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Are European City Passes Worth Buying?

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Many of the most popular cities in Europe offer special city passes that claim to save you a bundle on tourist attraction of all kinds.

Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin, London, Denmark and Barcelona all offer one kind or another that you pay for once for each person in your group and then get free or discounted entry to a number of attractions. Some even come with discounts for restaurants and tourist shops. But whether or not they are worth the dough depends on what kind of traveler you are.

Before investing in a city card like the London Pass or Berlin WelcomeCard, consider what attractions you are usually drawn to. If you tend to spend most of your time exploring the great outdoors or wandering around museums, those places are usually free of charge and a city pass won’t do you much good. On the other hand, if you fill your days jumping from castles to botanical gardens to cathedrals to boat tours to aquariums, the investment might prove to be worth it.

So how do you tell whether or not to place the order? Spend a little time researching. Online or in a guidebook, make a list of the attractions and activities that interest you and make sure to include how much each of them will cost per person (you can also take into account whether there are additional coupons or savings for those attractions elsewhere). Once you have a list of must-dos and how much they’ll cost, look at the price of the city card you are considering and if any or all of those attractions are included. If they are and the card is significantly cheaper, then go for it! If only half of your list is covered, forget about it and just pay for each attraction as you go.

Sure it takes a little extra research and planning time, but it will be worth it not to wonder if you got the best deal or if you’re wasting you’re money. Besides, you can often find discounts like buy-one-get-ones or half-off tickets online or on tourist materials once you arrive at your destination.

Happy travels and before you go check out what we got up to in London while on a tight budget!