Layover Chronicles – 5 Ways to Ease Your Layover Experience

 Before the Canal Tour

Before the Canal Tour

I recently spent 24 hours in Amsterdam on an extended layover.  I recommend maximizing your time and seeing the most of the city you’re in, especially if it’s your first time there.  I had never been to Amsterdam so I was excited to explore & see what the city had to offer (despite the frigid winter weather).  Here are some tips for making the most of a layover that I wrote down along the way:

1) Research, research, research! Research to figure out the best ways to see the city on a tight schedule.  I googled “1 Day in Amsterdam,” and several results populated.  After reading some reviews, I decided a canal tour would be one of the best options for me.  I saw several city landmarks, all during an hour-long tour.  This left time to do other things, like visit the “Heineken Experience.”

2) Check the currency rate.  I forgot to do this and was not-so-kindly reminded of the terrible exchange rate between the dollar and the euro.  In any case, I was able to convert some dollars at the local currency exchange and use euros the remainder of my trip.  Having local currency on hand is also helpful for tipping various service people (bartenders, waitresses, bell hops, etc.).  And on that note…

3) Find out the customary tipping amount.  In the U.S., a good tip is 20% of your bill.  However, this is not the case in many countries.  Figure this out sooner rather than later so you aren’t considered impolite or rude.

4) Use your airport/hotel concierge as a resource.  I was able to find out the quickest and easiest ways to get around.  I also asked about discounted tickets.  I bought my Heineken Experience tickets for 2.5 Euro less than the selling price.  Hey, something is better than nothing.

5) Be Flexible. After a long flight, baggage claim and a taxi ride later, you get to your hotel and your room isn’t ready?  Bummer.  Still try to make the most of your trip.  Ask the front desk if there’s something you can do while you wait. Take that canal or bus tour early. Walk to the nearest restaurant for an authentic meal. Don’t get discouraged and try to keep a positive attitude.

Bonus tip: Converters.  For my European trip last year, I bought a small bag of electric outlets from Best Buy for about $20 that can be used in  most countries around the world.  It’s the best $20 I’ve ever spent.  I didn’t have to search for European outlet converters to charge my phone and computer.  My hotel actually had an American outlet, but it didn’t work so the European outlet converter came in handy.  My Africa converter is also currently working perfectly in Tanzania.

Do you have any layover tips?  Please share!

 Canal Tour Boat

Canal Tour Boat

 View of Amsterdam from the boat

View of Amsterdam from the boat

 Amsterdam Train Station

Amsterdam Train Station

Photo Credit: Ashlee Tuck