How much are skip-the-line tours worth?
We suss out the real cost of saving time by skipping the line.
Dreaming of sunset at the top of the Empire State Building, a romantic picnic for two at the Eiffel Tower or taking in classic masterpieces at the Sistine Chapel?
Travelling to new destinations are often centred around these big bucket-list sights and attractions but one thing that sometimes surprises the unprepared traveller is the long snaking lines to get in.
With wait times of 2+ hours for top attractions, you'd be forgiven for chucking it in and seeing something else on your list. Luckily, there are options for skipping the line and avoiding the wait.
And while some of these can cost you $100+ more than your standard fee, others can save you 2.5 hours in line for less than a tenner.
In London, for instance, TripAdvisor says that the wait time for the London Eye is 2.5 hours on average. You could pay $50.69 at the entrance (or $46.50 online) or for $59.70 you could buy a Fast Track ticket and skip the queue.
For a lot of people, that extra $9 is worth it to gain an extra 2½ hours of sightseeing time.
Travel site TripAdvisor recently revealed its list of top skip-the-line tours to avoid the endless queuing and we've compared it to how much you'd pay if you’re willing to wait it out.
Make sure you do your research, though. Many attractions have started to offer their own skip-the-line style and even offer a discount for booking in advance online.
The Catacombs and Vatican Museums both offer this option online and while it costs more than paying at the gate, you'll save if you’re not keen on a bundled tour option.
TripAdvisor's top "Skip the Line" tours at some of the world's most iconic attractions
Note: All prices have been converted into Australian dollars.
|Attraction||Average wait time||Cost at the entrance||Skip the line cost||Cost difference to skip the line||Cost to save time|
|The London Eye – London||2.5 hours||$50.69 (GBP28.00)||London Eye Ticket with Skip-the-Line - $59.70||$9.01||$3.60/hour|
|Colosseum – Rome||2 hours||$19.30 (EUR12.00)||Skip the line: Colosseum Official Guided Tour - $57.23||$39.93||$18.97/hour|
|Eiffel Tower – Paris (2nd floor viewing platform)||2 hours||$25.73 (EUR16.00)||Skip the Line: Eiffel Tower Tour - $57.23||$31.50||$15.75/hour|
|St. Peter's Basilica – Vatican City||1.5 hours||Free||No Wait Dedicated Access St. Peter's Basilica Self-guided Tour - $31.89||$31.89||$21.26/hour|
|Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums – Vatican City||2 hours||$27.35 (EUR17.00)||Self-Guided Priority Access to Vatican Museums - $63.77||$36.42||$18.21/hour|
|Empire State Building – New York City||1.5 hours||$52.34 (USD37.00)||VIP Express Experience - $93.23||$40.89||$27.26/hour|
|Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam||1.5 hours||$28.96 (EUR18.00)||Skip-the-line and Semi-Private Guided Tour - $129.18 (includes 2-hour tour)||$100.22||$66.81/hour|
|The Catacombs – Paris||2 hours||$46.67 (EUR29.00)||Skip The Line Paris Catacombs Tour - $129.18 (includes 1.5-hour tour)||$85.51||$41.26/hour|