You take the trip of a life time, the one visit you might ever make to that quintessential tourist city, and face disappointment. Why? The one place you said you absolutely will not miss will not let you in! You don’t have a ticket.

The line began here…

Sure, we often love to be spontaneous, thinking we’ll visit that museum or the church with priceless artifacts or that boat ride based on the weather. Or how tired we are. Or something. In this case, fight the urge to delay.

…continued across the open plaza…

There’s nothing like being in Rome for the first time and only being able to see St. Peter’s Basilica from the courtyard in front. You know the one, where 10,000 people are standing in line around its edge in the rain with the faint hope of scoring one of the time-allotted limited-number tickets for the day.

…and wrapped around the other side…

Know before you go: When you buy your airline tickets, buy your sightseeing or tour tickets right away. Go online and learn the important stuff, like hours the location is open, then pick a date and hit the BUY button. Many European museums and sights in particular only sell a limited number of tickets a day and sell out well in advance.

…to see St. Peter’s!

The alternative: Hire a professional tour guide from an established company. They are often given priority when the sight is doling out those pieces of paper worth a thousand times their weight in gold.

Or as Agnes, our tour guide in Florence said, “No tickee, no visity.”