It’s currently the middle of July, and in the great cities of Europe it is the height of tourist season. Over the course of the last 3 days, we have been all over London and the only things more prevalent than black cabs and retro phone booths were tourists.
We are fortunate enough to be able to do the majority of our travels outside of the summer season thus we feel the impact of the crowds less. Crowds and queues can be very tough on the kids, and the adults as well.
Here are a few tips on dealing with crowds as well as a warning against possibly my greatest nemesis while traveling.
Label Your Kids
You can make this as creative or as easy as you choose. My wife is crafty and made a leather bracelet for our son that has all our contact info on the inside. You can opt for some tape to stick on them and label, cards for them to carry, or just write on their arm with a felt pen. If your kid is a runner, even though you may not want to consider it, kiddie leashes are a far better option than losing your toddler in the middle of a foreign country.
Get tickets ahead of time online when you can or buy passes to multiple sites that allow you to skip the line. Think about this well in advance as popular sights can sell out. In the case of the Eiffel Tower, for example, it can sell out weeks in advance.
Be An Early Bird
This one is almost second nature when you are with kids and babies but if you can get an early start, most tourist sites are not as busy early in the day. Since babies and kids are usually up at the crack of dawn, get out and see the sites before the crowds take over. We usually grab breakfast on the move to make things faster. This has the added benefit of it being cooler in the morning at outdoor sights. If you look around most tourist sites, you will not see a lot of shade.
Pick a Rally Point
I am not going to say much about this because it is straight forward. Make sure everyone knows the route, correct train station, and destination in case you get separated. Then when you arrive pick a very visible landmark to meet at in case you get separated and worried.
Avoid the Tidal Waves
In our experience the absolute worst adversary to keeping your family together are tour groups. Whether you are outside on the streets or inside a museum, these 100 legged blobs of humanity care only about one thing, following the guide. They will give absolutely no second thought to pushing, trampling, or murdering you where you stand while they blindly try to keep up. Tell tale signs of these human centipedes are everyone carrying brightly coloured matching day bags, matching hats, etc. The guide will normally be holding up an umbrella, stick with a bright feather or the like. Be cautious and keep your little imps close. I personally don’t give in, especially to the guides, because they are bullies and I refuse to give in to bullies who don’t care about other sightseers.
Enjoy your summer and have safe, happy travels.
For any questions about beating crowds, comment below. If you want some tips on breakfast on the go click here.