|An Amsterdam Canal with the Amsterdam Centraal station in the background. A €3.20 single trip ticket or €8 24 hour ticket should help you get around the city by public transit|
For most travellers, you'll rarely be travelling outside the Amsterdam City zone. Simply put, anywhere covered by a GVB bus, tram or Metro is within the Amsterdam city zone.
A single ticket costs €3.20 and is available on the bus and tram but can only be paid for by credit or debit card. The single ticket is also available at ticketing stations at train stations and at the Metro station and this machines take Euro coins.
A single ticket allows endless travel for 1.5 hours with the City Zone. You must tap in and tap out your card to use it again. It won't work if you don't do so.
If taking more than 2 trips across a 24 hour period, the daily, weekly or monthly tickets are recommended. The daily ticket costs €8 and is valid for 24 hours from first use.
If commuting between midnight and 5 AM, you have to use one of the 5 night bus lines which charge €4.50 for a trip. The €3.20 ticket does not work here but the daily, weekly and monthly tickets work at no extra cost - you don't need to pay the €4.50.
As for the other tickets and zones, these are more of a concern if you're travelling outside the city zone.
Schiphol Airport is covered by one Amsterdam City Zone bus number 69 which terminates at Amsterdam Sloterdijk. The round trip takes about an hour.
The only way you can use the €3.20 or €8 GVB City Zone ticket to get to Schiphol is to either get on the 69 bus directly or by connecting to Amsterdam Sloterdijk.
Otherwise, to get to Schiphol and other places outside Amsterdam, you need a train ticket which is available at ticketing stations at train stations.
From Amsterdam Centraal, it costs €4.50 to Schiphol and about €33 to Rotterdam return for the non-direct Inter City train. The faster "Sprinter" costs more and usually takes 40 minutes to Rotterdam compared to 1 hour and 20 Minutes for the Inter City.
In short, if not going to a town outside Amsterdam, you either need the €3.20 single trip or €8 24 hour ticket for the bus, train and Metro, and the extra train or bus ticket to the airport as the 69 bus may not be as convenient.
A summarised detail of all ticket pricing is available on the GVB website here https://reisproducten.gvb.nl/en/tarieven