4 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Time in Ticket Lines

FlyAwayU | 4 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Time in Ticket Lines
Early morning weekday line outside the Natural History Museum, London.

Do you hate standing in line?

I do!

Nothing is a more significant waste of time than standing around in a queue waiting to do something. We only get 24 hours in a day. And your time is the only thing you truly own. Do you really want to spend it standing in line?

Nope, not me! Especially in my off time. Standing in line not only wastes my valuable time but it also reduces the quality of my experience. My feet start to hurt, I get thirsty, sometimes sunburned, and finally, by the time I’m doing the thing I was standing in line for, I’m tired and cranky.

So, today I’m sharing with you the things David and I do to stop wasting time in tickets lines. Instead, we spend more time doing the things we want to do.

FlyAwayU | Line to get Last Minute Broadway Tickets in NYC
Line to get Last Minute Broadway Tickets in NYC

1. Buy Advance Tickets

Just like with a dinner reservation, booking tickets in advance reduces the amount of time you waste in line. But don’t think that buying in advance will get you completely out of standing in line though. It means you stand in line with other advance ticket holders. BUT the advance ticket lines are ALWAYS shorter than the regular ticket-buying line. AND you gain entry before the “regular” people.

When buying advance tickets, book the first slot of the day. Then arrive a little early, and you’ll better your chances to gain entry with the least amount of people. Once through the door, go straight to the most favorite part of the attraction first.

In most cases, advanced tickets come with a cost, ranging in $3 to $5 per ticket. That’s a nominal price compared to standing in line for over an hour (or more) at favorite events and attractions. Your time is worth so much more.

Now there are times when buying advanced tickets aren’t worth the added fee. During the offseason, weekdays, or early or late in the day, most attractions won’t need advanced tickets. During the primary season, weekends, or extremely popular sights, pay the fees, and not wasting time in ticket lines.

FlyAwayU | Stop Wasting Time in Ticket Lines
No lines in the Capitol during the wintertime in Washington, D.C.

2. City Pass Tickets

City pass tickets always include “skip the line” entry to all covered events and sights. Do keep in mind, that doesn’t mean you won’t stand in any line. You could stand in line with all the other city pass ticket holders, but usually, the lines are much shorter. Also, city pass tickets are only worth the money if you see enough of the included sights.

Three to four of the most expensive attractions equal the full cost of the ticket. See those and everything you see and do at that point is a bonus because it’s free. Plus, most city passes include the added value of unlimited public transportation access as well.

FlyAwayU | Off-season Beach Visit in San Diego
Open beach during the off-season.

3. Go at the Right Time

Prime season, weekends, and midmorning to midafternoon are the most popular times that people visit events and attractions. Visiting during the offseason, weekdays, or early mornings and late afternoons often reduces your queue time.

Also, don’t forget to make sure your planned event is open. It’s a massive waste of time to show up, and the event or attraction is closed. Globally, many museums and historical sites close on Mondays, but not all. So, just remember to check ahead when planning.

FlyAwayU | Stop Wasting Time in Ticket Lines
Seeing the Mona Lisa with few people using advanced tickets, arriving early and going straight to this art first 

4. Book a Tour

Guided tours are always more expensive than standing in line. BUT the benefits of a tour often outweigh the extra costs, especially at top-rated attractions. Often guided tours give you access to areas where regular ticket holders can’t go. Plus, you get to skip the entry lines. And your gain your guide’s insight and tidbits of information about the place you’re visiting.

The Pristine Sistine Tour with Walks of Italy allowed us into the Sistine Chapel one hour before it opened to the public. We saw the Chapel with only around 100 people in the room. It was so full several hours later; you couldn’t move in the Sistine Chapel without bumping into someone. And we didn’t spend three-plus hours standing in line to get into the Vatican first thing in the morning. Instead, we skipped the line and walked right in with our tour guide.

If you’re planning to book more than one tour, try booking all with one company because most companies offer bundle discounts of 10% or more off the regular price when you buy more than one tour. Also, check Groupon and Living Social for special deals on tours.

Convinced Yet?

I hope so because it means you’ll be spending more time enjoying yourself and stop wasting time in ticket lines.

And don’t forget to combine the tips. David and I saw Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery with less than 20 people in the room. All because we bought advance weekday tickets for the first time slot of the day and arrived early, going straight to see the David first. An hour later, you could not move around the room and hall before it without bumping someone. We used the same techniques to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris.

When you’re deciding whether to spend extra money or stand in line, do a little research. Travel bloggers and reviewer sites share tips on how long wait times are at popular attractions. Then consider what your time is worth and how much time you’ll waste in line. In most cases, a little planning, timing, and a few extra dollars can vastly improve your experience. And you’ll stop wasting time in ticket lines. The decision all comes down to “what’s your time worth to you?” 

16 thoughts on “4 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Time in Ticket Lines

  • 02/01/2018 at 16:47
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    Oh how much I hate to wait somewhere standing in a line… I must admit sometimes I am a bit too thrifty to spend some extra bucks, but you are totally right! When you calculate how much time you actually save for just some £,$ or which currency you actually use… it is definitely worth it!
    Same with City pass tickets, I also made some very good experiences with this, you just need to plan your trips to use it smartly and that also then saves a lot of time again for not waiting somewhere. Really cool tips and all confirmed 🙂

    Reply
    • 02/01/2018 at 17:32
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      Hendrik, I used to be the same way with saving the money until I started calculating how much time I spent standing in lines and valuing my time. Once I did that, that little extra spent really improved my quality of life 🙂

      Reply
  • 02/01/2018 at 19:09
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    I agree that my time is worth something. We travel with little kids and we always pay extra to avoid waiting in crazy long lines. It makes the whole trip better and we can maximize our travels!

    Reply
    • 02/01/2018 at 22:48
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      OH, Marcie, I completely agree ESPECIALLY with children. You stand in line for hours and then by the time you get in, they are even crankier and ready to go than we are 🙂

      Reply
  • 02/01/2018 at 21:43
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    I always travel off season so rarely have to queue. But in some hot spots, like Vatican City – like you recommend, taking a tour is very beneficial and worth the extra bucks. I recently paid a fortune to visit the Duomo in Milan without lining up, then I heard someone who did line up complaining they had to wait 5 hours. This was off season, so I agree 100% with you about paying for a tour in some places.

    Reply
    • 02/01/2018 at 22:47
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      I agree James. We usually travel offseason more as well, but some places…it’s just better to pay the money. 3 to 5 hours in line is WAYYYYYY to long to be spending my valuable time 🙂

      Reply
  • 03/01/2018 at 13:05
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    You would think who needs a post like this nowadays, but when you look at all those people in lines I know why you wrote this! Their faces when you just walk past the line, haha lol! I cant believe that people still que up nowadays, Im like you dont have internet!? Good read, funny as well! Thanks

    Reply
    • 03/01/2018 at 15:54
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      LOL, right?! But everywhere I go, there are LONGGGGGG lines with people waiting for hours. It’s mainly because people can’t get their head around spending just a little more and don’t value their time. It’s sad when you think about it but makes it easier for those of us who do to skip on ahead 🙂

      Reply
  • 04/01/2018 at 12:23
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    You have some good tips here and I do a few of these myself, like book the tickets in advance. I tried to do that as much as possible. And you are so right about going at the right time can make the whole world of difference, some lines can change just like that.

    Reply
    • 04/01/2018 at 14:35
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      Yep, timing is so important. Just a few minutes one way or the other can make a huge difference, not to mention traveling in the offseason. I’ve also noticed when traveling in the offseason, sometimes you can get tickets discounted tickets, including bogos.

      Reply
  • 04/01/2018 at 15:42
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    So glad to see a post on discipline at the beginning of new years. I am motivated to take this tip seriously. I am impressed to know that you have done all these points systematically. I didn’t know that we can book a ticket to visit Mona Lisa too in advance. Yous saved my precious time with this post. thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • 04/01/2018 at 16:19
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      Hey Neha. And yes, you can purchase tickets online for the Louvre and then just arrive early in the morning before the lines get crazy to get in. check the museum map online first so that you know exactly which gallery to go to and go there first and you can see the Mona Lisa with almost no one in the room. Just don’t forget to turn around and see Christ’s Supper hanging behind you when looking at the Mona Lisa! Then spend the rest of the day enjoying all the things you passed to get there 🙂

      Reply
  • 04/01/2018 at 22:47
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    Very informative post! I completely agree standing in long queues is not only inconvenient but also a waste of time. We generally book guided tours and ‘skip the line’ tickets and I must say they are really worth the money. We also book online tickets, where available. I like your idea of booking advance tickets and city pass tickets. Arriving early is a great idea. It saves a lot of time that you can utilize doing other activities and enjoying your day out.

    Reply
    • 05/01/2018 at 12:53
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      Thanks Shaily, it looks like you already understand the value of your time 🙂

      Reply
  • 05/01/2018 at 07:49
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    Those are some great ideas. I value my time. I have busy schedules while traveling and even otherwise. I can’t afford to lose time waiting to buy tickets. I personally do go for city pass tickets. Those are very convenient. I like the idea of going at the right time. I never thought about it. Makes sense.

    Reply
    • 05/01/2018 at 12:55
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      City passes can save the day for sure and now you’ll be adding in the timing trick which will help you save even more of your valuable time 🙂

      Reply

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