Vacationing in the Netherlands: How to Get Your Travel Insurance, Plus Travel Tips
Whether you’re dreaming of the Instagram-worthy streetscapes and the coffee-shops of Amsterdam, or drooling over the rolling hills of rainbow-colored tulips and pastoral windmills on the Dutch countryside, the Netherlands is a destination full of wonder just like the storybooks describe! And while you’re busy drooling over pictures of quaint little countryside towns, picturesque landscapes, or Amsterdam nightlife, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to plan a successful trip.
Any type of planning can be exhausting, but travel planning is particularly overwhelming especially if it’s your first time visiting a country. Everything from making sure your flights and hotels are confirmed to getting your Passport in hand, planning a vacation has a lot of moving parts that you need to make sure are in place. But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. From can’t-miss experiences to travel insurance coverage, here are our best tips for making sure that your trip to the Netherlands is one for the books!
Travel Insurance for a Trip to the Netherlands
While many people forget to book it entirely, travel insurance is actually one of the most important aspects of planning your trip. Not only can travel insurance provide a means for getting your money back if you have to cancel your trip last minute for a covered reason, but it also provides support if you encounter issues while you’re abroad.
Imagine this: you max-out your credit card paying for your amazing vacation to the Netherlands that you’re taking in six months. You figure that over the course of the next few months, you’ll be able to pay off that credit card before you leave, and you’ll be free to enjoy your amazing vacation.
Then, three weeks before you’re supposed to board that plane for this bucket-list journey to the land of the tulips, a global pandemic erupts, closing borders and locking down travel between countries for the foreseeable future. You’re unable to get your money back, and you aren’t able to take the trip either. If you purchased a travel insurance plan with an optional Cancel For Any Reason upgrade, even a pandemic (which would otherwise be excluded) could be a covered event.
Whether you lose your job suddenly, get sick, or have a death in the family, there are a variety of problems, situations, and incidents that can force you to cancel your vacation. And when you book through many travel service providers, you never know what stringent policies could be hiding in the fine print!
However, travel insurance can help you recover your money (rather than just a credit to use your flight another time) in times when your money would otherwise be non-refundable.
In addition to the pre-departure benefits such as trip cancellation coverage, travel insurance providers also have benefits that can cover you if you need emergency medical treatment, assistance with lost or stolen luggage or personal items, and even concierge services that you can use if there is a language barrier in the country you’re visiting. You really can’t put a price tag on the convenience of being able to pick-up the phone and get in-country help from someone who speaks the same language as you!
On top of that, if you have a medical emergency and need to be admitted to the hospital, you may end up having to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket if you don’t have travel insurance. Most domestic medical insurance policies don’t cover you while you’re abroad, so it’s important to buy a travel insurance policy that provides medical cost coverage in an emergency.
If you’re worried about keeping things economical, and think that travel insurance might push you over budget, don’t. While coverage options and pricing does vary by provider, you can get a customized plan that works for your trip, your needs, and your budget. As a general rule, basic coverage will cost around 5-10% of your budget, while more premium options with higher coverage limits and more bells and whistles can cost around 12% of your total trip cost.
Because rates do vary so widely by provider, it’s in your best interest to do some comparison shopping to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Fortunately, our travel insurance comparison site does all the hard work for you. Just enter your trip information, choose your coverage options and limits, and immediately view multiple quotes from a variety of providers. You can compare plans and purchase one directly from this tool with a low price guarantee, which makes purchasing travel insurance easier than ever before!
Currency & Tipping
If you’re hoping to jump off to the Netherlands with that hot, newly-paid-off American Express card, you aren’t going to be happy when you arrive. Though the tides are slowly starting to change, the Netherlands is very much a cash society. The few places that do take credit cards are limited to specific banks, like Maestro.
Your best bet is to arrive with and always have enough cash on hand to cover your expenses for the day. The Netherlands is part of the European Union, and as the other member nations, the official currency is the Euro. Instead of exchanging at general currency exchanges that have expensive fees, you can withdraw directly from an ATM. The most prominent banks throughout the city are ABN AMRO or ING, but be sure that you’ve confirmed with your bank regarding any foreign transaction fees before you leave!
When dining in restaurants, tipping isn’t required, but it’s always appreciated for good service. Fortunately, everyone over in the Netherlands knows this and will likely go above and beyond to serve you, so you may find that you get excellent service as a foreigner. If you’re pleased, a 10% tip is always appreciated!
If you’re still considering when the best time of year to visit Amsterdam is, you’ll be pleased to know that there really isn’t a “bad” season to visit. The Netherlands has a maritime climate thanks to its location near the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. With cool summers and moderate winters, temperatures don’t vary too greatly with an average of 6-degrees C in the winter and 18-degrees C in the summer.
No matter when you visit, you’re going to have cool, cloudy, and humid weather that is notoriously known for changing on a dime. Don’t even bother listening to the newscasters over there because they’re only reliable for a few hours, and sometimes even that’s pushing it. Make sure you’re prepared and bring along a solid raincoat.
Culture Beyond Amsterdam
Of course, any trip to the Netherlands needs to include a visit to Amsterdam. But there is much more to this incredible country than what’s within the city limits.
The Netherlands is a tiny country, and you can drive from one side of it to the other in 2.5 hours. While you’re in the Netherlands, be sure to venture outside the bright city lights so you can explore the real culture and beauty of the amazing Dutch countryside!
Also, you don’t need to bother renting a car. The Netherlands not only has an amazing railway system that can take you nearly from one end of the country to the other, but for less than five Euros, you can take the train from Amsterdam and visit the smaller countryside places like Utrecht and Lisse!
Visit The Hague, where the Dutch Parliament actually sits, and explore some of the country’s most awe-inspiring museums. You’ll find the Mauritshuis Museum here, which houses the famous painting, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, as well as one dedicated to the work of M.C. Escher!
If we had to choose one time of year that you absolutely have to visit the Netherlands, it would be during Tulip Season. Of course, no trip to the Netherlands is ever complete until you’ve experienced the endless rows of windmills against a backdrop of tulip fields! Tulip season runs 6-8 weeks between April and May, but varies year to year by actual timing. To get the best chance to see them in action, plan your trip for Mid-April to Early-May.
Top Destinations in the Netherlands
There is way more to see in the Netherlands than Amsterdam. But if you’re feeling a little lost and thinking, “Yeah, but where do I even start?”, here are some of our must-visit places when you travel to the Netherlands.
- Beemster Polder
- The Hague
And if those places still aren’t enough, or if you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path, here are some of our favorite low-key locales in the Netherlands to add to your itinerary.
- Texel Island
- Zaanse Schans