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Family-Friendly Advice for Visiting the World’s Top Museums

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Some museums, such as small-town shrines dedicated to a footnote of local history, can be explored over a lunch break. But others, like the world’s top museums featuring sprawling galleries and dozens of sub-basements overflowing with collections, require a plan. That’s especially true when your family is coming in tow.

But even with a plan, a cross-country trip or around-the-world voyage to see long-lost antiquities or paintings so popular they have their own Twitter account can still come off the rails. So, what if the road to London or Paris gets a little rocky, metaphorically speaking? What if a trip delay or lost bag means you need to erase this much-awaited visit on your itinerary? Or what if an illness or other unforeseen circumstances prompt you to cancel the family trip, losing your travel investment along with your hope of rebooking anytime soon. There are countless other scenarios, too, in which the upshot of travel turmoil is missing this singular bucket list experience.

That’s where travel insurance comes in. With a travel insurance plan from Allianz Global Assistance, you can avoid your own “blue period” — unlike the artist whose gallery you’ve been saving to visit. That’s because with the right travel insurance plan, you can travel with the peace of mind that a travel delay can be remedied. And that unexpected eligible expenses incurred on the fly due to a covered delay can be reimbursed. Consider travel insurance to be your muse for more confident travel.

Try on travel insurance plans to find your best fit

Now that we’ve taken some of the worry out of the equation, let’s take a practice jaunt through some of the world’s most famous, and thus most crowded, museums. Don’t worry, we’ve got tips to help you and your family travel back through time, figuratively speaking, without worrying about present-day distractions.

The Louvre, Paris

The Louvre has more than 35,000 works of art, and it draws more visitors each year than any other museum: more than 10 million.1  Caution: in the summer and December, you may face hours-long lines to enter the Louvre, even if you’ve already purchased a ticket.

Why it’s fit for the fam:

Some popular museums and tourist destinations may frown upon or outright ban strollers. Other times, pushing your double stroller through busy attractions is akin to playing bumper cars with other parents piloting their own brood. But the Louvre is a stroller-friendly change of pace. Here, you can only use the elevators if you physically need to — and if you have a stroller, you’re on the list. (And the Louvre has some really interesting elevators.) So if you’re on the fence about bringing the stroller or leaving it back at your Airbnb condo, take it with you and thank us later.

Tips for visiting the Louvre:

  • Don't go on the first Sunday of the month, when admission is free.
  • Don’t go on a Monday (when other Parisian museums are closed, making it more crowded) or on a Tuesday (when the Louvre is closed.) The best times to visit the Louvre are Wednesday and Friday evenings, when the museum stays open until 9:45 p.m.2
  • Don’t run to the Mona Lisa! Seriously. You already know what it looks like, and you won’t get a good view anyway.
  • Create a personalized tour by choosing a themed Visitor Trail.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

With a permanent collection of more than 2 million works of art, The Met is the largest art museum in the United States. It includes three locations in New York City: The original Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, a shrine to modern and contemporary art, and The Met Cloisters in upper Manhattan, which is dedicated to medieval art. Highlights include the Greek and Roman Sculpture Court, the Vermeer collection and the extraordinary Egyptian Temple of Dendur.

Why it’s fit for the fam:

What’s your greatest fear about taking your family to visit a museum filled with priceless artifacts and works of art? We’re pretty sure it’s having your toddler hug a 2,000-year-old cherubic sculpture, knocking it over, and being handed a bill with a lot of zeros. If this is your nightmare, head over to Visible Storage, Gallery 775, where protective glass stands between the exhibit and your curious children.3

Tips for visiting the Met:

  • Weekends tend to be very busy, while weekday mornings are less crowded (aim to arrive when doors open at 10 a.m.).
  • Take time to seek out the Met’s rooftop garden, which has unforgettable views and offers a moment of serenity (except on Friday and Saturday nights, when it becomes a cocktail bar).3
  • Any full-priced admissions ticket is valid for three consecutive days at all three Met museums. ($25 for adults, $17 for seniors and $12 for students. Also, New York residents pay what they wish.)4
  • A membership can save you money. A membership to the Met begins at $110 and includes free admission for one very special (and lucky) guest. Includes early morning access to select exhibits and exhibition previews.5

The National Palace Museum, Taipei

The collections of the National Palace Museum, saved from the Forbidden Palace in 1931, span more than 8,000 years of Chinese history. The museum's nearly 700,000 pieces include bronzes, ceramics, calligraphy, paintings and sculptures. Expect huge crowds for the most popular pieces, including the whimsical "Jadeite Cabbage" and an extraordinarily detailed boat carved from an olive pit.6

Why it’s fit for the fam:

Ok, ok, the National Palace Museum isn’t quite as family-friendly as some other destination museums. But it may mirror your home on some of the more frantic days. That’s because it’s crowded and loud — despite the manifold museum warnings to keep it quiet. Consider getting a tour guide if your traveling pack is old enough to appreciate the finer details of the exhibits.7

Tips for visiting the National Palace Museum:

  • Visit on a Friday or Saturday evening, after 5 p.m. to avoid the pushing and shoving of tour groups.
  • Be sure to see the celadon ru ware, which includes some pieces more than 1,000 years old. The glaze was once described as “the blue of the sky in a clearing amongst the clouds after rain,” and it’s so rare that a single dish sold for almost $28 million.8
  • When you get overwhelmed, take a break and feed the koi in the museum gardens.

The British Museum, London

Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the world's first national public museum. Among its treasures are the Rosetta Stone, which was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the Mummy of Katebet.

Why it’s fit for the fam:

Bring your children to The British Museum’s hands-on desks to partake in interactive sessions. Participating exhibits (“rooms”) include Collecting the World Gallery, Pre-History and Roman Britain, Money Gallery and The Islamic World Gallery. Check the museum’s schedule for details.

Tips for visiting the British Museum:

  • Leave large suitcases elsewhere. They’re not allowed in the museum, but you can store them at major rail stations, including Euston, King’s Cross and Charing Cross.9
  • Follow one of the museum’s "Object Trails," which include a history of the world in 100 objects and another about desire, love and identity.

The world’s top museums offer plenty of attractions to justify a jet-setting adventure that can fill multiple days on your itinerary. Pack a family-proof plan — and a travel insurance plan — to ensure visit it’s free and clear of distractions.

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