make the most of your time on vacation

make the most of your time in Paris (or anyplace else)
How to avoid long lines? Rick Steves sometimes comes up with gems collected in one succinct article, and such is the case with a recent travel column he wrote for USA Today.

Time is your most precious commodity when you travel. If you're traveling, say, to Paris, and have just a few days, you want to make the most of your time on vacation. You can easily waste hours in line waiting to buy tickets to various attractions — the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay (Impressionist art museum), the Georges Pompidou (contemporary art museum), Saint Chapelle (and its gorgeous stained glass windows), Notre Dame (the iconic cathedral of Paris), etc. — and you'll be frustrated. Precious time is slipping through your fingers.

Here are some tips to make the most of your time on vacation.

(1) Consider a private guide. Yes, private guides are expensive, but it's an investment in making the most of your stay with the least possible frustration. Not only will your guide be able to procure tickets in advance, she can tailor your visit to your interests and reduce stress immeasurably. I remember a great tour at the Prado Museum in Madrid, a huge museum in which you could spend days wandering aimlessly around. Our guide knew the museum intimately, and she treated us to a great visit of the museum's Velasquez and Goya paintings. Though they were scattered through many galleries, she knew exactly where to go. Not a wasted step, not a misspent minute, and we were treated to an informative show-and-tell of the paintings of these two great Spanish painters. Expensive? Yes… but we enjoyed these highlights of the Prado in one hour … and were off to the next stop on our itinerary.

(2) Buy a museum pass for the city you're visiting. Conventional logic says to compare the cost of the tickets you want to buy and the cost of the pass … and buy whichever costs less. But think outside the box! A museum pass lets you skip the long ticket lines at many of those places, saving you hours. Even if you've "overspent" by 10 or 20 euros, you're buying more time to enjoy everything you want to see — a small price to pay!

(3) Concentrating on maximizing your time, not minimizing your expenses. This may seem like counter-intuitive wisdom in this age of internet shopping. So what if you can save $100 by flying home a day earlier? It's a false economy. If you're spending thousands of dollars on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris, or Venice, or Bali, why cut that experience short just to gain some minor savings?

Travel is one of the most life-changing and enriching experiences in life, and you'll always remember the trips you've taken. What you spend on travel is an investment in your life, just as important (if not more so) than your stocks and bonds, and you measure that investment by its return on life.

make the most of your time on vacation (search here on Google)

copyright (c) 2012 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

No comments: