8 travel myths these pros really wish you’d forget
It could help land you a way cheaper ticket to that retreat, NBD.
Kait Daly was recently checking out a hotel on Hayman Island when, over a beer at the bar, she mentioned to the GM that she had recently started doing yoga. “I came in from dinner that evening and there were two brand-new yoga mats in my room, and for the remainder of my stay I had my own yoga mat to practice privately” she recalls.
She’s making a point about how sharing even small details about your wellness habits can get you surprising perks—and it’s one of the travel secrets she’s learned since joining Charlotte Barillier’s millennial-focused travel agency Roam Travel Company.
The bicoastal duo have more than logged their miles; they travel nearly four months out of the year, scoping out everything from far-flung hotels to African safaris all in the name of figuring out what’s legit (and what’s worth then recommending to their clients).
What they’ve come to realize is that there’s a whole lot of misunderstanding about the industry. Here, they set The Glassy straight on the biggest travel myths that people fall for, from when it’s cheapest to buy your plane tickets to whether you should pack spandex for every workout you plan to do when you’re on the road.
Myth: Flights are cheaper to buy on Tuesdays.
“The thing about travel is that there aren’t really rules. There are exceptions, always, so it’s hard to give advice on when to buy plane tickets,” says Daly. “In general, the rule of thumb is that waiting doesn’t usually help you. Generally they go up—it has to do with the actual availability of seats on a plane, and once 10 seats are sold, the price goes up; another 10, it goes up again.” Barillier notes that, If you know you’re going on a trip way in advance, book accordingly: “The sweet spot is eight to five months before you go.” When in doubt, they recommend checking the app Hopper, which tells you whether you should buy or wait.
Myth: Travel credit cards aren’t worth it.
“I honestly pay more attention to my Chase card than to my airline status,” says Daly. “If you’re going to be traveling a lot—for business or personally—I’m a big fan. Nowadays you get so many perks—they’re including Uber credits, lounge access. And whether it’s two or three times the points on travel, those really add up. Plus, we have clients who didn’t realize that when they go overseas and swipe their [non-travel] credit card, they’re getting charged foreign transaction fees.”
Myth: There’s no benefit to booking a room directly through the hotel.
“By booking through an Expedia or Kayak or any consolidator, you might be saving $15, $20 a night, but what you’re telling the hotel is you have no brand loyalty and no interest to return, and [if they’re totally booked] they’ll locate you in a room with a view of the parking lot. You probably won’t get much attention from the staff,” says Barillier. More of a budget traveler? That’s totally fine—then just consider picking and choosing the times you opt to forgo a consolidator. “Especially if you’re going to a destination during a very busy period of time, don’t book that way. Just like airlines, hotels overbook on purpose knowing they’re going to get cancellations. They can say, ‘We’re sorry, we’re overbooked,’ and they’ll walk you to the curb. A booking.com reservation is the first to go.”
Myth: You should pack as many outfits as days you’ll be away.
“One of the best things I do? I don’t pack too much,” says Daly. “I’m a big fan of layering, washing, and re-wearing. Before a trip I’ll go to Target and buy the travel Tide packets so I can hand wash my clothes.”
Myth: You get the best exchange rate by taking out money in advance at your bank
“If you need cash, the most financially effective way to do it is to pull money out of an ATM locally instead of in advance or at the airport. You might get a $5 fee but the actual exchange rate is so much better,” says Barillier. If you’re somewhere where cash is less of a necessity, then you’ve got an even better option: “The actual best exchange rate is on a credit card with no international foreign transaction fees—that’s the number one way.”
Myth: A travel agent will cost you money.
“It’s like if a stylist is offering you a free hair cut and you’re like, ‘Nah, I’ll cut it myself.’ The actual trip shouldn’t cost you any more than if you planned it on your own,” notes Barillier. “Either we get paid a commission from the hotel for sending people their way, or we get a reduced rate [and add] a planning fee.” Daly adds, “What you would get online we’re selling it to you at that same price, but you have us here to help when something goes south. So it’s an even better value in my mind.”
Myth: It’s cheaper to fly in and out of the same destination.
“That’s one of the biggest travel faux pas,” says Barillier. “It’s true sometimes, but not always. Let’s say you’re going to Barcelona and Madrid; it might be cheaper to fly in and out of Madrid by $100—but the flight between the two is $250. And you’re not making your life logistically easier. Do you really want to recheck your bags?”
Myth: If a hotel doesn’t list wellness perks, they can’t help you keep up your routine.
“Most hotels want to do good by you, and want you to have a good experience. So any information you can give them, they love to have it because it makes them service their guests better,” Barillier explains. “You can always advise a hotel of any dietary requirements you have before you get there—and that way, you know you can come down to breakfast and have gluten-free bread or whatever it is waiting for you.” Same goes for, say, workout habits. “If you have the budget to do it on a private basis, any four- or five-star hotel can bring in, say, a Pilates instructor or yoga teacher,” she adds. And as Daly learned, it never hurts to drop a hint or two about your workout routine—who knows, it could land you a brand new yoga mat in your hotel room.