Need Advice For Visiting First Part Of Tip: Amsterdam?

Need Advice For Visiting First Part Of Tip: Amsterdam?

A group of 8 adults will be visiting Amsterdam, May 2014.  We need hotel, restaurant, and points of interest ideas in Amsterdam.  We would love to stay 4 days in a hotel by a canal.  We need 4 rooms.  If you have a recommendation to make, please share with us.  Send an e-mail to captain.mclaren@gmail.com

We plan on sharing our reviews of everything about the trip including travel, hotel, restaurant, and places we visit and make reviews in this web site.

Following is what we have discovered so far during the planning for this trip (End of November 2013):

  • Flights into Amsterdam typically arrive early in the morning.  Hotel rooms do not offer up their rooms until about 3pm.  Hotels charge about $40 to $50 for early book in.  Our AAA travel agent said that this is a money maker for the hotels.  My daughter came up with this solution.  Because we need 4 rooms, only pay for one room early book in and everyone store luggage and freshen up during the early hours using this single room.
  • Tip from my son: Use Firefox browser and go to File > New Private Window.  This method should keep the web site booking companies form seeing your interest in any particular hotel and raising the rates if you visit a page frequently.
  • Our top recommended trip web sites for Amsterdam:
    • Booking.com.   I just love the Amsterdam map with all the hotel pins.  I can zoom in and out.  When I pass my computer mouse over any map pin, I get a quick look at price.   We want to stay in the “Canal Belt”, 16 and 17th century waterways and Booking.com worked for me:
      • Singel
      • Herengracht
      • Keizersgracht
      • Prinsengracht
    • Kayak.com does a good job of presenting all your choices.
  • After using a good web site search and finding your top three or more hotel picks, then go to the hotel web sites directly and see if you can get any better deals.  In the United States, this almost always works but we have never been to Europe before.  Here are the  reasons why we like to compare web vacation web sites and hotel web sites.  The booking web site has to make a profit.  Some times the rooms are located in less desirable locations.  Some times the hotel can offer better prices, secret offers or perks.  My daughter discovered that some hotels give better rates for AAA, senior citizens and advanced purchase by visiting the hotel web sites directly.  When you go to any hotel web site examine it carefully as some money saving promotions are another page or two away from the home page.
  • We have been very impressed with AAA travel agents.  We have booked our flights and tour in November 2013.
  • Look into getting a credit card with an imbedded chip and rewards.  AAA is not offering a Visa card with some pretty nifty rewards.  Europe is not credit card magnetic strip friendly.  We applied and got accepted for AAA Member Reward Visa cards.  The rub is that you must ask for the chip.  We had to ask Bank of America for the chip after we received the cards without it; quite annoying.
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