If you’re traveling to New York City or Los Angeles, attending a television show should be on your itinerary. Whether you’re hoping to score some free swag, be a part of the show or just see some of your favorite actors and actresses up close and personal, attending a TV taping is usually free, but comes with some added instructions. Check out our five tips below for attending a taping.

1.    Timing is everything
While most shows take a break during the summer, there’s still a chance to catch a glimpse of some of your favorite stars. Two in NYC that you always can visit are the TODAY Show and Good Morning America. Both shows routinely have famous guests and often have summer concert series that are free to attend.

2.    Get your tickets ahead of time
Tickets to a TV show taping are free (be wary if a website is asking for money); however, having a ticket in hand doesn’t mean you’ll get in. Oftentimes shows overbook to account for those who reserve spots but don’t show up.

If you’re traveling to the TODAY Show, you don’t need a ticket, but they recommend you RSVP to help speed up the check-in process at 48th Street, between 5th and 6th avenues. Good Morning America asks fans to reserve tickets ahead of time if you want to be part of the in-studio audience during the 8 a.m. show.

You can reserve tickets online through audience companies and print them at home. Just don’t forget them! If you’re already in Los Angeles or New York City and interested in attending a taping, check with your hotel concierge or the front desk to see if they can snag a few tickets. Most are made available 30 days in advance, and they go fast. Check out Audiences Unlimited and On Camera Audiences to see available tickets for shows. Other shows, like The Ellen Show, book tickets through its own website.

3.    Pack your patience
Since some shows overbook tickets to ensure a full audience, you’ll want to arrive a few hours early. When planning your day around a taping, allow yourself 4-6 hours if you happen to make other plans for the day. We suggest packing snacks for your wait, but make sure you finish them before you head into the studio. You’ll also want to double check with the show/studio on cameras and phones. Most studios require phones be completely turned off and put away during the taping, while others don’t even allow them at all. Similar rules apply with cameras.

4.    What to wear
If you’re in the audience for a sitcom, chances are the camera will never pan over to you, so your clothing isn’t important. However, if you’re visiting a talk show, don’t wear big logos or busy patterns. Stick to solid colors – including bright and vibrant colors. Audience placement isn’t random, and your wardrobe just might nab you a front-row seat.

5.    How to be on TV
Want to be on TV and not just watch it live? There are plenty of gameshows that are always looking for fun, entertaining and enthusiastic guests! You must apply to be on most gameshows, as they all have their own casting protocols. A few shows that do casting to find contestants include $100,000 Pyramid, Hollywood Game Night and Match Game. If your dream is to be on The Price Is Right (let’s be honest, everyone has that dream), you’re in luck because it’s free to be in the audience and contestants truly are randomly chosen! You can select the date you’d like to attend and register for your free tickets online.

Have you ever attended a live taping of a show? Share your experience with us and other Fast Park guests on our Facebook page.