If you are heading off on a city break this summer you might consider buying one of the many City pass cards before you go.
This post will help you work out if they are a good deal, where you can go and the pro's and cons of them.
What are they?
A standard city pass allows visitors to pay a one off flat fee upfront for a certain amount of days. The pass is loaded with free admission to various attractions and in some cases can include transport in the package too. Certain types of passes include the classic city hop-on-hop-off bus tour around the city and some passes even entitle the visitor to skip the large queues that are at some attractions.
In my opinion the passes are great if you are visiting a city for the first time, and if you are certain you want to hit the "big" places in town then you should probably look into buying a pass.
You can skip huge lines - this is great if you are short of time. Standing in line at the Louvre, Paris can be intense and turn your mood foul. I used the Paris pass and was inside within five minutes.
You will see things you might not have planned to see because they are included in the pass.
The ordering process can be done before you set off, meaning you can have the pass sent through the post before you jet off.
Planning can be made easier, if you are short on time then you can plan around which attractions you want to see. The passes usually come with a booklet all about the different museums and attractions allowing you some background knowledge before you visit.
You can make some significant savings with some passes.
It allows for more budget control, if you have spent the money on the pass prior to departure then you can use the rest of your money for other things.
The passes are limited to a set amount of days, so as soon as you validate the pass the clock is ticking.
You can find yourself running around the city in order to get the most of your pass and this is not the most relaxing way to see the city.
You are less likely to have spontaneous visits to other places that are not on the pass list. If you do decide to leave the pass for the day then you will begin to feel guilty for avoiding all the pre paid destinations.
If you don't use it a considerable amount whilst you are there, you could end up losing money.
You might feel obliged to see certain places that the pass includes.
I've compiled a list of 6 passes in this blog that you can buy around the world.
For a full list of city passes and country passes please look at the end of this post.
Vatican and Rome Card
This card includes free entry to the Vatican City and all the museums, historic buildings and tours. Furthermore the card allows entry into Rome's most famous attractions including the Coliseum, the Roman Forum and the Sistine Chapel.
The card also has discounted entry into a further 30 popular sites and you can see them all across the city thanks to the free transport included. The pass also has the fast track code which allows you to skip queues at attractions.
Best part: Free hop-on-hop-off bus tour which is valid for three days.
Validity: The card is valid for 3 days.
Where to buy: Online here or at various locations and airports across Rome.
Cost: £113 for an adult. £80 for a child.
Worth it: Yes, if you were to visit the Vatican, Coliseum and the Roman Forum and ride the tour bus you would spend £113 at least.
Dubai City Pass
Dubai tourism board launched this pass last month and includes 33 of the city's top attractions.
The Dubai Pass has two different packages to choose from.
The Unlimited pass is valid for three days and gives you unlimited access to every attraction. The Select pass is valid for seven days and you choose one attraction from three separate pools allowing you to mix and match attractions.
Some attractions include Legoland Dubai, the top of the Burj Khalifa, Wild Wadi Waterpark, a cruise around the famous Palm Jumeriah and the iFly indoor skydiving centre.
Best part: Desert Safari with dinner under the stars.
Validity: Three days or seven days.
Where to buy: Online here or in Dubai at 5 pick up locations across the city.
Cost: Dubai Select Adult £85.00 Child £82.00
Dubai Unlimited Adult £191 Child £180.
Worth it: Yes, you could easily spend £80 a day in Dubai and over three days you would make a saving of 60% if you were to get the card. The pass has cultural attractions too, not just theme parks but it's great for family trips too. The pass also includes a full colour guide book and a handy map.
The London Pass
This pass includes free access to 60+ attractions around London. Some attractions include The Shard, Tower of London, Westminister Abbey, Thames river cruises, Kensington Palace, London Zoo and Churchill War Rooms. The pass also includes tours of Football stadiums (Arsenal and Chelsea), a bicycle tour, Beefeater Gin distillery tour and the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.
The pass has a mix of museums, historic buildings, gardens and tours. The card also has special offers such as free guidebooks and audio guides in certain places and discounts in some restaurants and shops.
Best Part: Entrance and free return journey to Windsor Castle. Journey from London Paddington.
Validity: Days range from 1-6 days.
Where to buy: Online here and they also ship to 60 different countries worldwide.
Cost: 1 day Adult £69.00 Child £49.00
3 days Adult £111.00 Child £82.00
6 days Adult £144.00 Child £111.00.
Worth it: Absolutely! If you are visiting London for the first time and want to hit up the classic tourist sites then this card is well worth the money. London is not a cheap city and you make considerable savings with this card. If you have time and money to spend 6 days in London then the is the best option. The only thing to bear in mind is that the card does not include bus or tube transport.
The Dublin pass allows visitors access to over 30 top attractions, a 24 hour ticket on the hop-on-hop-off bus, and discounts at an extra 20 venues across the city. Entrance into the well known Guinness Storehouse, the Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle and St. Patrick's Cathedral is included. The pass gives you VIP privileges so you can fast track the lines at many of the sites. The Dublin pass also has an app and handy guidebook included.
Best Part: Entrance into the Teelings Whiskey Distillery tour which includes free tastings.
The pass also has a 100% money back guarantee if you don't use the pass within 30 days of purchase.
Validity: Between 1, 2, 3 and 5 days.
Where to buy: Online here
Cost: 1 Day Adult £51.00 Child £29.00
3 Day Adult £82 Child £38.00
5 Day Adult £125.00 Child £47.00
If you calculate the entrance fees into a lot of the attractions, they can be quite cheap on their own. Apart from the Guinness Storehouse and the Distillery most attractions are sitting at the £7-9 mark.
Therefore if you want to get the pass, work out how many of the more expensive attractions you'd want to visit. Some of the attractions on the card are free entrance anyways, so be wary of that. The bottom line is if you want to hit up the alcohol based sites then this card is worth it for you.
Go Florida Card
Experience the best of Florida with this "Build your own pass".
Choose from a variety of attractions in multiple locations such as Orlando, Miami and Key West. If you are only visiting set areas you can buy the Go Miami or Go Orlando all inclusive pass on their own.
The Miami pass includes attractions like the hop-on-hop-off bus, the Miami Zoo, an Everglades and Alligator boat trip, the Kennedy Space centre and Miami Seaquarium.
The Orlando pass includes most things that aren't Disney related. Attractions such as Legoland Florida, Gatorland, Museum of Science, Jungle Island and Wonderworks - an indoor amusement park.
The Keys explorer pass includes most of the same Miami attractions but also full day bike rental on South Beach, Fort Lauderdale glass bottom boat trip, Paddle board rental and Parasailing water sports.
Best Part: The pass is valid for 30 days, and you can customise the attractions which fit into your visit. If you add three of more attractions on to the pass then the bigger a saving you will make.
Validity: Valid for 30 days and the pass can be purchased a year ahead of your visit.
Where to buy: Online here and you are instantly emailed your pass.
Cost: The build your own pass varies in price.
Miami 1 Day Adult pass is £58.00 Child £43.00
Miami 5 Day Adult pass is £148.00 Child £118.00
Orlando 2 Day Adult pass is £111.00 Child £96.00
Orlando 5 Day Adult pass is £148.00 Child £118.00
Most of the sites are based in and around the South of Florida and if you want to see different things away from the Disney theme parks then consider this pass. The passes are great if you are travelling with a family and on average you can make around a 20% saving.
Edinburgh Royal Ticket
If you are a Royal history fan then this is the ticket for you!
This ticket includes the Hop-on-hop-off bus on three different tour buses, fast track entrance into Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Yacht Britannia and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The bus tours are for unlimited travel over 48 hours.
Best part: You can skip the line, if visiting in the summer Edinburgh castle can have really long queues. The tour buses have three different tours to choose form, you could go on all three if you so desire!
Validity: 48 hours
Where to buy: Online at Edinburgh bus tours here or at Visit Britain online here.
Cost: Adult £55.00 Child £30.00 Student/Senior £48.00
Worth it: Yes you save money!
I've calculated all three entrance prices and one bus tour (Each bus tour is £15.00) the price to buy on their own is £68.00. Therefore if you want to see all three attractions then this is the pass for you. Edinburgh is relatively small and you can see all three attractions in one day if you are short on time.
I've only included a select few here and there are a huge variety to choose from (Look below for list). I feel that if you are visiting a city and are short for time but still want to visit the big attractions then you should look into a city pass. Just be smart about it and work out how many of the attractions would you visit on the pass.
Best one: London Pass = 10/10.
In my opinion the London Pass is ultimately the best value one I've come across.
Swiss Travel Pass (Country
Jordan Pass (Country)
Japan Rail Pass
Las Vegas Pass
New Orleans City Pass
The New York Pass
Chicago City Pass
San Fransico Pass
Venice City Pass