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.
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 (I’m a stranger telling you it’s not, but that’s different. This is positive reinforcement)? Pay close attention to the travel myths below so that you don’t miss out on what could be an amazing journey!
You have to choose from the flights shown to you on the direct airline website.
Cheapoair is cheap.
There is a right time to buy.
Traveling alone is boring and scary, especially as a woman.
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 specific airline’s list.
Skyscanner searches high and low in all the nooks and crannies for the BEST available flights. These two resources are the main actor in how to travel cheaper. They make visible the basic economy fares that large airlines don’t list on their sites. Third party sellers are what they search for. Just watch for what type of fare it is and try to avoid JustFly, they have terrible reviews all over.
Basic economy means you could experience one or all of the following (which really isn’t that bad, I do it almost every time I fly!):
- Board last
- No overhead room
- No carry on (you still get a personal item)
- No “take backs” if you want to switch flights later
- Non refundable
- No seat selection
- Sometimes you have to wait to see your departure times until after you buy the ticket.
These are all toss ups when you buy your flight but they have it in the fine print. But from my experience it’s always over $70 cheaper to do it this way. If your plans are certain, do basic economy.
What I like most about Skyscanner is that you can choose “destination: everywhere” if you can’t decide where you want to go. You can also choose by MONTH to see the cheapest departure dates for that month.
Scott’s cheap flights – sign up for their email list!! They send out quite a few price notifications for the free subscription. Be flexible with your dates and ready to buy when you get the email because the fares they catch last anywhere between 12 hours to 2 days. This organization catches airline mistakes, like price typos or any other accidents. It’s a life saver when a flight that usually costs $800 is now a few hundred less!
Myth 2 busted
Cheapoair is not cheapo. I have literally never found them or Priceline or Kayak to be cheaper than Skyscanner. It’s just facts, nothing complicated here. Expedia is the way to go if you don’t use Skyscanner. Make sure you have a rewards account with them, I’ve gotten some free cash to spend on flights and hotels because of my past purchases through them.
Myth 3 busted
Traveling is not expensive. Get it out of your head. The trick is to be flexible with your dates and time of year to go. Avoid super touristy seasons. Take a chance and see Germany or Alaska in the winter, they are basically magical wonderlands. Just think logically about the weather, bring a heavy coat. Go to a tropical destination like Thailand in October or November instead of their busiest season (January). Even your specified days of the week or time of month will be cheaper if you just use the above tips for how to travel cheap.
Myth 4 Busted
Buying far in advance is not less expensive. It’s a lie. In my experience. I know it’s scary to wait so long but 2 months in advance is the best for international flights in general. As of this writing, for domestic flights, 58-62 days OR exactly two weeks ahead is best to buy ahead for domestic flights. Nonetheless, you need to understand there are also exceptions like if there is a big event planned at your destination, your dates land during a holiday, it’s Summer, etc…
There are also exceptions like flying to Africa from America, because it’s so far away it’s just going to always be expensive. Sometimes, you get lucky if you have Scott’s Cheap Flights on the lookout for you. They have some screamin’ deals occasionally, you just have to be financially flexible to be able to grab the flight immediately when the price drops!
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 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! I don’t consider that hitch hiking because I had no other choice. 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.
Taking caution is just part of travel: don’t walk around at 11p.m. in a dark alley all alone – 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.
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. 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:
- DELETE YOUR BROWSER HISTORY AND COOKIES after searching for a flight. Believe it or not, this plays a role in the prices you see and I have tested it with a friend. We had totally different prices and mine jumped up even after I put it in my cart.
- Fly and Buy: Buy tickets on Tuesdays-Thursdays, and Saturdays. Sundays, Mondays and Fridays are the most expensive days to purchase.
- Fly out on either a Wednesday or Saturday. Sundays and Mondays are the most expensive days to fly. Sometimes you get lucky and see a good fare on a Sunday night.
I am not a professional at this stuff and I will not claim to be. But I have flown a lot and I use each of these tricks, aside from hearing they don’t play a part in cheap travel, which have proven to save me hundreds on each trip!
Make sure to pin this so you don’t forget these travel myths!
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.