Your Trip to San Diego: The Complete Guide SEE FULL GUIDE prev next Your Trip to San Diego: The Complete Guide Best Time to Visit Weather & Climate San Diego International Airport Guide Neighborhoods to Know Best Hotels San Diego Trolley Guide Driving in San Diego 48 Hours in San Diego Day Trips From San Diego Top Things to Do Free Things to Do Things to Do With Kids Best Beaches Where to Shop Hiking in San Diego Balboa Park Guide Top Museums to Visit Must-Try Food in San Diego Best Restaurants Nightlife in San Diego Top Breweries Your Trip to San Diego: The Complete Guide close Overview United States California San Diego An Inside Look at the Go San Diego Card By Betsy Malloy Betsy Malloy Facebook Twitter Betsy has been writing about California for nearly more than two decades as TripSavvy's expert on the state. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Fact checked by Leila Najafi Fact checked by Leila Najafi on 09/12/20 Instagram LinkedIn Twitter Leila is an L.A.-based luxury travel and lifestyle writer with over five years of experience covering destination guides, hotel reviews, restaurant openings, travel rewards programs, and buying guides. TripSavvy's fact-checking on 09/12/20 Share Pin Email TripSavvy / Ana Alarcon Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. Go San Diego makes claims that are enough to make a person skeptical: "Save up to 55 percent" on lots of attractions, it advertises. It almost sounds too good to believe, so we set out to find out the truth about the smartphone discount pass. We poked, prodded, clicked, and peered at the fine print. We even made a spreadsheet to calculate the savings, all of that so you don't have to. This will help you figure out whether it's a good idea for your vacation. If you're prone to losing things (or forgetting to take them on a trip), the pass may not be for you. Lost passes are not replaceable or refundable. The Go San Diego Pass Think of Go San Diego as a volume discounter. The providers of the pass negotiate with local tourist attractions for discounts and sell them as pass-based packages. You can choose from different types of Go San Diego: The basic version (called all-inclusive) covers all the pass' offered attractions for a fixed price, valid for a maximum number of days that you choose. Buy more days, and the pass costs more. A build-your-own pass offers fewer attractions and is good for 30 days after your first use, but you can choose only the attractions you want to visit. The more you choose, the greater the discount. You also can choose from pre-built packages for the most popular attractions. The California Explorer Pass that gives you the option of 3, 4 or 5 attractions for one price. How It Works Using it is simple. Just take your printed or mobile Go Pass to any included San Diego attraction, present it at the ticket window, and you're in. After it's used the first time, the pass is good for the number of days you chose, but those must be consecutive days. If you skip one because you're tired, you don't get a refund or an extension. Except for the rare multi-day pass, you can visit each attraction only once. Possible Savings The pass will probably save you some money, but for most people, it won't be as much as the ads claim. The only way to know for sure: Add it up. Only you know which attractions you want to visit and how much you're willing to rush them to pack everything in. A quick way to get all the prices you need for that is to use the Go Select page, where they show current prices. Go San Diego will save money if you: Buy a three-to-five day pass and visit all the big-ticket attractions (SeaWorld, Legoland, San Diego Zoo, and Safari Park) or visit three or four of the smaller attractions per day. Get realistic about how much you can do. The big attractions will each take a full day, and some are far apart. For other attractions that take less time, there may be significant travel time to get from one to another. If you pack your schedule too tightly and get too pooped to finish them all, your savings will plummet. Group your pass activities: You can use the rest of the trip for doing other things. If you crammed all the activities that are the top things to do in San Diego into three days, you could save almost 40 percent, but you'd be so rushed you wouldn't have much time to enjoy them. Extend that to a more-reasonable five days and you'd save about 20 percent. Take seven instead, don't do anything else, and the savings fall to just 5 percent. Inside Look at the Included Attractions Of all California's top tourist destinations, San Diego has the most attractions that charge high admission fees, with five of the top dozen attractions charging well more than $50 per adult ticket, and three others requiring an admission fee. Those attractions are why most people visit the city, and if you plan to do them all, you'll probably use your pass a lot. However, not everyone wants to see the top sights, and these insights may help you make sense of it all. Some attractions offered may not interest you: For example, if you don't like to go to museums, that takes about 20 attractions off the list. If you don't like guided tours, that eliminates another half dozen. If the list of things you want to do becomes too small, the pass might not save you money. However, some people say it introduced them to enjoy activities they might not have found on their own. And once you break even, you'll save on every little thing you do after that. Only longer-duration passes include SeaWorld (three days or more). Take a closer look at that long list: You'll see that some attractions are not in San Diego, but in Anaheim, Orange County, or even Hollywood. You would have to go there to enjoy them, which may or may not be part of your vacation plan. A museum-hating, guided-tour-avoiding vacationer who isn't going to leave San Diego is left with about two dozen attractions to choose from. Some attractions require reservations: After you buy the pass, you may need to make reservations for some tours. Read all the details so you aren't disappointed. How to Get a Pass You can't buy a Go San Diego pass at the attraction box offices, so you need to plan ahead. But not too far. You can return unused passes for a full refund for a year after purchase, but why not just wait until you're sure about your trip dates? You can buy the pass online on the Go City website. Buy the digital pass and either print it at home or download it to your smartphone. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Make the Most of Rail Passes on a European Vacation Everything You Need to Know About Disney World Ticket Prices Will the Southern California CityPASS Save Money on YOUR Vacation? How to Travel Throughout Germany by Rail Will the San Francisco CityPASS Save Money on YOUR Vacation? Your Legoland California Visit - A Complete Guide How to Travel From San Diego to Disneyland Best Ways to Get Universal Studios Hollywood Tickets All the Ways to Travel From San Diego to Los Angeles The Complete Guide to Military Discounts at Disney World Your Travel Guide for Visiting Los Angeles on a Budget What You Need to Know About San Diego Zoo Tickets The Best Way to Get Magic Mountain Tickets, Coupons, and Discounts How Much Does Disneyland Cost? 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