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Travelling alone in Amsterdam

9 posts
Travelling alone in Amsterdam

Hi there!

My name is Dewang, and I'm 15 years old. I'm going to be visiting Amsterdam for 4 days (23-26 June) along with my Mom and Dad. They're going to be attending a summit for all the days, and I have nothing to do at the summit. So, my dad suggested me to rent a bike for full 4 days, and explore the city. I will be ready to leave by 9 AM, and will have to get back to our hotel by 5'O clock in the evening (as they'll be back at the hotel by that time, and there we are going to be visiting attractions and restaurants, and do things like canal cruising).

As I'm going to be going around places alone, I need to know-

1. Is it a good idea to rent a bike, or should I use public transportation like Tram, Train, etc? Also, being 15 years old, would I be allowed to rent a bike?

2. What all items (including phone and wallet) should I carry with me? And would it be safe to carry a wallet with a lot if cash in it?

3. Where can I go to capture Street art and take beautiful panoramic shots? I love taking pictures.

4. What precautions should I take?

I was wondering if anyone could help me. I'd really appreciate a response. Thanks! :D

-Dewang Goyal

P.S. - By 'bike' I mean 'bicycle'

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
1. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

Wow, 15 is pretty young to be left to fend for yourself in an unknown city. What is your travel experience and solo experience to date?

I went on a holiday abroad without my parents when I was 16 but with a friend who was 17. I don't know if my parents would have let me wander a strange city alone at 15.

We even see mothers here in the forum booking their 20 year old kids' hotel rooms. :-)

But I guess it depends on how independent and responsible you are.

1. Read this thread about cycling safety and more. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g188590-i60-k83221…

I don't know if a 15 year old can rent a bike, contact MacBike (just as an example and because they are in convenient locations) and ask. You will need to pay a deposit and show ID.

Perhaps it would be better to start by booking a guided bike tour (for example with MacBike or Yellow Bike or Mike's Bikes), that way you will have a guide who tells you a lot about the city, you can get the hang of cycling in our hectic traffic, and you can meet some other travelers. They also offer countryside bike tours.

2. Don't bring a lot of cash but use an ATM to get more cash if you need any. If you don't have a bank card for ATMs and really need to bring cash, then hide it in different places. Enough for your daily spendings in a wallet or somewhere simple (but not so simple that thieves and pickpockets can get to it), and the rest deeper underneath your clothes, for example in a moneybelt (they come in all shapes and sizes, flat pouch around your waist underneath your pants, under your armpit, as a leather belt with zippers inside, around your calf...).

Bring what you think you may need for the day. Mind pickpockets.

3. If you walk (don't bike) around the Jordaan area you will see street art here and there, for example little lego blocks space invaders or filling gaps, and graffiti and wheatpastes. NDSM wharf is an area that is also full of street art. You can take the free ferry from behind Central Station to NDSM wharf (mind which ferry you get on, ask locals for help if you can't find the NDSM one). You are allowed to bring a bike on the ferry but you can also just go on foot.

4. Read about safety here: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g188553-c198229/The-N…

And read up on common scams (worldwide): http://wikitravel.org/en/Common_scams and pickpocketing: http://wikitravel.org/en/Pickpocketing

Amsterdam is a safe city but it's good to come prepared, pickpocketing is a problem.

Cecilia // Amsterdam

http://cile.home.xs4all.nl/

Edited: 27 March 2015, 22:29
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
2. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

P.S. The city center is quite small so instead of cycling you could also decide to just walk around. That way you will see more details and interesting things to photograph. Cycling, you will need to pay more attention to traffic all the time and you will go too fast to see details / street art.

You won't need that many tram rides.

I guess my idea for starting out with a guided bike tour still stands: after that you can decide what is best for you.

Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
45,801 posts
81 reviews
3. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

Firstly can I say that for a young person the way that you have written this question is refreshing and excellent compared to some of the monosyllabic nonsense so called adults post sometimes.

Do you ride bikes normally back home? I'm not sure that they will rent you a bike tbh, best to send one of the companies like Mac Bike an e-mail. Don't remember this being asked before. I'm sure your folks would rent one for you though.

Amsterdam centre is pretty safe but what is "lots of cash"? You should be fine though.

Most of Amsterdam is pretty picturesque so all over is the answer to that. Just meander and see what you like. Probably taking a canal boat tour for an hour or so will give you an idea of the city.

Precautions - make sure you lock the bike to something solid. Don't stop on the bike paths to check maps, take photo's etc. We locals need to get around too. Just take the usual precautions with valuables.

And most of all enjoy.

9 posts
4. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

Hi Cecilia!

Thank you so much for giving such a quick response. What you're saying is really helpful.

I have had a lot of travelling experience in the past, and believe that I'm responsible enough to travel in a city alone. If anything goes wrong, I could either take help from the locals, or call up my parents as I'll always have my phone on me.

I chose to rent a bike so that I could get to as many places as I can without getting tired, and want to take pictures and record videos from a cyclist's view. Are there areas in the city where filming is restricted?

I see what you're telling me about pick-pocketing. Does it happen a lot, or sometimes? I mean would I need to keep an eye on my pocket the whole time, or is it not necessary?

Do people usually travel on bikes? And are there safe parking spots near streets and coffee shops? If yes, then how long could I park my bike in one spot?

One last question - Being under-age, should I visit De Wallen or not?!

P.S. I hope I'm not bothering you. Thanks again! :D

-Dewang Goyal

9 posts
5. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

Thanks you so much for replying Ronaldo!

Yes, I do ride bikes normally. That wouldn't be a problem for me.

I was thinking of carrying money to buy things like souvenirs, clothes, etc., but I think that could be done later when I go out with my parents.

Do you know if there are any console gaming zones are bowling alleys in the city? Preferably close to the city center.

And as I said, I'm a football fan, I was wondering if there are good stores close to the city center where I could buy things like Jerseys, Boots and other things related to football?

Thanks again :D

Edited: 28 March 2015, 00:09
Kerikeri, New...
Level Contributor
6,425 posts
106 reviews
6. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

Parking spots near coffee shops? Unless you mean an establishment to purchase a beverage, I am sure you will be too young to be allowed inside.

Ruhr Area, Germany
Level Contributor
16,205 posts
128 reviews
7. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

>>One last question - Being under-age, should I visit De Wallen or not?! <<

Of course I don´t know you, but I have (now adult) kids and I suppose that in that age they would have been pretty curious and eager to have at least a look at this famous area:-)) If you are going on your own it will probably be during the day, so it isn´t very spectaculare (beside some girls in underwear in some windows), and if you are going at night you will probably be with your parents.

So why not have a look at this area, if you are interested in? I don´t think that it´s dangerous for you :-)).

Just watch out for pickpockets, as in every city, and don´t buy any strange stuff from any odd street vendors...

BTW, you mentioned that you will visit attractions ASO after 5 pm with your parents. But I´m not sure if all musems will be open at night. So if you are very interested in a certain museum you could visit it perhaps on your own.

Edited: 28 March 2015, 01:57
Maryland
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
18,944 posts
17 reviews
8. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

You will see tons more on any beach than you will see in the RLD. It's safe but can be crowded or not depending on the day. Don't take any pictures here. You could lose your camera.

Take only the money you need for the time you will be out. Take good care of your wallet especially when you will be physically close to others such as on a tram or in a crowd. Do your big shopping when with your parents.

For myself I never have a wallet on me. Just the money I need and something with my hotel address on, and a copy of my passport. I never ever carry the original despite the fact I am supposed to. It's far to great a risk.

Riding a bike at home is not the same as riding a bike in amsterdam. I have seen more than a few bad bike accidents and have come very close to being run over far to many times to count.

My advice is to walk the city. You can that way actually take the things you are seeing in. You can savor the city in a way you can't when you are tring to avoid danger on a bike.

Good Luck

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
18,944 posts
17 reviews
9. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

Patara, makes an important point-----don't be tempted to buy any drugs on the street if you are so inclined. And likely you will be offered. Don't engage just move on quicky is the best advice.

It's not that it will be mostly bogus junk being sold ------but it can also be mislabled real stuff that when used wrong can kill you as it has several young tourists recently.

Ruhr Area, Germany
Level Contributor
16,205 posts
128 reviews
10. Re: Travelling alone in Amsterdam

I agree with the previous posters, if you don´t intend to do trips outside the city I would suggest to skip the bike and walk the city. It´s a very compact city and it´s pretty easy to get around. And you will see much more, IMO.

From your question, if people usually travel on bikes ASO, I suppose that you have no idea about the thousands of bikes and bikers and the problem to find ANY parking spot. It´s crazy, you will see...

And here are some shops for sportswear, not sure if they fit for your demands

www.yelp.de/search…

Edited: 28 March 2015, 02:59