Tips & Tricks

10 Myths About Travel

There’s a virtual mountain of advice out there covering each and every aspect of travel. But here’s the thing: not all of it makes sense. Before you surf the net researching your next trip, read this first. Here are ten myths about travel and why you should ignore them.

You have to be rich to afford it

Young Man Saving Money for Traveling

Adjust your expectations: travel doesn’t have to be expensive. Sign up to the newsletters of budget airlines or long distance bus companies and grab those special offer fares before everyone else does. Accommodation doesn’t have to cost as much as you think, either. Book a bed in a hostel, wild camp or check out the listings on Airbnb and you’ll be surprised at how little you have to spend. Check out the free attractions in the place you’re visiting and buy lunch at the supermarket instead of a fancy café. You see?

You should put off traveling until you’re financially secure

Couple of tourists making selfie on background of karst mountains

In many ways, this should be the exact opposite. We might feel that society conditions us to settle down into a steady job and tie ourselves to a mortgage. But the fact is there’s nothing wrong with throwing caution – and financial security – to the winds and setting off on a global adventure. Have your gap year before you start your career. Bring to the interview what you’ve learned about yourself and the skills you’ve picked up along the way – travel’s just made you a whole lot more employable.

Women shouldn’t travel solo

young woman traveler watching the sunrise over mountains

As a female traveler who took her first solo trip to Europe at the age of seventeen, three decades later I take issue with those who tell me I shouldn’t travel alone. I’m not brave; in fact, I’d say I’m quite risk averse. But it’s not dangerous to enjoy a solo vacation so long as you do your homework. Find out which parts of town to avoid, don't walk alone at night and trust your instincts when it comes to the people you meet on the road. You go girl, and go it alone if you wish.

Solo travel is lonely

Three happy friends having video call sitting at table in front of colosseum in rome.

If you’re happy with your own company, solo travel doesn’t have to be an isolating experience. Test yourself on a short break first and pre-plan your itinerary to avoid being at a loss for what to do. Join a group or book a day tour; choose a social activity like a cooking or dance class when you fancy some company. Mobile phones and social media have made it easier to keep in touch with the folks back home, so when you’re in need of a familiar voice, it’s easy to connect.

Travel is for the young

older couple exploring a european city by bike

Believe this, and you’ll have a pretty boring life if you pull up the drawbridge and stay home once you hit thirty. There’s a big increase in grown up gap years for a reason – fear of missing out isn’t the preserve of the young. Pace yourself; if aging brings aches and pains, build rest days into your travel schedule. But keep traveling – there’s a whole world out there to explore and you’re going to need a lifetime to fit it all in.

There’s no need to learn the local lingo

Tourist dancing with local Brazilian woman 'Baiana' in Pelourinho, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Technically, this one’s true. You can get by in any country with sign language and a knack for miming. Pointing to a phrase in a book or using a translation app can help, but to really get more out of your trip, learn a bit of the language yourself. Even a simple greeting will, quite literally, open doors for you.

Jet lag is easy to avoid

senior tourist couple asleep on the train after a long day

If only this were true! Sure, there’s plenty you can do to mitigate the risk of being felled by jet lag. Shift your mealtimes to sync with your destination, keep hydrated on the plane with plenty of water (not wine!) and try to sleep when it will be night time where you’re going. But unfortunately, there’s no guarantee this will work. Sometimes whatever you do, the jet lag knocks you out anyway.

Duty Free is always cheaper

people shopping at duty free store in airport

Sadly, this isn’t the case. If you plan to bring home bottles of booze, tech gadgets or expensive perfume, do your homework first. Check out prices of local stores and online retailers; make a note of the costs. Sometimes it can work out more expensive to shop at Duty Free than you might think. And if it is cheaper, you’ll feel even better knowing exactly how much you’ve just saved.

Street food will make you ill

Saturday night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Often, this is the exact opposite. Where street food is cooked to order, you can munch away safe in the knowledge that it’s not been picked over by flies, cockroaches or worse in a sketchy kitchen you can’t inspect. Exercise caution, however, when it comes to seafood and other risky menu choices. Remember fresh is best, so avoid what’s been hanging around for hours.

You need to plan ahead

travel planning on a laptop

Planning ahead saves you cash, or so the theory goes, but it doesn’t always hold true. Last minute deals can be a gift, though you’ll need to be flexible as you’ll be picking up the holiday that no one else wanted. Sometimes, the best bargains come up unexpectedly. So, think ahead to where you might want to go next but allow yourself to be spontaneous if an unexpected opportunity comes your way.

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