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Tips to Avoid Standing in Line

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Standing in line will squash any child’s vacation excitement. No one wants to waste precious vacation time by waiting. At times it is unavoidable, but here are my best tips to avoid standing in line.

Travel at off times

Choose when you travel wisely. If you have young children that are not in school yet, travel when most kids are in school. I frequently search local school district calendars to see when kids in my destination are on break. If your kid’s school district has teacher in-service days or breaks that are different than the norm, take advantage of it!

Arrive early

You have got to arrive early to theme parks or museums. Most travelers want to sleep in on vacation. So if you want to avoid lines, get there before the park opens and then go to your favorite attractions first. Go back to your hotel room in the afternoon to have a break when the park is the most crowded.


Print out vouchers or tickets ahead of time. Many places not only offer a discount for advance purchase, but you will also be able to skip the ticketing line. Disney allows you to purchase your admission online and then go directly to the gate with your voucher.

Inside Amusement Parks

If your vacation plans have you visiting an amusement park in peak season, there are a few options to reduce your time spent waiting in line at the rides. Disney parks offer their FASTPASS service for free, which allows you to pick up a pass, return during a specific time frame and skip most of the line for many of their rides. There are plenty of Disney experts out there who can tell you exactly how to navigate the park to maximize use of the FASTPASS system!

The Universal parks offer an Express Pass that you can purchase on top of your ticket price, and Six Flags offers a FLASH Pass virtual reservation system which holds your place in line.  On top of that, many parks offer “VIP Tours” for an even larger fee, which allow you to bypass the lines and often include a personal tour guide, reserved seating at shows and behind-the-scenes access. Visit the website for the park(s) you are visiting to find out what they offer.

Rental cars

Register with the rental car company’s loyalty program ahead of time. The programs are free and you can enter your information before you rent your car. This will allow you to skip the line and in most cases head straight to your car.

Become a Hotel VIP

There are usually separate, shorter check-in lines for members of hotel loyalty programs. As a Hilton Honors member there are benefits of a separate check-in line or eCheck-in. And, you can get even more high-tech with the Hilton Honors iPhone app.

Express checkout

You can avoid the lines in the lobby by using this feature from your room. Hilton hotels have a one-step option on the phone so you can quickly check out and be on your way. Some hotels will also allow you to check out using a system through the TV.

Meal time

Try and eat meals at different times — again, earlier is better. Kids are always hungry, so I never hear a complaint for this tip. We try to eat lunch at 11:00am and then have an early dinner.

What are some of your best tips to skip the lines?

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Tricia lives in Phoenix with her husband, 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son. She is a special education teacher for elementary students. Her family’s favorite memories…

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