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Buy beforehand

Big-name attractions tend to have two queues: One for visitors with tickets and a longer one for those without. The Tower of London, for instance, lets guests head straight for the entrance by printing out tickets ahead of time – and this option is nearly 20 per cent cheaper than buying at the gate. If you don’t have a printer at your disposal, look for mobile ticket options such as those offered by CityPASS. This prepaid service delivers tickets to customers’ smartphones in Toronto, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Tampa.

Book a time slot

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Next-level advance ticketing can save even more time. The Louvre in Paris is among the many A-list museums that require advance-ticket buyers to pick a date and time slot. This is partly designed to reduce the length of ticket-holder lineups and can actually help with itinerary planning.

Book a guided tour

A crowd of websites, including Musement.com and Getyourguide.com, focus on reselling fast-track guided tours that cover everything from the Statue of Liberty to Barcelona’s surreal Sagrada Familia basilica. In-house tours, meanwhile, can expedite entry simply by providing another way in or, as is the case with Rome’s Vatican Museums, by allowing individual visitors to join guided tours when their preferred time slots sell out.

Upgrade your ticket

Theme parks are prime examples of venues where money talks. Canada’s Wonderland near Toronto, for instance, offers a limited number of "Fast Lane” and “Fast Lane Plus” wristbands each day. Starting at $45, they allow wearers to bypass the regular lines on 21 rides and attractions.

Check with Google

If you can’t help but buy tickets from the wicket – time slots and tours can sell out months in advance, after all – it helps to check Google’s Popular Times charts first. Searching for the Rijksmuseum, for instance, revealed that Amsterdam’s most popular museum is much quieter between 9 and 10 a.m. than at other times of day, and that visitors typically spend up to 2.5 hours there.

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