As an avid traveler, I have learned a trick or two to get cheap flights to Amsterdam (and visa versa of course)
Flights can get costly very quickly, but if you’re smart about it you can save a lot of money.
Cheap doesn’t mean uncomfortable, by the way, for me at least.
Of course, you can shoestring it and travel with the cheapest ticket in Economy. Screaming babies anyone? But I like to travel intently and be comfortable, so I almost exclusively travel Business Class on long-haul flights while booking extra legroom seats on short-haul flights.
Here are 10 tips to save on flights to Amsterdam (or visa versa).
Table of Contents
How to find cheap flights to Amsterdam or visa versa?
Tip 1: Travel Off-Season (both at home AND the destination) 🍂
Traveling off-season sounds obvious, right? If you’re flexible, this tip will save you the most. But don’t just look at the off-season periods at home, also at those at your destination (I’ve made a helpful resource with important dates in the Netherlands, like school holidays).
Schools might have already started in your home country, but it can still be a school holiday here in the Netherlands. Or low season in Australia is high season here. And visa versa. It’s best to check both.
The same holds true for events. In Holland, flower season (April/May) is one of the busiest seasons of the year. You might think you’re traveling off-season when you decide to come to Amsterdam in April, instead of the summer months. But in reality, the opposite is true.
Prices of flights and accommodation are almost at the highest during the month of April and early May.
Tip 2: The Day Of The Week Matters When You Travel 📆
The cheapest days for air travel tend to be Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Use this knowledge to your advantage when booking. When you’re ready to book, always look at prices in the monthly (or “I’m flexible”) view.
You might find the best deal a few days or weeks from your original plan. Most people fly on a Friday and back on Sunday or Monday to maximize their trip. Mondays are even busier because also many business travelers fly that day.
Leaving a day earlier saves you money and allows you some time to adjust before you get back to work.
Tip 3: Business Class Offers Great Deals In Summer ⛱️
High season pricing applies mainly to Economy Class tickets and, to some extent Economy Premium. But often, for Business class tickets, the opposite is true. When holiday makers travel, business travel usually collapses. And this is when Business class seats are often heavily discounted.
Sometimes by that much, they are similarly priced or just slightly higher than an Economy class ticket.
So while most people are stuck in a small seat in the back with their chicken or pasta and unable to stretch, you can comfortably sit up front with champagne and a lie-flat bed for about the same price.
I discovered this a long time ago and have used it ever since. It makes sense too. Airfare is all about supply and demand.
Most people don’t even search for Business class prices, so they never know!
Another great way to find deals is to use Google Flights and search for Europe as your destination, not Amsterdam. You can always book a short flight to Amsterdam from the European city that offers the best deal for your long haul flight.
Tip 4: Fly on Holidays, The Actual Day(s) 🎅
If you don’t mind giving up a holiday at home, you can save big money flying on these specific days. Ticket prices just before Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, et cetera skyrocket, but plummet on the actual holidays themselves.
Flights on these days are often extra special because flight attendants also miss celebrating them. You usually end up celebrating it together onboard!
Tip 5: Use a Flight-Comparison Tool 🧮
When you use a tool like Skyscanner, you can not only search for the cheapest fares on different airlines but also on various booking sites. And you can track flight prices if you’re not ready to book yet. The same holds true for Google Flights.
Tip 6: Consider Using Different Airports 🛬
Very often, wherever you live, there is the main airport (or the most convenient airport) plus alternatives. For example, I live 30 minutes from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. That is the apparent airport for me to use.
However, there are multiple options around me — Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Brussels, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt are all close enough and easy to reach.
And for a terrific deal, I could even include Paris, or London. When I expand my search to include these airports, I often find much better prices. If I can save $300 or more by taking the train to Dusseldorf airport, just across the border in Germany, even with the added cost of $50 per train ticket, I will still save a lot.
Often KLM might have a deal in Business Class for the German market but not the Dutch. I gladly originate our trip from Germany, or Belgium for that matter.
In the US, my friends live in Southern California. LAX is the prominent airport there, but there is also Burbank, Long Beach, and Ontario. Plus, I count San Diego also to the LA area. Fare differences can be significant.
Look for alternative departing, and arriving airports and the likelihood of finding a better deal increases significantly.
Tip 7: Embrace Multi-City Tickets 🇺🇸🇬🇧🇳🇱
Most travelers book a simple return ticket. But have you ever heard of multi-city tickets? You can often add more destinations to your trip entirely for free. Free? Yes, free!
Multi-City can have three purposes:
- You can fly to one city and back from another. An example is when you fly into Amsterdam, you travel by high-speed train to Paris and fly back home from Paris. This not only saves you time, but it also saves you money because often this type of ticket has about the same price as a simple return to Amsterdam, but now you’ve included a visit to Paris too.
- You can also use a multi-city ticket to make an (almost) free stopover. Let’s say you fly from New York to Amsterdam. If you search multi-city instead a simple return, you most likely can add a city like London or Dublin for free. You could even do London on the outbound and maybe Edinburgh or Dublin on the return. Not bad right? What if you want to visit a city further than Amsterdam? Then look for that city instead as your final destination and book Amsterdam as your stopover city 🤯.
- This also applies to your home market. If you depart from Los Angeles, you can often make a free stopover in Atlanta or New York.
Are you starting to see the possibilities? A Multi-city ticket might be my favorite travel hack.
Tip 8: Use the Incognito Window And Remove All Cookies 🍪
Browsing incognito is a smart thing to do when looking for tickets.
Airlines say they don’t use this trick, but I’ve found too many times that I looked at a flight, saw a price, and when I returned later, it went up. Did you ever experience the same? These are cookies at play.
Airlines tell you prices just changed. But the old price magically appears again when you look from another device and/or IP address. Just to be sure, always browse incognito when searching for tickets. And before you start a new search, close all the windows, and remove cookies. It can pay.
Tip 9: Use Budget Airlines Within Europe (with care) 👩✈️
In the US, Spirit Airlines is the first real low-cost airline. Southwest wasn’t. They were still too pleasant (and expensive) for a budget airline. In Europe, we have been used to low-cost airlines for decades.
Many operators came and went, but the two that have always been here are EasyJet and Ryanair. In the Netherlands, you also have Transavia—a reliable (lower-cost, like Southwest) airline for European flights.
Especially if you’re from outside Europe and never flew on an actual low-cost airline, you must be careful, adjust, and shift your mindset. First, there is no such thing as using your charisma with a low-budget airline.
These airlines make money on everything other than your flight. And their primary source of income: ignorant passengers that do not follow the rules. How about $50 to check in at the airport because you forgot to do this online? Or $100 to check a cabin bag that is too large, even by 1 inch. In the US I often hear, oh, you flew Spirit. We’re sorry, they’re nasty! No, they’re not. People didn’t follow the rules, got charged, and then upset.
But by following the rules, you can have an enjoyable flight with these airlines. Just expect to pay for your food or drinks. These flights are short, so it can often be worthwhile to compare fares and use them.
However, never forget to compare with traditional airlines too. With KLM, the experience will be better, and they offer good deals. But not always, so it’s worth shopping around.
Tip 10: Embrace Other Modes of Transport 🚄
This might be weird to include in a post on saving on flights. But to some destinations in Europe the train is a real alternative to a plane.
In the US, you have pretty much two options only for regular transportation: your car or an airplane. Sure, Amtrak offers rail service. Like three times per week, traveling at 30 miles per hour, blowing their horns at every crossing, even next to houses at 2 a.m, making a trip very….. slow and unpleasant for the surrounding area.
In Europe, that is very different. There is a vast network of quiet high-speed trains. These trains are comfortable and often just as fast (or faster) than an airplane. They also run at convenient times. It makes no sense to fly from Amsterdam to Brussels if the train takes you there in 90 minutes (city center to city center). Paris is just 3 hours and 20 minutes from Amsterdam. And London is just over four hours away.
Berlin is only high-speed from Hannover to Berlin. Still, the total travel time from Amsterdam is about 6 hours. Compare this to the travel time to the airport, the time you need at security, then your flight, collect luggage, and finally, you need to travel from the airport to the city.
The train usually is the best alternative. It’s also a much greener alternative. And it can save you money.
Which Cheap Flight to Amsterdam Travel Hack Excites 🌟 You The Most?
I’d love to hear your thoughts: Which travel hack listed in this post was new to you? I'd to hear your success stories Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.
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