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Prebooking for Smoother Family Travels

by Barbara Rogers

Apr 19, 2023

© Prykhodov | Dreamstime.com


Prebooking already existed for some of the most popular tourist attractions, but COVID-19 made it a way of life for travelers. Even where it’s not required, prebooking smooths the way for family travelers to make the most of their time and avoid standing in line with fidgety children.


Booking hotels ahead is almost essential in busy seasons and a good idea anytime when traveling with children, which reduces your flexibility. Even if you want to stay flexible, book the first two nights so you’ll have a place to settle upon arrival. You can also plan a tentative route using a service like booking.com and choosing hotels with a 24-hour cancellation policy. That way, if you decide to stay somewhere longer, cancel and rebook the day before.


It also makes good sense to book rail and bus tickets ahead if you are not using a rail pass. And, even then, many routes and services, such as Eurostar, require seat reservations. If you book far in advance, you can save as much as 50 percent on ticket prices on many European trains. If you plan to take tours, booking ahead also assures there will be space available for your family.


At many theme parks, prebooking not only saves time and guarantees admission, but it also saves money, as advance tickets are often less expensive. With so many of the most popular attractions limiting admission numbers, ticketing ahead not only saves time, but also saves disappointment.


But prebooking isn’t only for the must-see sights. Even smaller places limit numbers in busy seasons, and even at those that don’t limit numbers, reserving tickets online can save you long waits or from simply giving up because the ticket line is so long.


Prebooking doesn’t need to mean planning every minute of your trip beforehand. At many places, you can book admission tickets on your phone while other people stand in line, letting you and your family, in effect, jump the line. At many attractions, like the Colosseum and Roman Forum, you can book skip-the-line tickets through services such as Viator or directly from the attraction’s website.


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