“Book a plane ticket far in advance to save money.”
This myth may have been true back in the 60s, when flights were a much rarer thing than they are today. Back then, the demand for a flight would naturally increase as the date approached, there being few other options. These days, a plethora of alternatives for the most popular routes means that demand is leveled out. In fact, you’re more likely to get a last-minute deal from an airline trying to fill seats. According to recent studies, the best time to buy a ticket was between six and seven weeks out.
“The air on a plane makes you sick.”
The air on a plane may absorb every last drop of moisture from your skin like silica gel, but it doesn’t make you sick. In fact, airplanes spend a considerable amount of energy pumping in, filtering, warming, and pressurizing fresh air from outside the cabin
So what does make you sick on airplanes? The tray tables, lavatory handles, and headrests that are contacted by dozens of passengers a day, who aren’t all paragons of personal hygiene.
“The best hotel prices are on travel sites.”
The boom in sites like Booking.com and Expedia has resulted in the misconception that the only way to get a good deal on a room is to use one of these online third-party bookers.
Hotel chains will frequently have discount or perk offers that third-party websites aren’t privy to, and it’s generally far easier to deal directly with the hotel than with a booking agent.
“You’ll avoid crowds if you go early.”
That’s what your guidebook says—the same guidebook that was purchased by several million other tourists. There are only so many heritage sites, monuments, and parks in the world, but a practically unlimited supply of tourists.
The trick is to go not early, but when no one else wants to go, like the middle of the day—when the sun has chased away the weaker tourists. Or when we were in Paris, we climbed the Eiffel Tower at 5pm when the queues were short and before the evening rush.
“Always trust local knowledge.”
How many hotels have you stayed at in your home town? Just as you probably don’t know the ins and outs of the tourist industry in your city, it’s unlikely that a local in a foreign city will know the answer to a tourist’s every question.
We play a game when we hear tour groups – was that the truth or a lie? With easy roaming across Europe we just googled a place while we were there!
“Street food is unsafe.”
First, you really don’t know what’s going on restaurant kitchens, because you can’t see inside. With street food, you can see the ingredients being prepared directly in front of you. And since street food is often deep-fried, stir-fried, or barbecued over very high heat, it’s likely that even if anything nefarious was in the ingredients, it’s long since been seared out of your meal.
STREET FOOD IS SOME OF THE BEST I’VE EVER EATEN!
“Jet lag stems from lack of sleep.”
Jet lag isn’t the result of exhaustion, it’s the result of a massive change in longitude. Its attempt to reset itself to the day-night cycle of your destination results in the sensation of jet lag. Sleeping on the plane is only wise if it’s nighte at your destination.
“You shouldn’t travel to countries with travel advisories.”
Looking at the government travel advisory map, it would appear unwise to venture to well over half the globe. Of course, the government is bound to take a “better safe than sorry” approach, like an overprotective parent.
But take Thailand, for example. The US government has marked it yellow, which suggests you should “exercise a high degree of caution” and the UK Government has only half of it yellow. This puts Thailand in the same category as violence-plagued countries like Egypt and Liberia.
A tourist enjoying the beaches of Koh Samui would laugh hysterically at this assessment. Be sensible
“Carry your money in a special pocket or pouch.”
When you go to Italy, how often do you see a local carrying around their cash in a strange necklace pouch or a money belt? Never, of course, and it’s not because the money belt is hidden. They just use a wallet, like a normal person.
“Duty free equals good deal.”
The reality is that duty free goods often cost no less than when bought at your local shop. It is true that you don’t pay taxes, but the baseline price for luxury perfumes and sunglasses is often higher than normal in the airport.
Hope you’ve learnt a few things today from this post – I love travel and love sharing things I’ve learnt along the way!