Let’s face it, Dutch transport is not the cheapest in the world. In fact, it is the most expensive in Europe. Now, for most Dutch national students this is not a problem, since all have access free public transport either in the weekends or during the week with student OV chipcard. However, for foreign students public transport can be a pain to afford. For example: a one way ticket from Tilburg Universiteit to Amsterdam Centraal costs 19.30 euro. Unknown to many, there are quite a lot of travel hacks how to get around in the Netherlands on the cheap.
Hack #1. NS Group Discount (NS groepskorting)
Are you traveling with your friends, or do you know people who need to go to the same destination. This is by far the most affordable option starting from 8 euro per person with a minimum of four people and a maximum of seven people. The cons are that you have to travel off peak hours which are on working days from 00.00-6.30, 09.00-16.00 and 18.30-24.00. Luckily these hours offer plenty of time to travel!
Hack #2. The Spoordeelwinkel
Luckily, The NS is not an entirely evil cooperation and they sometimes offer really nice discounts on their websites. They offer single day tickets to a destination of your choice starting from 19 euro including fresh juice and a “bartje” at Bakker Bart. Looking to combine your day out with overnight stay, or entrance to a museum or event? no problem NS got you covered and offers discounted combi tickets that saves you money. New offers will be made available on a regular basis. Unfortunately the website is in Dutch only so you might want to switch on Google Translate, or ask a dutch national for help.
Hack #3. Ask your Dutch friends for a 40% discount
For international students another cheeky way to get a discount is to ask a Dutch National with a public transport subscription (this includes the student OV chipcard) for a combined travel discount ticket of 40%! This is just one of the reasons to befriend a Dutch National and to meet new people which we always encourage. This discount is only valid off peak hours and requires an OV chipcard, which can be acquired for free and which we highly encourage since the OV chipcard is a valid way and convenient way to take all public transport in the Netherlands.
- Hold the OV-chipkaart in front of the card reader (with OV-chipkaart logo) at the bottom right of the NS Ticket Machine screen.
- Select ‘Samenreiskorting’ (Combined Travel Discount) and the desired class.
- Click on ‘Akkoord’ and hold the OV-chipkaart in front of the card reader on the NS Ticket Machine again.
- Top up the OV-chipkaart with enough balance. The minimum amount needed for the Samenreiskorting is € 10.
- Check in and out during the off-peak hours to travel with a 40% discount.
Hack #4. Kruidvat/ AH NS day tickets (when available)
This is by far one of the best deals you can grab when traveling with the NS. Kruidvat, Albert Heijn and HEMA occasionally sell day tickets to the public transport. This is a pop up discount that usually lasts for two weeks, but the tickets can be validated for a month! Prices vary depending on the amount you buy and are subject to yearly changes, so there is no telling what the next price will be. Moreover, tickets can only be bought in store and cannot be ordered online. On the bright side it includes unlimited access to all trains in the Netherlands for a day off-peak hours, so this is the perfect ticket if you plan to visit multiple cities in a day in the Netherlands!
Hack #5 Flixbus
Want to visit Amsterdam, but you want to avoid all the troubles associated with traveling by train? Flixbus got you covered. Flixbus offers a one way ticket to Amsterdam from Tilburg central station starting for only 5.99. However, Flixbus does not have a lot of intercountry connections. However, it is also definitely a good way to explore neighbouring countries such as Germany and Belgium.