There are websites like www.viator.com , www.isango.com or www.expedia.com which will enable you to purchase tickets to tours and attractions. Viator by far is the largest of them all and they come up with deals every now and then, so it makes sense to subscribe to their newsletter.
You should also search for websites of individual tour operators who offer tour packages. e.g. in Italy, we got an excellent package deal from a company called Art Viva. The package included guided tours of small groups of 8 to 10 tourists (unlike most companies who will shepherding an entire bus load) at Rome (2 walking tours), Vatican, Florence, Milan and Venice (3 walking tours, a Gondola ride and a visit by speed boat to Murano island where they make blow glass articles). Their guides – a motley crew of history buffs, archaeologists working part-time as guides, artists etc. were an entertaining lot with funny stories and knowledge about every place. Oh, and did I mention that we didn’t queue up at any place and that we were given ear-pieces so we could hear the guide without straining for what they were saying. That is money well spent. A word of caution here – do your research. I can’t stress this enough. You need to look up their reviews on TripAdvisor forums and other websites or blogs.
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Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com) is one such authority on travel to Europe where his team lists the tour companies that are worth the money and time. Else, you may be in for disappointment if your tour guide is only interested in tips or commission from merchants where he takes you. Book your tickets online and save the notification email. You can also save the receipt in your smartphone or tablet if you are conscious of the environment.
Some popular tourist destinations have this concept of city pass e.g. London Pass, Paris Pass, New York Pass etc. The city pass or card is a city sightseeing card helping visitors make the most of the trip, saving them both time and money. This pass allows you entry to most of the popular tourist attractions in that place. They are available for fixed durations of one to seven days. The biggest benefit of this pass is the amount of money you will save in entry tickets to attractions in that particular place. Most passes will begin saving you money by the time you finish 5 to 6 attractions. Moreover, if bought online, you also get discounted pricing.
You will of course be thankful for not queuing up for tickets outside the museum or gallery and instead head towards the attraction directly. Whats more, at certain places, you can even Skip the Lines i.e. you dont queue up for the attraction, but go straight up. Can you imagine the amount of time you save when you get the Paris pass and skip the line at Louvre! Yeah, baby, now were talking! In addition, you will also get a detailed guidebook with maps and directions and also special offers and discounts at restaurants and shops across the city to help you save even more during your stay. You may be lucky if the city pass also includes the hop-on hop-off tours or it is a discounted add-on. Check and then buy.