Four tips for skipping the queues on holiday

Pol O’Conghaile, travel editor with Independent News and Media, gave his holiday hacks for travellers

Four tips for skipping the queues on holiday

David Mirzoeff/PA Wire/PA Images

As the summer months creep in and the weather gets warmer, travelers are starting to spin the globe and embark on foreign adventures.

However, with the joy of travel comes the usual hurdles - particularly when it comes to queuing and visiting popular tourist sites.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Pol O’Conghaile, travel editor with Independent News and Media, says it's becoming more of an issue.

"Barcelona recently limited the construction of new hotels," he says. "Venice is looking to charge entry to St Mark's Square.

"Iceland has been suffering from over-tourism - locals are worried about the impact on their environment and the fact that their roads are single lane roads and suddenly [they're] accommodating a lot of tour buses."


O'Conghaile explained that for many attractions now, pre-booking is essential, citing the Sagrada Família in Barcelona as an example.

Tourists are advised to book a date and time slot on the temple's website, as during peak season, it is not possible to just buy a ticket. If you're not on time for your slot, you risk losing it.

O'Conghaile also suggests that people go for an early morning time slot, as the temple tends to fill up as the day goes on.

For the Empire State Building in New York, pre-booking is also essential, with O'Conghaile suggesting a night-time visit to beat the crowds.

The Sistine Chapel offers 'skip the line' tickets for an additional €4 which ensures you won't be waiting as long to see Michaelangelo's masterpiece. 

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam offers priority e-tickets to tourists online.

The Manhattan skyline with the Empire State Building. Image: Mary Altaffer/AP/Press Association Images

Fast passes

For Disneyland Paris, O'Conghaile reiterates that going early and being prepared is key. 

Here's how the fast pass works - you arrive at the ride you want to go on to get your ticket punched. You're then given a time to return at, where you will face a much shorter queue.

At lunchtime during the parade and fireworks, queues for rides also tend to thin out.

There is also an app available which shows you the queues for each ride in real time.

DisneyLand Paris. Image:  Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images

Different queues

Heading to the City of Lights? For the Eiffel Tower in Paris, O'Conghaile flags the queue that could get you in faster.

"If you go to the queue at the South Pillar of the tower, about 15 - 30 minutes before it opens, the wait is shorter because you can climb the stairs to the second level," he said.

The Eiffel Tower. Image:  Jens Kalaene/DPA/PA Images

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Skellig Michael's new found fame from its Star Wars cameo means it's becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination at home.

As a result, travelers are advised to book the boats in advance at Port McGee, at a cost of €60. The island can only take 180 visitors per day, so you can't just show up at the harbour and expect to get a spot.

Skellig Michael. Image: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images