Are City Passes Worth Buying?

Depends.  First off, what are city passes?  Called by many names, although commonly referred to as ‘city pass,’ these non-refundable sightseeing cards can be purchased in major international cities.  They can offer “free” admission or reduced admission prices to that city’s museums and other attractions.

When deciding whether or not to buy this card, consider the following: 1. Not all attractions or museums are included.  Options are usually limited to a pre-selected list of participants.  2. You do not always have free reign of the joint.  The number of attractions you visit can be based on how many you paid for beforehand.  If a pass offers unlimited attractions inquire about time restrictions.  Why pay for a limitless number of attractions when you have 3 days to see them all!  3. Time limits.  Be mindful of them.  Passes can be purchased for a single day, 3 days or other combination of days.  Also, passes typically have to be used within a time frame, find out if it works on a 24 hour or consecutive day basis.  Furthermore, public transportation might be included in your pass for an extra fee.  Some passes may include other perks at no additional costs (but may have exclusions) such as fast track entry (not applicable at all sights), discounts at specified restaurants and gift shops, just to name a few.

Additional considerations in determining a city pass’ value:  Are the attractions you want to visit included?  If so, how many?  If you have interest in 2 out of 12 attractions the card isn’t worth it.  Make sure the days you want to visit are open.  Don’t pay for a 3 day pass if one of the days is a closed business day or holiday; now you’re out one day.  Most importantly, don’t be fooled.  Unfortunately, some passes list attractions that are free entry to begin with.  London offers free admission to many museums, the National gallery for instance, so be sure to disregard any offers for free or discounted entry if offered in a city pass.  Be knowledgeable of the price of the attractions you want to patronize.  You’re not saving much if there’s a $2 savings per attraction if your cost of the pass totals more than the discounts.  Another suggestion, know where you stand by going over the terms and conditions associated with your card for peace of mind.  If all else fails, the best way in determining if a city pass is beneficial is to do the math.  Grab a pencil and paper, list what you want to see and their prices and compare it with the offerings of the pass in question, add’em up and let the numbers speak for themselves. ~M. Ruiz for Capricorn Vacations

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