If you plan to do a lot of activities while in a city or area Cards / Passes can be a great value and save you money but, also very convenient. For a flat fee you can obtain some very nice benefits by purchasing a Travelers Card or City Pass.
Attractions may include free or discounted entry to museums, galleries, monuments, castles, palaces, historic homes, etc. Remember some cities like London have no entry fees for many of their museums so knowing what you are going to see comes into play
Using many of these passes also allows you to skip the waiting lines and immediately enter into these attractions. Popular attractions can have wait lines that could take an hour or longer before one can enter.
Many passes also incorporate public transportation passes that allow you use of the metros, buses, trams, funiculars and aerial at no cost. Some include river cruises and free use of Hop On Hop Off Buses. Use of free public transit may be limited to a radius of transit zones around the city.
Various designated shops, restaurants and services offer discounts and deals on purchases and with the Card / Pass. Great for shopping and eating.
FREE MAPS & GUIDE BOOKLETS
Many Cards / Passes include these helpful aides at no charge when you purchase the card or pass. This information can be extremely helpful in your pre-planning of time and what to see.
Find a Card or Pass that will cover your visiting time in a City. Cards can be purchased for one day to several and in some cases one week.
What you want to see and do while visiting a city or area will depend on whether purchasing a card will save you time and money. Always look at the benefits and determine if you’ll be able to take advantage of the offerings.
How the Cards Work
The majority of cards are sold in 24 hour increments so you can buy cards that last 24 / 36 / 72 hrs and some even more. You are not required to start on any particular day as the card is activated upon your first use, whatever time that may be. Card will then expire on at end of the last day of the purchased period. A few are sold with credits, you then redeem those credits for use at attractions. Once all the credits are used the card will become unusable. A few others have several levels of benefits you can purchase from. The card with the most benefits will obviously cost more.
Almost all of these cards can be purchased online and sometimes the same card may be offered through multiple providers. In larger cities you will have a choice of several different types of cards from different companies. Services like transportation may be offered through one card company but, not another. Always check each cards benefits closely, know exactly what the card’s values are and what they’re applicable on
You may also purchase these when you arrive at airports, train stations, local tourism offices, independent tour companies and various retail locations. Some cards have e-tickets features for easier use. Some cards are now offering apps for use on your smart phones which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.