Family Vacation Deals


There are some family vacation deals out there that are a no brainer to take advantage of while on the road with kids. The cost of tourist attractions and theme parks can add up quickly for families. One key element for savings to be worthwhile, however, is ease-of-use. Meaning, you don’t need to spend hours to get the discounts since that negates the value entirely.

I was approached by Smart Destinations about their Go City Card a few weeks ago. You buy this electronic card (not tickets) for one of the destinations they cover and it allows you to access the attractions included in their program for free. After looking through their list of included activities for the destinations they cover, at a high level it seems like the big attractions you’d want to experience are part of their program. I like that you don’t have to commit to one attraction or another on specific days. That kind of flexibility for families — especially those that like to wait and see what we feel like doing while on vacation vs. committing to a schedule ahead of time — is key.

Smart Destinations provided a sample for us to try and we gave it to one of our clients visiting San Diego with kids last weekend. The card got them into the San Diego Zoo for free, and they could have used it for free admission to Legoland and SeaWorld too.

Of course, you have to buy the card so attractions aren’t really free, but the savings is real. Let’s say you are planning to spend 3 days in San Diego with 2 adults and 2 children and you plan to hit SeaWorld, Legoland, and the San Diego Zoo. The total cost of admission to those attractions without the Go City Card would be $632.  Meanwhile, the cost of 3-Day Go City Cards for a family of 4 is $588.  You save $44.

Although the amount isn’t life changing, I love savings like this — literally money saved with practically zero work. It’s like finding cash under your pillow.

The company also pitched me on the fact that the cards give you preferential access to some attractions without waiting in line and discounts at some restaurants and shops. We didn’t test that so we can’t comment, but clearly avoiding lines is very attractive.

You can buy 1, 3, 5, or 7-day passes. In addition to San Diego, they cover Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maui, Miami, New York City, Orlando, Oahu, Seattle, and Toronto. Definitely worth checking out if you’re heading to any of these cities.

Note, once cards are purchased they are valid through the end of 2011.

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United States family travel

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  • I have used this in Boston on two occasions and in Chicago. They are worth the money. I might suggest you get it early check out the guide book that comes with the card. Map out want you want to do first so you can get the max out of the card. It was very handy and easy to use. A lot of time you got to bypass the long lines. Great with antsy children. I am planning on being in San Diego this summer and the Go Card was the first place I look at for things to do there.

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