Visiting a new city that has countless sights and attractions can be overwhelming and expensive. Paying the individual admission price to each museum, amusement park and zoo quickly adds up. Fortunately, many larger cities are starting to offer sightseeing passes to make it more convenient for visitors to see the area’s highlights.
For a flat price, these cards offer visitors comped or discounted admission to a wide selection of attractions like museums, landmarks, parks and tours. Instead of paying for each activity individually, visitors can use their pass to see and do more for less money.
For example, the Go Chicago Card gives purchasers free entrances to over twenty-five major attractions including the renowned Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and a variety of walking and river cruise tours. Additionally, purchasers of the pass receive a Chicago guidebook, extra discounts at shops and restaurants and neat perks like being able to skip the line at certain attractions. It’s basically everything you need to successfully sightsee in the city.
So should you invest in a sightseeing pass? It depends on your plans and the pass you select. Some cities offer more than one option (sometimes put together by different companies) and some passes are a better deal than others. Here’s how to make sure you pick and use a city pass effectively:
Firm up your plans
How long will you be in town and how much time do you have to devote to sightseeing? Even if a card covers 65 amazing attractions, there’s no chance you’ll be able to see them all in an afternoon. Make sure you have enough time to spend on the activities offered. Most cards are sold in 1, 2, 3 or more day increments to suit your schedule.
Do the math
What kind of savings are you actually getting by using the pass? It might help to do a little research on the activities you are interested in and how much they would cost individually. For example, the Go San Diego Card includes entrance to 55+ attractions including the San Diego Zoo, LegoLand, Knotts Berry Farm and SeaWorld. Individual adult admission to all of those attractions would almost $250, which means that the card offers a much better deal, particularly when you factor in all the other attractions included.
Know what’s covered
Make sure you take a careful look at what is covered by the card and what’s not. For example, the Go Orlando Card doesn’t cover your admission to Disney World, but it does cover a variety of alternative activities like Gatorland, Dinosaur World and Daytona USA. If you take your card down to the Epcot gate you will be sorely disappointed, but if you’re looking to explore alternatives to the obvious Mickey Mouse-related attractions, this could be a good choice.
Read the fine print
Make sure you understand the rules of the card you’re purchasing. Do the days need to be used consecutively? What does and doesn’t it cover? Do you need to make reservations in advance? Making sure you know the details helps ensure you get the full use of your pass.
With a little organization a city pass can save you a lot of money and effort. Instead of nickel and diming your way through a city you can just enjoy the ride!
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- Stephanie Yoder