Humans have a strange, almost biologically coded need to believe. We have particular beliefs about the workings of the world, religion, people and yes, travel too. The funny (or awkward) thing about our beliefs is that some of us can’t tell them apart from truths. Today I’m dispelling a few travel myths that may have tricked you out of seeing the world, because after all, who likes feeling gullible?
Don’t fall for these 9 stupid travel myths.
Myth: Traveling is dangerous.
Is the world entirely danger free? No. Is the world anywhere near as unsafe to explore as people make it out to be. NO.
But what about terrorism, rape, theft and murder in some parts of the world? They suck, a lot. But the odds of that horrible stuff happening to you are small. The odds of that horrible stuff happening to you after researching tips to travel the world safely are even smaller. Keep in mind, horrible stuff can happen to you at home, no seriously, like in your actual home.
Don’t let fear paralyze you into staying put. That’s dangerous too, for your mind, heart, happiness and soul.
Myth: It’s not the right time to travel.
Are you or your significant other pregnant? Are you terminally ill? Do you have exams or important work deadlines to meet? Are you just making excuses because you don’t know how to start planning a trip? Are you just too lazy?
I get it. Long-term travel isn’t for everyone. But you do have vacation days, don’t you? No vacation days? There are national holidays, right?
Newsflash: You DO have time to travel, you just make too many excuses.
Read a few travel blogs. Book a flight. Book your accommodation. Pack your suitcase. Go to the airport. Arrive safely. Explore. Do it for the ‘Gram. Return home (or not). Do it again as soon as possible.
You won’t regret it.
Myth: Travel is expensive.
Alright, if you own an i-anything, eat out, smoke cigarettes, own a car, have a gym membership, pop bottles in the VIP section amid other acts of debauchery or anything along those lines, travel is NOT too expensive, your lifestyle is.
If you can do all the above listed things and still travel, sensational (send me an email and adopt me. I’ll handle the paperwork).
It gets me a little (okay, a lot) worked up when I hear people moaning and groaning about how they wish they could travel but it’s too costly. I mean, it’s obviously not free, if it was we’d all do it forever! But there are affordable travel alternatives if you make seeing the world or maybe just a quick vacation a priority. Budget airlines exist. Alternatives to hotels are a real thing.
Okay, so you want to be a baller, shot-caller everywhere you go? Fine. There are tons of free activities in big time cities all over the world, especially if you’re still in school or retired.
Myth: You can’t visit a country if you don’t speak the language.
Shut up. Just shut up.
If you’re reading this (it’s too late) you’re English or understand it pretty well. The only excuse you have for not learning a few key words and phrases in the tongue of the country you’re visiting is if you’re literally deaf and mute.
Buy a $10 dollar [Insert language here] for Dummies book and read it on the bus, train, cruise ship, plane or whatever your chosen mode of transportation is.
Download a few language apps for your smartphone and voilà, you’re loved and admired by all the locals because you put in a little bit of effort to show them you appreciate their culture.
Now you can ask for directions, order food and drinks, or even use a few cheesy pick up lines.
Myth: If you don’t sleep, you’ll be jet-lagged.
In case you don’t already know, jet lag is a real drag. There aren’t many things worse than experiencing a cool new city or country in a groggy semi-sleepy trance. But what actually causes jet lag?
The simple answer is a combination of everything from the food and drinks you consume, in flight cabin pressure, and lack of exposure to fresh air. But the major culprit is of course a change in time zones. It turns your internal clock inside out, upside down, spins it around a few times … You get the picture.
Want to cut down on jet lag? Add exercise to your daily routine, get as much sleep as you need as often as possible and try not to be hungover too often. You’ll feel golden as soon as you hop off your flight.
Myth: Solo travel is dangerous.
If solo travel was so dangerous, how and why do millions of people travel the world all by their lonesome every year and live to tell the story?
Plan your trip thoroughly and stop worrying. Solo travel is one of if not THE most rewarding form of travel in my opinion.
Not ready to take the big solo travel plunge? Take a group trip first, then take a trip with just one other person and make sure to set out sufficient time for yourself, like my buddy Travis did on his recent trip to South East Asia. Once you’re a little more comfortable traveling, take a short solo trip somewhere nearby. Finally, go somewhere much further by yourself.
If you’re open to meeting new people, you’ll realize you’re never truly alone. Socially awkward? Download an app like Meetups or one of the hundreds of dating/hookup apps. I can see your social butterfly wings spreading already.
Myth: Hostels and other shared accommodation types are unsafe.
Reminder: many news outlets, and seemingly every single social media platform make a lot of money to bring us information (often inaccurate) and create catchy stories. Ask yourself these questions.
How accurate is this story?
How often does this type of thing happen?
When you come across one of those nightmarish experiences about a terrible hostel or unruly Airbnb renters, the truth of the matter is, this stuff seldom happens and is often overdramatized.
Do your research, pick a proper location. Read the reviews and comments, choose a good host. I recently saw an ad that insinuated sites like Airbnb only gave you the option of sharing accommodations with hosts that were still in their homes. That’s nonsense.
I’ve never heard of an accommodation sharing platform that doesn’t allow for complete privacy. Sure, if you want to stay for cheap, you have the OPTION of renting a room as opposed to an entire apartment or house, but for a few more dollars you can rent the whole place.
I’ve used sites like Airbnb, Flipkey and Roomorama among others, they’ve all been great.
Myth: Travel insurance is a waste of money.
In an ideal world, things wouldn’t break (bones included), get lost/stolen or go wrong. There would be no sicknesses or emergencies and everything would be all hakuna matata-like. Alas, ’tis a slightly more complex world that we inhabit.
Moral of the story: You can be cheap with a lot of things when it comes to traveling, insurance should not be one of them.
People get injured during trips the same way they get injured at home. Trips get cancelled; bad things happen. Don’t be that guy or girl that comes back home with a terrible travel experience because you didn’t get travel insurance.
Myth: You have to stop working to travel.
Long-term travel is fantastic. It can be very cheap if done right, but you will always have expenses. The obvious solution that comes to mind is making money while traveling.
There are tons of ways to make money while on the road to prolong your time abroad. Tree planting, bartending and teaching overseas are a few of many options available to help you earn cash for your nomadic lifestyle.There are loads of opportunities for students and recent graduates to get out and get to know the world too.