Skip to Content

How to Cut the Cost of Museum Audio Guides in Half

Incidental costs such as museum audio guides are often something not factored in to travel budgets, but go to several attractions and these unanticipated costs can quickly add up.

Good news is, if you’re travelling as a pair and want to hire audio guides, you can easily cut this cost in half with this simple tip.

Many audio guide systems use a universal headphone jack. All you need is a pair of stereo earphones with the same standard connection. Switch them up with the headphones given with the audio guide and, voila, you have a shared audio guide that two people can listen to at the same time!

Museum audio guide with own earphones

This may not be possible at all museums depending on the type of audio equipment they have, but earphones are light and portable enough to easily carry on you while sightseeing just in case. Plus they’re something you’re likely to have with you on your travels anyway for listening to music on your music device or watching videos on your laptop.

Things to keep in mind when selecting your earphones for this purpose:

1. Ensure they are stereo rather than mono as you’ll obviously need sound coming from both buds.

2. Pay attention to the length of the cord; some can be very short making them less share-friendly.

Have you ever tried this? Or would you on your next museum outing? If you give it a go, let us know about your experience in the comments section below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Les Petits Pas de Juls

Saturday 19th of April 2014

simple and easy... and if you have a special jack on which you can plug 2 sets of earphones, you're at an even better place because both persons will hear correctly! ;-)

Cheers! and Enjoy the museums!

(pictures of the day are awesome as always! I really appreciated the sunset in the street one...)

Jessica Korteman

Tuesday 29th of April 2014

Thanks Jul'! The best ones are those that have two headphone jacks on the audio guide itself - you can use their headphones for one person and your set for the other! ;) Having your own jack splitter though will always have you covered for the best quality sound! :)


Thursday 30th of January 2014

This would be great if my husband and I didn't go at totally different paces and/or split up entirely. On our last outing to the Met, he went headed to the Central Asian art while I walked through the Greek and Roman sculptures and we met up later at European paintings. But I think it will come in handy when I'm traveling with my mom as she usually sticks close by my side!

Jessica Korteman

Friday 31st of January 2014

Yes, this is certainly for the "shared" experience. We don't often get audio guides as we usually just prefer to wander around and take in the pieces we find most interesting. And, honestly, because we visit museums frequently on our travels, it's also a cost factor. Some audio guides are equal to or sometimes more expensive than the entry tickets themselves, and when you're going to several a week, this can add up. So we tend to be very picky about when we use them.

However, there are some really great audio guides out there that do give a lot of extra information and a different level of understanding. Not to mention that there are some HUGE museums and reading all the time can get tiring, and sometimes that guidance is useful - you can get a sense of the highlights and not walk past something that you didn't realize the significance of. It's a personal preference. But for the right situations, hopefully this little tip can help save a few pennies. Do let us know how you like it if you give it a try!


Saturday 25th of January 2014

Another idea would be to get a headphone jack splitter to insert into the socket on the audio guide device and then plug in two sets of headphones to the one device! My partner and I do this all the time on buses and planes to listen to the same thing on an iPod or such.

Jessica Korteman

Monday 27th of January 2014

Great idea, Sam! If you had one of those, you could also get away with only carrying one set of your own headphones because one person could be using the headphones that come with the audio guide. This option also means you could use any kind of headphones, not just stereo earphones, as they wouldn't need to be shared. Thanks for sharing!


Saturday 25th of January 2014

Hmmm. I'll have to think about this. Usually my husband and I wander away from each other, so I don't know how well this would work. I'll let you know.

Jessica Korteman

Saturday 25th of January 2014

Yeah, it doesn't work if you don't wander around together hahaha It depends whether you like museum visits to be a solitary experience or one where you take in the art with someone else. Both have their pluses. I must say I do like hearing Hai's comments on pieces as we move around as he sees them so differently than I do. I then get to see them from a different perspective too. Do let us know if you give it a try.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.