Read this BEFORE you purchase the NS day ticket in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is graced with sights and sounds to satisfy travellers from all walks of life. Many enjoy exploring the country through its efficient train system, but efficient as it may be, the intricacies of catching a train in the Netherlands are lost on many nomads. So here are a few key points you should know before buying your day ticket with the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen).

1. Types of trains

The NS operates two train types – the Sprinter and Intercity (above) service. The former functions for short journeys only and will typically stop at all stops during transit. The latter operating for longer journeys, only stopping at major stations. In addition to being much larger in size than the Sprinter trains, the Intercity trains look a lot more aerodynamic, giving off a ‘bullet-train’ feel.

2. Features

Both transport facilities are packed with handy features for travellers:
Amazingly, WiFi is available in almost all Intercity trains. It’s easy to connect and the internet speeds are adequate for social media, streaming and general browsing. The Sprinters do not have WiFi.

The Intercity trains are equipped with toilet facilities. The several toilets on the train are cleaned regularly, so fear not of a messy experience.

Bicycles are permitted on trains in Holland. However, it is important to note the associated rules and costs. Aside from public holidays, weekends and during the months of July and August, bicycles are strictly prohibited on trains during peak hour times i.e. between 06:30 – 09:00 and 16:00 – 18:30 daily. Outside of these times, you may take one bicycle on the train at a cost of €6.90. You must also be carrying a Fietskaart Dal ticket at all times.

3. Classes

You have the option of purchasing tickets by First or Second class. First class tickets obviously come at a higher cost, but provide more comfortable seating in the most optimal section of the train. From time to time you will also receive complimentary coffee and tea in First Class. Attempting to fool the system will be a futile exercise, as guards regularly patrol trains to check tickets and cards.

4. Cost

The price of travelling on a train through the Netherlands can be a little high. For a 20-25 minute journey to or from Amsterdam, expect to pay anywhere around €7 one-way for your day ticket. For journey’s close to one-hour, expect to pay close to €20 one-way. While these prices may seem excessive in comparison to local prices, it’s important to remember the quality of facilities available to you on a train. Not having a Dutch sim-card made my life difficult from time-to-time, especially when looking to get picked up or using Google Maps. But this problem was easily overcome by having access to the internet on trains, allowing me to communicate effectively with peers, family and hosts. The train is also an excellent way of reaching your destination in the quickest possible time; no traffic or hefty fuel costs.

5. Tap on, Tap off

If your stay in THE Netherlands is considerable and you have ordered an ov-chipkaart, remember to always tap on and off at your entry point and destination. If you do not tap the second time, you will be charged the maximum day ticket fare. Something you really don’t want!

6. Tourists can order an Ov-Chipkaart

Travellers who have allocated a longer stay in the Netherlands i.e. > 4 weeks, you may want to purchase an Ov-Chipkaart. This is a card you can use to tap on and off during your travels. A few things that you should note before ordering your card from the NS website:

* You must supply picture ID

* Wait time is approximately one week before you receive your card

* The card will only be posted to a physical address

The card comes with a selection of fantastic deals, like discounts on fare, free entry in certain tourist locations, discounts for taking your bicycle and much more.

Make sure you refer to the official NS website for complete details on your next train ride in the Netherlands.

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