Travelling on a Budget Series - Part 3 - Entertainment/Park Tickets/Tours
I've given you some tips on how to save money on your accommodations (Part 1 - http://www.overtiredmama.com/2019/01/travelling-on-budget-series-part-1.html) and how to save money on your travel (Part 2 - http://www.overtiredmama.com/2019/01/travelling-on-budget-series-part-2.html), so next, we are going to cover "activities" that you may do on your vacation.
This post was a little more difficult to put together, as not everyone is interested in the same types of activities, so hopefully I've covered a wide enough range that you may find some information that would apply to your vacation.
Amusement Park Tickets
The discounts you can get on amusement park tickets can vary from park-to-park. That may seem obvious, but, just as an example, it's very rare to get substantial disounts on Walt Disney World tickets. There are a few exceptions - if you are a resident of Florida, Disney usually offers "Florida Resident Offers" that offer discounts if you have a permanent address in Florida. They also sometimes offer discounts on multi-day tickets to Canadians.
There are a few sites available to give you discounts on some of the major Florida parks. I've personally used KGS Tickets and Undercover Tourist. I've had good success with both sites, but the advantage to Undercover Tourist is that they offer free shipping or e-tickets for their tickets. I have found that for 1 day tickets to both Universal Parks and the Disney parks, you are better off buying directly from the source, as discount sites rarely offer discounts on one day tickets.
If you are going through a travel agent, or even with some airlines or travel sites, you can sometimes get offered discount tickets. If you are offered a discount in that way, just make sure it's "truly" a discount. If you are buying airfare and they offer a ticket discount if you "bundle" with your flight.... are you actually able to get that flight cheaper somewhere else? Sometimes sites will actually charge more for a flight or hotel to make up for the "discount" they are offering on a ticket, so make sure you do your research.
Don't count out sites like "Groupon" for discounts - sometimes you can get a discount on that site as well, and if you are registered for a site like Ebates, you can get cash back on your purchase.
I will mention Groupon again for this category because you can get some good discounts for tour tickets.
Expedia and TripAdvisor are good sources to find out what types of tours are available in the area you are travelling. After you find tours that interest you, double check with the tour provider directly before you book, as sometimes it's cheaper to get the tours directly through the operator.
My personal favourite option for tours are "Hop On Hop Off" bus tours. These types of tours are available in many major cities. The reason I like this option is because you get a bit of a guided tour, but you also have the option to get off at areas that you think might be particularly interesting to you. Just be sure that you pay attention to the tour schedule so you don't miss your last "hop on" opportunity to get back to your original stop (particularly if you are parked there or if it is close to your accommodations).
Museums, Aquariums, and other Attractions
This seems like repetition, but again... Groupon! I've found some great options there.
Similar to park tickets, discounts may vary. If the museum, park or historic site is offered by a municipal, provincial/state, or federal department, chances are slim that you will actually get a discount aside form maybe a family or group rate. Again, there may be exceptions to this "rule", but that is my experience more often than not.
You can sometimes find discounts by bundling a number of tickets/tours, etc together. For example - some cities offer "Go Cards". These cards can be expensive, but if you are planning to visit multiple parks/attractions and do tours, it may be worth your investment. Just as an Example, the "Go San Diego Card" offers options to buy the card from 1 to 7 days, within the time frame outlined on your card purchase, you can access up to 39 attractions. The attractions include Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Knott's Berry Farm, museum and gallery tours, kayak tours, and much more. You can visit as many of the attractions as you like as long as it's within the time frame on your card.
If you are staying at a hotel/resort that offers concierge service, it may be worth speaking with the concierge about what you're interested in. They are trained to help find you what you may be looking for. They can also often arrange for reservations, or get you discounts on tickets. As an example, when we stayed at Tahiti Resort in Las Vegas, our concierge gave us coupons for buy one/get one free tickets to various shows, discounts at restaurants, and even free tickets to a couple of shows.
The last thing I will cover, which I touched on in my accommodations post, are discounts/free items offered by time shares. Many time shares will offer you, discounts on accommodations, free meals, park tickets, or free tickets to Broadway shows, just for attending a time share presentation. This sounds like a great deal, right? Well... it depends. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- What is the time requirement? Some presentations are 90 minutes, others are half a day. How much of your precious vacation time are you willing to give up for the sake of a discount or free ticket?
- These are highly skilled sales people, Time shares are very good at finding extremely skilled sales people. Many of these sales people are trained not to take no for an answer - so if you are not interested or can't afford a time share, you need to be firm. My own husband was very convinced following a presentation that it was a great option for us. It was not. So be careful!
- Some of the presentations require you to do a credit check before you participate in the presentation - this can range from showing them proof of a credit card, to a full fledged credit application. A flash of a card is one thing, but do you want a company taking down your credit card number, and other financial information about you?
So those are a few tips for you. Feel free to send me any questions, or chat with me about your own tips! Leave your thoughts in the comment section or connect with me on social media!