Nobody likes long queues. Neither do I. It’s enough that many of us have to deal with long queues in our everyday lives. As we look forward to jetting off to a nice vacation ahead of us, the last thing we want is a long queue that can last up to 2 hours – been there, done that. Not cool.
The airport is typically the starting point of a tedious long wait before we finally get comfortably seated on the plane. However, some things are not always easy to avoid. If you have to check in your bag, you’ll need to get in line.
Long queues don’t stop right there. Since hundreds of thousands of other travelers like you want to visit popular travel attractions (because they’re unique, amazingly beautiful and so on) the long queues continue.
Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be that way. You can avoid long queues at popular attractions, even at theme parks! Whether you’re visiting the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower or Angkor Wat, there are ways to beat the crowd! With the right strategies, you can see fewer strangers popping up in your pictures, escape the humid and claustrophobic discomfort, and minimize your stress. Here’s how:
Strategy 1: Go out early
Remember those days when you had to leave a little earlier than usual before a very important event, like the day you were sitting for your final examination?
Regardless of whatever the reasons were, most of us do that to avoid getting late. During a big sale that happens once a year (such as Black Friday in the States), people are out as early even before sunrise to be one of the first at the front door of a store.
If you want to be one of the first to enter the attraction, you’ll need to go early, too. When I say early, it doesn’t always mean in the morning. Some attractions have multiple visiting hours. Check them out and plan your trip so you can get there before the crowds come marching in.
Strategy 2: Go out later
I don’t recommend you go out too late as not all attractions are open till late evening. When we say go later, we mean head out later than the rest.
For example, if you’re going to visit the Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama for the sake of enjoying its soundscapes and calming surroundings, the best times to go there are in early mornings and late evenings. The place is usually overly crowded by tourists during daylight.
Strategy 3: Buy tickets online
Most popular attractions have official sites where customers can easily buy entrance tickets prior to their visit to the attractions. When my friends wanted to book their entrance tickets to the Petronas Twin Towers, they did it online. That way, they won’t have to go there to queue for a ticket and they can book the slots that better suit their hectic schedules.
Buying tickets online is definitely recommended as online purchases are usually cheaper than counter purchases. Be sure to do some research to grab the best deals.
Strategy 4: Do your visits during the low season
One of the ways to travel cheaply is by traveling during the off season. That’s because the high season is driven by travel highlights of the destinations people intend to visit.
If you’re planning to visit Florida to enter Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, the world’s most visited place on the planet, the best times to go are during the quiet months in the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday week and two weeks before Christmas are ideal. You may also want to avoid visiting the attraction from 11am to 3pm, which is the park’s busiest hours.
For those planning a visit to Cambodia’s UNESCO site, Angkor Wat, take note that the high season is from November to March. The sunrise there is one of the most beautiful you’ll ever experience during your lifetime, and everyone is aware of this, too.
Hence, most people visit the ancient temple during sunrise before they all head back to their hotel room again for breakfast. While they’re at it, take your chances for some memorable photography moments of your life.
Strategy 5: Get your entry tickets early
Although I don’t always buy things in advance, including entry tickets, sometimes it’s best to just do that. As the saying goes “the early bird gets the worm.” Not only will this “worm” help you save more money, you also can be rest assured you won’t need to get in line to buy your ticket should all of the online tickets run out.
Strategy 6: If possible, stay nearby
Yes, that way you get to have a look of the attraction from afar, and I mean from your hotel room. While this strategy isn’t always for everyone to take advantage of, it’s definitely worth it especially for travelers who like to have stunning views any time of the day.
When visiting Agra in India, travelers rarely miss out the Taj Mahal. Its enchanting beauty surpasses everything else you can think of in your mind the minute you stand close to it. Despite being constructed in the 17th century, the building still looks remarkably beautiful, making it one of the most photographed buildings in the world.
Strategy 7: Book a group tour
Yeah, I know, I know. Who needs a group tour when you can do everything yourself? However, this might just be the solution if you seriously need to avoid long queues.
Travelers visiting France, specifically to Versailles, will try crossing off King Louis XIV’s chateau and gardens from their to-do travel list. The crowd there is, however, insanely hectic.
You skip all that if you have your visit booked as part of group tour. There’s no way you’ll miss a day in the life of Louis XIV and all the important areas during his lifetime, such as the King’s apartment, Royal Chapel and the Opera.
Another wonderful way to avoid long queues at popular attractions is to do your visits during festive seasons! =)