We are a family of 4 with two small children, ages 5 and 1. We are from the US and this is our first time traveling to NL and Belgium. We will be spending several days in Amsterdam (Nov 1-5) and the surrounding area. We are taking two days to travel to Belgium for an overnight in Bruges (Nov 6-7). We also want to see Ghent and possibly stop in Antwerp and/or Brussels and maybe even Guoda (in NL) on the way back to Amsterdam. We are also taking one day to visit The Hague and one day to visit Haarlem. We are visiting Haarlem by train. Based on other posts, I am 90% sure that we will visit The Hauge by train, as well. The 10% I am "unsure" about traveling by train to The Hague is that we are planning to take the kids to Madurodam that day, explore The Hague, and then possibly stop in Rotterdam or another town before heading back to Amsterdam for the evening. I'm not sure if the train schedules will permit that. My main concern is flexibility and ease of transporting the kids. I know everyone says the trains are great, but figuring out train schedules and tickets in a foreign country while also managing two small kids could be very difficult. I know there are different train systems in NL (GVB, Connexion, high speed, etc) and I'm not sure if there is one day pass that will cover all we need for a round trip to The Hague. I'm not sure how trains and intercity transit works in Belgium. I'm unsure of which tickets to buy or how frequent the trains will run and don't want to get stuck somewhere because we were running late (which we are always running late).
So my questions:
1) Rent a car or travel by train for our day trip to The Hague considering we'd like to visit Madurodam and Rotterdam or maybe another town
2) Rent a car or travel by train to Bruges/Ghent/Brussels/Antwerp? We only have an two days/one night.
3) If we go by train, which train and other tickets will we need for (a) The Hague and (b) the Brugges/Ghent/Brussels/Antwerp trip.
4) If we rent a car, what factors should we consider? Car companies (I've heard to stay away from Interrent)? Drivers Licenses issues (will a US drivers license suffice)? Crossing the border from NL to Belgium in a rental? Etc
Thank you so much in advance!