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Many attractions don't require reservations; some places don't even accept them. But any activity with limited availability—a stage show, a restaurant, a guided tour—deserves a call ahead.

Use common sense. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I bringing a big party (six or more people) to this event?
  • Is this a weekend event at a popular time of day (6–9 pm for dinner, 10 am–2 pm for golf)?
  • Is the venue very popular?
  • Will I be disappointed if I arrive to find the venue full?
  • Will the people I'm traveling with hold me personally responsible for ruining their morning/day/evening?

If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, then you need to make a reservation, or you need someone to call ahead for you. Who would be willing to do such a thing? Your hotel's concierge, that's who. And don't wait until you check in; call the concierge before you leave home to get a jump on the crowd (just be sure to tip him or her accordingly).