Tourist Attractions are EVERYWHERE and can easily break the budget. I don’t need to look any further than Chicago’s Sears Tower Skydeck Experience. I’m so cheap I refuse to “experience” it even though I’ve lived near the city for 20+ years. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m missing much.
Thankfully, after traveling many cities and looking up countless admission prices to tourist attractions and experiences, I have discovered some general tips that can be applied to most places, and I am sharing them with you!
You may be thinking, “Are tourist attractions worth it? Long lines, expensive costs, cliches, annoying tour guides who talk too loud. Is it really worth going through all of the trouble just to see something that you saw in a textbook?”
My simple answer is, yes. This blog is all about loving the world around us, and that means finding beauty in the mundane, non-tourist attractions. BUT it can also be in the exquisite architecture, history, and art of generations past that generate lines. I just want you to remember that it’s YOUR adventure, so do what makes you happy and explore what inspires YOU.
Now, unlike the first two posts in this series, this list is not in any particular order.
- Discounts - There are three most common discounts no matter the country or tourist attraction:
- If you’re a full time college student and you haven’t already, get an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) NOW. Not only can you use it abroad, but you can also use it where you live as a regular student ID for local discounts. The website is a great source of information for where you can use it, too! I got one for studying abroad, and I used it almost nonstop until it expired.
- Kids (usually under 12 years old)
- Seniors (age varies for senior rates)
- Coupons - Unlike discounts, coupons usually require a physical piece of paper with your discount, and there are no personal “prerequisites.”
- Groupon is a good option in the United States, AND it’s available in 14 other countries.
- Depending on what you choose for lodging, your hotel, hostel, or Airbnb host might have a coupon or discount you can use.
- Inclusive Passes -For these passes you pay a set amount to have free access to most (80-90%) tourist attractions in a particular city. Some passes also offer discounts to restaurants and tourist shops.I first discovered inclusive travel passes when I was preparing for my first trip to London. I got the 3 day London Pass, and it was BY FAR the best investment I’ve made. I’ll be doing a more thorough post about these kinds of passes soon, but if you’re interested now, you can check out all the cities they have a pass for here: Leisure Pass Group.
BONUS: If you use the coupon code “JAN2020” when buying a London or Paris Pass, you can save 6% on your purchase!
- Off-Peak Travel - Essentially, travel when others are not. A good example is instead of visiting a place a few days before Christmas, wait until the day after Christmas and stay through New Years’.
This option takes a little more planning, but if done properly it can save you lots (we’re talking hundreds) of dollars.
Although off-peak typically only applies to transportation and lodging, I’ve also seen it for tourist attractions and time of day! For example, La Mezquita in Cordoba, Spain is FREE to visit Mon. - Sat. 8:30am to 9:30am. You just have to read the fine print.
- Buy Tickets Online - For some attractions that are particularly popular or split entry into time slots, this is a must! However, sometimes buying tickets online can simply save you a couple of dollars per person. It may not seem like much, but a couple of dollars here and there can make another meal!
At the end of the day, if you want to cut costs on tourist experiences, it pays to spend time doing research. I’ll have a whole post on the best way to go about doing the research, so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter!
If you have any questions or comments about this post, feel free to drop them below!