Over the years, I’ve had a lot of people ask me questions based on their travel misconceptions, ranging from “basic” to more complex. No question is a dumb question, because it all depends on how much you travel and how familiar you are with the process! I fully understand that some people are super nervous about the process of flying, because it can be quite intimidating and nerve-wracking to make sure you’ve packed properly and adhere to government regulations, pass through government security lines, navigate an airport, and successfully board a giant flying piece of metal that’s going to take you a far distance. I’ve done it hundreds of times, so I’m a “pro” at this point, and I’m more than happy to help alleviate fears and concerns from others.
That said, these misconceptions below represent some of the most common questions I’ve gotten from friends, family, and followers. Let’s debunk them together!
Travel misconception: Tuesday is the best day to book airfare
Truth: This is one of the most common travel misconceptions of all time. Over the years, there have been “sweet spots” where airfare was statistically cheaper, or airline pricing trends seemed to follow a certain pattern. However, that’s really not the case now. I recommend setting up fare monitoring and price alerts from sites like Airfarewatchdog and Skyscanner to really hone in on the best deal. But even then, my best advice is to be flexible with your dates and nearby airports, consider one-way legs on different airlines, and once you’ve booked, stop checking fares! You’ll just drive yourself crazy.
Travel misconception: You need a passport to travel within the U.S. (as a citizen)
Truth: U.S. citizens only need a form of government ID (like a driver’s license) to travel within U.S. territories! And you won’t need a Real ID until May 2025.
Travel misconception: Water (and ice) served on a plane is safe to drink
Truth: This one is a little loaded. Recent research has shown that the water AND ice served on planes is almost always contaminated with bacteria like E. Coli (yuck!) – but some airlines serve water out of bottles so it’s cleaner/safer. That said, the ice is almost always nasty. To be fair, I have never (knowingly) gotten sick from it in all my years of travel, but I no longer want to take the risk and I have stopped getting ice in my onboard drinks ever since I learned this!
Travel misconception: Only the elderly need compression socks when they fly
Truth: Compression socks are a flying must-have for everyone! Your risk of DVT (deep-vein thrombosis) is higher than usual when you fly, and compression socks can help – especially if you’re at high risk (over 40, overweight, pregnant, or recently had cancer or surgery.) Also, be sure to stay hydrated and get up every 1-2 hours , or at the very least, flex your calf muscles and ankles in your seat frequently.
Travel misconception: Duty-free is always cheaper
Truth: Just because they knock off the duty (tax) from those products in the duty-free shops doesn’t mean they are necessarily cheaper. It varies by country, airport, and brand, but many times the price is the same as if you just got it at home. The two major exceptions? Tobacco and alcohol.
Also, be sure to check how much you’re allowed to bring back into your home country from abroad. In the U.S., for example, you can only bring $200 worth of goods back home without paying additional taxes. Once you have to pay tax and duty (on the total value of the goods, not just the overage) PLUS import VAT, you’re most likely looking at a much higher out of pocket cost than if you just bought the items at home.
Travel misconception: Tap water is never safe to drink
Truth: ot all tap water is bad for you – for example, the tap water in many western European countries is clean and safe to drink! Just do a little research on your location beforehand, or ask the hotelier/locals.
Travel misconception: Solo travel is lonely and dangerous
Truth: That’s why I’m here, friend. 🙂 Of all the travel misconceptions, unpacking this one is my passion! I’ve been solo traveling for 16 years with no plans of ever stopping. While I generally would prefer, in a perfect world, to have my husband along for all my trips simply because I love sharing adventures with him, it’s not always possible for him to travel as much as I do. And I’m not going to let the lack of travel companions stop me from exploring places I want to see – my wish list of destinations is insanely long! Plus, it is so rewarding and fulfilling to travel solo, and I talk about all those reasons – and more – on this site. 🙂
- 5 Reasons Solo Travel is a Must (at least once)
- How to Make Friends Traveling Solo
- Travel Safety Tips for (Solo) Female Travelers – Pt. 1 and Pt. 2
Travel misconception: Travel is expensive/you have to be rich to travel a lot
Truth: This is one of the travel misconceptions I hear MOST often. Do you know that 5/7 of my domestic leisure trips this year (not including the work trips where my company paid) were free? Plus my husband’s flight on one of those trips was also free – AND we flew business class internationally for “free” (just paid the award flight fee.) And, I’m nowhere near rich. 🤣
It’s because I maximize my spending power to earn credit card points and convert them to airline miles! Stick with me, I’ve got tons of budget tips like how to leverage those credit card points and airline miles, plus ways to save/make money so you can travel more for less!