Insider Secrets to Finding Cheap Tickets

Dec 29, 2015
As a producer on Travelzoo’s Entertainment team, I’ve helped our members buy tickets at nearly every venue across the country. After testing and researching hundreds of deals, I’ve picked up some insider tips on how to score the best seats and the best prices to all kinds of events.  There are three tips that I share with my friends when they come to me for advice on buying tickets ... and now I’m sharing them with you:

Save Money

Travelzoo has deals to hundreds of events, but many others will never offer a discount. You can still save money on tickets to those events, even when there is no discount to be found. Save anywhere from $5-$20 per ticket by going to the box office to make your purchase. Online and phone orders typically come with convenience fees, but purchasing in-person doesn’t. An added benefit of visiting the box office is that you’ll get to consult with an expert about which seats you should purchase. Which leads me to my next tip…

Get the Best Seats

It’s a common misconception among theatre-goers that Orchestra or Main Floor seats are always the best. Often, seats in the Rear Orchestra are further away from the stage than those in the Front Mezzanine or Balcony. Every venue is different though, so investigate before selecting your location. Asking people who have been there for advice (or the box office staff!) is a great place to start. You can also look at a seating map on the venue’s website or the ticketing site. Seating charts often indicate where the upper levels match up with the Orchestra.

As an added bonus, it can be easier to see over the person in front of you from an upper level seat. That section is guaranteed to have stadium-style seating, while the main floor often doesn’t.  The first row of any upper level will always have the clearest sightlines.

If you’re going to a concert at an arena, see if the seating chart shows where the stage is going to be set up. It’s often better to sit higher up, but closer to the stage, than lower down and further away.

Get Into a “Sold-Out” Show

A little known industry secret is that very few shows are ever truly sold out. In fact, sometimes you can get the absolute best seats at the last minute. Here’s how:

Before a show goes on sale, many tickets are set aside by the venue. These “holds” are for use by the artist, promotional giveaways,  venue VIPs ... you name it. In the days or weeks leading up to a show, those parties will evaluate their need for the seats. If they aren’t going to use them, they’ll release the tickets for the general public to purchase. This will happen quietly and without any fanfare, so your best bet is to periodically check for tickets as the date of the show approaches. One day there may be no seats available, and the next day they might magically appear!

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