Do you get inundated with travel ‘advice’ when you mention your holiday’s plans for the year? Your friends, family and colleagues probably have some great advice from experience, but let’s be honest – they don’t always get it right!
We’ve taken some of the most common travel myths and debunked them for you, so you can make the best decision for yourself, and save some money at the same time!
Travel Myths …. Debunked!
Myth #1: Package holidays are always cheaper
Usually promoted as the most economic choice, all-inclusive deals aren’t always the cheapest option.
It largely depends on where you’re going and how long for, but in lots of cases it’s been discovered that bed and breakfast holidays where you buy your own drinks and eat out at restaurants can be $1,200 (or £700) cheaper than a comparable all-inclusive deal.
What’s more, package deals often include extras that you don’t really want or need, increasing the overall package price.
Myth #2: Always wear a money belt
While it’s good to be cautious when travelling, we tend to be super-paranoid and think that there’s a very high chance of us being pickpocketed when we holiday abroad.
Don’t believe the hype. There’s no need to exercise any more caution that you would normally. In fact, many foreign countries actually have a lower crime rate than we do in the UK.
As long as you’re not foolish enough to carry all of your holiday cash in one lump, and use your common-sense, there is no reason why you can’t carry your money in your normal wallet or purse.
Myth #3: Don’t travel alone, especially if you’re a woman
Although it’s easier to understand the logic behind this one, the idea of solo travel is now horribly outdated and old-fashioned (If not a teeny bit sexist as well).
There is absolutely no more danger in travelling solo than there is travelling in a group. Again, it’s just about common sense and detailed preparation.
“Research is the first rule of travelling solo” says intrepid traveller Claire Choen. “I don’t want to trivialise the risks by preaching common sense, but preparation is half the battle. There’s a wealth of information to be found online, from dress codes to local delicacies and the location of the nearest train station.”
Solo travel is becoming more and more popular as people are encouraged to follow their dreams and see the world.
Myth #4: You don’t need cash
You don’t need to take your entire holiday money in cash form, but you WILL need some form of cash on your person when travelling.
Many taxis, market vendors, food stands and other small merchants only accept cash – and this is true all over the world. The last thing you want is to be caught out in an unknown location.
Myth #5: Shopping at duty-free is a great deal
This one’s a classic, but you can actually get most of the products sold at duty-free for a better deal locally or online.
What’s more, about 1/3 of the items sold at duty-free are high-end and designer, which are more expensive that what’d you’d normally spend anyway. The obvious exceptions to this are alcohol and tobacco, but despite not being as heavily taxed, actual prices can vary considerably.
Myth #6: Hostels are the cheapest option
This one depends on the amount of people travelling, and where it is you’re going.
Hostels are not always the cheapest option anymore, with short-term rentals sometimes offering better deals and much more value for money. In addition, booking last-minute can also snag you a double room in a 3 or 4 star hotel – for the same or similar price of a hostel.
Myth #7: Jet lag is caused by a lack of sleep
A rookie mistake, jet lag is still often regarded as a sleep issue (or more specifically, a lack of it).
However, the main cause of jet lag is actually a result of long-distance travelling resulting in a crossing of time zones. Travelling from the west to the east is particularly worse.
This is because you’re temporarily disrupting your ‘body clock’. When you travel across a number of time zones, your body clock goes out of sync with the destination time, and cannot automatically realign itself.
Myth #8: You can’t go wrong with bottled water
Unfortunately, you cannot always assume that bottled water is ‘safer’ than the local tap water.
Why? Because tap water can be bottled too, and it’s pretty much impossible to tell the difference. In fact, according to the Natural Resources Defences Council, at least 25% of bottled water is just tap water.
If you want to be extra careful, buy a portable water filter from a reputable supplier and use it to filter all of your water before you drink.
Myth #9: Traveller’s checks are the best way to spend
Many merchants around the around the world no longer accept these, because they’re easily subject to fraud. Hotels do often take them – but only if you’re a guest.
However, restaurants, stores, airlines and trains rarely will. Taxis? Forget it. Traveller’s check are becoming as prehistoric and outdated as the telegram, so don’t be fooled into thinking they’re your best bet.
Myth #10: Avoid ‘touristy’ places and guided tours
The experienced and ‘real’ travellers often scoff at guided tours, believing that they are filled with ignorant tourists who don’t care about the cultural side of travel, and that the guides themselves only scratch at the surface of what the place is really about.
Admittedly, some tours are better than others, but for those who have limited time, or are in a completely new destination, tours can be a great way to catch the highlights. Certain sites can only be accessed via a guided tour, and the guides are usually knowledgeable about other great places to go while you’re there.
Do you know of any others? We’d love to hear them!
About the Author:
Louise Dickens currently blogs about travel and hotels for HotelContractBeds.