Traveling can be an amazing way to see the world beyond the confines of your own city limits. However, tell anybody that you’re going on a trip abroad and you’ll probably hear a dozen different tips about how you should be planning for this venture. Some of those tips – in fact, a lot of those tips – are going to be about money.
It’s hard to separate fact from fiction when you’re dealing with travel-related tips though. Most people who tell you something will likely believe it to be true, but in all honesty, they may not know what they’re talking about. Chances are they heard a particular money-related myth from somebody else, who may have heard it from somebody else, and on down the line.
So if you’re planning a trip abroad, you need to bust the myths before you start packing that suitcase. You might just be surprised at what advice is good, and what could actually really get you in trouble when you’re out of the country.
Here are the most common money-related travel myths that you’ll encounter and the real truth behind them:
- You Need Cash
Ask 10 people, and nine of them will tell you that you must have cash when you step off an airplane. That’s just not the case anymore, even if you show up at a strange time of night or you don’t want to use traveler’s checks.
From ATMs with international fees that are very low, to every business in the world accepting most debit cards, you should be fine without cash. You can take some if you feel more comfortable, but don’t go nuts before your trip.
- Traveler’s Checks Are Essential
A holdout from the days when everybody wrote checks all the time, the traveler’s check is still popular with a certain set of travelers. However, the old check idea is really just cash or credit in today’s terms.
In fact, you probably don’t need traveler’s checks at all. Like cash, take one or two if you feel safer by doing so, but your cash and credit or debit card will serve you just fine.
- Cheap Trips Are Bad Ideas
A lot of people believe booking a cheap or discounted trip is a recipe for disaster. The fact is that you can get some great deals – if you do your homework.
Make sure you check hotels, guided trips and everything else online before booking. 10,000 positive reviews probably won’t be wrong, even if you do get a discounted rate.
- Don’t Use Credit Cards
Like traveler’s checks, credit cards can buy most things when you’re out of the country. But a lot of people will tell you that the rates can be a killer. While that is sometimes true, it certainly isn’t standard anymore.
Before you travel, check fees for international transactions on your cards. Use the one with the lowest rates or apply for a new card with minimal or zero international charges.
- Free Breakfast Is for the Birds
Staying in a hotel with free breakfast means bad service or a cheap spot. You’ll hear that time and time again for some reason.
The truth is that free breakfast is often just some coffee and a muffin, not a spread that’s going to put a dent in the owner’s wallet. Do your research well, but think of free breakfast as a perk, not something you’re paying for.
- Always Take a Taxi
Taxis are sometimes the best way to get around a city, but not all of the time. In fact, relying on taxis in some cities can be problematic, especially places like Mexico City where taxis are scarce.
Do your homework about taxi travel before arriving in a city, and always hire licensed drivers in more dangerous areas.
- You Can Always Haggle
You can’t always haggle, and sometimes it’s just classless. Don’t go into an art gallery in Milan and start offering pennies for Picasso paintings or sculptures. Don’t be afraid to get a good deal, but you must ensure beforehand that the culture is accepting.
- Non-Hotel Rentals Are Always Cheaper
Non-hotel apartments can be cheaper, but they aren’t always. Just compare prices when it comes to hotels or apartments. You’ll get the best rate by being your own internet sleuth.
- Travel Insurance Is Not Worth the Cost
Travel insurance could be used against financial losses if you unexpectedly need to cancel expensive trips or in case of accidents and illness during traveling.
Do your research about the insurance companies and the type of coverage provided to avail the benefits provided by them.
- You Get Great Deals at Duty-Free Shops
You can get some great deals in a duty-free shop, but most of the time, you end up buying expensive items than you can buy locally.
It’s true that you don’t need to pay taxes, but the base price of these goods is often higher than normal. You will get the best price on some of the items while you might have to pay a premium for luxury items like watches or perfumes.
- Best Deals Are Available Through Packages
Although the best deals are available in the form of tour packages, many of them are just marketing tricks.
Do your homework with the component pricing breakdown of a package. You may be surprised to know that you are actually paying higher than the normal price.
- Third-Party Travel Sites Offer the Best Hotel Prices
One of the greatest misconceptions is that hotel prices are lower when booked through third-party travel sites.
You can book hotel rooms at the best price by booking the rooms directly through the hotel’s site. They will have some discounts and attractive offers that you will not get through third-party travel sites.
- Traveling Requires Money
If you need to travel for a long period of time but worried about cash, there are many ways you can make money while traveling.
Work holiday visas are also available that you can get through proper norms and procedures. There are many opportunities for students and graduates that help them make money while traveling.