Travel Easy - How to save money on entertainment
When you want to save money on Fun, start here!
Most Expensive -> Less Expensive
The most costly entertainment items are things like theme parks, luxury full-day tours, private tours, Broadway musicals, and popular tourist attractions. A good place to check prices for all types of activities is the isango! website. To cut costs, try going in the off-season. Often the prices fluctuate throughout the year with lower prices during the less touristy times. If you're not able to travel outside of peak times, look for package deals (Click here to use our links for savings in Orlando). If you're a student, use that to your advantage! There are many discounts for students at museums, theatres, and even tours. For things like private tours, try to split the cost with friends or people you meet along the way. When we were in Venice, we split a gondola ride experience with two other travelers we met at our Airbnb which made it much more affordable! Additionally, some tour operators - like TourRadar - may offer deals that you would have a hard time beating even if you did all the leg work yourself, although you may occasionally have to settle for 4-star, instead of 5-star, quality pampering.
Expensive -> More Affordable
Half-day tours, City Passes, Dinner shows, etc. are the next priciest types of entertainment. "Get the insert-city-here City Pass! It'll save you tons of money!" - is not the advice we would give. City passes are only a great value if the places included in the pass were already on your must-do list. Tours in general can be pricey, but look for self-guided tours or local apps with audio guides to cut down on costs. You can also use groupon-type sites to look for deals on tours, shows, and activities. We used groupon to get half-off a jet-ski experience around Bay Lake in Orlando. If you purchase a groupon through ebates, you can also earn 3-6% cash back (Click here and you can also get $10 off your first purchase through ebates).
Affordable -> Exceptionally Affordable
For things like local attractions, botanical gardens, and 1-3 hour tours, there may be 2-for-1 deals available. The ones we found in the UK required the use of the train system, but you're able to use the same train tickets for multiple 2-for-1 deals on the same day. If you're traveling solo, some attractions offer discounts if you purchase your ticket in advance rather than on-site. Note that while digital tickets or showing a PDF on your smartphone is becoming more widely accepted, there are times when you may need to print out physical copies of your voucher.
If you're interested in theatre, local plays and musicals are often much more affordable and you can help support the arts community in the area you're visiting. Universities often have reasonably priced plays or shows, and some will have choir or orchestra performances as well.
Some cities have pay-as-you-like tours. They are usually advertised as "free" but you're expected to tip the guide a fair amount. There are museums and cathedrals with pay-as-you-like entry too. Sign up for local email newsletters as they may have offers from time to time. When Jenny was living in Japan, she went on a couple of tours with local guides that just wanted feedback on their English language tours. She had to pay for her meal, but the transportation and informative guide was free.
We've found that in many major European cities that the popular museums, cathedrals, and art galleries often have free admission one Sunday a month. The lines to get in can get long on those free days, but it's a great way to stay on budget when you're traveling long-term. Click here to see all the attractions we visited in Florence on a free-admission Sunday.
Need more free ideas? Go on a hike. Wander around a new city and people watch. Go to a beach or lake. If you're in a city, enjoy the street musicians and performers. The medina in Marrakech was a fascinating place to wander in the evening, just be aware that you will be expected/very highly encouraged to pay if you take photos or video of the entertainment.
General money saving tips on entertainment
Prioritize your must-see/must-do list. Personalize it to you. Don't choose somewhere just because everyone you know tells you that "you HAVE to go there!".
Set your budget BEFORE you go. If you make your must-do list and all the things you want to do can't fit into your budget, skip some things and save them for a different trip.
Remember to set aside some of your budget for tips. If you take a lot of tours the tips can add up quickly and put you over budget.
Contact us! We are affiliated with various travel related companies and may be able to help find you a deal. We love helping our readers save money while traveling!