(NerdWallet) – With so many travel myths around, it can be confusing to figure out what is really true and what is not. Whether you are traveling for the first time or have had many trips under your belt, knowing the difference between fact and fiction can help you make better decisions while on the road.
Here are five common myths we’ll debunk.
1. Dressing will help me move up to Business Class or First Class
Myth: If I wear fancy clothes to check in at the airport or the boarding gate, the agent will notice me and upgrade me to first or business class for free, especially if I ask nicely.
Reality: As wonderful as it may be if this were true, it just isn’t. Wearing something fancy is not enough to put you in the front of the plane.
Automated check-in procedures place travelers eligible for the upgrade on the upgrade list. These travelers have purchased a ticket that allows them to upgrade or have elite status with the airline.
Business class and first class seats, especially on long-haul flights, cost thousands of dollars. They often include expensive perks like stretched beds, premium food, premium drinks, and spacious seating. The airline won’t want to give them away for free to just anyone.
Even if there are still empty seats in first and business class, the airline is unlikely to try to fill them with enthusiastic, well-dressed economy passengers. There is no incentive for the airline to upgrade someone who has not paid for it or who has not had access to the benefits of the premium cabin due to their elite status.
2. Traveling is expensive and I can’t afford it
Myth: Traveling is expensive because flights, accommodation, meals and excursions add up. It is not possible to travel inexpensively and comfortably while having fun.
Reality: Some destinations (like the Maldives) and some modes of transportation (like business class flights) are more expensive than other options. However, you can still book affordable vacations on a budget, even in great places like the Caribbean.
Booking flights with airline miles and hotels with points are two great ways to save money because instead of paying cash, you pay with travel rewards. Getting miles and points with a travel credit card can open the door to affordable travel, even to expensive destinations.
You can often earn 100,000 or more points by applying for just one credit card and with minimal spending. If used wisely, these points can often cover the cost of an entire trip.
Other ways to save on travel include booking flights when airlines have sales and booking accommodation when hotels have promotions. If affordability is your goal, avoid traveling during peak hours, such as summer and vacations. You also have several non-traditional options, such as hostels, vacation rentals, or even a private room with Airbnb.
You will be most successful traveling inexpensively when you can be flexible with your plans.
Many cities offer free walking tours, so you don’t need to spend the money on expensive excursions. If you want to explore a city by bike, consider renting a bike on your own and ask your accommodation reception for suggestions on where to go. This approach can be much cheaper than joining an organized bike tour.
To save money on meals, try going to a supermarket to buy some breakfast staples that you can make yourself. Save your meals at the restaurant for larger meals, such as lunch or dinner.
3. Hostels are dirty, dangerous and for young partiers
Myth: Hostels are unsanitary and unsafe. If I sleep in a shared room, my things will be stolen. I won’t be able to have a good night’s sleep because the beds will be cheap and there will be a non-stop party.
Reality: Just as hotels can be upscale or budget, so can youth hostels. Some hostels, especially newer ones like Selina and Generator, offer modern decor, comfortable beds and thoughtful finishes (several personal sockets near the bed, a reading light, a privacy curtain for your bed and lockers. spacious, to name a few). If you are looking for privacy, you can also find private rooms in some hostels.
Check out websites like hostelworld.com and filter your search results by those with a rating of 8.0 and above. You will probably be able to filter out all the properties that have received bad reviews for one reason or another.
Some hostels (and hotels) cater to a young, party-loving clientele, others not. Read the reviews to find out what people are saying, or call the hostel to inquire about the vibe. These accommodations can also be a great way to meet other travelers while saving you money on your trip.
4. Solo travel is dangerous for women
Myth: Traveling alone, especially if I am a woman, is dangerous.
Reality: Security can mean different things to different people. Solo travel isn’t automatically dangerous, and common sense can go a long way.
Some people consider countries with low crime rates to be safe. Others may feel unsafe if they are treated in a certain way when walking down the street.
Think about how you feel about the cultural norms of the country you plan to visit, and make sure you know the areas to avoid in the cities you visit. Even in the United States, you wouldn’t be walking around certain areas in the middle of the night. The same goes for the cities you can visit abroad.
When it comes to feeling safe from petty crime, common sense is key. In fgeneral:
- Do not leave your personal belongings unattended or unsecured.
- If you are using a rideshare app, verify that the license plate number matches what appears on the app.
- Don’t drink too much and don’t walk alone in the middle of the night.
Crime can happen anywhere; do your best not to be an easy target.
5. I should always exchange money at the airport
Myth: Changing money at the airport will give me the best rate. Currency exchange kiosks at airports make it easy to change my money to the local currency, and I’d better exchange everything at the same time.
Reality: While convenient because they are located right at the airport, exchange offices have inflated exchange rates and won’t give you a particularly good deal.
Often the best way to get the fairest exchange rate is to withdraw money from an ATM when you arrive at your destination.
When withdrawing money from an ATM, always decline the currency conversion rate offered by the ATM, as this includes a commission.
To avoid paying ATM fees (those charged by your bank and local ATMs), open a checking account with a bank that reimburses ATM fees before traveling abroad.
Travel myths: broken
There are a lot of misconceptions about travel, so it’s best to know what’s true and what isn’t. Use these broken myths to your advantage so you can easily plan your next trip.
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The article 5 Tired Travel Myths – Put to Bed originally appeared on NerdWallet.
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