Another expert trick is to bypass lines by purchasing advance tickets. Viator, a third-party site that arranges day trips and activities, offers a "Skip the Lines" option. With their service, you can save as much as three hours of waiting time at the Vatican Museums, though security clearance can still take about 30 minutes. Or book your tickets early directly through the site, such as at Florence's Uffizi Gallery.

Finally, try my best tried-and-true tip for avoiding crowds: Travel in the off-season. It's the ultimate contrarian method, and it works almost every time. Just look at our national parks as an example. Visit the Grand Canyon between October and March, and you'll have it nearly all to yourself. (Here's another tip on the Grand Canyon: The North Rim is a lot less crowded than the South Rim, even during peak season.) Many park concessions offer off-season programming, like the Chefs' Holidays series in Yosemite's famous Ahwahnee Lodge and summer golf packages from $30 at Death Valley National Park.

Read about off-season culinary events in national parks at

The world is packed with potential experiences of a lifetime. The trick is in making it your experience of a lifetime—where you have the space and time to enjoy it without the crowds.

Peter Greenberg is the travel editor of CBS News, host of a nationally syndicated weekly radio program and publisher of travel news site He has been a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Larry King Live.

Keep Reading:
8 great adventure books
Could travel insurance save your vacation?
Learn to let go—the no-plan, no-guidebook vacation


Next Story