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 April 22, 2014  Posted by  Affiliate, Features, Travel
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Two years ago, my family and I took a weekend road trip to see Philadelphia. In doing my research to find kid-friendly attractions, I came across CityPASS, a discount program that hand picks tourist spots and offers tickets at deep discounts. It was convenient, saved us money, and we had a wonderful time.

Recently, I had the chance to speak with Deborah Wakefield, vice president of communications and public relations at CityPASS, to learn more about the program, which is offered in 11 locations, its newest one being Tampa Bay, launching this May.

Whether you’re looking to hit top attractions in a nearby city during a “staycation,” head out on a road trip, or see the sights at your leisure during a longer getaway, here’s what CityPASS could offer you.

You’ll save money if you want to act like a tourist. CityPASS is a convenient, less expensive way to see the top sites in any of its destinations, says Wakefield. Each ticket package can save travelers 40-50% off the cost of buying individual tickets. If you prefer to go off the beaten path, however, this is probably not the program for you since only the most popular attractions are included.

CityPASS travelers can skip the main entrance ticket lines on some attractions. If that’s not a reason to look into CityPASS, I don’t know what is. Besides the fact that waiting in line is boring, your vacation time is valuable. “For some people that time savings is even more important than the money savings. Especially when traveling with little kids who can get impatient and antsy,” says Wakefield.

It’s a great option for planners or for last-minute trip makers. For those who like to have their tickets in hand, you can purchase CityPASS through the website; the cost is the same whether you buy online or not. Or, CityPASS is available for purchase at all of the attractions featured in the program. Either way, CityPASS is designed to make sure you won’t feel rushed, says Wakefield. “Once you activate your pass by using the first ticket, you have nine days to use all of the remaining tickets (or 14 days in Southern California). We wanted people to be able to go to the Met or Empire State Building and spend a whole afternoon if they wanted,” she says. You can visit all of the locations over a long weekend, or spread them out over a longer week so there’s time to do other things as well.

Shared tickets give you some choice of attractions. In Philadelphia, for instance, one ticket offered the option to check out Eastern State Penitentiary or the Please Touch Museum. Since I have two small children, we went with the family friendly museum. For other cities that have an option ticket, there is usually one choice to accommodate adults traveling alone, and another for those with children, says Wakefield.

Bonus savings included, too. Don’t forget to check in the back of your CityPASS booklet for added value coupons or vouchers. In New York, for instance, there’s a coupon for 15% off a purchase at Bloomingdale’s. Or, if you wanted to do visit both the Guggenheim and the Top of the Rock (you get to pick from those two attractions with CityPASS), there’s a coupon for whichever one you didn’t choose.

For more information on cities and pricing, check out CityPASS.

Dawn Papandrea

Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, parenting, and women's lifestyle topics. She's been a journalist for nearly 15 years, doing everything from editing to writing to blogging to social media management. Her work has appeared in WomansDay.com, Family Circle, CreditCards.com, Bankrate.com, Parents, iVillage.com, The Huffington Post, and other national publications. She lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband and two sons. You can read her personal blog at www.dawnpapandrea.com/blog, or follow her on Twitter: @dawnpapandrea.

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