Is the New York Explorer Pass Worth It?

This post explains how to use the New York Explorer Pass to save money on popular tours and attractions and answer whether it’s worth the money or not.

 

 

Disclosure: We think you should consider our free tours, but we have also provided other options. While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The New York Explorer Pass is a service that allows you to pay one flat price for 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 different attractions.

It’s pretty straightforward. The more activities you choose, the more money you’ll potentially save.

Depending on which tours and attractions you choose, you should save somewhere around 30% off of retail prices, though you could potentially save up to as much as 50%.

Some of the attractions included with the Explorer Pass include skip-the-line privileges, allowing you to avoid potentially long waits in a ticket line.


Listen to tour guides Lori and Katherine discuss these passes on an episode of our NYC Travel Tips podcast.

 
This podcast offers bite-sized audio clips with tips on how to plan your trip to NYC. You can get our podcasts on Apple, Google, or wherever you get your podcasts.


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Here is a breakdown of how much you can expect to pay per activity with each level of this tourist pass.New York City Explorer Pass

The numbers in red are the average price per attraction/tour for each type of pass.

These prices are as of October 2019. Be sure to check their website to confirm prices. (TIP – they often offer deals)

  • 3 Attraction Pass- $94 for adults and $70 for children
    • [$31.30/attraction/adult and $23.30/attraction/child]
  • 4 Attraction Pass- $132 for adults and $95 for children
    • [$33/attraction/adult and $23.75/attraction/child]
  • 5 Attraction Pass- $156 for adults and $117 for children
    • [$31.20/attraction/adult and $23.40/attraction/child]
  • 7 Attraction Pass- $212 for adults and $158 for children
    • [$30.30/attraction/adult and $22.60/attraction/child]
  • 10 Attraction Pass- $270 for adults and $200 for children
    • [$27/attraction/adult and $20/attraction/child]

Although this service is a great way to save money on popular activities, some of the 90+ attractions included may actually be cheaper without the pass.


How does it compare to other tourist passes?

When it comes to tourist attraction discount passes, the Explorer Pass, and its competitor, the Sightseeing Flex Pass, are in the middle ground.

This is a great option if you know that you want to see at least 3 popular tours and attractions, but you don’t want to feel like you are in a rush.

For tour pass calculator click here.

 

 

In comparison, an all-inclusive pass requires you to pay per day (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 10 days) for dozens of attractions.

This type of pass has even more savings potential than the Explorer Pass, but you will need to keep busy to realize these savings.

It’s also the riskiest type of pass as you could end up losing money if you don’t use it correctly

The other type of pass is called a “Build Your Own Pass“, which allows you to save 20% on as few as 2 items. It’s the least risky type of pass but has the lowest savings potential.

Most passes include a similar list of popular items, but there are significant differences. Read our section on whether the Explorer Pass is worth the money.

We have a whole post dedicated to the differences of all available tourist attraction passes available in NYC.


How long is The Explorer Pass valid?

Another advantage of the Explorer Pass is that it is valid for a total of 30 days. If you’re planning to visit NYC for a week or more, then this is an excellent benefit to consider which isn’t included in other passes.

While some of the tours they offer may require reservations, you’ll have pretty much an entire month to use the pass, so there shouldn’t be too many problems with that.


Are there any limitations?

Each location you choose to visit will count as one of the attractions on your pass – there are no multiple entries allowed.

There’s no risk in getting the New York Explorer Pass. Even if you decide not to use it, you can get a full refund for non-activated passes at any time within the first 30 days of purchase.

 


Back to top


 

TOP ATTRACTIONS NYC EXPLORER PASS

Although there are more than 90 different activities included with the New York Explorer Pass, some of them are undoubtedly better than others. 

In this section, we’ll provide a list of the most popular attractions that give you the best bang for your buck, ensuring you’ll receive the biggest possible discount.

All prices are current as of October 2019.

As you can see, all of these attractions are typically much more expensive when you purchase individual tickets. 

Even if you’re only interested in a few of these activities, it may still be worth picking up the Explorer Pass for the discount.

Here are a few more attractions you may want to consider. 

Some of these attractions could be cheaper with other tourist passes/deals. There may also be some price changes over time, but in most cases that will only increase the discount. 

If you want to get the best possible deal, please make sure to read our full post covering New York tourist passes and compare each service.

 


Back to Top


 

IS THE EXPLORER PASS WORTH IT?

As a reminder, when using the Explorer Pass, the lowest price you can expect to pay per attraction is $27 for adults and $20 for children (unless they are running special discounts). 

It will become quickly obvious that there are some tours and attractions included in the Explorer Pass that simply won’t be worth it and you will likely be better off paying for them separately.

Nevertheless, some might feel that the convenience of the pass makes it worthwhile to spend a little extra on certain services, and this is what the tourist pass companies are banking on.

That said, the following attractions are much cheaper on their own or through other discount services, so you’d be better off not using the New York Explorer Pass for admission to these locations.


Other Factors to Consider

In addition to these activities, it’s also worth noting that there are many walking tours included with the Explorer Pass. 

We offer several pay-what-you-wish New York walking tours which are an excellent alternative that won’t cost as much, so it doesn’t make any sense to use the pass for these services.

 

 

You may also want to keep in mind that the New York Explorer Pass only provides general admission for a majority of the attractions included. 

Some attractions offer premium experiences that you will need to pay additional for.

Several of the locations featured on this pass offer their own discounts for seniors, students, and active-duty military.

There are also quite a few attractions that offer free or very cheap tickets for children, so it will be important to consider where you want to go and what they charge for kids before purchasing a pass for your young ones.

 


Back to Top


RELATED POSTS

 

About the author

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others.

She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.