Why do so many travelers not buy tickets to attractions in advance?

Doesn’t matter where I travel to, I always buy tickets for things before I even go.
Yet when I’m there I see oodles of people standing in line for hours just to buy the tickets while I walk right on past and into the attraction.

The Louvre and The Eiffel Tower are just 2 examples. I saw people standing in huge, long lines while we walked right in because we bought the tickets online before even leaving for France.

WTH?:confused: They didn’t know they were going to be in Paris? Did they take a wrong turn at Albuquerque?

Every major attraction I’ve been to I’ve noticed this. Are people really ignorant that entrance tickets can be bought online in advance or is there some other explination?

I didn’t know you could buy tickets to the Eiffel Tower in advance. Didn’t seem to matter much. I took an overnight train that arrived in Paris early in the morning, dropped my luggage at my hotel, and walked to the Tower. I got in and went to the top, no problem. There was a huge line on my way back down, though.

I don’t remember a line for the Louvre, either.

What time of year were you there? I’ve been to both twice and the lines just to get tickets were insane.

And it’s been the same everywhere I’ve been. Tons of people in line just to get tickets and we walk right past them and into the attraction.
Even places like Heineken in Amsterdam and Jameson in Dublin. Lines for tickets around the block. Bought ours online before hand, walked right in.

Going to Barcelona next month and have been online buying tickets to places. Was thinking about how crazy it would be and a waste of time not buying them before hand. It’s what inspired this thread.

I don’t like to plan my travel that much. To use your Eiffel Tower example, I wouldn’t make a decision to see any more than can be seen without a ticket until I got there. If somewhere is so popular that there are long queues for tickets then I probably don’t want to be there anyway. For me, buying tickets online before scoping it out in person would likely waste money.

I’m in the U.S… I don’t think planning what I’m going to do while I’m in Europe is that strange. I find standing in line for hours when the tickets can be bought before hand to be strange.

Hell, those people could buy them online at their hotel and save the time. I don’t think this is such an odd inquiry.

If I recall my Eiffel Tower ticket from a couple of years ago, it was set for a specific time (10 am?). They wouldn’t let me in before that and I hung around the park at the base for about half an hour.

People want the option, if they wake up and it’s pouring rain, or they still have jet lag, or they are just not feeling up to it that day, to make their plans based on daily conditions. Especially when on holiday! There’s enough lack of flexibility in daily life, some people don’t want more of that while on vacation. Somethings def require advance set up; airline tickets, some hotel stays in major cities, specialty sites requiring advanced arranging, etc. So for the simpler things, like museum tickets, local sites, some people prefer to be more free form is all. Also some people only have three days in Paris, while others are staying for three weeks. That can make a difference too!

Different strokes, for differs folks, pretty much covers it !

I didn’t say anything you did was strange, just pointing out why I don’t do it. This is the point of the thread yes?

at Disney world the fast pass lets you skip a lot of the line for a ride. But it was not used much , at least in 2002 when I was last there. Maybe it’s used more now. The downside is you have to show up at a set time but that was never an issue.

I usually buy some kind of “CityPass” package of tourist tickets when I visit a city (assuming that there are enough things on the list of attractions that I’d like to visit). Whether I buy it at home or overseas doesn’t make much difference, in my experience. They almost always tout the ability to “skip the line!” at the attractions in question, but I’m hard-pressed to think of any attractions where skipping the line seemed like a big benefit. I certainly don’t remember a big line at the Eiffel Tower when we went, but it wasn’t the high season.

The Eiffel Tower is the only attraction I can recall that had a specific time on it. Everything else I’ve done in Europe the tickets were general show up whenever and walk in.

Me too, but only if we plan on doing a large majority of what is included with them. Otherwise it’s not a good value. Do at least half of what they offer, use the public transport option, and the discounts and then they are a great deal! :slight_smile:

Yes, a lot of people don’t realize they can by tickets in advance. That’s why there is a line outside of movie theaters, or stadiums, or any number of places.

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This is exactly me. I plan minimally when I travel. I like going somewhere and then going where my whim takes me. It’s also why I generally prefer to travel alone.

And, yes, when I was in Paris the first time and went to the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, I had no idea I was going to be there in the first place. On a whim, I decided to spend a day in Paris while taking a train back to London from Slovenia. I had no issue with lines that I remember for the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre – well, that was one of the longest lines I’d ever seen but, this being 1996, I’m not sure where/how I could have bought tickets in advance even if I knew I would be there. Being a brazen, overconfident young traveler, I just walked almost to the very front of the line, sidled in, and was in the Louvre within 10 minutes. Nobody said a word.

But, yes, generally, I just don’t like planning that kind of stuff. And mostly what I’m interested in doing is just walking around, eating, and drinking.

I’m big on spontaneity. Plus, the things I do on vacation are things that do not require tickets. I like to lay on the beach, no ticket required for that.

I did this – twice! – with the lines for the Warped Tour, which were the longest non-theme park lines I’ve ever seen. I don’t feel guilty because I walked up to the front of the line just to make sure that it was the right line (I couldn’t even see the entrance from the back of the line), and they had already been letting people in, but inefficiently, I guess because people were in no particular hurry to go in an hour before the bands started, so I sidled up to one of the unbusy (!) ticket takers and was in.

That’s the other thing. Most of the things I like to do don’t require tickets. There may be a museum I’d like to visit, but that’s about it. I tend to also travel off-season, so getting tickets while there is rarely an issue. But the last ticketed destination I remember visiting was the Taj Mahal about 5 years ago, and I don’t even think it was or is possible to get tickets to it online. Instead, we woke up at the crack of dawn, got in line about 30 minutes before it opened, and it was awesome. We had the whole place to ourselves for the first 5 or 10 minutes, so I have pictures of my wife by the reflecting pool with absolutely nobody in the background. Half hour to an hour later, or so, the place was swamped with people.

So what? If I wake up and it’s raining, or I have a bad belly, what difference does it make?

Some people groove on having everything laid out and planned for each day. Other people don’t really want that much structure in their lives. They are often on holiday to escape this kind of scheduling and structure.

You, clearly groove on it. As you can see, lots of people aren’t the same as you.

The factor is flexibility, A bit of the unknown and being open to the good stuff while traveling. That can not be preplanned, preplanning destroys much of the magic that happens during travel, so unless there is a good reason I like to keep my options open to where I want to go at the moment. I do find that good things really happen traveling that way, but if sticking to a plan it seems more like a guided tour with everything regimented. I actually feel sorry for what people miss when they overplan their days.

But have to admit traveling to Paris, I did find it unique that there were very long lines for everything, other places not so much. Not saying there are no lines or even long lines elsewhere, but Paris seemed to have some of the longest lines. So yes your plan paid off there (though I took the stairs up the tower, which had a shorter line plus I got to walk up/ ride down, which being a hiker is ideal), but spent about 2 hours standing around to tour the catacombs.

I’m usually a hybrid tourist. We honeymooned in Europe, and I made reservations for a rental car and a nice hotel on our first night and last night. The two weeks in between, we were footloose (“Huh, up this side road, there’s a village called Ootlingen. Let’s check it out. They’ve got to have a patisserie, right?”).

But we had zero interest in doing touristy things. No lines for little cafés and bars. I had a whole afternoon with a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower… from the roof of a department store. My wife shopped, while I sat with a book. All alone, except for the lad who was manning the rooftop wine ‘n’ croissants trolley… on the roof. Ahhh… quelle belle vie!

I do wonder if some of this is cultural. “Ah’m an Amur’can who makes a flow chart of every trip. And mah time’s too important to stand around!” vs “Oh, hello, I’m a Brit who does so enjoy queuing up for any reason… I even enjoy saying ‘queuing’. Queuing!”