Prior to our trip, I had our kids research what main attractions they’d like to visit. After gathering their top picks, the first search brought up sightseeing passes for almost all our destinations. These popular offerings provide access to hundreds of well- and lesser known venues as well as hop-on, hop-off bus services.
London Pass – We Came, We Saw and Almost Conquered
I purchased the London Pass on our first day in order to best map out attraction options. Going with the two day pass offered the best chance of getting full value for our $550+ expense !
We were off to a good start with a cruise down the River Thames giving us great views of iconic landmarks. Next, was a fun, self-guided tour of the Tower of London.
Everything was running smooth with 2 attractions down and only 4 more left to recoup our investment! However, it all went down hill from there. Due to the day and timing, we missed the open hours for two other venues. Then, an unscheduled diversion to some clothing shops completely derailed our plans making the rest of the day a bust. We made ground on day 2 visiting 3 more sites, but ultimately fell short of our goal by one.
Some advice to help you get your money’s worth
While the experience was far from a bust, here are some tips to ensure you get the full value out of your sightseeing pass:
- Map out your schedule before purchasing a pass – Our ambition to see as many sites as possible doesn’t often match the reality of time. Plan on visiting no more than 3-4 venues per day.
- Confirm venue’s open hours – Nothing stings like the feeling of seeing the “Closed Today” sign on the site you dreamed of visiting for years. (Cue flashback of me with a huge, locked gate standing between me and the Sistine Chapel.) Opening hours vary especially during high and low peak tourist seasons so monitor closely.
- Compare purchasing tickets direct versus a pass – Sightseeing passes don’t offer much more than 10% off purchasing direct. But carrying one universal ticket to entry as well as some skip-the-line benefits make the pass an attractive option. However, if you don’t visit at least 3-4 venues a day with the pass then purchasing tickets direct is a better choice.
Purchasing a sightseeing pass can be a great option for your next trip. Just make sure to plan ahead so you reap all the benefits it has to offer and save a little cash at the same time!