Am staying at the Renaissance by AMS in late June---have a meeting at the RAI---any ideas about the best way to get to the RAI?------looks like metro line 51
There are some direct tram and metro lines. Indeed Metro 51 is an option, as is Tram 4 (more door-to-door friendly, but a few minutes slower).
Use Google Maps to plan your transit; it has all the important info.
Since the Netherlands has introduced its own version of the RFID EM "Mifare" Card, it has made travelling a lot more complicated for brief visitors.
However, if you only spend 1-3 days, there is a special ticket for the city of Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport, that I can recommend to make life a lot easier: Tickets Amsterdam | GVB (look for the "Amsterdam Travel Ticket.")
Don't take the taxi from the airport: it's expensive and not necessarily a lot faster. The train to Central Station is frequent, comfortable and efficient. (Even at the airport: the train station is underneath the arrivals hall.)
I've taken the train to Amsterdam every school day for 4 years straight when I was a student, so I might know a thing or two about public transit in Amsterdam.
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