My husband and I have lived in Seattle for over a year, but still haven’t seen many of the popular tourist destinations, like the Space Needle, the EMP Museum and the Pacific Science Center. This weekend, we’re finally taking the time to take in five major venues, all while saving more than $60 per person on tickets. How are we doing it? CityPASS.
Major cities are popular vacation destinations with many families, since there is always so much to see and do – museums, zoos, aquariums, unique architecture, historical monuments, and, of course: nearby amusement parks. In the effort to take it all in, you’re likely to spend well over $100 just in tickets, maybe even per person. This is where CityPASS — a service that “packages” 5 to 6 of the most popular venues in 12 major cities – can save your family a ton of money on vacation. Here are the current destinations:
- New York City
- Southern California
- Tampa Bay
- San Francisco
How It Works
When you purchase a CityPASS booklet from their website or any of the participating venues, the tickets are good for nine days, and can be used in any order. Whether you take them in over a few days or return two weekends in a row, this gives you plenty of time to fully enjoy each attraction.
Prices vary from cheaper packages, like Toronto, to the more expensive Southern California (which includes Disneyland), but all of them represent around 50% savings compared to purchasing individual tickets for each attraction. The money you save on tickets can be applied to other trip-related expenses like fuel, meals, hotel costs and souvenirs (or just stashed in your savings account).
Pros and Cons
- Approval Rates. More than one million travelers use City Pass every year, with a 97% approval rating. You’re free to look up reviews, but those numbers speak for themselves.
- Refunds. While you can’t get a partial refund for venues you didn’t want to visit or didn’t have time to, you can get a complete refund or exchange on unused ticket books for up to a year after the purchase date. This makes it a great gift for hard-to-buy-for family members, since they can always return it if they don’t end up using it.
- Family owned/operated. When you use CityPASS, you’re benefiting a family-owned business based out of Idaho, not a corporate machine. That’s a plus in my book.
What Are Your Vacation Plans?
While you shouldn’t go out of your way to use CityPASS just because it represents savings (it’s still a vacation expense, after all), it might be the answer to a slightly more affordable family vacation in a direction you were already headed. I only wish I’d known about it sooner so those trips to places like Chicago and Toronto might have been less expensive.
What are your vacation plans? Do they involve one of these major cities, and will you consider using CityPASS to make it more affordable?