In my previous blog I listed some of the top city card programs in the world. The popular discount cards afford travelers access to multiple attractions for a flat (reduced) fee. So what’s the catch? While the cards are money savers, in some cases they do require speedy sightseeing. And there is the issue of whether or not they are worth getting for your entire family.
If you plan to visit as many sites in one city as possible and have the time to make the most of them, then almost any of these discount cards with a decent validity period can be a good deal. However, there are certain exceptions. Prior to investing in a city card it’s a good idea to do the math and calculate if your savings will be as substantial as the card advertises.
To decide if a travel discount card issued for your planned destination is worthwhile consider the following:
· Decide how much time you will spend sightseeing. For example, some travelers set aside arrival and departure days as non-sightseeing days. Also, calculate how much you will be relying on public transportation (which is typically covered with a city card).
· Prior to departing on a trip to a major city I do a ton of research. Get online or go to a bookstore or library and look in guidebooks to see how much things really cost and then compute the per-day price of the city card. You might find that you are better off paying as you go.
· Examine the other benefits that come with the cards. For example, with the Paris Museum Pass you avoid long ticket lines, which can prove invaluable during the busy summer months. Also, with CityPasses that include transportation you don’t have to worry about carrying around change or dealing with securing tickets for trains or trams.
· Check out other discounts. If you are traveling exclusively within the United States you could consider getting an Entertainment Book. They are chock full of coupons (the two-for-one deals are the best) and have proven to be big money savers for my family when we are visiting a particular city for more than a few days. If you have a large family you’ll find that these books quickly pay for themselves.
· Look for city transportation cards. If you plan to follow a less structured sightseeing itinerary you might consider getting a card that covers just transportation. Some of the most popular mass transit passes are found in Sydney, Australia (SydneyPass) and London (the Oyster Card).