How to Battle Crowds While Traveling
When traveling during summer months or holidays, always assume there’s a long line. Expect a steady stream of visitors just as anxious as you are to visit magnificent sites. With a few simple rules, your wait time can be made easier.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING. When visiting a popular city expect to make a full day of it by starting out early and ending late. Arrive to sites either very early such as 7 or 8am and also at the end of day 430 or 5pm.
Many sights are open late one or two nights a week such as the Tate Modern in London which stays open Friday evenings. Some museums offer a free day so know that the museum will be crowded and it’s better to visit on a paid day.
Consider traveling during the shoulder months (April-May; September-October)or off peak (November-March) when there’s less congestion.
RESEARCH SHORTCUTS. Look for side entrances, a VIP pass to avoid lines, or an optional place to pick up your tickets. Tip: use the Louvre’s underground entrance to save time with shorter lines.
Consider using self-service ticket machines or mobile ticketing which saves time.
BUY ADVANCE TICKETS. Many sites allow you to purchase tickets online in advance which may include an allocated time for admittance.
Consider a citywide sightseeing pass which can save you time and money. The Firenze Card in Florence offers many great attractions and allows you to skip ticket-buying lines. Instead of waiting in line at Madrid’s Prado Museum, buy a combo-ticket at the less-trafficked Reina Sofia Museum.