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What’s the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam?

That’s the question my brother – who lives in the US, but is coming to the UK in June, and wants to make a quick trip over to the Dutch capital – put to me last weekend.

In the course of fulfilling my filial duties, I found out for him that the cost of flights varied significantly not only by date (as you’d imagine), but also by UK departure airport. He wants ideally to fly from Bristol, from where the cheapest return flights with easyJet on his preferred weekend were around £100.

But if he flew from a London airport instead – from where there are many more daily flights – the lowest fare on the same weekend was roughly half the Bristol fare.

My brother has time on his hands, and is worried about the volcanic ash cloud mucking up his plans. So I also researched alternatives to flying.

Priciest option was Eurostar to Brussels, plus high-speed train on to Amsterdam – from £116 return (ouch). See www.raileurope.co.uk.

There’s also the Stena Line ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland, which, including a train from London’s Liverpool Street to Harwich and a train from Hook of Holland to Amsterdam, costs from £70 return. See www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry/rail-and-sail/holland.

But cheapest option by far was taking a coach from London to Amsterdam: from £38 return (see www.eurolines.co.uk). But it’s a 12-hour journey each way. I don’t think he’ll feel that he has that much time on his hands…

See Short Haul Flights for Simonseeks’ money-saving advice on flights, and Amsterdam flights for more advice on getting to Amsterdam.