The last thing you want when you’re on vacation is to get tied up in situations that take away from your anticipated leisure and adventure. Travel can be complicated, so some research ahead of time is a good idea. Preparing ahead can save you from waiting in long lines and can make sure you have what you need when you need it — be it rental cars, plane tickets, or hotel rooms. The smart traveler has an itinerary punch list that will guide them through what to do each step of the way during the trip. Be smart and use these tips to make traveling easier and to ensure you’re ready to make full use of your precious vacation time.

Plan Ahead

Make traveling easier by creating an outline of your travel plans. List your mode of travel, highlighting what can be reserved ahead of time. Think of the places you want to visit. Research their hours, what they offer on-site, and if there is an admission cost, and if tickets can be purchased ahead of time. If traveling by other means than driving your car, then consider long-term parking options. Check the area for parking lots near to your departure location. You may find a wide range of availability at various prices, so take some time to determine which option will be the most expedient and best priced for you.

Work Around Peak Times

Being an early bird can pay off — not only for when it comes to booking the lowest airfare, but also for visiting popular sites. Also, midday during lunch is a good time. Tour buses generally arrive mid-morning and after lunch, so save the less known sites for those times of the day. Stay away from congested routes during rush hour to save travel time. This would be a great time for a walking tour or visiting the local cafés.

Related: Don’t Make These Mistakes When Planning Your Solo Travel Adventure

Use Concierge Services

When traveling to an unfamiliar area, don’t be shy. Use the resources available that can save you time and money. One of the best is the concierge services offered by the hotel. Tell them exactly what you want to know. Include questions about best prices, quickest routes, best times, hidden costs, and local events. They know the area well and can guide you to great local places that are not just trying to draw in tourists for money. This service is free to the guests at the hotel and well worth the effort. The concierge can also make reservations for you at restaurants, call ahead for available entertainment tickets, as well as help with needed transportation.

Get Passes

Don’t be put off by the price of a pass. The benefits are worth it. Look into public transportation passes that will give you access to many parts of the city and the local area for a single cost. Some cities offer passes to special sites such as museums, attractions, and zoos. Often, these passes allow you to avoid standing in long lines as well as save you money on individual admission charges. Some research will let you know if these passes can be purchased ahead of time and be sent to you before you leave home.

Take a Tour

Research ahead for tours of places you want to visit. Tours have had a questionable reputation, but a good tour is well worth the investment. Having a guide when exploring an area or attraction will save you money as well as time. Also, tour guides are a wealth of information. Another perk in tours is that most groups are allowed immediate access to the site — no standing in long lines. If you want to explore the site further, you can visit at another time on your own.

Have your own tips and tricks that save time and make traveling easier? Leave them in the comments section below! 

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