As much as a foreign city I’m visiting for the first time, it amazes me how much hogwash comes with traveling. Don’t do this, don’t do that, bring those, don’t bring that — it sucks the fun out of your opportunity to venture into the unknown.
I am on a quest to help you maximize your time whilst a thousand miles away from home and minimize the amount of B.S that might be swimming in your head. Today, I will let you in on some of the most ridiculous travel myths I bet you (still) believe in.
- 10. Your cell phone will crash the plane
- 9. Lack of sleep = jetlag
- 8. Booking far in advance saves you money
- 7. Dress nicely and you’ll get bumped to first class
- 6. Packaged vacations are a steal
- 5. Duty-free stores are a traveler’s Mecca
- 4. A hundred dollar bill in between a Bible
- 3. Public transportation is the best way to go around
- 2. You’re bound to be pick pocketed
- 1. That keycard knows who you are
10. Your cell phone will crash the plane
Much of the things I now know about, I credit to the coolest geeks in the planet, the Mythbusters. In case you missed it, they’ve already debunked that myth about your cell phone crashing the plane. It doesn’t have anything to do with the plane’s navigation system. This doesn’t mean that you’re signing yourself up for a mission to disobey in-flight rules, though.
9. Lack of sleep = jetlag
Plenty of travelers still blame jetlag for their lack of sleep. The fact is, jetlag has very little to do with how much z’s you were able to catch.
Contrary to popular belief, it has a lot to do with your circadian rhythm — your body’s biological clock used to regulate appetite, bowel habits, body temperature and blood pressure. This is highly affected by daylight, which explains why more people experience jetlag traveling east compared to those going west.
8. Booking far in advance saves you money
This is another travel myth that needs clarification. Many think that booking months in advance will help them save a lot more dough. There is a shade of truth to this but only when it’s the holiday season when fares seem to soar higher than the plane itself. No more, no less.
Truth to be told, booking a month before your flight is where most seat sales happen. Plus if you’ve got balls the size of parachutes, you’d take the risk of booking a few days before your flight and be handsomely rewarded.
7. Dress nicely and you’ll get bumped to first class
The formula to get yourself moved to first class is to wear something nice, right? Wrong. In fact, an unlucky guy who breaks his leg on his way to check in has a fatter chance to get bumped rather than a lad faking a suit and tie.
The real deal? This rarely happens. Unless you are a 1K flyer or someone who’s been (extremely) loyal to the airline, you won’t get that easy peasy upgrade — even if your tie is worth a thousand bucks.
6. Packaged vacations are a steal
Nope. It’s actually the other way around. When you dissect that bundled vacation you’re looking at into fares, taxes, accommodation and fees, you’ll realize that you can do far better making your own itinerary. If you don’t have the time and won’t mind paying much more, then by all means have at it.
5. Duty-free stores are a traveler’s Mecca
If you’re still a believer of duty free stores, then you might want to rethink the way you shop overseas. Prices among duty free stores vary greatly. Moreover, airports earn a humongous amount of profit because they know travelers think these stores are a dime in a dozen.
This is exactly why you need to do more research and shop online or locally. Sure, majority of the booze might be on sale but everything else is a big bag of BS.
4. A hundred dollar bill in between a Bible
This is arguably one of the oldest travel myths in history. While we all know that this isn’t true, hopeful travelers from across the globe still scour Bibles in every motel/hotel they stay in.
3. Public transportation is the best way to go around
We’ve all heard about this countless times: Taking the bus or train is the best way to go around a foreign city. Sure, it’s better than taking a cab or renting a private car (unless you’re taking a road trip) but there’s nothing more superior than walking around a place you’ve never been to before.
You’re missing out on all the city’s textures (not to mention babe watching) when you opt to take the sub or bus. Places like New York, Istanbul and Paris are perfect for walkathons. Sure it consisted of frequent sneering but hey, at least I “breathed it all in”.
2. You’re bound to be pick pocketed
News flash: Pickpockets are everywhere. Whether you’re back home or along the narrow streets of Budapest, there’s bound to be someone whose sole goal is to collect valuables out of others’ expense.
Being vigilant far outweighs false beliefs. So unless you’re Jared Leto, wearing that fanny pack makes you look like a very obvious tourist. If anything, it makes you become even more of a prey for those wallet-sniffing hounds.
1. That keycard knows who you are
This has got to be one of my favorite travel myths of all time. Thanks to a make-believe started by Detective Sergeant Kathryn Jorge of the Pasadena police force, plenty of travelers think that their hotel keycard holds valuable information about them: Their full names, credit card numbers, etc.
The truth is it’s just a myth that stemmed out from Kathryn’s haywire mass email about fraud. While the police was quick enough to clear things up, it looks like it wasn’t fast enough for everyone to stop believing the bogus.
So, don’t you think it’s finally time to cut yourself some slack and enjoy every minute of your trip? Go ahead and leave these travel myths behind. After all, they’re merely excess baggage.