Weekly Destination:

Lisbon & Amsterdam

There’s a reason why millions of travelers flock to Amsterdam on a yearly basis. It comes to no surprise to European travel enthusiasts like me that air and hotel prices in Amsterdam are one of the most expensive in all of Western Europe. Not only is the Dutch capital aesthetically beautiful with its unique architecture and canals, the city entails a vibrantly young atmosphere coupled with history and a healthy dose of modernism. Amsterdam beholds an amalgamation of activities that all types of people from all corners of the world would appreciate and enjoy. Whether you’re a twenty-something on a post-college graduation trip with your buddies or honeymooners on your first vacation as husband and wife, Amsterdam is an absolute MUST for first-time and returning travelers to Europe.

I can ramble on and on about the various attributes that make Amsterdam inimitable. It’s refreshing for people from Los Angeles especially to visit a city with such little automobile presence. With its canals and narrow streets, Amsterdam is a town dominated by bikers and pedestrians.  A place where you can bike and walk for hours, finding a new gem on every street you pass along. For this reason, I have decided to nominate Amsterdam as the base city for this trip.

When visiting Europe, I do things a little differently than most. I don’t want to be just another tourist. I read up and learn about the history, culture and sociopolitical aspects of every city/country I visit during my trip. One major component of the way I organize my trips is by declaring one city as my “Hub.” A hub is a city which you pick as your primary city of residence during your stay in Europe and travel back and forth from. Through my own experiences, having a hub city allows you and your fellow travelers to have the freedom of leaving your huge luggage at your hub residency and travelling lightly when flying or railing to your new destination. You can take a small backpack of clothes and other small essential items with you and not have to worry about packing and unpacking everywhere you go. And plus, it’s always nice to come back and relax in Amsterdam once you’re done visiting other cities. For this particular trip I will pick Amsterdam as my main city of residency and Lisbon, Portugal as my destination city for October of 2016. I will provide the most affordable airfare prices and present a general idea of how much lodging (through AIRBNB) would cost.


FLIGHT

Let’s begin with airfare. If you’re the type of traveler that hates taking flights with connections, a non-stop roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam in October will cost about $1200-$1300 with Delta/KLM airlines. However, if you’re willing to having one quick connection, would you believe that I can get you on a roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam for only $530 (including taxes & fees)?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you WOW airlines based out of Reykjavik, Iceland. Founded in 2011, this incredible low cost and modern carrier is a hidden secret that more American travelers should be aware of. So let’s check out the WOW Airline website: http://wowair.us/

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Upon visiting the website’s homepage, select your Destinations (Los Angeles- Amsterdam.) Pick any dates in October and select the “Flexible Dates.” It should look something like this:


Upon visiting the website’s homepage, select your Destinations (Los Angeles- Amsterdam.) Pick any dates in October and select the “Flexible Dates.” It should look something like this:

WOW Homepage LA-AMS

Once you’ve selected your random dates in October, click on “Search Flights.” Don’t forget to click on “Flexible Dates.” You should then be redirected to a page with various prices on various dates for the month of October.


WOW Outbound LA-AMS

I have picked October 18th as my outbound flight for $265 (including taxes.) Once you’re done choosing this date, scroll down and select your returning flight back to Los Angeles from Amsterdam (via Reykjavik.)


WoW Return AMS-LAX

Now I have chosen my returning flight to be on October 28th for $265 (including taxes & fees.) This is will allow me to spend a total of 9 nights during my stay in Amsterdam. Once you’ve selected your outbound and returning flights, you should see a grand total of $530.

So just to sum up your flight itinerary:

Grand Total WOW LA-AMS Roundtrip

 

  • Departing: Los Angeles International (LAX) to Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) via Reykjavik (KEF) on 10/18/2016
  • Returning: Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) to Los Angeles International (LAX) via Reykjavik (KEF) on 10/28/2016

Total Price: $530.00 including all taxes & fees.

This is about $300 dollars cheaper than both Aeroflot & Turkish Airlines and $700-$800 cheaper than KLM & Delta.


AMSTERDAM TO LISBON: FLIGHT

You finally finished booking your main roundtrip flight to Amsterdam from Los Angeles using WOW Airlines. Where to next? For this particular trip, I will use Lisbon, Portugal as the city you’ll be visiting while you’re staying in Amsterdam. Lisbon is one of the most underrated cities in all of Europe. Just ask anyone that’s been there and you’ll hear nothing but amazing things about it. Often times called the San Francisco of Europe, Lisbon is a great alternate to Spain. Rather than having to deal with snobby locals in Barcelona & Madrid who are sick and tired of dealing with tourists, you can skip all that and pay a visit to Spain’s neighbor to the west, Portugal. With amazing seafood, architecture, history and nightlife, you won’t regret visiting Lisbon one bit.


So let’s check out the airfare prices to Lisbon from Amsterdam by using Kayak.com:

Kayak AMS-LIS

The cheapest flight available through Kayak.com for our selected dates comes out to $156 (including fees). With the flight description as follows:

AMS-LIS Description Kayak

  • With the price of Los Angeles to Amsterdam ($530) and Amsterdam to Lisbon ($156), you’ve spent a total of $686 for all flights during the trip. That’s still about $600 cheaper than a non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam with either KLM or Delta.

 

Lodging in Amsterdam

airbnb_horizontal_lockup_print

Just like how UBER has revolutionized the taxi industry, Airbnb has truly revolutionized the hotel industry. Rather than having to pay ridiculous prices to stay in sardine-size room in Amsterdam, you can pay half the price of a hotel room and have your very own apartment or house in any city that you decide to stay in.

So since we’re selected Amsterdam as our “Hub” city, let’s see the general pricing of an apartment for rent for our selected dates on Airbnb:

Amsterdam Airbnb Pricing Map.jpg

This interactive map shows you the general pricing of different listings in Amsterdam. Majority of these listings are apartments. On a side note, I would suggest booking apartments by hosts who have 20+ reviews just to make sure you’re staying with somebody who’s legit and knows what they’re doing. Assuming that the average cost per-night is roughly $120, the total for a 9 night stay in Amsterdam will come out to somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000.

One of the great things about Airbnb is that no price is set. The website allows you to message hosts to see if they could apply a discount or lower the price that’s more accommodating to you. I’ve successfully bargained in the past using Airbnb and ended up saving a few hundred dollars. So assuming the total price (including all fees) comes out to $1000, you would be paying about $250 per-person if you’re in a group with four people. Believe me when I say that this is substantially cheaper than any hotel in Amsterdam. Of course, you also have the option of staying in hostels as well.


 

Lodging in Lisbon

Lisbon Airbnb Pricing Map.jpg

This interactive map shows the general pricing of different listings in Lisbon, Portugal from October 22nd-25th (4 nights.) Cheap isn’t it? And believe me when I say that most of these listings have incredible views, great reviews and are CONSIDERABLY cheaper than any hotel you’ll find. Assuming the average price for a nice apartment is $50 per-night, the grand total comes out to about $200 give or take. Split that four ways and that’s $50 per-person (in a group of 4) or $100 per-person (in a group of 2.)

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