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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

How to Enjoy A Port Stop Without Booking An Excursion

If you’re booking a cruise vacation soon and you want to do is as cheap as you can, you should know that it IS possible to save money and still have a great time. Excursions and extra tours at port can take up a lot of extra money, but you don’t have to throw away the dollars. Enjoy the new places when you spend a little time researching your own adventures. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your port stop.

Photo Credit: A Wild Lass

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

Look At the Cruise Line’s Options

Maybe you don’t think it’s any fun to drool over things you can’t have. But window shopping port excursions on the cruise line’s website is a good way to figure out what the popular tourist destinations in port are. Read the descriptions to find out what you think you’re interested in doing. Not every option will appeal to every cruiser, so make a list of the ones you might like to try before you do some independent research.

Read Blogs

Draw from the expertise of those who have been there before. Although it may seem like it, you aren’t the only one who doesn’t book expensive tours when you cruise. There are plenty of blog posts online about the places you’re going to visit, written by people who went where the locals go and spent a fraction of what cruisers normally do. Make sure to include the exact city name you’re visiting, along with search terms like “what to do in,” “cheap or free,” and “without excursion.”

After you find some alternative things to do, or even step-by-step instructions for how to see tourist locations without the cruise tour guides, make sure you search each option to find out how current the information is. Blog posts are great, but unless the blogger is really on top of things, they don’t always update their posts regularly, which means prices may have changed or hours and availability may be different.

Read Reviews

You want to make sure you’re getting the best experience possible, even if you’re getting it for free. That’s why it’s a good idea to check and see what others thought of the tour stops. For example, if someone hated Harry Potter World, you’d want to hear why before you spent $400 on park-to-park passes at Universal Studios (ahem). You’ll find out insider tips like what to wear to ensure you have the most fun, along with the worst parts of the park to avoid. While you may still choose to try it out, knowing what to expect ahead of time means you can spend less time being disappointed and more time loving the adventure. Just as you wouldn’t buy something on Amazon without reading customer comments first, you shouldn’t waste time on your only afternoon in the islands on attractions with great advertising and terrible reviews.

Use Your Good Judgment

If you decide to explore a local pub or raved-about adventure that’s a little off the beaten path, pay attention to your surroundings. You’ll likely walk to the location because you’re trying to save money, but look around you. Don’t go through neighborhoods that look sketchy, and don’t leave populated areas. Traveling can be dangerous, so you need to follow safety tips like keeping money hidden. If you get a bad feeling about something, abort the mission and head back to the cruise port area. Striking out on your own can be freeing and can lead to some fantastic discoveries, but it’s not worth the risk if you’re putting yourself in harm’s way.

Bon Voyage

Using tips like these, you can successfully explore your options and design your own port excursion without spending a ton of money. It takes a little more effort, but by planning ahead you can find all the best things about an island stop without the sinking feeling that you overspent.

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*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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