How to beat the crowds at busy tourist areas

Summer is here and it is the time for many people to take their vacation. For many this is the only time available for vacationing because the kids are now out of school and maybe this is your only opportunity to take off work. While most would cringe at the idea of going to some tourist trap during the summer months because it is so busy, there are ways to visit the popular tourist destinations without getting bogged down with all the tourists.

One of the easiest ways to beat the crowds is to get in early or go later in the day. Many tourist destinations have early entry times available for an additional fee. For many years I was an annual pass holder to Busch Gardens here in Tampa and the park allowed pass holders to enter the park during the peak times an hour prior to the park opening. Disney World does the same thing for Florida residents as well. Now obviously if you are not a pass holder or a resident of the state in which the attraction resides this would not work. Make sure to check the website or call to see if there are early entry options available.

Walk whenever possible. Nothing is more time consuming than waiting for tour buses or tour guides to show you the sites. Instead of waiting why not walk. You can get in and out of most areas a lot faster and explore some of the less busy areas when it starts to get crowded.

Another good way to avoid the crowds is to get a guide. Try to find a local independent guide that knows the area well. Many guides are paid by the big attractions to bring tourists to them; you don’t want to hire one of them. Instead do your research, read reviews and find someone who isn’t paid by the big attractions. They can still bring you to the hot spots that everyone else is going to but they know when is best to avoid the crowds, they can take the back roads to avoid the heavy traffic areas and may be able to get you a discount not offered through the guides provided by the attractions.

Go off the beaten path. This is where the guide can be a lot of help. Many attractions have secondary entrances other than the main entrance that can save you a lot of time and aggravation if you know how to get in. Whether it’s the Grand Canyon, the Machu Picchu or the Pyramids of Giza there are other ways of seeing what you want without entering the same way everyone else does.

Take public transportation. One of the most frustrating parts of visiting any tourist destination is just getting there. Waiting in long lines to just get to the parking lot, then walking for ever to get to the main gate or taking a tram to the main gate from the parking lot feels like you are wasting half your day. One of the easiest ways to avoid that is to take local transportation like a bus, taxi, Uber, subway etc. They almost always take you right up to the front gate and will save you a lot of time waiting to park. Not only will you avoid the cost of parking but you will also be able to get in quicker and earlier than those parking their vehicle.


Let us hear from you...