Planning vacation

How to Skip the Longest Lines in the World


So, you’ve been excitedly planning this vacation for months, anticipating all the spectacular sights and thrilling rides that will form the moments that will be etched in your memory forever. You arrive at your destination, check into your hotel, and eagerly make your way to that attraction that has filled your dreams.

Then…you see the long, winding line of other eager tourists. In that moment, all of your excitement is replaced by the dread of the wait ahead. There’s no quicker way to spoil a holiday and its key attractions than long, dull lines. Here are four effective ways you can avoid them:

Travel During The Off-Season

The best way to avoid the languorously long lines of your favorite holiday spots is, simply, to pick the right time of year. Spring break, summer, and Christmas bring the crowds swarming, and queuing is inevitable during these times. Try to visit popular spots during the off-peak season. While it might be hard to get time off work or school, your efforts will seriously pay off as you gleefully skip straight to your favorite rides in Disneyland, or get to appreciate a stunning view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower after a mere 10 minute wait.

Travel During The Off-Season

There are added bonuses to tactically choosing what time of year to travel. During the off-peak season, prices are usually lower, as there are less gullible tourists around to be swindled. Not only that, the weather of early spring and autumn is much milder than the sweltering heat of mid-summer. When you get a taste for off-peak travel, the horrors of 30-90 minute queues in the boiling heat will be a distant nightmare.

Avoid Specific Week Days

Certain attractions – especially in Europe – are closed on specific days of the week. These are most commonly Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays. Why am I mentioning this? Well, it makes sense that if one large attraction is closed, others will be busier, especially during peak season (you didn’t take my advice then? Pah!). Visit your favorite sites when everything is open to avoid mobs of tourists.

Another handy tip – you know that one day of the month when entry to an attraction is free? Avoid it. Avoid it like the plague. Every other visitor like you will think they’re being thrifty and clever, and you’ll end up jostling with crowds of fellow cheapskates for the sakes of $8 in pocket change.

The Sistine chapel in Rome is particularly infamous for this, as the last Sunday of each month is free entry. The majestic wonder of Michelangelo’s ‘The Creation of Adam’ will be somewhat lost on you as you struggle to stand up among throngs of tired, impatient visitors. Trust me, pay the entry fee.

Rise early

It sucks, I know. You’ve spent months getting up early for work or study obligations, day-in, day-out, and it has taken its toll. Your vacation time is for relaxation and long lie-ins. Think of it this way – every minute extra spent in bed is another minute spent waiting in lines.

Ideally, with extremely popular sites like Disneyland, Rome’s Coliseum, or the Louvre in Paris, you want to arrive before the place even opens. Yes, you heard me! While this likely means getting up at 6 or 7am, you’ll not only have free reign of the sites and attractions of your dreams, you’ll also have the whole day ahead of you to explore and experience your surroundings – or, more realistically, take a well-deserved nap back at your hotel.

Book Tickets and Reservations

Avoiding queues on holiday is all about being savvy. That, and killing any romantic spontaneity. The sacrifices we make to save time, right? One of the savviest things you can do on holiday is book tickets and make reservations. You’d be surprised how many attractions will allow you to buy tickets online or at a ticket booth, enabling you to skip queues of hundreds of clueless tourists. For example, during the peak of summer, the Tower of London attracts swarms of history pilgrims. By simply purchasing a ticket at most souvenir stands, you can bypass the inconvenience of queuinginstantly.

On a similar note, many popular destinations offer some form of multi-pass or combo ticket. At times, these will be a blatant rip-off. In other cases – especially if you plan on hitting up all of the major sights – they can save you some serious money. Some passes – such as the Paris multi-day pass – allow discounted transport. If your pass saves more money than it costsor allows you to skip queues (ideally, both!) then it’s a worthwhile consideration.

Conclusion

No one wants to spend their precious vacation time waiting. However, in some situations, a long wait can be inevitable. If the above advice fails (or you decided not to follow it!), and you still find yourself stuck in a miserable line with other miserable folk, don’t despair! Here are a few things you can do to ease your pain:

  • Stay positive and enjoy your sunny surroundings – you’re on holiday for goodness sakes!
  • Remember that the line is deceptively long, as some tourists will likely drop out (perhaps not victory of the strongest, but victory of the…most patient?)
  • Interact with your environment – spark up a conversation with a stranger, or take pictures of your beautiful environment
  • Bury yourself in a guidebook, your phone, or any other means of escapism to make the pain of boredom disappear

Just try to remember – there’s a reason why there are lengthy queues. People flock to this specific spot from all around the world because it’s unique – either in its historical value, its beauty, or its excitement. Half an hour in a line is a small price to pay for that privilege, and the memories you could, quite possibly, cherish for a lifetime.

Date posted: 7th August, 2015

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