3 Ways to Beat the Crowds at Popular Travel Spots

Enjoy your vacation with the masses.

Maybe you don’t have much flexibility in your schedule and traveling in peak season is unavoidable. No worries. High season has its perks, if attractions stay open longer and transportation is more frequent. And you can still bypass the crowds with these tips.

Check www.cruisemapper.com for cruise ships scheduled to dock in your city, so you can estimate when must-see sites will be overrun. Many passengers prefer returning to the ship to eat meals, says Colleen McDaniel, of CruiseCritic.com, so you can sometimes avoid heavier crowds by exploring in the afternoon and evening.

You can also buy your way into a calmer experience. Prepay for tickets to in-demand sites, such as the Vatican Museum or Eiffel Tower, so you can sail inside rather than stand for hours in the ticket queue. Typically, the earliest or latest time slots will be the emptiest. City passes that bundle several attractions into one price might also fast-track your entry into those sites. Or join a tour that includes expedited entry (look for options labeled “Skip the Line” when searching for tours at www.viator.com).

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

Some museums or attractions, such as the Empire State Building, warn about busy periods or suggest quieter times and days on their websites. And some city websites tout offbeat itineraries that help you avoid the masses. If you would prefer quiet to convenience, choose accommodations in a residential neighborhood, and avoid the buzzing eateries near tourist attractions.

Miriam Cross
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Miriam lived in Toronto, Canada, before joining Kiplinger's Personal Finance in November 2012. Prior to that, she freelanced as a fact-checker for several Canadian publications, including Reader's Digest Canada, Style at Home and Air Canada's enRoute. She received a BA from the University of Toronto with a major in English literature and completed a certificate in Magazine and Web Publishing at Ryerson University.