Planning on heading to the “City of Brotherly Love” this summer but your budget has been busted?
This is one city that won’t try to put a squeeze on your already tight wadded wallet. There are plenty to see in Philadelphia for travelers on a budget.
These are some tips & tricks that Tourico vacation has recommended to us
Things like using an Entertainment Book if you have one, or AAA membership card, or AARP card can all help travelers save money. If you have bought that AAA membership for road safety, it is good for so much more.
First make a bee-line for your local library or tourist office and grab a map of Philadelphia or a guide book on Philadelphia and browse through their hotel sections. They also have listings of things to do along with a listing of the prices. Take your cards with you. Be bold, be brazen with your cards. Lay all your cards on the table. Flash your AAA card, the AARP card, and Entertainment Book card if you have one.
You’d be surprised at how many places including retail stores will give you a discount just for flashing the cards. Entertainment Books are often half price after Christmas. They are available in most cities including Philly.
They can cut that restaurant tab in half if you are eating alone or provide other discounts off your meals and things to do in the area.
As I previously stated, AAA cards can be used to secure discounts on hotels. In the back, of the Entertainment Book you can find discounts hotels and rental cars and how to book them. If you are flying in you can often get a package deal on your flight and your accommodations when you book through a travel agent.
If you are flying into Philadelphia, many of the most of the inexpensive hotels are located around the airport. However, remember to figure in the added cost of transportation into your budget.
A Guide to Getting Around the City:
You can easily rent a car when you fly into the city. However, I grew up on the outskirts of the city and I still found it hard to find my way around the city. I never went anywhere without my trusty Rand McNally Street Map of Philadelphia. Most Barnes and Nobles Stores and Amazon Books stores can order this precious lifesaver for you before you hit the road.
The city has a good transit system. The South East Transit Authority (SEPTA) is the name for the transit system in the city. Please call it SEPTA, if you call it ‘The South East Transit Authority”, most of the locals will look at you like you just landed from Mars.
The daily pass which will provide you with a limited number of trips on the bus, subway, or trolley. The train is not included. Or you can purchase a weekly pass if you stay longer. Prices and number of trips are changing from time to time so I’m not going to quote anything here.
There are also bikes to be rented throughout the city. As with any large city, there are some areas that are safe and some areas…well, not so much… especially after dark.
So you may want to avoid public transit or stay in well lighted areas after dark. Don’t let the City of Brotherly Love become the city where you get a not so friendly brotherly mugging or someone really puts the squeeze on you.
Tourico Vacation Travel Guide on What to Do:
Philly has what is known as the Philadelphia City Pass. If you want the most bang for your buck this is the way to go. If you are only going to one or two places available on the list, this will not save you money. If you are going to more than that this is pass is a steal of a deal.
Even though I grew up on the outskirts of Philadelphia, it is my favorite way to be able to see various attractions in Philadelphia. The pass claims to provide over $350 worth of entrance fees for just $40.
My favorite haunt that you can take advantage of on the pass is Longwood Gardens. The Gardens feature ever changing displays and a great chance to enjoy nature, get exercise and see beauty all at the same time. Don’t miss out the main fountain garden, the Italian water garden and the open air theatre garden.
Talk about a steal of a deal. Recently the Gardens had a “make over” and they are even more breathtaking than they were before. The Orchid Room is a perennial favorite and if you get there for the July 4th celebration you’ll be in for a real treat.
If you like museums there is the Atwater Kent Museum, National Liberty Museum and the African American. For science buffs or budding nurses/doctors there is The Academy of Natural Sciences and The Franklin Institute Science Museum.
The pass offers many discounts and benefits with its purchase so be sure to check it out.
Close by to the city is Valley Forge Park. I have fond memories of commuting through the park to and from work. I would often take a picnic dinner with me and pull over for some time off prior to heading home. If you are in Philly, don’t miss this park or you may regret this historic landmark.
Philadelphia Travelers’ Guide to Eating out by Tourico Vacations
Philadelphia is known for its push-cart vendors. It is the home of the soft pretzel, with or without mustard. There are hot dog stands everywhere. And in Philly, they will look at you strange if you are over the age of five and attempt to put ketchup on your hot dog instead of mustard, so beware!
There are also vendors with Italian Water Ice to cool you on a hot summer day. You’ll even find industrious teenagers with red wagons and a blue igloo strapped to it with ice cold sodas.
As far as more traditional places to eat for my money I wouldn’t go any place else other than Barbuzzo. Barbuzzo has been dishing out Mediterranean fare to the philly faithful for years now. This is ideal for day, night or any special occasion. Intimate and full of charm.
Termini Brothers bakery is also terrific and the Hard Rock Cafe has not failed me yet. Menu Pages can help you easily plan your lunches and dinners out in the city.
If you don’t allocate some money in your budget for a meal at Luke’s Lobster Rittenhouse you will be sorry and probably regret it for the rest of your life. This is where I fell in love with seafood as a teenager. I’ve been a seafood lover since then.
Well I think I have given you plenty to see and do in my old stomping grounds. I hope I was helpful to you and able to help guide you through your summer plans in planning a vacation to my beloved city.
Jeff Wilson, the author of the “Tourico Vacation Reviews: Philadelphia Summer Fun Travel Guide Budget Style” was born and bred in Philadelphia. He has been working in the tourism industry in the city for more than 10 years, he is currently with Tourico Vacations.