From free Uber rides to wedding planning, a tourism office should be the first stop for savings on your next vacation. Here are just some examples of perks you can get for free at tourism offices around the world.
The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County initiated a "cultural concierge" service to provide recommendations and exclusive access to travelers for cultural activities in the area. For example, when booking tickets for a show through the cultural concierge, travelers have the opportunity to be upgraded or arrange meet-and-greets with casts at no extra charge.
San Francisco Travel also offered a similar service during Super Bowl 50, putting together extensive itineraries, explorer maps, and recommendations for travelers as well as having open office hours to help with trip planning. These concierges wore custom created capes and LED-light top hats, making them easy to find around the city.
You can get one free ride with Uber in Dubai using code DTCMtourist through Dubai Tourism. Free trip to the airport anyone?
Park for free overnight through Visit Philly's Overnight Hotel Package. When you book the one- or two-night hotel package, your hotel parking is free.
Many tourism boards offer brochures and trip planning services, so it's always worth checking in with the information center during your travels. Here are some of the best tourism boards for trip planning.
- Tourism Victoria offers vacation guides, will book accommodation, make reservations, arrange transportation, and assist with tickets for attractions and tours.
- Meet Minneapolis, Convention & Visitors Association has a visitor services staff available through email, in person, and over the phone. They also have an online request form for visitor guides and maps.
- NYC Go has city specialists on hand as well as touch-screen kiosks for information on attractions, dining, and nightlife across the five boroughs.
- Calistoga Visitors Center in Napa Valley offer services to make reservations for restaurants and wine tastings, personalized itineraries, and lodging reservations.
While not free, almost every tourism board offers discounts at hotels, restaurants, attractions, and transportation that are worth checking out before your trip. Many tourism websites have a separate "Deals" section, and update these offers frequently.
Some of the best offers we've seen are two-for-one deals from Dubai Tourism, NYC Go's free section, Calistoga Visitor Center's two-for-one wine tasting offers, Nashville's Music City Total Access Pass, major discounts at Orlando theme parks and "day of rates" for hotels from Visit Orlando, and New Smyrna Beach Tourist Bureau's Gold Benefits of Volusia Card.
Visit Music City supports free live music venues across the Nashville, with guitar-pick signs marking these venues. There are more than 150 in the city, and the tourism board has even developed an app to help you find upcoming shows and the location of live music venues.
They also support their own radio station, Highway 65, with 24/7 broadcasts, located in the visitor's center—contact Visit Music City if you're interested in attending a free recording. The Visitor's Center has free live concerts every Wednesday morning and on the first and third Friday of each month.
If you're planning a destination wedding on a tight budget, you might want to see if the tourism board in the area can offer anything.
- Discover Prince William & Manassas, VA offers suggestions for ceremony and reception sites, as well as with overnight accommodations for those looking to get married in the area.
- Minneapolis, Convention & Visitors Association offers Meet Minneapolis Wedding Service, which offers leads for venues, vendors, and bachelor/bachelorette parties with free welcome bags for guests.
- Travel Tacoma also offers resources and recommendations to couples for things like venues, transportation services, and DJs in the area.
You can often find informative guidebooks, magazines, and booklets for free at tourism board locations. Visit Winston-Salem, NC, offers a free copy of Our State Magazine—and don't leave without free Moravian Cookies. Some Indian Tourism Ministry locations have been known to offer posters and calendars. And, Visit Orlando offers free coloring books, temporary tattoos, and theme park stickers to kids.
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- 10 (Almost) Free Travel Deals for 2016
- 8 Hacks Using Travel Freebies
- 10 Free Things You Can Get at Airports