By Nomadic Matt
No one wants to spend 20 bucks every time they enter a museum or full price for a tour and sightseeing can really add up. After all, we come all the way to a new destination toe explore it and its wonderful attractions not sit in our hotel rooms. Luckily, you don’t ever have to pay that much money. There are a lot of easy ways to save money on activities.
Get Tourism Cards
Tourism cards are something I will never figure out why travelers don’t get more often. Local tourism offices issue cards for all their attractions, tours, and restaurants. This card gives you free entry and/or substantial discounts on all the attractions and tours in a city, free local public transportation (a huge plus), and usually some discounts are restaurants.
These cards are great for saving money because you get free transportation around the city (saving money on transportation) and free entry into museums, attractions, or other tours. For example, in Oslo Norways, the VisitOslo card offered by the city tourism board costs $60 USD. However, each museum in the city is between $12-15 USD. I saw 9 museums in the city which means I saved $30 USD with the pass plus got free public transportation. Not a bad deal.
When I was in London, I used the London Pass. This tourist card cost me $95 USD for two days of sightseeing. It covers over 32 destinations and offers free public transportation. You can get a pass for up to 6 days for $150 USD However, I didn’t have much time or the desire to see all 32 spots. Without this pass, these attractions would have cost me $170 USD. I saved 45% by using the London Pass and I didn’t even use it for everything it offers.
Most travelers never think of these passes because they aren’t very well advertised or promoted but if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, head to the local tourist office and pick yourself up one of these cards. Pretty much ever major destination in the world offers them!
Free Museum Days
Most museums have special discount times or free nights. Even famous museums like the Louvre and the Guggenheim offer free entrance. If I don’t have a tourism card that offers free entrance into the museum I want, I look up the museum on the internet to find out which days and times the museum offers free entrance into the museum.
Use Discount Cards
There are a lot of discount travel cards in the world – from the international student card, the youth card, VIP card in Australia, to the Hostelling International card. All of these cards can get you discounts on attractions throughout the world. Some of these cards cost money (usually around $20 USD) but are good for at least a year and work throughout the world. You usually save between 30-50% off the listed price.
Visit the Local Tourist Office
Make sure you also visit the local tourist office. They usually have discount cards for major attractions and can let you know what deals are happening at that time. While at the tourist office, take some of those advertisement brochures. Most of them (especially the maps) contain ads for discounted tours and meals.
Book Tours Together
Booking tours together can save you between 10-20% off the listed prices. Heading into a tourist agency and offering to book a lot of tours from them will make them more amicable to lowering the price. Whenever I am going to book a tour, I always ask if there is a discount for a single tour, booking tours together, or multiple people. Agencies won’t tell you about them right away but if they know it will get the sale, they will give in. Negotiate and play hard ball.