Imagine this....you and your family are totally psyched about seeing this awesome historical place that offers tours at 12pm 1pm and 3pm. You've got lots planned for your trip and figure you'll make the 1pm tour and then head off to your other stops. Sadly, when you get there you find out the 1pm tour is sold out...ugh. It's happened to me in the past, and with the summer quickly approaching I won't let it happen again and I definitely don't want it to happen to you.
Right now I am deep in the midst of planning our summer road trip to New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and I am hyper aware that summer is the busiest time for all tourist attractions. In order to make sure you and your family don't miss out on all the awesome stuff you can't wait to do, find out now which activities might need advance reservations and get ready to make your move.
Do The Resesarch
I can't stress this enough, the more planning you do, the better the trip will be. As you are figuring out which activities you want to do, check the visitor information page and find out if reservations are needed and if so, how far in advance you are allowed to make those reservations. We are super excited to see the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and New York Federal Reserve Bank (the tour where you get to see all the gold bars-very limited). I found out both those tours go on sale one month before, and you better believe my calendar is marked ready to log on or call in and get my crew our tickets before they are all gone. Often times tickets are not an issue, but when space is limited, and it's a popular stop, if you snooze- your family will lose. Make sure that doesn't happen by finding out what you need to do and when you need to do it to secure your spot.
The Early Bird Gets The Worm (so cliche' but so true)
Trust me when I tell you, it's never too early to start inquiring as to when you can start reserving dates and times. I thought I was really ahead of the curve by trying to reserve stuff the first week of April for my summer road trip June 23rd-July 5th...Ummm-apparently not when it came to climbing up to the Statue of Liberty's crown. I was planning that activity for June 27th but I was quite disappointed to learn they were sold out till July 28th. I ended up reserving tickets for the tour to at least get up to the pedestal...that's something right? My guess is every one of those lady liberty tours will totally sell out-at least now I know my crew and I won't miss it. My advice is to start reserving now before it's too late, it's way too risky to gamble hoping something will come up last minute.
You might not think something will be popular but learn a lesson from me...don't assume. Maybe you think everyone else will be at Disneyland or some other family oriented adventure theme park...oh and they'll be there all right, but there will be plenty of other folks who will want to do just what you're doing as well-national parks, historical sights,all of it- you can count on that. I was planning our day out on the road from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and was gung-ho about taking the tram tour of Valley Forge on June 30th. I would never have thought that would be popular and boy was I glad I noticed the reservation note on the visitors information page. In order to make my other stops on time, we need to take the 10am tram tour and when I called to inquire, the clerk told me the tours definitely sell out quickly and are quite popular. She took my name and put us down in the book and now I've got peace of mind knowing our day will move right on schedule and we'll get to see everything we're excited about.-oh and btw, it never hurts to make a note of the name of the person you spoke with...just in case.
Be Ready to Commit
Sometimes a reservation just isn't enough and you've got to buy the actual tickets to secure your spot. If it's something you are committed to doing and barring some unforeseen emergency (at which point you'll probably be more worried about a ton of other stuff than just prepaid tickets) you should definitely go for it. This is particularly important if you a looking to secure an activity at a particular time or with very limited availability. Make sure you keep your tickets in a safe place (like your trip itinerary bible) and then they only thing you should have to worry about is making sure they are handy and that you are ready to enjoy your awesome experience.
Oh, and don't forget about dinner reservations too, if it's iconic it'll be popular, so secure your spot on a site like www.Opentable.com.-Safe Travels!!!