We’ve never shied away from a good travel deal or a spontaneous backpacking trip (a 6 euros round-trip to Berlin?! YES PLEASE). But we noticed that when we get back home and tell people our adventure stories, a majority of them still hold a lot of misconceptions about travelling in the 21st century.
So for once and for all, we want to debunk 5 most common travel myths (that are WRONG) that we encountered over our years of travelling.
Travel myth #1: Travel is SOOO expensive!
One question we get asked a lot is ‘where do you get all the money to travel so much?!’ or a similar variation of this. There seems to be a common misconception that travel is very expensive and only those who are well-off can experience its benefits.
We are here to say that travel can only be expensive if you let it to be expensive.
Hollywood, viral Instagram posts and all media sources just love to portray travel as a luxury when, in fact, it is not the case anymore. Travel doesn’t have to be a 2 weeks long all-included vacation in the Maldives or five start hotel stay with a view of the Eiffel tower.
Not that there is something wrong with those options… who wouldn’t love all that, you know?!
The point we want to make is that travel is diverse and there is no right way of doing it.
So, if you’re on a tighter budget but still want to see the world:
- Choose cheaper destinations such as Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa or Central America.
- Opt for hostels or Couchsurfing to get free or super cheap accommodation. Plus, a chance to have an amazing experience meeting new people!
- Work & Travel opportunities all around the world – earn money and travel at the same time! Some of them even offer free accommodation and meals.
- Volunteering abroad is an incredible chance to see the world and contribute to the local society. There are tons of great website that offer such opportunities (like ours!), you just have to do a bit of research.
These are just a few ways you can travel almost for free or on a very low budget. Travel is not a luxury anymore; it is an opportunity for all who are willing to take it.
P.S. You can check out our extensive list of Travel Opportunities and travel for free!
Travel myth #2: Always Trust Local Knowledge
People tend to think that the locals know better.
But when it comes to the best places for sightseeing, they might not know what spots are the best for tourists. Yes, locals do know the best cafes or restaurants and they definitely can help you with transportation questions. However, as we travelled to other countries where our friends lived and had people come to our country, we noticed that sometimes the local opinion of ‘good’ and the ‘good’ in the perspective of tourist might slightly differ.
Cool street art that you came across might be one of the highlights for you as a traveller but a majority of locals wouldn’t even think of suggesting it as a ‘sight’. It’s because locals do tend to overlook little details of their own cities. They become mundane to them, but a traveller or tourist might find it fascinating.
Sometimes it’s better to ask the fellow travellers that have already been to the area you’re interested in as well. Then combine local’s and traveller’s opinions and have all the information you need.
Travel myth #3: You can skip crowds by visiting as early as possible
There is nothing worse than trying to shuffle around sweaty people just to get a glimpse of that famous artwork. And that usually involves getting pushed around, elbowed in your stomach or getting hit on the head when someone not so subtly tries to put their hands up just to take a photo.
Crowded places are the Achilles heel for many travellers. So naturally, many try to search for ways to skip the crowds and visit famous sights or attractions without having hundreds of people in each of their photos. The most common one – arriving very early, sometimes just before opening to get the best experience.
While it was a good hack for a while, now basically EVERYONE knows about it which means that EVERYONE tries to come early. So, there is no surprise why this ‘hack’ is no longer working. You most likely find a mile-long queue to some of the world’s most famous attractions even before it opens.
Instead of loosing your precious sleep hours, come to those places during lunch-time. You’ll get better chances because a lot of people might be tired and will want to relax by having a meal at that time instead of wandering around a museum or art gallery.
Another tip: check popular times of the attraction in Google Maps to determine when not to visit.
Travel myth #4: Women shouldn’t travel solo
Due to the overload of stories on media, the approach towards solo travel for women is very skeptical. But is it really that dangerous for women to travel on their own?
We say NO.
Yes, some destinations are less favourable for solo women travel because of high crime rates or underlying biases. However, most of the destinations are perfectly safe to travel to. But if you’re worried, do as you would in your home country.
If don’t do certain things in your own country, don’t do it in the country of visit. Meaning, avoid walking alone at night or getting in a car with a stranger. If a certain situation you’re in gives you an uneasy feeling, find a friendly person (or a fellow woman traveller) to talk to.
Women have great intuition and even better judgement, so listen to your gut. What keeps you alive at home, keeps you alive on the road, too!
Travel myth #5: You should only travel to “safe” countries
Almost every year new statistics and ratings are made about which countries are “safe” and which are “dangerous”. Governments publish so-called “travel advisories” for travellers on official websites and one of the most asked questions in the travel industry is probably ‘is it safe to travel there?’.
Of course, governmental travel advisories are created to keep you safe but if you have travelled a bit in your life, you know that sometimes they are a bit too cautious.
Yes, territories which are active war zones are definitely off-limits for regular travellers and we can see why is that. But when it comes to other destinations, we suggest stopping being too cautious. Yellow zones are usually more than safe to travel to and many travellers who have travelled there would tell you the same thing.
After all, how can we say than one country is more dangerous than others? The USA never gets a bad rep among travellers but if we look at numbers, it is one of the most dangerous countries in the world due to massive shootings and climate extremes. So how come we don’t list it as dangerous in travel dictionary?
Same goes with other destinations. Crimes happen everywhere, even in your own hometown. Chances are, those destinations that are labelled as “dangerous” are as dangerous as the country you live in.
We are happy to see that more travellers are choosing these countries as destinations and we are hoping to visit them as well in the future.
If you want to give these beautiful yet forgotten destinations, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran are some of those countries there you definitely should look into.
And there you have it! 5 travel myths are officially debunked. Now the next time someone asks you ‘how can you afford to travel so much?!’ or says one of these myths as a cold truth, just forward this article to them. Let’s clear all these misconceptions so that more people could experience how rewarding travel is.