One of life’s greatest pleasures is to travel. The Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu, AnkorWat, the Statue of Liberty – there are some places that everyone should see in their lifetime. However, visiting these spectacular places means that you have to content with the crowds of other visitors who are also drawn there.
Rather than spending your vacation queuing for hours upon hours, elbowing through the crowds and paying through the nose to catch a glimpse of one of these sites, there are certain tricks and hacks you can use. Check this list for the hacks you need to know when visiting some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
Machu Picchu, the once-lost capital of the Incas is a site like no other. The extensive ruins include rows of houses, temples and other buildings in the shadow of the incredible Andes mountains. One of the great experiences of visiting Machu Picchu is arriving by foot after first hiking the phenomenal Inca Trail through the Andes. This trail is so spectacular in fact that hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn here every year.
So many visitors in fact that this posed a risk to the natural environment, and the Peruvian Government only allows visitors to enter if they first buy a pass, and the number of passes issued is limited to 2,500 per day. This may seem like a lot, but this can book out many months in advance, especially in the peak months of May to July. If you want to do the Inca Trail, book at least 6 months in advance. Alternatively, you can do one of the many similar hikes, such as the Salkantay Trail, and enjoy the same spectacular views while sharing the trail with much fewer people!
The Eiffel Tower
A visit to Paris isn’t complete without seeing the iconic Eiffel Tower up close. This 300 meter tower really is the symbol of Paris, and although you will be able to see its distinctive shape from most parts of the city, visiting it and climbing the tower for the exceptional views of Paris is essential on any Paris trip.Being essential viewing of course means that you will have to content with large crowds who are also drawn to this key attraction in the second-most visited city in the world.
Avoid queuing at the ticket counter and buy your tickets online: you can do this up to two months in advance. Another great hack for skipping the lines is to book a reservation in advance at one of the Eiffel Tower’s two restaurants. The restaurants have their own separate entrances and offer the unique experience of dining inside the tower. You can also save overall on ticket prices by buying a multi-attraction pass. The French tourism authority offers passes which bundle its top sites together, and can represent significant savings if you’re planning on doing lots of site-seeing.
Harry Potter Studios at Warner Brothers London
“Harry Potter World” has become incredibly popular in recent years, and is now one of London’s leading attractions. Fans of the films flock to the studios to seethe authentic sets, props and costumes from the movies. This is a great site because it is a truly immersive experience, allowing you to walk through the Great Hall, sip a Butterbeer, ride Hagrid’s motorcycle, and more, to feel like you are truly part of the Harry Potter universe.
One of the major challenges is that Harry Potter tickets sell out so far in advance that it can be difficult to get a spot. Passes on the official site regularly sell out months in advance. However, those in the know get their tickets through tour sites, where it is possible to find passes even a few days in advance.
AnkorWat is another bucket-list item which is well worth the visit. The Cambodian complex contains over 1000 Hindu temples dating back to the 12th century. Although some are ruins that are little more than piles of rubble, there a significant number of well-preserved temples complete with breath-taking stone work, reliefs and murals, such as the main temple also called AnkorWat (the namesake for the site in general), and Ta Prohm, where the roots of massive Silk Trees grow over the ruined temples.
You can take in the splendour and tranquillity of these temples by simply taking the opposite route. Visits and tours to the temples of AnkorWat generally follow an established route: from the main temple of AnkorWat, to Bakheng, AnkorThem and then Ta Prohm. Take the reverse route and you will largely miss the crowds, allowing you to take in these sacred temples in relative peace and tranquillity. The main temple opens to visitors at 5:00am, so if you’re an early bird this is a great way to beat the crowds. Not to mention sun rise over the temple and its decorate lake is a sight like nothing else in this world!