I was able to try the Explorer Pass during my last trip to the U.S. So here’s a complete article on how this New York pass works. I’ll also compare it to other New York passes.
If you want to know whether the Explorer Pass is a good choice for your next trip to New York or not, you're in the right place!
It's worth noting that along with the New York City Pass, the Explorer Pass is the best selling New York pass! So how does it work?
The benefits of the New York Explorer Pass
The Explorer Pass allows you to save up to 50% on the price of activities purchased individually.
For me, its main advantage is that you choose the activities/visits you want to include in your pass. In other words, you won't have to pay for an activity you don't want to do!
There are 7 versions of this pass: 2 activities, 3 activities, 4 activities, 5 activities, 6 activities, 7 activities or 10 activities.
Each pass is valid for 30 days from the first use. Simple and convenient 🙂
You can choose from over 90 activities in the Explorer Pass, and the must-do's are of course included!
Unlike the New York City Pass, which does not give you a choice of activities, you can create your own, personal Explorer Pass according to your desires and interests. No need to pay for a pass that includes a visit to a museum if you are not interested in visiting any!
To summarise the Explorer Pass:
The New York Explorer Pass, my 100% customizable experience
I personally opted for a 4 activities pass, which I bought a week before my departure.
I paid €125 (£95) for my 4 activity pass, but prices vary according to the pound/dollar exchange rate.
I booked my pass on a French website (and in euros), as it was cheaper than on the official dollar website.
By going through this site, I saved about €5 per pass (about £4).
If I had to pay for all these activities as a package, I would have paid:
- €55 for the tour around the Statue of Liberty,
- €48 for the Empire State Building tour,
- €54 for The Ride experience,
- €45 for the One World Observatory.
In total, this would have cost me $202 (about €188 or £153). Therefore, my Explorer Pass New York helped me save about €73 (£60).
All in all, I consider this pass absolutely cost-effective. The only thing you need to know is how many activities you want to do.
The Explorer Pass Rates
As I mentioned above, there are 7 versions of this pass:
€62 / £52
€43 / £36
€79 / £65
€60 / £50
€106 / £88
€76 / £63
€127 / £105
€97 / £80
€144 / £119
€112 / £93
€161 / £133
€126 / £104
€207 / £172
€158 / £131
How to use this New York Pass?
Nothing could be easier: just buy the version that suits you best and you will receive your pass directly by email after purchase. Then you can either present your phone at the various attractions of your choice, or print your pass directly from your email. It's up to you to decide which option you prefer.
Whatever your choice, just present your pass at the entrance of the activity you want to do and that's it! This will save you the hassle of having to queue up to buy your ticket at every tourist site! Honestly, the Explorer Pass is really convenient.
Once you use your pass for the first time, it will be activated and become valid for 30 days.
When you buy your pass, you don't have to choose the exact date when you will use it for the first time.
You can put the approximate date of your stay in New York.
The Explorer Pass will give you a lot of freedom, because you can buy it before you leave and use it whenever you want.
Where to buy the Explorer Pass?
You can buy it two different ways: first option, you can order it on the official website, but you will then have to pay in dollars (the price will be higher). Second option: you can buy it on the same website as me and you will pay in euros.
It goes without saying that the price in euros is cheaper than the official price in dollars!
Which activities are included in the pass?
There are over 90 activities available in the Explorer Pass, so you'll be spoilt for choice. And remember, you don't have to choose which activities you'll do before you leave. So you'll have time to think about it until D-day.
You can take your time to discover New York at your own pace (a PDF guide is provided with the purchase). You will have 30 days to visit, among other things:
- the Empire State Building;
- the Statue of Liberty;
- the AMAZING The Ride experience (interactive bus);
- One World Observatory;
- The Guggenheim Museum;
- The Top of The Rock;
And many more! The full list of activities is available by clicking here.
Is the New York Explorer Pass suitable for me?
As long as you want to have total freedom during your trip to New York and you plan to do a minimum of 2 activities - YES, the Explorer Pass will pay off for you!
In my opinion, it is possible to save money with the pass, just by selecting the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty tours. You can do the maths yourself, but the Explorer Pass will save you money on almost all activities.
This is all the more true if it's your first trip to New York and you're planning to do the must-sees such as the Empire State Building, the Top of the Rock, the One World Observatory or the Statue of Liberty.
My review of the Explorer Pass
This was the first time I used this pass to visit New York and I have to say I was really happy with it.
Why? Because all you have to do isand receive it directly on your smartphone, and then you’re all set.
The only thing you need to know in advance is which version of the pass you are going to buy.
Other than that, if you ever change your mind about your programme, the Explorer Pass is very flexible: you don't need to specify which activities or monuments you want to do, so you can decide at the very last moment.
Once in New York, you simply have to present your phone at the various monuments/activities you plan to do, and your pass will be valid for 30 days. What more could you ask for in terms of simplicity?
Having already tested other New York passes, I can say that the Explorer is really easy to use and will allow you to make some sweet savings.
Its biggest competitor, the New York City Pass, imposes a choice of 6 activities. And if you don't like one of the activities, you can't change it. So that's a big advantage of the Explorer Pass!
Your questions, my answers
You are sending me more and more questions by email or in comments, so I have created this section to share the questions I am most often asked.
Which is the best version of the pass?
Hard to answer without knowing if this is your first time in New York, or how many days you will be staying.
In general, people opt for the 7 activities Explorer pass because it has the best value for money (compared to the price of the 5 activities pass).
To help you make your choice, I can only tell you to determine which activities you want to do first when you get there. Following your selection, you can choose the version of your New York Explorer Pass that best suits your needs.
Do I have to queue?
No! That's the advantage of the Explorer Pass: you arrive at the Empire State Building, for example, present your QR code on your smartphone and you can enter the skyscraper directly! No need to wait or queue up.
Is a digital guide provided?
Yes, absolutely! You will receive a PDF guide with all the activities included, the opening hours of the different monuments/museums, the exact addresses etc... It will be very useful to prepare and organise your days during your stay 😉