area is the interesting people you meet. Our shy and reserved little five year old found a playmate over the fence in the rear. Sloughing off his blanket of quietness, he literally climbed the fence to get a peep at her and enjoyed showing her his new stuffed bear souvenir from Germany.

In chatting with the family next door, they were also visiting Amsterdam for a few days from the US and “visiting their friend and staying in their flat”, which might be codespeak for renting an unauthorized Airbnb. Sometimes the homeowner’s associations don’t allow short term rentals, and you don’t really want to get your hosts (or you!) in trouble.

If you want to enjoy the personal connection that comes with Airbnb rentals while saving a lot of money, click here to take $40 off your stay.

 

The quiet neighborhood around our Airbnb apartment

On our last night in Amsterdam, I took two of the kids on a short walk to a neighborhood park where we had a quiet, relaxing final adventure in Europe. Even in the bigger cities in Europe, it’s easy enough to find a quiet spot to chill out for a bit.

 

Food in Amsterdam (and on the way home)

We didn’t go out to eat while in Amsterdam.  Instead, we enjoyed the fresh produce, meats, and other goodies found at the grocery store in our neighborhood. Although restaurant prices seemed expensive, I didn’t notice grocery prices at the Lidl grocery store (known for discount prices) being that much higher than elsewhere in Europe.

 

What we love. Sitting down to a nice hearty meal of spaghetti with plenty of thick meaty sauce, fresh mozzarella balls, some roasted veggies, and a salad in the peace and quiet of our own private dining room. Wine and beer might have been consumed by the adults as well.

 

We didn’t eat at this floating Chinese restaurant. But how awesome is that?

 

The Priority Pass came in very handy during our European travels. We were usually able to get a full meal plus free alcoholic drinks before departure, on layovers, and sometimes on arrival (as we did in Milan, Italy).  And never paid a dime.  Several credit cards offer a free Priority Pass membership along with other great cardholder benefits.

 

Free Aspire Lounge visit in the Amsterdam Airport, courtesy of the Priority Pass that we got with our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. Nothing wrong with wine for brunch, right?

 

Self serve bar in the Aspire Lounge in AMS. How about hard liquor for brunch?

 

After an eight hour flight across the Atlantic, we made use of a long layover at Washington Dulles as we dined and relaxed for a couple of hours in the Turkish Airlines lounge using our Priority Pass once again.  I didn’t mind the baklava, gouda, brie, steak, and hummus for dinner.

 

Getting Around Amsterdam

Our apartment was a seven minute walk from the nearest tram route. Once on board the tram, it was a short 10-15 minute ride into the center of the tourist zone.  The scenery along the route into town was a tour in itself with tons of canals, churches, and other old buildings the whole way.

Transit in Amsterdam is relatively affordable. A 48 hour pass is about USD$15 for an adult and is valid for a full 48 hours. In practical terms, we used the pass the evening of the first day, all day the second day, and into the late afternoon on the third day of our stay.  Since individual rides were about USD$3.50 each, the unlimited transit pass was a comparatively good deal.

Kids age 4-11 can purchase a USD$3 transit pass valid for one day.  Age 3 and under ride free.  Transit passes and single ride tickets were available for purchase on board the trams.

The transit passes and tickets cover the subway, trams, and buses and allow for transfers between transit modes.

The city itself is very compact. If you’re staying in the tourist part of town you might not even need to use the transit since most tourist destinations are within a mile of the center of town. Since we stayed about 1.5 miles from the edge of the tourist area, we needed to take a quick tram ride into town each day (but the savings on lodgings more than paid for the transit tickets).

Amsterdam might be the most bicycle friendly city in the world. Bike lanes are everywhere and biking appears to be the most popular mode of transportation. Since we were visiting with a five year old and two other children, we opted for the “easy” way – taking the tram. But for those traveling with older kids or adults-only, biking everywhere would be an easy way to get around town if you’re comfortable with urban biking. Since biking is in their blood in Amsterdam, the motorists tend to respect bicyclists a lot more than in the US (where many drivers consider bicyclists to be slow moving annoyances “impeding” the flow of traffic).

As a recovering transportation engineer who spent 98% of my career dealing with auto-based infrastructure, I got a kick out of all the transit options plus pedestrian and bike infrastructure plus boat traffic on the canals.

In Raleigh it’s rare to see bike racks unless you’re in downtown or near a school or university.  Not the case in Amsterdam. In fact, they have multi-floor bicycle parking garages!

 

Inside a bicycle parking garage. Imagine how many acres this would consume if it were a parking garage for cars.

 

There must be thousands of bikes parked here.

 

Bicycle and pedestrian only walkway underneath the Amsterdam Central Station.

 

 

Thoughts on Amsterdam

Where to begin? This is the last post in a series of fourteen articles covering our nine week trip across Europe. Amsterdam was the crowning jewel on our trip.  It popped up on my radar because of the scenic canals. After looking at taxes on United Airlines reward tickets from Europe to the US, flights from Amsterdam offered the lowest taxes out of all the cities we wanted to visit, so our stay in Amsterdam didn’t cost a lot after factoring in the savings on flights.

We spent two full days exploring Amsterdam, which was enough to get a feel for the city. But it was not enough time to visit the museums and other places of interest.  There’s always a next time in Amsterdam, right?  We toured tons of other churches, palaces, and historical buildings elsewhere in Europe so we were all toured out by week nine. We opted for a relaxing stroll through the city for most of our time in Amsterdam. A nice way to bring our long summer in Europe to a close.

Out of all the cities we visited, I expected Amsterdam to be one of the most expensive. This was partially true. Cheap lodging is hard to come by, even if you’re willing to sacrifice on quality or location. However, transit is average cost by European standards. Grocery stores were slightly more expensive than other places we visited but not “expensive” by US standards (though we only visited Lidl, which is known for its discounts). We didn’t dine out, and that is an area where costs did appear to be higher than elsewhere in Europe. Lots of attractions were free to visit and the cityscape is easy to explore on foot once you’re in the center of town.

Conclusion: Once you pay for your lodging, you can do Amsterdam on a budget if you mostly eat at your apartment and take transit.

Would we visit Amsterdam again? Maybe. It was a great place to visit and offers a lot to see and do. If we return to the Netherlands, I would probably visit a different city to see how it differs from Amsterdam.

 

What’s your favorite thing to do on vacation?  Museums, churches, castles, fine dining, shopping, parks, outdoor activities like hiking, or water-based activities?  Relaxing and people watching?   Or something totally different?

 

Check out the fourteen part summary of our nine week European family vacation:

 

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50 comments

  1. Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities, so many great times there. I was lucky enough to get into the Ann Frank house. Also the Rembrandt Museum is really good. Mainly I just like walking around or cruising on a bike like they do and enjoying the activity. It’s so vibrant.

    And note to Americans and the American ‘safety police’, they don’t wear bike helmets and they’re not dropping dead like flies. Loosen up ;

    (of course their drivers have respect for cyclists but that’s a whole ‘nother mattter…)

    1. The no bike helmet thing is interesting. I guess it’s the relative safety of riding on dedicated bike pathways in most places where vehicular traffic is high volume. I kind of follow the same logic here in the US. Neighborhood riding = lower risk therefore not as much need for helmets. Riding on a busier street = definitely wear helmet!

      1. Justin, there’s a great ted talk about helmets. TEDxCopenhagen – Mikael Colville-Andersen – Why We Shouldn’t Bike with a Helmet – https://youtu.be/07o-TASvIxY

        TLDR (er.. watch). The danger from biking primarily comes from cars and paradoxically wearing a helmet makes a driver less cautious around you (the biker). If you get hit by a car driving 30 to 40 miles an hour, the most important thing is to just not get hit.

        Also, there is a lot of victim blaming when there is a car hitting a bike – was she wearing a helmet?

        Any ways, yeah for the Dutch!

  2. I really enjoyed this post. As a huge bicycle nerd the Netherlands really appeal to me and I hope to make it over there soon for a couple of weeks or so! Great info regarding food prices and free entertainment. Sounds like you guys had a great time.

    1. Perfect place for a bike nerd. You will feel right at home! Those bike parking garages blew my mind. Around Raleigh you rarely see bike racks at establishments (as I’m slowly learning now that I’m biking for some errands).

    1. Ha ha! We walked through the red light district but it was during the day time so you couldn’t really tell where you were. I bet it’s a very different scene at night!

  3. In 2016 I visited Amsterdam with my wife and a couple of friends. Our airbnb fell through a week prior, but the host was kind enough to find us (for the same price) an exceptionally modern houseboat right on the Amstel just two miles south-southeast of Amsterdam Centraal station. Huge bathroom, great kitchen, absolutely gorgeous. The backyard looked a little different from yours:

    https://imgur.com/a/6x611l3
    https://imgur.com/a/us1cOz9

    I went back again last year with my dad, after mom died, to help him clear out the houseboat on which they spent summers in their retirement. Living like a local was lovely; they really understand quality of life over there.

    1. That houseboat is pretty cool! I didn’t see any houseboats that could accommodate us and the kids that looked clean and decent within our price range. Otherwise it would have been very tempting to stay in one of those.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Both my son-in- laws are Dutch. I’m very familiar with their food and culture. I would love to visit there one day. Your children are so fortunate to be able to travel the world at such a young age. I am curious about the currency in each country? Do you exchange money in each country you visit? My husband and I are visiting London, Paris and Rome this August. First time to visit Europe.

    1. In most of Europe they use the “euro” so it’s incredibly easy to deal with money. When you visit, Paris and Rome are both euro. London will be the pound. Out of the eight countries we visited, seven used euros while only the Czech Republic used a different currency – the koruna. So we would get a couple hundred US dollars worth of Euro and spend that down.

      In Czech republic we would pull out much smaller amounts like $50 initially then only $10-20 at a time to use as needed so we wouldn’t end up with a big stack of unspent currency at the end of our week in Prague. We have a Fidelity debit/ATM card which reimburses ATM fees, so there wasn’t a worry about fees on a ton of transactions. Though the ATM in Prague didn’t assess a fee anyway from what I remember (many in Europe didn’t charge extra fees).

      But overall, we used the credit cards a ton. We make sure to get one with no foreign transaction fees (check out the credit cards for that feature). Great exchange rate and no need to handle or exchange currency. Most restaurants that cost more than a few bucks per menu item took cards, along with all the grocery stores from what I recall.

  5. Oh good, you included photos of the library! The Copenhagen library has a good sized cafe as well – maybe it’s a European thing? I’m a total sucker for visiting libraries when we travel; free activities for the kiddo, oftentimes beautiful architecture, and a place to get out of the weather for the minute if it’s too hot/cold. Libraries are seriously the best.

    1. We’ve visited a decent amount of libraries in our travels too! I can’t recall seeing a large cafe/restaurant/food court like in Amsterdam Library in the libraries in the US.

      And this library visit was a perfectly timed break from the weather. I’m not sure if the pics show it, but it was cloudy and raining right as we got to the library. We actually had to wait outside for a few minutes until they opened the doors at 10 am.

      1. I met my first “cafe in a bookshop” while in the US. Was surprised by that. And they also allowed you to start reading your books there.

        Cafes in libraries are indeed quite common in the Netherlands (at least for the libraries that are within bigger cities, not for the very small village libraries).

  6. That cheese museum looks heavenly. A while back Firebear and I stopped in NYC at a fancy looking cheese store. I thought it was super cool and wanted to buy some, but he basically said,”But this is the kind of stuff you find at WalMart in Europe. It would only look fancy to Americans.”

    I wish we had a better cheese culture, mostly so I wouldn’t have to pay so much for it. Haha.

    1. LOL, yeah. The cheese museum had tons of local Netherlands cheese products. About all I see from Netherlands here in the US is gouda. Trader Joe’s seems to do a decent job at reasonably priced imported cheeses (as do Lidl and Aldi, albeit a much smaller range). But I’m sure it’s the cheap stuff you would get at a regular grocery store in Europe. After paying European prices for 2 months for all these “fancy” (by US standards) cheeses, I can’t hardly part with the $$$ to buy them here if it’s over $6/lb or really incredible cheese.

    2. There are lots of great cheeses available in the US made by artisan cheese makers. We travel the country full-time and often run into them. Some are pricey but there are deals to be had in other locations. Currently we are in Wisconsin where there is a huge variety of awesome cheeses to choose from. Mmmm.

  7. Love those canals! What a great end to your trip! Thanks for bringing us along on your journey!

    Amsterdam is definitely on my “must travel” list to see all the canals and bicycles, but who knows when we’ll ever get there!

    1. We didn’t plan on visiting initially. But the super cheap departure taxes (at least with our United FF redemption) sealed the deal. An almost free 3 day add on to Amsterdam. Great place to visit for at least a couple of days.

  8. Sorry you didn’t get to tour the Anne Frank house. It brought the book to life – much smaller than you’d imagine. It must have been crowded since it was tourist season. I went during the spring I think (?) – a detour on a business trip – and walked right in.

    I guess you didn’t walk through the red-light district since you had kids in tow…

    The apartment looks so clean and comfortable!

    1. The apartment was nice and very clean overall. Except the floor – a bit sandy and could have used a good sweeping. Another one of those “almost perfect” airbnbs where our one complaint is pretty minor.

  9. Looks like another awesome stop, Justin. You got a ton of great material out of that one big trip!

    I’ve spent all of five hours in Amsterdam. Had an extended layover (5 or 6 hours) on a Sunday morning back in ’04. I strolled around, grabbed a beer, didn’t find the cheese museum but did find the sex museum, which was not family friendly, but quite interesting.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

  10. Mmm…cheese museum. Same for the self-serve liquor dispenser. Looks like you guys had a good wind down for the last leg of your awesome journey through Europe.

    “…enjoyed showing her his new stuffed bear souvenir from Germany.” A souvenir? Say it ain’t so!

    1. Yes, it was a nice and relaxing conclusion to the trip! And traveling home with all those free lounges was almost like first class (except we were in coach for the 8 hour flight 🙂 ).

      Souvenirs! Yes! The kids had some money of their own to spend and they each bought a small stuffed bear in Germany dressed in traditional lederhosen gear. Plus a few other trinkets. This was at the very end of our trip so we weren’t as worried about the added bulk and weight.

  11. Your Amsterdam pictures are somewhat similar to mine from my trip there last year. I took a picture of that exact same houseboat on the canal and also took a picture of the bike parking garage in front of Central Station. I also didn’t get to see the the Anne Frank house since I thought I would be able to buy tickets online just three days before visiting, apparently you need to buy the tickets weeks ahead.
    Since I didn’t have kids with me I was also able to check out the red light district and a “coffee shop” which I imagine you had to skip.

    1. We walked past plenty of “coffee shops” but didn’t go in any. Got plenty of second hand smoke I’m sure. That’s less of a novelty now that it’s legal in a lot of places in North America.

      And I think we walked through the red light district, but during the day time it’s pretty tame. I only saw one forlorn lady of the night standing in a doorway when we cut through a side alley.

  12. Such a shame you didn’t see the Anne Frank house. I saw it on my 9 week trip to Europe and it was the second-best thing I saw. I also toured the Van Gough museum while I was there, and that was incredible as well. But yeah, that day in Amsterdam was the day I queued for a LONG time… twice!
    Thanks for documenting your trip. I’m currently doing a similar series of blog posts on my recent trip to North Korea, so I know how much time each post takes.

    1. I just didn’t feel a strong pull to the Anne Frank house in spite of most people recommending it as a top attraction in Amsterdam. We only had 2 full days to explore the city and I didn’t want to spend a big chunk of that time inside a museum I guess. And we had already seen so many similarly themed museums/memorials elsewhere.

      And I have to ask, if Anne Frank house was the second best in Europe, then what was the most awesome thing you saw while there?

      1. Without a doubt – Hampton Court Palace just outside of London. I’m an English history nut with a very strong interest in the Tudors, so I was geeking out about it all day I was there.

  13. Seeing all those bikes really takes me back!

    Amsterdam is definitely not easy on your wallet. As much as I love it, I’ve since found better alternatives (like Rotterdam, the Hague, etc) but I wasn’t really there for the canals (if you know what I mean :P).

    Glad you guys enjoyed it! The cheese museum looks super fun and quirky.

    1. Oh I know exactly what you mean 🙂 Those “cafes” appreciate your economic support I am sure.

      I feel the same way about Amsterdam – glad we got a chance to visit and now I’m interested in visiting other cities in Amsterdam to compare/contrast, and enjoy a lower COL city to boot. I’m always on the lookout for those “hidden gem” places – lower COL yet similar scenery.

  14. “What drew this former transportation engineer to Amsterdam? Canals.”

    This made me laugh! They are amazing aren’t they?!? Plus there are all the bike routes all over the countryside and into the city. They have a ton of transportation infrastructure not common in other major cities.

    My wife and I were there about 6-8 years ago and we rented bikes and went into the countryside outside of Amsterdam. Within 30-45 min of biking we were into fields, dykes, tiny villages etc. Just amazing. And because its sooooooo flat the biking was super easy. I would highly recommend it.

    1. Yes, the biking infrastructure is amazing. And I think it extends into Germany too. In the past month I’ve been thinking more about a bike trip across Netherlands and other easy biking areas. We saw several bike-packers in western Germany and it looks kind of cool 🙂 I need to research it a bit more to figure out the details and see how feasible it is.

  15. Some ideas:

    If you rent a car, I’d travel to…
    * Urk; former island, now part of the mainland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urk
    * the Delta works in the province of Zeeland, and/or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands#Delta_Works /
    * especially for engineers: the Afsluitdijk in the north of the Netherlands https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afsluitdijk

    The cities Leiden, Alkmaar, Haarlem, Delft, Utrecht also have these old houses and canals; a train will always bring you close enough to the city center to do a walking tour.
    The city Rotterdam has a lot of modern architecture and a big harbor that you can tour on boat – again a train will easily bring you right into the middle of it.

    There are the big tourist attractions Keukenhof (in spring), Kinderdijk (lots of old wooden mills), the Rijksmuseum (art), etc. They’re probably in every tourist guidebook and rightfully so. But the above ones are perhaps a bit less known and still very nice.

    1. This is amazing! I just spent the last hour looking at all that stuff on Google maps and wikipedia. A free 2nd trip to Netherlands! 🙂 We only had 2 full days to explore so we didn’t get a chance to go to anywhere else in Netherlands but I can tell there is a lot more to see. Next time!

  16. The canals look really neat. We’ve never been to Amsterdam and would love to visit someday. It looks so busy in your pictures, though. You guys did so well being frugal during the trip.
    We’re in Iceland and we’re spending a ton of money. We’re traveling with another family and they prefer to eat out. It’s okay. It’s just one trip. 🙂

    1. Amsterdam looked a bit expensive but probably nothing compared to dining out in Iceland (from what I’ve read). The crowds were thick in the main tourist spots. Not so bad elsewhere. We didn’t do many museums and explored some less-traveled parts of the canals and streets so we escaped the crowds for part of the trip. And our airbnb was 1-2 miles outside the tourist area so it was very quiet in a residential area.

  17. Love the article. Long time follower…1st time commenter….I’ve been following your monthly budget article and all I see are roughly $3K every month. How have you been able to afford a 9 week European summer tour for your family…. This doesn’t seem less than $25K minimum. I don’t think card points etc on such low monthly spending can ever be enough for a 9 Week European vacation.

    Let me know if I’m missing something.

    1. Here’s a rough outline of the $10,000 budget. We actually came in slightly under budget at about $8500 out of pocket for the nine weeks. We also saved about $6000 on airfare using points. I get several sign up bonuses each year and that’s our main travel hack. Free flights, free hotels.

      This year we’re doing the Bahamas. 1 month in a 2 BR oceanfront condo where we walk right out the back door to the beach and pool. $2300 for that.
      Flights were free (well, $50 in taxes and the rest of the ~$2500 in flights were free). Other expenses are the occasional rental car for sightseeing, a few $5/person admission fees for some national parks or other attractions. And moderately more expensive groceries vs prices in Raleigh.

      All together we’ll probably end up paying $3000-3500 for the whole trip.

  18. OMG, Justin! You popped up in yet another news article in a news feed! Way to go dude… your blog is so stealth but getting the attention of all the people! (i think before it was businessweek or newsweek, now marketwatch from a nerdwallet article…)

  19. Great ending for a great family expedition !!
    We spent a few days in Amsterdam with our family in 2003 and had a great time.
    We enjoyed the museums and the windmills and walking around the city.

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