So by reading this board I just learned about the days out website for London offering twoforone passes to attractions if you have a national rail ticket. It made me wonder what other websites are out there listing travel deals and info to incentivize tourists to visit their country? I'm looking for anywhere in Europe! Please let me know which sites you have found that sometimes post promotions and deals. I want to start monitoring them for our trip next fall. Thanks!!!
I haven't found one (or even a few) sites that list everything. Most of the discounts I've found are specific to a tourist sight or a town. It's easier if you narrow it down to where you will be and then ask around. Many cities have some kind of pass for multiple sights, and some of them include local transportation. Overall, the savings are a minute percentage of my travel expenses. Most of my money goes to airfare, lodging and meals. The only big savings I've found are on train tickets if you purchase 60-120 days in advance (usually 2-4 months) and the tickets are non-refundable and often non-exchangeable. Also, more and more hotels are offering a discount on prepaid reservations (no cancellation or changes allowed).
I agree with everything Chani said. In addition, I'd add to be wary of "deals" that are heavily promoted by a tourist office, as these very tremendously. For instance, the Oslo Card, Stockholm Card, and Copenhagen Card can all save a lot of money (depending, of course, on your itinerary). But Rick Steves himself goes to great pains to point out that the Bergen Card is becoming a worse deal every year. Similarly, the Paris Museum Pass can save money if you're seeing a lot of monuments and museums. But the Paris Pass and Paris Visite Pass are a rip-off for most people. Since they all sound similar, it's easy to get confused and buy the wrong one - or to be bamboozled by the long lists of "covered" items, forgetting that you only have 24 hours in a day. As Chani said, I've never found a deal that made me choose a country or city. Well, one partial exception. I was going to Stockholm anyway, but very worried about the costs. Rick mentioned the Stockholm a la Carte, where you get a hotel and a pass good for transit and most sights (weekends and summer). This meant that Stockholm was not only not expensive, but was actually cheaper than many other places I've been. I spent $100 a day for a single room in a central hotel, plus sightseeing and transit; I've spend much more in many "cheaper" cities. And, as Chani said, if you know where you want to go, start looking at books (RS and others), as well travel boards such as this one, Fodors, TripAdvisor, etc. Then, do your own math to see if a proposed deal is a good one for you. Then, if you have questions about a deal, ask. And yes, the bargain that is of the most use to the most people is booking train tickets on-line in advance. On my last trip to Germany, the money we saved on our train tickets (€49) more than made up for the money we lost on our Dresden Cards (€20).