Each and every year, people plan out their vacations, picking out all of the sights and attractions they don’t want to miss in their destination. The problem? They don’t know the tips and tricks that’ll get them the most value for their time.

Everyone has dreams of visiting at least one touristy spot in the world, whether it’s the great Egyptian pyramids or the Louvre museum in Paris. What no one dreams of, though? All the work it takes to actually feel like you got an experience worth remembering, from getting the photo you want to seeing a prized piece of artwork up close.

image
iStock

Don’t worry, thoughwe’ve got all the tips and tricks you need for skipping the lines, taking the best photos, and having the experience you’ve always dreamed of when it come to visiting some of the most popular tourist attractions around the world.

Skipping the Line At the Sistine Chapel

It’s estimated that upwards of 25,000 people make their way through the museums at the Vatican on a crowded day in Rome, and the Sistine Chapel is often the mecca of it all. You could stand in line for around four hours to get there just like everyone else, or you could take some easy shortcuts that’ll cut your wait in half.

image
Javier Sánchez/Getty Images

Get a guide and go early. We’re talking 7:30 in the morning early. The companies who operate tours pay a pretty penny for the privilege of being able to enter the grounds early, and using this to your advantage can get you to the chapel before anyone else. Liberty Gilmore of Audley Travel also says that guides are allowed to take you back to the rest of the museums through hidden exits, something you wouldn’t be able to do without a guide.

image
musement

Go late if you’re not an early bird. From April until October, the museums stay open until 11 p.m., which is a time frame that doesn’t appeal to everyone, often making it less crowded.

image
iStock

Buy tickets in advance to shorten your time in line down to an hour. You’ll still have to wait your turn to get in, but you won’t have to wait to actually buy tickets, which can be half the battle.

Getting Up-Close to the Statue of Liberty

You might think that just sailing by Lady Liberty on a boat will suffice, but there really is nothing like getting a closer view.

image
iStock

Make your way up into her crown to get an incredible view of the New York City skyline.

Buy your tickets ahead—most people might try to add an experience like this into their trip on a whim, but you’ll be disappointed if you do. Tickets like this can sell out months in advance, so you have to plan it out.

image
heyheyny/YouTube

Make the crown the first stop of your trip, as the path up there is small and only a few people are let in at a time.

Seeing the Most of The Louvre

We know anyone visiting the Louvre will probably have Mona Lisa on their mind, but the museum really does have so much more to offer.

image
Pinterest

However, if you’re set on seeing the lady with the mystic smile, seeing her earlier is better than later so you can enjoy more of the museum after. One TripAdvisor user says that going through an entrance in the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall will get you there well before anyone else.

image
Galerie du Carrousel du Louvre

To get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa by yourself, “do not take a day bag (as these need top go through a screener), get your ticket and then, as soon as you have gone up the first escalator, take the lift directly ahead of you. You then end up right next to the MONA LISA well ahead of those runing up the many flights of stairs,” said user FriskyG.

Where and When to Visit the Great Wall of China

Most people wouldn’t consider a trip to China complete with seeing a section of the Great Wall, but the trip can be a little difficult to plan. After all, it’s approximately 13,171 miles longwhere do you even begin?

image
iStock

The most popular place to visit the wall is out of Beijing, as this section of the wall tends to be the safest for visitors. There are even multiple sections you can easily get to from Beijing, so figure out ahead of time which one you want to visit.

image
iStock

Get a hotel room near the wall because it’s a two-hour drive out of Beijing to get there. Staying near the wall itself is a great way to make sure you see it early without many other tourists around.

image
iStock

Go during the spring or fall to avoid most of them altogether. The spring season runs through April to May, and the fall season runs from September to October.

Having the Most Fun At Disneyland

While it may not be a relic of the ancient world, Disneyland is still just a popular as ever, hosting 18.2 million visitors in 2015 alone. That’s a lot of people you’ll be sharing the park with, even on a less-crowded day, but there are lots of ways to fit in everything you want to see, ride, and eat.

image
iStock

Character meals will give your kids a chance to meet all of their favorites without the crowds. To get the most out of your time in the park, try going to a character breakfast so you can pack it all in before the park even opens and you won’t miss a thing.

image
Disney

Buy a Fastpass for anything you don’t want to leave without riding, but only do so if the line has more than a 30 minute wait. It’s also important to mention that you can only hold a Fastpass for one attraction at a time, and it has to be used within a certain timeframe, so using the system does take some planning.

image
Simply Sinova

To get a coveted Dole Whip without the wait, head to the Enchanted Tiki Room. Since it’s hidden inside, the line is usually much shorter than the others. If you’re okay with an early-morning Dole Whip, you can also get them when the stands open, which is one hour after the parks themselves open.

Exploring Chichén Itzá

Sure, you could just walk up to El Castillo (the huge pyramid at Chichén Itzá), snap a picture, and call it a day, but you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice. It’s so much more than that one pyramid, but you won’t figure that out if you don’t take a few steps to enhance your experience.

image

Bring pesos for the entrance fee because credit cards aren’t always accepted.

Make sure you come dressed for the occasion if you plan on exploringthat means don’t wear flip-flops, make sure you’re dressed for hot weather, and pack some sunscreen and bug spray.

image
iStock

Hire a guide if you want to see all that the site has to offer. Yes, you can walk through it yourself, but you probably won’t know what you’re looking at unless you’ve already done your homework. Oh, and the site is massive, toowalk around for long enough and you’ll find the Observatory, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Great Ball Court.

image
iStock

Be prepared to say no to stand after stand of souvenirs, too, because people will try to sell you something while you’re there. The one thing you shouldn’t buy, though? Food! The nearby village of Pisté will have authentic Mexican food for a fraction of the price.