Avoid This Common Mistake Tourists Make While Packing For A Trip To Amsterdam

One of the most common and simultaneously significant mistakes you can make when traveling internationally is packing the wrong wardrobe for your destination. And that's especially true in Amsterdam. The so-called Venice of the North, the nearly 800-year-old Dutch capital is known for a relatively mild European climate and a culture where cars, trains, trolleys, scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians all share the roads.

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While the locals in this vibrant multicultural city generally don't care what you're wearing, between the weather, transportation, and "gezellig" Dutch lifestyle, certain clothing is better suited for navigating Amsterdam's canal-threaded streets. But by far, the worst packing mistake you can make when heading to Amsterdam is failing to pack a comfortable quality shoe that can handle the city's uneven streets. 

An incredibly walkable city with plenty of public transportation options, Amsterdam features streets and sidewalks made from a range of various materials, including brick and centuries-old cobblestone, and tactile paving, a type of bumpy pavement designed to help individuals with accessibility needs. Drawing on personal experience, Rick Steves' Europe Community user Monte advised packing a pair of walking shoes with some bounce to them. "My wife wears shoes that have good support on the bottoms and the sides although they don't resemble combat boots," Monte explained, adding, "She almost always wears black shoes." Even if you don't opt for black, it's worth remembering that Amsterdam can generate some pretty deep rain puddles when you're landing on a shoe color for your trip.

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Wear boots or wedges for an evening out

Comfortable athletic shoes might be the perfect vacation footwear for strolling to Dam Square for an afternoon at the Rijksmuseum. However, if you want to look sharp for a classy evening out without breaking your ankle, you're going to need a shoe that's fit for Fred Flinstoning but still works with your finery. No matter how fancy the dinner date, you'll want to leave your stilettos at home. While high heels are common in the United States, you're much less likely to see them out and about on Amsterdam streets. Instead, Dutch women tend to wear fashionable, walkable boots just about everywhere they go, generally pairing them with tights when they've got a dress on.

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As long as you're not planning to hoof it for long distances, a high-quality, grippy pair of wedges or flats can also work. Just ensure they're made from a material that can withstand damp weather. As Tripadvisor user Sunny Unlimited advised, "A comfortable pair of wedges, is good for walking and nights out, but not made of natural rope or coco fibre bottoms because of wet weather, they will dissolve and fall apart!" And in a city with such a strong bicycle culture, men can get away with just about any type of comfortable shoe for an evening out as long as they look sharp.

Pack clothes for wet and chilly weather

After you've packed your most practical footwear for a trip to Amsterdam, there are a few more things to consider while loading up your luggage for a Dutch vacay. No matter what time of year you're traveling, layering is essential, but this is especially true during the winter months when the temperature outside dips below freezing while the climate inside Amsterdam's fairytale-esque townhomes generally remains pretty toasty.

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It's also highly likely you'll encounter at least a little rain while you're there, so plan accordingly. Even during the warmer seasons, bring a quality windbreaker and some long-sleeved shirts and pants or jeans. Think in terms of synthetic fabrics, as most of these tend to be reasonably water-resistant. Reddit user u/Designer-Spacenerd has an even better solution for choosing the right rain jacket: "The true lifehack however: soft shell sailing jackets. They are lightweight, they can breathe (unlike rain coats, I end up wetter from sweat than the rain would've been) , and they are more than able to handle the rain till the end of your bike ride, and are dry again within minutes inside." Finally, pack a sturdy umbrella with the strength to withstand a windy day in the city, and make sure any bags you'll be toting around town with you are waterproof in case of a sudden downpour.

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