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Which is the best New York pass for me?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

There is no standard answer to the question which New York pass should I choose from the 5 passes available, because the decision on which New York pass to buy is based on two criteria:

  • how many days are you spending in New York ?

  • how many attactions (and which) do you want to visit?

In case you do not have time to read the comparison that follows below, or you just had enough trying to make sense of all these passes, I will start with the recommendations for several scenarios, to help with your decision (use the blue links below to go directly to the official pages):

  • 3 - 4 day trip with 5 attractions: the FreeStyle Pass. The price is more or less the same as the Explorer Pass and the FLEX pass, but it includes 3 days unlimited bus tour and you can choose OWO.

  • 5 - 6 day trip with 10 attractions: the FLEX pass. It's about $50 cheaper than the Explorer Pass and you can also choose OWO as one of the attractions and the GoAirlink transfer from the hotel to the airport at departure.

  • 7 - 10 day trip: the unlimited Sightseeing pass. At an average cost of $32 per day you will very easily get much more value from enjoying all those New York attractions each day.

For those who had the patience and want more info, below it's a New York pass comparison between all the 5 New York passes available on the market:

Pass name / logo Main features and how does it stand out from the others?

New York City pass comparison The SightseeingPass comes in two options: FLEX and unlimited.

The FLEX pass option involves choosing a set number of attractions: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10. You have 7 days to take advantage of the attractions from the moment you used the pass for the first time. You have one year from purchase to start using the pass.

An adult FLEX pass costs around $120 for 5 attractions.
Current pricing is available here.

The unlimited option is very similar to the New York Pass described next, only that it's slightly cheaper.

Moreover, if you are planning to choose an unlimited pass, the SightseeingPass is better than the New York Pass, because:

- the Hop On Hop Off bus tickets are valid for the entire duration of the pass and not just for 24 hours as for the FLEX pass or the New York Pass below
- it includes $15 and $25 vouchers for discounts at several restaurants
- includes the transfer from the hotel to the airport with GoAirlink, so there's another $20 value
- includes the Eat & Play Card which gives discounts to many restaurants
- the only unlimited pass with One World Observatory (OWO) and National Geographic Encounter’s Ocean Odyssey.

Current pricing is available here.

Full list of attractions is available here.
Best New York Pass Unlimited number of attractions valid for a set number of days which you choose when purchasing the pass (1, 2, 3, 5, 7 or 10 consecutive days).

To test if it's worth spending more money on this unlimited attraction pass, you can make a simple calculation: divide the price of the pass by the number of days you plan to use for. Now compare this average daily amount with the sum of the prices "at the door" for the attractions you plan to do to see if you save money.

This pass is suitable for those that spend at least 7, but preferably 10 days in New York. For shorter stays it could be suitable only for people with a lot of energy to do so many attractions and a lot of accurate planning to "recover the investment".

A 5-day pass for an adult is $280, on average.

Current pricing is available here.

Full list of attractions is available here.
Significantly bigger number of attractions than the FreeStyle Pass, its closest competitor. Additions with the Explorer Pass are: The Ride, Woodbury Bus Round Trip, Food on Foot Tours, Luna Park at Coney Island, Daytime Statue Sails, Sopranos Sites Bus Tour, Legoland Discovery Center, etc.

Choose a set number of attractions: 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10. You have 30 days to take advantage of the attractions.

You will get a full refund within one year after purchase if plans change and you do not use the passes.

Adult passes for 5 attractions cost around $120.

Current official pricing is available here. Quite often you find it cheaper when bought from Isango.

Full list of attractions is available here.
Free 3-day all around unlimited Hop-on Hop-Off Bus + Night Tour.
Free CitySightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Ferry Ticket.

Among attractions available are One World Observatory (OWO) and National Geographic Encounter’s Ocean Odyssey.

You have one year from purchase to use the pass. At purchase you will input an estimated date of arrival in New York - this is only indicative and the pass can be used one year from the online purchase.

Once you picked-up the pass in New York, you have 3 consecutive days for the bus tours and 14 days to take advantage of the number of attractions selected (3, 5 or 7 attractions).

Prices vary depending on whether there is a promotion or not. On average, an adult pays about $120 for the 3 attractions ticket (which is similar to competing passes with 5 attractions because of the free bus and ferry tickets).

Current pricing is available here.

Full list of attractions here.
New York City PASS comparison No value for money whatsoever.

Includes only 6 attractions and most of them are museums. Valid for 9 days. No Hop On Hop Off bus, no guided tours.

And the price is still about $120 per adult.

We really hope that this post was useful in helping you decide which is the best New York pass for your holidays in the "Big Apple". Please share this article with those you think might be interested.


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