Hello everyone! I’m alive and well in Europe. So far I’ve been to five countries within two months, but I still have two nations and one month left to go. I’m excited to share my experiences with you, but I’ve been packing my days with so much that most of my stories will have to wait until I arrive back in the States. But for now, I’d like to begin a post series called Money Mondays, where I explain one way I save money for or during my travels. Enjoy!
I actually began writing this post because I’m waiting in line for a famous museum, and I was getting bombarded by a ton of salespeople trying to sell me skip-the-line tickets. While that sometimes sounds intriguing, these tickets are also four times the cost of what I’ll pay when I do eventually get to the front of this line. Pulling out my phone and working hard seems to make the salespeople leave me alone, and it also is helping to pass the time. If you find yourself stuck in a line and tempted to buy skip-the-line tickets, here are a few other things you can do instead:
-Ahead of time, download a few ebooks to your phone or another device. Just make sure to bring said device with you.
-Pack a lunch (or breakfast or dinner, depending on the time of day) to eat while waiting. When doing this at Disneyland Paris, this actually ended up saving me time since I didn’t have to stop rides for meals!
-Talk with others who are also waiting in line. Give them your insider travel secrets and you may get a few tips in return!
-Pull out your tourist map and plan out your next stops.
-Before getting in line, head to a souvenir store and buy some postcards. Spend the time in line writing letters to all the friends and relatives who expect mail from you!
-Think about how much money you’re saving by not falling for the tourist traps of skipping lines and paying for tours!
But I Have Limited Time!
The ones most likely to buy into skip-the-line tours are the ones who didn’t build enough time into their trip. It’s always best to budget more time than you think you’ll need, but of course there are many factors in life that keep us from always doing this. Here are some timesaving tips I’ve picked up along the way that won’t cost you any extra money.
– At the Eiffel Tower, take the stairs if you are physically able to. It’s only a fraction of the cost of an elevator ticket, and you’ll only wait a few minutes in line. If you can’t walk the steps, make on online reservation well in advance.
– For most other Paris attractions (particularly the Louvre) buy a Paris Museum Pass. Not only does this mean free entry at dozens of locations, but many include skipping the ticket line as well. With my four day pass, I figured I was saving money as long as I went to at least two attractions per day.
– Don’t wait in line to buy a ticket at the Roman Colosseum. Go to Palatino or The Roman Forum, where the lines are short, and purchase a multi attraction ticket.
– Lines fluctuate throughout the day at the attractions connected to Florence’s Duomo. If they’re long, go do something else and come back in a little bit. But make sure to go in line with modest dress and a ticket. Tickets are not sold in the line, so check the posted map for sales locations. And if you come with exposed shoulders or knees, you will be denied entry. If either of these happen to you, you will have wasted a lot of time for nothing.
– At any religious site (specifically cathedrals), if you’re not sure your clothing is modest enough, bring a sarong or scarf that you can cover up with. The guards don’t do modesty checks until you’re at the entrance, so many people wait in line only to be turned away.
– Think about other ways you can save time that won’t cost as much. For example, I typically walk everywhere within a city. But yesterday, there was a lot that I wanted to do, and it would take an hour long walk to get there. Instead of walking there, I took the metro, which was only a fifteen minute trip. That’s like waiting in line for 45 minutes less! Another timesaving idea is to eat fewer meals at sit-down restaurants and opt for street food and takeaway.
– In general, see if you can buy tickets online. Some are the same cost or even less than buying on the spot. However, beware as some online tickets charge an extra service fee!
– While online, see if you can find any information on what days or times are the least busy for the places you want to see. Generally early morning midweek is good, but this can vary depending on the location
Above all, know that there will be times you’ll be surprised at how little you wait, and times you’ll be waiting longer than you can imagine. Just remember that lines are part of the travel experience and can be an adventure within themselves. Happy saving!