Type A & Travel: How the Two Fit Together
People travel to discover a new side of themselves, to explore new lands, to push their boundaries. Traveling extensively (and moving to a new country) demands taking a leap of faith that everything will play out the way it was intended to (that is, if you believe in fate). This requires a "go-with-the-flow" mentality, a Type B personality (and maybe a little of a "Type T" attitude, as my mom likes to describe thrill seekers like my dad). So how, then, do the Type A people fit into all of this? Speaking from personal experience, lists and Google Docs and months-in-advance planning can be incredibly beneficial, especially when visiting a foreign land. While it would be nice to be the type of person who can wake up one morning, decide to pack a bag and be on the next flight to some exotic location, planning in advance is necessary (in my opinion), particularly when you're looking to partake in incredibly popular tourist excursions. Take if from personal experience, you DO NOT want to be waiting on line in the cold for hours because you didn't buy tickets in advance. So, for the following popular European tourist attractions, don't be like me and buy tickets in advance (but if you were like me, here's how to still get tickets the day of).
- La Alhambra (Granada, Spain)
Having rightfully earned the title of most visited site in Spain, this fortress and palace sells out months in advance. If you weren't lucky enough to buy tickets online, I've heard that you can buy from a secondary website (some travel websites will buy La Alhambra tickets for the sole purpose of reselling them), but I don't have personal experience with this. If you're looking to get tickets the same day as visiting, be prepared to wake up early. Same-day tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. so plan on getting there no later than 6 a.m. (at least that was the case in mid-September). Yup, that early. There are two ticket lines; one for cash only sales and the other for cards. My recommendation: split up so that you have at least one person standing on each line in order to maximize your chances of getting tickets.
- Anne Frank House (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Tickets to this powerful museum go on sale two months in advance. Buy your tickets then because they will be sold out in a very short period of time. If you don't, same-day tickets go on sale at 3:30 p.m., but don't expect to waltz up to the ticket counter at 3:30. There will already be a line wrapped around an entire block by this point. I've heard and read to go around 2 p.m. to start waiting. I didn't, and my friend and I waited on line for three hours (and it was a stereotypical overcast, rainy, cold day in Amsterdam).
- Guinness Factory (Dublin, Ireland)
Now this one I can't say how to beat the same-day ticket line, as I invoked my Type A-ness and bought tickets ahead of time (knowing that I would be there St. Patrick's Day weekend), but what I can recommend is to avoid going that weekend, if possible. Also, ticket prices vary depending on the time of day, day of the week, and time of the year, so plan accordingly.
I can imagine there are many more popular sites in Europe that their tickets should be bought months in advance (if my memory serves me correctly, the Eiffel Tour is one of those), but these are just the ones I've had experience with this time around. So, be that thrill seeker and decide one morning to jump on the next plane, but if there are specific things you would like to see and do, take my advice and plan in advance (although I'm sure I won't always follow my own words of wisdom).
Keep on traveling (& planning),