From jetlag to language barriers, these common misconceptions can get in the way of a good trip. Here are 10 myths about travel that you need to stop believing right now—for your own good.
Jet Lag is Caused by Lack of Sleep
Basically anything but lack of sleep is responsible for jet lag. Of course, jet lag affects everyone differently, but crossing time zones is the most prominent cause in disrupting your body’s internal clock. Dryness on the flight, cabin pressure, lack of fresh air, and certain foods and drinks all contribute to jet lag.
Your pre-flight condition is another predictor of how you’ll feel post-flight. If you’ve exercised, got a good night’s rest, aren’t hungover, and stay relatively calm, you’ll feel better upon arrival.
Group Travel Is Not ‘Authentic’
If you pick the right provider, the exact opposite is often true. Many small group tour companies offer unique experiences that practice volunteerism or sustainability and actually give back to the community. While these trips can sometimes be more expensive, it is a nice feeling knowing your dollars will go back to the communities that need it versus corrupt governments or wealthy corporations.
Here’s a good list of what to look for when choosing a group tour and some recommended providers.
It’s Not Safe to Travel Abroad
While recent world events have sparked concern about international travel, especially to certain regions of the world, the chances of a terrorist attack occurring at your destination and during your travels are incredibly small. Now, as always, it’s important to continue exploring all that this amazing world has to offer.
That said, it’s important to be prepared for any circumstance you may encounter. This handy checklist for international travel will get you ready in no time.
It’s Too Expensive
Nothing annoys me more than when people say travel is too expensive. Sure, flights and hotel rooms can be costly, but there are alternatives if you truly want to make travel work. Try a budget airline for shorter distances, and consider shared accommodation platforms for overnight stays.
Even if you don’t want to compromise luxury on flights and hotels, most major cities have an abundance of free and discounted activities. Student (and senior) travelers can also take advantage of special discounts.
You Can Get By With Just English
It’s true that many countries are very English-language-friendly, but never underestimate potential language barriers. You’ll gain more respect from locals if you can hold a basic conversation, ask for directions, and order off a menu in their native language. Especially if you’re going to rely on public transportation or rent a car, knowing a few foreign phrases is a necessity.
Shared Accommodation Platforms Are Dangerous
While the news tends to put a spotlight on Airbnb horror stories, the reality is these cases are very rare. As long as you’re smart about choosing a location and host, you’re unlikely to run into problems. Sure, the idea of staying in a stranger’s home (or even with them) may take a little getting used to, but Airbnbs and similar accommodations can be a great alternative to pricey hotels. They can also give you a more authentic travel experience.
Traveling Alone Is Not Safe
Extra precautions need to be made when traveling solo, but the experience is usually only scary in the best and most rewarding ways. If you’re nervous about completely going solo, sign up for a group trip; it’s a great way to meet people and still have a safety net.
RELATED: What You Learn By Traveling Alone
I Don’t Have Enough Time/It’s Not Worth It
If you haven’t used all of your vacation days yet this year (or at least plan to) then you are guilty of believing this myth.
Most people are given vacation time, so use it! Yes, the preparation is sometimes tedious and time-consuming, but once you step off the plane, check into a hotel, and see that amazing site, everything becomes worth it.
You Don’t Need Travel Insurance
Well, you don’t … until you do. I’ve heard too many horror stories of accidents, injuries, and cancelations to not invest in travel insurance. Many employers will even offer some sort of coverage, so double check your benefits before going out on your own. If you’re considering getting insurance, use Squaremouth to compare companies and coverage to fit your needs. Here are a few important tips to consider as well.
You Can’t Make Money While Traveling
If you’re worried about cash and want to travel for a long period of time, there are dozens of ways to make money while traveling. Work holiday visas are widely available, although many of these will require a non-U.S. passport to be eligible. Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Singapore have these types of visas available for U.S. citizens aged 18-30 years old. There are additional opportunities available for students and current graduates in order to promote travel. Check out anyworkanywhere.com for visas available by country.
Other opportunities include being an au pair, volunteering, house or pet-sitting, relocating for work, or applying for a program like Remote Year, which lets you travel the world while working from “home.”
More from SmarterTravel:
- Pro Tips for Flying in Comfort
- The Single Best Piece of Travel Advice Ever
- The Worst Travel Advice We’ve Ever Heard
Read the original story: 10 Travel Myths You Need to Stop Believing Right Now by Ashley Rossi, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.