In April, we debunked five of the most common travel myths and asked you what other poor travel advice you’ve received. Nearly forty of you responded, with stories about everything from bargaining techniques to asking directions. We’ve rounded up five more myths that should definitely be ignored. Who’s giving this advice, anyway?
Fight jetlag by not sleeping. The secret to fighting jetlag has been discussed by lots of travel experts, but both BL1051 and Hedgehog437 found the common advice—to stay awake until night falls in your new destination—to be unhelpful. “We have found that a shower and a short nap (no more than 2 hours) after landing is just the trick,” says Hedgehog437. “Then we head out, enjoy the afternoon and evening, have a good night’s sleep and are good-to-go! Check when booking hotels about early check-in, or even pay for the night before, so the room is available as soon as you land. Money well spent!” I’ve tried both methods, and for me, the mythbusters are absolutely right: A short nap and a shower is the perfect remedy to a long, sleepless flight.
Don’t drive in a foreign country. Driving in a foreign country may seem scary, but jabb5076 says travelers have nothing to be afraid of. “Driving around on your own, following a schedule you set, is one of the best ways to really see parts of a country you might not otherwise see. In Europe, for example, roads are generally great and signage is understandable even for a non-speaker of the language. As long as you have good maps and insurance, go for it!” Of course, some knowledge about the road signs of your country of choice will help. And don’t forget to read up about age restrictions, car rental insurance, and hidden fees, which can often be a major scam.
Hostels are only for young people. Age is just a number, according to satmba, who was told that hostels are just for young people. While some hostels do have an age limit (which should be clearly stated on their website), hostels can be a great budget option for any age group. Satmba writes, “My daughter and I are hooked on hostels, she because there are, yes, lots of young people, too, so she’s not stuck with me in a hotel room that could be almost anywhere, and I because it’s much more interesting and fun to meet people from all over the world, many of whom I’ve kept in contact with afterward. We’ve stayed in some that were so beautiful, they were more like bed and breakfasts, and we even took pictures of the decor, but we also stayed in some that were very disappointing, so like anything else, you have to do your research.”
Use traveler’s checks when you go abroad. Traveler’s checks have long been touted as a foolproof way to exchange foreign currency, but KidsToLondon says that there are better ways to travel. “Traveler’s checks are virtual dinosaurs and they are not widely accepted in many places (many merchants in Europe refuse them). If you purchase traveler’s checks issued in foreign currencies, you will pay a hidden currency fee … Use your ATM card to withdraw money overseas from your checking account. Make sure to have a four-digit PIN. Do not use cash advance options on credit cards. If using a credit card, try to find one that doesn’t add an … overseas/foreign transaction fee.” For just such a card, check out our Editors’ Choice Awards pick for Best Travel Rewards Card for Overseas Use.
Don’t go to … As I mentioned in the last article, destinations get bad reputations for all sorts of reasons. Several readers wrote about places they had been warned about, but ended up loving. November was told that all Parisians hate Americans, but found that it “couldn’t have been further from the truth. The Parisians were always friendly and helpful and I loved Paris. I think people react to you the way you react to them. So, if you want people to be friendly then approach them the same way.” A popular destination in Eastern Europe was the subject of a myth mike_jarman heard. “I was advised to stay away from the square in Prague due to drugs, crime, and prostitution at night. I ignored this and found the biggest crime is pick pockets and you can always secure your valuables to prevent this. The prostitutes won’t bother you if you say no and walk away and if there were drug sales I saw nothing of the sort. There are plenty of nightspots to visit and the area is well lit and worth a night visit.” Zoramar was told not to travel to Turkey during Ramadan, but, “having spent three glorious weeks in Istanbul and Cappadocia I would not go back unless it was Ramadan. Incredible festivities [happen] every evening, [and] you are witness to the true Turkey: cultural, religious, and secular, [during] this very special time of year.”
We also heard travel myths about tourist traps, sleeping on airplanes, and booking hotel rooms when you arrive at your destination. What travel myth do you wish would be put to rest? Leave a message in the comments section below!