My husband and I consider ourselves to be average travelers, and we want to see the tourist attractions when we are travelling to new places. We try to avoid busy crowds if we can, but know that sometimes crowds are unavoidable.
Here are my tips to avoid crowds and long lines on vacation:
- Research your attractions
What sights do you want to see when you are in a specific city? Pre-planning will help you maximize your time because you will know the hours of operation, any holidays and you can plan to visit more than one attraction if there are others nearby. You can also read reviews to see when the busiest times are to visit and help plan your trip accordingly – I like to arrive early so I can take my time, or have time to check out another sight if I get through very quickly – which I tend to do!
- Purchase tickets online
We always try to purchase tickets online. This helps you avoid the long lines just to get tickets on site, and gives you more time to enjoy your visit. Typically, if you purchase online tickets you have the option to print a copy or save to your phone and present an electronic ticket when you arrive. This means you can skip right to the entry line. Sometimes you can even get discounted rates by purchasing in advance online.
- Pick your transportation
Are you walking, taking transit, driving or taking a cab? Ensure you know in advance how you plan to get to your attractions. If you want to avoid crowds and long lines sometimes it is easier to walk or take a cab or transit than try to park a car. If you’re driving, know if there is free or paid parking; and, if it’s paid parking do they accept only cash, debit or credit to help make it a quick transaction.
- Brave the weather
If you are a flexible traveler, sometimes poor weather can work in your favour. Plan for rain and extreme heat – if you encounter either condition while travelling, you can power through and still make the most of your sightseeing. If it’s hot, crowds tend to be inside or at the pool/beach. If it’s raining crowds will usually be at indoor attractions – leave some flexibility in your itinerary to plan accordingly!
Sometimes even with the best planning you will still find yourself and among large crowds of fellow tourists. When that happens, we usually take an early lunch or a snack stop, and then carry on at a slower speed. But no matter what happens, you are on vacation! So, enjoy seeing the sights and try to find some local/hidden gems to get a break from the masses.
Do you have any tips for avoiding crowds? Leave a comment below with your suggestions.