Piazza della Signoria in Florence, avoiding crowds, trip wellness

This is considered a good day at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence! Photo: Denise Dorsey via Trover

With the dollar being strong against the Euro, this summer promises to be one of the most crowded ever for popular sites and museums. Lower gas prices means that more cars and vacationers will be packing into National Parks and historical sites across the U.S. You’ve bought your airplane ticket, readied your car, and booked your hotels but what can you do about avoiding crowds at your bucket list destinations?

New York Times Square crowds. avoiding crowds. tripwellness

New York Times Square crowds. Photo: Biqui via Trover

Tips to help with avoiding crowds:

Visiting museums and popular attractions? 

  • Go early. Avoid most tour bus crowds and get to the front of lines by arriving close to opening hour.
  • Go late. At destinations where cruise ship tourists  flock, go later in the afternoon. Most guests have to leave or be back at the ship by 4 pm. Sites are staying open later to help manage crowds. Find out what your options are before you arrive.
  • Go with a tour group. Local tour guides have relationships with popular sites and can get you to the front of the line or inside at special times. It all depends on how much you want to spend. Budget for it and you won’t go home disappointed. Consider using:  Excursiopedia.com – book tours and activities around the world
  • Visit alternative sites. Everyone wants to see the Palace of Versailles, for example, but other sites in the neighborhood may be worth a visit as well. Check guidebooks and websites to see what else is in the area. You might come home having discovered a gem.
  • Surrender to the inevitable. You’re traveling or in Europe at peak season and there will be more Americans visiting than ever.
  • Make friends with others around you. You’re all in this together! Share stories with those standing near and you might make some friends for life.
  • Stay relaxed and be aware of your belongings. 
  • Make sure to use the bathroom and have water with you when you need to stand in lines. Take turns with your family and travel buddies to hold your place. 
Family selfie at Brazil Carnival, avoiding crowds, tripwellness

Family selfie at Brazil’s Carnival

Selfie Etiquette:

  • Remember why you’re there in the first place. Be present and enjoy the space, the artwork, the light.  
  • Be careful with your selfie stick. Some destinations and museums are starting to ban them. If you use one, know how to use it and have it set up before you get into the crowd.  
  • Take your pictures and move on.  
Romance at the Eiffel Tower. Avoiding crowds. tripwellness

Romance at the Eiffel Tower? Photo: Spyros Spy via Trover

Stay safe.  

More crowds means more opportunities for pickpockets and thieves. Don’t carry your wallet in a back pocket. Keep your cell phone in your hand. Keep purses zipped or closed. Don’t carry all your cash in one place. Some people put a few dollars/Euros/what have you in a pocket or coin purse with their credit cards and other cash in a different place (fanny pack, money belt, etc.)   

(Read about my encounter with a Pickpocket in Paris.)

No matter what happens look for the silver lining. There are always new ways to experience the places you’re visiting that you could never have anticipated.

No matter what happens you’ll find that the greatest stories can come out of adversity. I hope that you come home with lots of those whether you were successful at avoiding crowds or not.