In the mind of someone who wants to travel abroad for the first time, there are tens questions. Where to stay, how much to spend, visa requirements, what to face while abroad and many more questions resulting in worry. Most people do not find it convincing that going from Turkey to Canada is actually very much like going to the next city from where you live. For them, myths on travelling abroad are always more attractive than facts. For that reason, we have compiled 15 myths on travelling abroad and decided to reveal why they are wrong. So let’s get started without further ado.
1. Buy your ticket months before your travel!
It is a fact that early booking has a considerable impact on ticket prices, but it is just another fact that if you buy too early, it won’t cost you cheap. The truth is, how airline companies set the ticket prices is a lot more complicated than most of us think. But based on statistics, it could be said that buying your ticket 4-8 weeks before your travel will result in a cheaper ticket.
2. Online booking of hotel rooms is always cheaper!
This one is mostly true, yes. But hotels are profit-oriented businesses that have flexible rates. As a matter of fact, the rates of a lot of hotels are more flexible for walk-in gusts. But you’ll never know unless you negotiate, instead of accepting their first offer. As we have also mentioned in our best hotel rates article, on some days at some hours hotels have a serious room for negotiation, which would cause really better rates.
3. Duty Free is always cheaper!
Duty Free Shops, or simply Free Shops sell most of their products cheaper thanks to the fact that they don’t charge any tax. Therefore, it is not wrong to state that you can make the most of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, which are highly taxated. However, for products that already cost a lot, such as jewellry, perfumes or cosmetics, free shops may keep the base price high in order to profit more. At that point, the misconception of ‘everything is cheaper in a free shop’ may cause you some loss.
4. Buying a tour from a travel agency is always more expensive!
It is not charity work, correct. You ‘always’ have to pay a service cost for buying a tour. However, the purchasing strategy of a travel agent is usually like that of a wholesaler. That is, they buy in massive amounts, thus cheaper. If you choose the right agent, you will also benefit from this. Although I don’t remember all the details, let’s take a look at an example (true story). Last year, it was possible to find a Dubrovnik, Croatia tour for 320 Euros (from Turkey). In the same year, same month, a return ticket to Dubrovnik cost 310 Euros. Taking into account the fact that the tour also included accommodation in a four star hotel, the difference of 10 Euros is simply ridiculous. Research the prices to find the right company, you may benefit from it.
5. Travel agencies are always cheaper.
No, travel agencies are not always cheaper. Because what they call ‘extras’ are extraordinarily expensive. While a city your on your own may cost 20 Euros only, travel agencies, not including it in the tour costs, may ask for 60-70 Euros for it. If there are extras in the tour you’re looking for, just research the transportation and accommodation costs in the location. Buy the extras only if they’re cheaper.
6. The best exchange rates are in my home country!
Most countries today use the cross exchange rates system, which means exchange rates fluctuate every second. For that reason, making a stable conclusion on exchange rates may simply mislead you. DO check the exchange rates in your destination. Make a small research on which currency would be the most profitable. You may even have a night of accommodation with the difference!
7. Your bank will charge you for using your credit card abroad.
Yes, and no. This totally depends on the bank you are working with. Just call them before beginning your journey and ask them if they have any regulations on using credit cards abroad. If they ask for a service cost, just negotiate with them not to. Most people don’t do it but you can negotiate a lot of things with your bank, even the interest rates in most cases (This may not apply for some countries). If they persistively ask for the service cost, try and find another bank which does not!
8. Trust local knowledge!
In deed, local knowledge may provide you with useful insights on the history and culture of a destination. You should ask for it, if you ask me. But regarding the hotels and accommodation services in a city, most locals will simply mislead you, unless you are lucky to be talking to some tourism professional. Think about it, how many times have you stayed in a hotel in your hometown?
9. Your money gets stolen if you do not protect it with your life!
Yes, thiefs and pickpocketers are waiting for you as you arrive there, right? Of course not, just take a look around when you arrive at your destionation. Your chances of getting pickpocketed is only as high as theirs. You only need to care about your safety as you do so in your hometown. Plus, most hotels, even some hostels, provide lockers or safe deposit boxes. Use them if you have to carry a lot of money or valuables.
10. You get poisoned if you buy food from the street!
Let’s admit it, most of us enjoy streed food. But when we’re abroad, because of the alienation feeling, I guess, we pay excessive attention to what we eat. Of course, there are risks, there always are, but not more than usual. Remember, the routines of the people in your destination are the same as yours. Relax.
11. You have to speak a foreign language.
It is obvious that your travel experience will be a more enjoyable one if you speak at least 1 foreign language. But we have to tell you that you are missing a lot of things if the lack of the ability to speak a foreign language is your only source of demotivation. For one thing, travel agencies are capable of providing you with a tourist guide in every single language. Even if you don’t have a guide, the basic humane needs go for all people, regardless of their home country and to get them, all you need to do is just a couple of gestures. We can deal with the sight-seeing issue with a city map, then we have no problem whatsoever. Acquiring the motivation to learn a foreign language is just another plus of this experience!
12. English is spoken everywhere!
Yes, almost 2 billion people can speak English today. But if you underestimate the rest of world population, you may have troubles in some countries. For instance, in my Balkans tour, I could chat with only 2-3 of the drivers who picked me up as I was hitchhiking. Although most young people would speak English fluently, it may not be enough at times. But we think this will not frustrate you since we have already stated that it is possible to travel without speaking a foreign language.
13. Obtaining is a visa is a tough interview process!
No, getting a visa is only about you documenting that you can finance your travel and you would go back to your country. There is almost no interview for touristic visa applications. As long as you provide all the documents they want, they don’t ask even a single question (even for a UK visa, for which they collect your fingerprints). A visa interview may be quite tough and detailed only if you require residence permit or citizenship. Just because you want to have a holiday, no country will treat you as an immigrant.
14. Mobile phones cannot be used abroad.
This one is a bit funny, but I felt the necessity to add this since I experienced something interesting.
I applied for a Bulgarian visa in 2008, since I had a long holiday. I was planning to go to Varna. Since the bus fares were relatively cheap, I decided to give it a shot. As we approached the Dereköy (Turkey) checkpoint, I heard people in the bus saying, “I should call my family, the mobile won’t work once we cross the border”. Only then did I realize that ‘roaming’ may still be an unfamiliar service for some.
So yes, you can use your mobile abroad. Just activate the roaming service online or by calling your GSM operator. It is free.
15. Staying at a hostel is the cheapest option.
No, staying at a hostel is only ‘among’ the many ways of budget accommodation and it is never the cheapest one. I agree, 10 Euros is a good deal for accommodation but there are also free options like Couchsurfing. It is also possible to find a room from Airbnb for only 5 Euros. Plus, you can simply come across with someone who would rent a room to you, especially if you are in a touristic area. Hostel is always a last resort for me. Hotels? I don’t even like it.
Finally, we hope to have been able to help you overcome some of your biases on travelling abroad. Remember, you don’t have any reason to hesitate since a holiday abroad is always an unforgettable experience. Yours will be no different.
15 Myths on Travelling Abroad / 15 Yurtdışı Efsanesi
15 Myths on Travelling Abroad / 15 Yurtdışı Efsanesi