There are so many travel myths that could be debunked, I don’t have time to do them all! Here are 10 of the biggest travel myths that are absolutely wrong!
Myth #1 – Travel is too Expensive
Everything costs money, so don’t expect to travel with zero costs, that’s just dumb. The idea that travel will cost you the fanciest beach-side resorts, luxury hotels, and expensive tours is outdated. American culture often implies that “fun vacations are expensive”, but that is partly because we live in an expensive country!
I used to buy into this notion when I first started traveling, but as I figured out how to do it on a budget, the myth was completely BUSTED!
The most important parts of travel to master cutting costs is learning how to plan a trip, and learning how to save your money. Creative hacking and searching for deals are going to be your best friends planning and executing a trip.
The notion that travel is too expensive could not be further from the truth! It has never been easier, or cheaper, to travel on a budget! You can even do so only working a part time job like me!
Here are some areas to start saving money on your trips and travelling on a budget:
- How to Use the Sharing Economy
- Save Money Traveling Around the World
- How to Find Cheap Flights
- How to Find Cheap Accommodations
Myth #2 – Travel Credit Cards are too Complicated
If you believe this idea or refuse to responsibly use credit cards to aid world travelling, you are losing out on enormous savings!
Travel hackers use multiple cards to earn miles that get turned into FREE travel! The trick is to use them responsibly and on normal purchases, so you have no extra costs. Leave the world of debit cards behind and start earning points from date nights, groceries, night outs, gas, and everyday expenses on a travel credit card.
I use travel credit cards and have saved so much money abroad, sometimes even earning multiple free flights on the same trip.
Use my referral link to start your new travel card here.
Myth #3 – Travel isn’t Safe
The claim that travel isn’t safe always makes me roll my eyes, because honestly nothing is safe in life. You could just as easily put yourself in an unsafe situation doing mundane day-to-day tasks.
Traveling is seen as unsafe because it’s outside of many people’s comfort zones. Travelling drops you into different cultures, languages, geography, and experiences. Those are the parts of travel that I, and my fellow travelers love so much!
My tips for being safe while travelling include:
- observing your surroundings
- taking precautions ahead of time to prevent unsafe situations
- travelling with other people
- trust your gut
The last bullet is the most important I think. You should always trust yourself and if you think a situation is becoming unsafe, make the right decision and get somewhere you feel comfortable.
Myth #4 – Geotagging Ruins Destinations
While this may seem like the recent reality of social media turning local spots and national parks into tourist traps, I am not sure if this myth really holds up.
Let me explain. First of all no spots are truly secret. Even if you found it, someone else has before you, and so on. Many popular spots are already published in volumes of tourist guide books and websites like All Trails.
If people really want to find local spots all they have to spend is 15 minutes on the internet or social media sifting through pictures, accounts, blogs, and YouTube videos. These resources have been available for almost 20 years, bringing me to my next point.
I don’t think geotagging is the main cause of these overcrowding situations. I think the root of the high traffic is just that more people are travelling than before.
Think about it, we are coming out of a pandemic where the majority of the western world received stimulus money, unemployment, and access to remote working opportunities. If you are not taking advantage of those benefits and putting them towards travel, then what are you doing with your money?
I sympathize though, because I have witnessed ‘secret’ places I used to frequent turn into flocking destinations. The best thing to do as a fellow traveler is to educate followers on sustainable travel, leave no trace, and to plan trips outside of rush-hour seasons.
Average tourists won’t even access the most pristine locations because they involve actual exertion and the grit characteristic of only the most adventurous travelers.
Myth #5 – Don’t Eat Street Foods
Ok there may be some truth to this one . . .
If you have a sensitive stomach or know that you are prone to illness after eating ethnic foods with lots of spices, this might be a myth you listen to.
The food culture in many parts of the world is extremely different from stereotypical diets of America and western countries. Abruptly changing your diet to accommodate the resources of a new country may result in untimely trips to the bathroom, and even prolonged nights by the toilet. Always travel with medicine you can use to dampen the effects, you will thank me later.
Most street food is safe to eat. This myth is so often brought up discussing travel because you don’t really know where the food is coming from, especially the meat and fruit. My advice is as long as you can watch the street vendor prepare your meal or the fruit is sealed in its skin or packaging, freaking go for it!
Eating from street vendors is an intimate part of travelling, introducing you directly to the community’s culture. The portions are budget friendly with inexpensive options, and a wide variety of local cuisine.
- Start gradually with popular street food areas that you can find on foodie blogs, and follow the crowds.
- Deep fried and pan fried are your friends.
- Avoid foods sitting in direct sunlight.
- Again trust your gut, and if it doesn’t look right, just don’t eat it! Simple as that.
Myth #6 – Someone Will Speak English
I am completely guilty of naively believing this myth.
DO NOT RELY ON THERE BEING ENGLISH SPEAKERS!
I travelled to the middle of China and ignorantly thought if I had troubles communicating, people would probably know some English to get me by. Let me tell you how wrong I was!
I didn’t meet anyone who spoke English the entire two weeks I was in China, although thankfully I studied Chinese for 6 years so I knew enough to survive.
English is one of the most widely spoken languages around the world, so your chances of finding someone are good, but decrease rapidly in rural areas. If you find yourself in a situational language barrier, rely on hand signals and body gestures which are universal communication methods. You’d be surprised!
You can also use Google translate and learn basic greetings like hello, goodbye, bathroom, thank you, and necessities ahead of time. Check out the words I needed to learn travelling to China and download my Survival Dictionary! Whatever you do, do not get frustrated that they don’t know English. You are in their country and you should be the one adapting.
Myth #7 – You Shouldn’t Travel Solo
Traveling solo is really a myth in itself.
When you travel alone, you are really barely ever alone.
The fact is when you travel you end up meeting many people along the way, especially if you stay in backpacker friendly environments like hostels. Meeting like-minded people on your trip will prevent you from being totally alone for a majority of your trip, and even make life long friends.
Travelling alone offers a myriad of its own benefits too!
- You can go wherever you want, leave whenever you want, and do whatever you want!
- It lets you discover things about yourself you never even knew.
Myth #8 – Hostels are the Cheapest Accommodations
If you are travelling solo or last minute, definitely check out hostels because they are probably the cheapest option. However if you are traveling in a group or a couple, options like Airbnb or Booking.com can have better options.
Hostels are great, but if you can have an entire Airbnb and amenities for only a couple more $, DO THAT. Cheaper countries like Thailand and Bali offer AMAZING Airbnbs for groups that sometimes include infinity pools, butlers, food service, drivers, the options are endless.
Myth #9 – Travel Isn’t Safe for Women
There are always risks associated with people on the road. Woman may face additional risks travelling abroad, especially dependent on the country. That doesn’t mean women should stay home or only travel to stereotypical super safe destinations.
The media only tend to highlight stories associated with negative travel experiences by women, bolstering the perceptions that traveling and solo traveling should be avoided.
Fortunately for the women traveler’s out there, you have a much higher chance getting hit by a bus on your trip then getting taken like the Liam Neeson movies.
Helpful advice for women out there is to ask people who have gone to your destination to share their safety tips and experience. Most of the people shouting “Don’t go there” or “It’s not safe for women” have never even been to those places. The crime rates in your own city may be just as bad or even worse than traveling abroad.
Check out some of my favorite solo women travelers doing the damn thing and exploring the world!
Myth #10 – Traveling is Easy and Bliss
TRAVELING IS NOT EASY!
At least not always. Points during travel may appear easy or relaxed, but leading up to those moments involved a lot of hard work, planning, blood, sweat, and tears.
Even the best travelers face struggles, but that is part of traveling. Anything can happen at anytime, but learning the basics of travel and how to deal with stressful situations abroad can significantly decrease your stress.
With that said, plan parts of your trip where you get a break. I always have a few days on each of my trips left open for chilling at a beach, sightseeing, relaxing, and enjoying the more simple parts of travel.
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