The Jakarta Post
Whether you are looking for an extended vacation or an exciting fast-paced short stay, remember that not every travel tip rings true. (Shutterstock/Jacob Lund)
There are countless lists of tips, ranging from DIY projects to what foods to eat and why, which come with a slew of travel tip lists as well. But you may not be aware that the world has moved on from some of these well-known travel tips.
1. The early bird gets a cheaper flight ticket
Flights were much more infrequent 40 years ago, which increased demand for seats on a plane as the departure date got closer. Nowadays, this is no longer the case.
With so many options from countless airlines available and discounts becoming available for every reason in any season, demand is no longer a cause for higher plane prices. Airlines will now compete, especially in price, in order to fill as many seats as possible.
Be on the lookout for any available discounts or specials, instead of always trying to rush to get a seat before everyone else. You just might miss a cheaper deal without realizing it.
2. Plane air makes you sick
Dry air may cause skin irritation, but most commercial airplanes actually have quite a bit of air filtration. You are not constantly breathing in and out the same stagnant air while you sit in the cabin.
Some air of course is recycled — otherwise, the air pressure on the plane would begin to drop — but recycled cabin air goes through high-efficiency particulate air filters that are designed to rid the air of bacteria and other possibly harmful human waste substances before being returned to the cabin.
It is actually the bacteria on other people’s hands and other body parts that is transferred to previously cleaned tray tables, lavatory handles and headrests, which can cause bacterial or viral transfer. Unfortunately for passengers who mind their personal hygiene, not everyone who boards a plane keeps their cleanliness in check.
3. Travel sites have the best hotel prices
Traveloka, Expedia and other sites have appeared all over the internet, advertising their cheap hotel prices. It is easy to believe that purchasing from a third party will cost less than booking directly through the hotel itself.
But booking directly through the hotel actually gives you a larger chance of getting an upgrade — something booking agents and third-party booking platforms rarely do. Hotels also seldom disclose further discounts or offers to third-party agents. According to Lifehacker, you can get the same deal or better by booking directly through hotels. Nowadays, many hotels come with a “best rate guarantee”, so they are more likely to match prices available online to stay competitive.
4. Being early to rise means you’ll beat the tourist traffic
Chances are that millions of other travelers and tourists read the same guidebook, site or blog post that advised you to go early, and they are heading to the same location you are trying to get to.
You can outsmart the other tourists by going when nobody else wants to go, for a full, personal experience. Arriving at a tourist destination when it’s cloudy may not be ideal (depending on where you are going), but a nice hot day will ensure some of the more sunlight-adverse tourists will be long gone by then.
5. Locals know best
This is true in any place and at any time. Locals live where you are visiting, so while they know some of the best places to eat and how to get to tourist spots, other touristy things like hotels, cheap travel deals and other such things only a visitor would think about might be beyond their expertise.
Language can also be a barrier — you might interpret left when they mean right. A simple misunderstanding like this can cause you to lose your way and possibly ruin the rest of your day. It is better to travel with a reliable internet connection to help you with directions and reviews.
6. Street food is dirty
Restaurants are typically more trustworthy than street vendors for very good reason, but in reality, you never get to see what goes on in the kitchen. Street food is usually more localized and authentic than the gourmet versions available at high-end restaurants and hotels.
Skipping street food could mean missing out on a more raw and authentic take on a dish, an experience that would otherwise be a highlight of the trip. You can easily see many locals standing around a food stall and enjoying a delicacy without concern about whether or not it is safe.
7. Lack of sleep is why you get jet lag
Despite popular belief, jet lag is caused by your body’s adjustment to the timezone of your resident country, not because you are tired. Taking sleeping pills and falling asleep on the flight may help you stay awake when you arrive, but it might not eliminate the cranky and grumpy feeling of needing to stay in bed on your first day.
Your body needs time to adjust to the new time zone you have arrived in, and jet lag is merely a natural part of your body’s survival instinct to make sure you keep a set schedule for sleep, food and other activities. Fortunately, jet lag is nothing to worry about and will eventually wear off within the first few days.
8. Travel advisories means you should not visit
Governments want to ensure the safety of tourists coming to visit their country, as the tourist industry is one of the largest in the world. A tourist with a particularly bad experience in a destination is bound to spread the word, which will result in a decline in visitor numbers.
For example, Thailand is a well-known destination around the world, but it is marked yellow for “high degree of caution”, the same category as Egypt and Liberia. Demonstrations and other forms of unrest without violence or danger can result in certain destinations getting a travel advisory despite the reality of the situation.
It is better to monitor the situation from trusted media sources and news in order to determine whether or not to visit a country after checking their rating. It is “better to be safe than sorry” in any situation.
9. Don’t carry your wallet
Locals never carry around money in a pouch hanging in front of them or in a weird money belt. This actually makes you an easier target and announces to anyone who sees you that you are a tourist and you are carrying money.
It might be safer to carry only what you need, but remember that “special bags” look special and are easy marks for anyone looking to take something from you. Again, it is better to be safe than sorry.
10. Duty free is cheaper than anything else
Non-taxed goods certainly have their appeal, especially if you are looking for some good wine or other hard drinks. However, there will definitely be local shops that still offer lower prices for the same or similar products. Recently, Indonesia allowed entry of goods worth up to US$500 to enter the country without any penalties.
Whether you are looking for an extended vacation or an exciting fast-paced short stay, remember that not every travel tip rings true. Staying safe and having fun are important, so remembering these travel tips may help make your time off more comfortable. (acr/kes)
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