Have you ever read an article about traveling that’s shaken you up, or caused you to panic about safety? Maybe you’ve looked up ticket prices to your ultimate destination and had to grab a paper bag? Maybe you’ve heard so many bad things, you haven’t even explored the possibility of travel? It’s inevitable that the truth about affordable and safe travel could be misconstrued – lucky for you I am about to debunk the top travel myths out there. Say hello to easy, safe, inexpensive travel.

travel myths

Because of what I have personally experienced, I’m really shocked at some of the things I hear from people and comments I see on social media regarding travel safety and affordability. So many people believe that you have to have travel companions, not just male, but especially as a solo female traveler. Many also believe thousands and thousands of dollars are required to travel, you can’t have kids, live with your parents, no responsibilities. That is so far from the truth. Sure, nothing in life is free and it may take longer to be able to do the travel thing, and there are definitely some sketchy cities in the world, but you CAN do it.

Although not true, pricing and safety has many people concerned of traveling, and traveling solo! You don’t let a doctor’s advice stop you from eating McDonald’s so why would you let a stranger tell you that traveling is expensive? Pay close attention to the travel myths below so that you don’t miss out on what could be an amazing journey!

Myth 1

You have to choose from the flights shown to you on the airline’s website.

Myth 2

Cheap-o Air is cheap

Myth 3

It’s expensive.

Myth 4

There is a specific time to buy the cheapest possible flight.

Myth 5

Traveling alone is boring and scary, especially as a woman.

Myth 6

You can’t travel if you have kids.

Based off my experiences, all of these are inexcusably wrong. I have had incredible experiences every time I fly! Except once when the cheapest airline I chose went bankrupt and shut down a few weeks before I was supposed to leave. That was a little irritating but I just had to re-schedule!

Myth 1 busted

You do not have to choose from the flights given to you on Expedia’s or the airline’s list.

My travel unicorn is Skyscanner & Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Skyscanner searches high and low, in all the nooks and crannies for the BEST available flights (typically basic economy). These two resources are the main actor in how to travel with a not-so-luxurious budget. These basic economy seats are available through the airlines themselves but often aren’t listed as a purchase option. Make sure you book *through the airline directly, through the link on Skyscanner*, not through third parties like JustFly, they are not reliable at all.

Basic Economy just means you could experience one or all of the following (which isn’t that bad, I do it every time I travel and have no issues):

  • Board last
  • No overhead room
  • No carry on (still get a personal item to stow under the seat)
  • No “take backs” if you want to switch flights later
  • Non-refundable
  • No seat selection
  • Sometimes you have to wait to see your departure time until after you buy the ticket (rare, but the absolute cheapest option). If you’re flexible with dates and times, this is superb!

These are all toss ups when you buy your flight but they have it in the fine print. From my experience, it’s always cheaper to buy basic economy.

What I like most about Skyscanner is that you can choose from “Destination: Everywhere” if you aren’t sure where to go! It allows you to choose by month as well, showing you cheaper options during that month.

travel myths

Scott’s Cheap Flights – this organization catches airline mistakes and flash deals. Sign up for their email list – this is their flight cost alert system. They send out quite a few price notifications for free, with upgrades available for more. Be flexible with your destinations and dates and be ready to buy. Mistake fares and flash deals don’t last long and they aren’t destination specific.

travel myths

Myth 2 busted

Cheapoair, in my experience, or Priceline or Kayak, has never, ever been cheaper or more reliable than Skyscanner. Expedia, Google Flights and Momondo are the only other sources I go to if I can’t find what I need on Skyscanner or Scott’s email list. Make sure you have rewards with Expedia, I’ve gotten some spending money from them for hotels and flights because of past purchases.

Myth 3 busted

Traveling is not expensive. Get this out of your head. The trick is to be flexible with your dates and time of year to go. Avoid tourist seasons, take a chance to see some places in the winter like Germany and Alaska – winter wonderlands. Go to tropical destinations that have a weaker dollar exchange rate than yours. Thailand in October or November instead of their busy season (but it’s still SO affordable year-round). Even specified days of the week or month will be cheaper if you use Skyscanner’s search function.

thailand guide

Myth 4 Busted

Buying far in advance is not less expensive. Buying on Tuesday is not better. It USED to be when airlines would release updated prices per week, but not anymore. In my experience AND with the recent events of 2020, travel habits have changed. The buying range is quite a bit, for example 1-8 months is for international travel, domestic is 1-3 months.

There are exceptions to the rule like national holidays, celebrations, etc. where booking earlier is pretty important but flights fluctuate by the second, making every day a good day for a great price. There is no silver bullet anymore. Travel culture has soared and airlines want to keep up with the demand.

Myth 5 busted

Naturally, I am pretty passionate about this one. Among all travel myths, this one is the most annoying.

I got a lot of cautionary flack for wanting to go on a solo trip – from friends and family. My very first solo trip was three weeks and included me gallivanting around Ireland and Scotland. I got stranded once and had to ask for a ride from a complete stranger that turned into one of the greatest memories and confirmed that Ireland is the perfect solo travel destination! No bus, no train, no taxis, no boats. Nothing else around. I had to put every ounce of my faith into the only man left for literally miles, and it turned out well enough for me to be alive and tell you about it!

Traveling alone really tests your self-confidence and is the perfect way to get to know yourself a little more. Overall, everyone that travels is at risk, even men! Nomadic Matt is a perfect example and he opens up about it in his blog post here. There are bad people in every city and every country. Letting fear drive your decision to travel solo or not is unnecessary and creates false ideas about safety and false hope of every traveling on your own terms.

Taking caution is just part of travel: don’t walk around at 11p.m. in a dark alley all alone after drinking at a bar, or any time – male or female. Make sure your accommodation is in a safe location and easy to get to when walking or getting an Uber. Check your surroundings, ALWAYS. Have a backup plan or a “sorry I can’t” story to tell a stranger if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Always make sure someone knows where you are and who to call if they can’t get ahold of you.

Myth 6 busted

Although having children eliminates some things you might be able to do while overseas, it’s not impossible to have a good time, at ALL. I used to think children would hold me back and then I came across a now world-wide known family called The Bucket List Family that totally bust the travel myths of the impossibility of adventuring with your kiddos! They share the hardships and the unforgettable moments of traveling with kids! There are hundreds more people like them that open up their life of travel with kids to prove that you can travel with kids!

Of course, there will be sacrifices you need to make to be able to afford it after they turn 2 (which is when free flights end for babies). When I lived in Japan, I met my best friend who had a one year old. She did NOT let him hold her back. She enjoyed taking him to see the sights, even just going into the city with him – all day!

In my opinion, traveling with kids should be a staple for their childhood. It makes them well-rounded, culturally experienced and gives you family bonding time you would otherwise not get at home.

More helpful tips on how to travel cheap:

  • Use a rewards credit card with the airline OR Chase or Capital One have great travel cards. This gets you TSA Pre Check, free first two bags, etc.
  • Make use of all rewards programs, even if you buy from a different company/airline every time.
  • See if an influencer on Instagram has a code for a discount! Use hashtags like #{insert name}partner and something might pop up in their caption.
  • Get on the city’s or country’s hiking/travel/backpacking Facebook group pages. There are so many! People give so many tips and tricks on these.
  • Use a travel agent – this industry is not dead! A lot of my friends are agents, and there are great companies like Ventre’s Adventures and Authenteco Travel

Make sure to pin this so you don’t forget these tips and tricks!

Assuming you read this to save money traveling, check out my post on how to save money for your next vacation by making changes in your daily life!

Happy travels!

6 Travel Myths & Why You Need to Ignore Them6 Travel Myths & Why You Need to Ignore Them