15 Travel Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Planning a vacation is very different today than it was 50 years ago. Vacation-goers have swapped travel agents for websites advertising cheap tickets. Lots of people are exploring new ways to vacation by embarking on adventure trips, solo excursions, staycations, and even renting out their neighbor’s house.

But despite all the advancements in travel planning in the digital age, there are a few stubborn travel myths that refuse to die, even though they’re totally wrong. Read on to discover the biggest travel myths you need to stop believing — including the one almost everyone gets wrong (number 9).

1. Myth: You need to book your plane ticket months in advance

booking flight travel plane

Booking flight | scyther5/iStock/Getty Images

This commonly believed myth may have been popular decades ago when flights were less frequent. Since there were so few planes making the trek to specific destinations, the demand — and cost — went up closer to the time of departure.

Now you’re much more likely to score cheap seats close to the date you leave as airlines scramble to fill half-empty planes. It depends on where you’re going and when, but in some cases, waiting until closer to your trip to book travel can save you money.

Next: This is one reason people skip traveling.

2. Myth: Traveling is very expensive

beautiful girl in swimming pool

| JaySi/Getty Images

Traveling can be expensive — but only if you let it.

Sure, a two-week trip to a private island may be pricey. But if you’re flexible on where you go and you’re smart about cashing in credit card rewards and booking last-minute deals, then traveling can be surprisingly affordable for everyone.

Stuck on a strict budget? Check out tourist spots within driving distance. Chances are you’ll find something to do in your own backyard.

Next: This isn’t always the best deal.

3. Myth: You can find the best deals for hotel stays on travel sites

Atlantis hotel on Palm Jumeirah island, Dubai

Atlantis hotel | railelectropower/Getty Images

Third party booking sites like Expedia love to make travelers think that the only way to score a deal is booking through them. But in reality, you’ll often find comparable or even better bargains by booking directly through the hotel website.

Your best bet? Do some research before you commit to a price. Booking through the hotel directly is also your best chance of scoring a free upgrade.

Next: The best time to visit popular spots isn’t what you think.

4. Myth: Visit popular tourist destinations right when they open

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace | Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Get there early to beat the crowds, right? Not necessarily.

Trendy tourist spots are going to be crowded no matter what time you visit, and they’re likely to be even more mobbed first thing when they open. You’re better off visiting midday when most people are breaking for lunch or right before the attraction closes instead.

Next: This costs more money than you think.

5. Myth: All-inclusive means you’ll just pay one price

Orange Glow Sunset from the Cruise Ship Dining Deck

Cruise | Simplyphotos/iStock/Getty Images

The all-inclusive myth is one that so many people fall for. While most charges may be covered by the initial fee you pay, you’ll have to read the fine print to discover everything that’s not covered by the all-inclusive package. Alcohol and fun excursions are just two examples of add-ons that usually cost extra.

Next: Here’s how you really beat jet lag.

6. Myth: If you sleep on the plane, you can avoid jet lag

Woman sleeping in aeroplane with eye mask

Sleep on plane | Digital Vision/Getty Images

Jet lag isn’t caused by lack of sleep, but is rather your body attempting to adjust its natural internal clock that regulates when you’re awake and asleep. The best preparation for acclimating to a different time zone is slowly adjusting to new eating, sleeping, and waking times in advance of your trip so it’s not such a shock.

Next: Don’t always believe this myth about safe travel spots.

7. Myth: You should only travel to safe countries

Cliff top in Mapungubwe, Botswana

Africa | Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Government travel advisories are there to keep you safe, but savvy travelers realize that sometimes they’re a little too cautious. You should obviously avoid going anywhere with a travel restriction. But when it comes to yellow advisories, certain countries are perfectly safe to visit.

Next: Stop being too cautious about this thing.

8. Myth: You need a special place to hide your money

20 dollar bill in wallet

Money | webking/iStock/Getty Images

Travel gear sites advertise all kinds of fancy holders for hiding your money. It makes sense to be cautious when you’re in a crowd, but that doesn’t mean you need to fasten your cash clip to your inner thigh. Take a cue from locals — just keep your money in a wallet, and if you’re feeling uncomfortable, move it to your front pocket instead.

Next: So many people fall for this myth.

9. Myth: Duty-free is a good bargain

Duty free shop in airport, Munich, Germany.

Duty free shop | InnaFelker/iStock/Getty Images

Buying duty-free items means they’re not taxed — it doesn’t mean anything about the retail price. While it’s true you can find some bargains, there are plenty of instances where the inflated costs negate any kind of tax savings. Research how much the item costs elsewhere before buying it.

Next: There is a hidden fee for this.

10. Myth: You should exchange your currency at the airport

China Yuan currency

Yuan | MJ_Prototype/Getty Images

Your best option for getting the lowest exchange rate abroad is using your debit card. But if you want to carry cash, head to your bank before the trip to exchange your money. Yes, you’ll pay a fee to do it, but it’s still cheaper than changing money at the airport where the fee is built into the exchange rate percentage.

Next: The real reason you get sick on the plane isn’t what you think.

11. Myth: Recycled air on the plane can make you sick

Flight crew and passengers on board

Plane interior | pcruciatti/iStock/Getty Images

It’s true that planes use recycled air, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get ill from it. That air is filtered, pumped in, pressurized, and sent through some serious HEPA filters to get it cleaner than the air you’ll breathe in most other confined spaces.

You’re much more likely to become ill from touching germ-infested places like tray tables and armrests than you are from the air.

Next: Don’t ask this person for advice.

12. Myth: The locals know best

two tourists with a map

Tourists | beer5020/iStock/Getty Images

Locals may know the best place to get a good meal, but when it comes to the sights, there’s a chance they haven’t explored the far reaches of their hometown. Have you seen all the tourist attractions at the place you live? Probably not. You should ask other travelers where to go next, not locals.

Next: There’s a better way to find a bargain.

13. Myth: Package deals offer the best bargains

Beautiful girls enjoying vacation and drinking cocktails

Vacation | nd3000/iStock

The only way to know if you’re getting a good deal on travel is by piecing out the components and comparing them to the package deal price. There are times when buying your flight, hotel, and rental car as part of a bundle is cheaper, but there are also times when you’re better off shopping around on your own.

Next: Don’t assume this.

14. Myth: Everyone speaks English

Smiling people waving American flags and looking up in crowd

American flags | Martin Barraud/Getty Images

Lots of people speak English, especially in popular tourist destinations. But it would be rude to assume that everyone does. Make an effort to learn basic questions in the local language, or at the very least learn how to mime that you’re looking for directions to the train station.

Next: Thankfully, there is a cheaper place to stay than this.

15. Myth: Hostels are the cheapest way to travel

Apple iPhone 6s plus with Airbnb application on the screen.

Airbnb. | OhmZ/iStock/Getty Images

Hostels are cheap, shared spaces for anyone traveling on a budget. But with the advent of alternative travel accommodations like Airbnb, they may not always be the cheapest option. For the same price, it’s possible to get your own private room and bathroom — plus a lot more leg room.

Read more: This Is the No. 1 Secret to Cheap Travel That Your Travel Agent Won’t Tell You

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