When it comes to scoring travels, there are countless myths and misconceptions that can leave you confused, or worse, completely overwhelmed by the thought of traveling. Ideally, you want to take advantage of every opportunity to save money when planning your vacation, but there’s no use putting effort into things that won’t ultimately save you much in the long run.
We’ve scoured the minds of Slickdealers (and the internet) to determine which of these myths are fact and which are fiction. From the idea that budget travel entails sacrificing luxury to the notion of prime booking times, here is the truth about these 6 common travel myths.
Myth #1: Travel credit cards hurt your credit score and are hard to manage…
The myth that travel credit cards are more damaging than they are helpful is only true if you make it true. When managed and cared for correctly, taking advantage of credit card offers and bonuses can be a game-changer when it comes to planning your next expedition. Managing rewards points can seem daunting, but if you utilize free resources to educate yourself like these helpful articles, you’ll be a travel-hacking pro in no time.
Aside from scoring discounts on everything from lodging to transportation, travel credit cards are also a good way to save money on upcoming vacations with reward points. Mapping out which of your cards reward you the most on different spending categories, such as grocery store, dining, or gas purchases, can help you rack up points to put towards future travel purchases.
Just be sure to make a plan and follow it precisely. While making purchases using credit cards can earn you plenty of rewards points, it can really hurt your credit (and cost you more money!) if you don’t make your payments on time or end up paying interest on your balances.
Myth #2: Luxury travel comes with a luxurious price tag…
Traveling luxuriously can be expensive, but there are many ways to enjoy top-notch experiences without paying high prices. Many luxury hotels and resorts offer discounted rates and packages during low seasons, which can provide significant savings. Another option is to take advantage of credit card points to offset or eliminate the cash costs on accommodations or transportation. Being open to different options and flexible with travel dates and destinations can help you to minimize your expenses and set you up for getting a good value as well.
The Slickdeals Travel Page is often filled with hotel packages, hotel membership bonuses, and car or flight offers. If you haven’t yet, try planning your vacation backward. That means planning your vacation based on the travel deals you find instead of planning your vacation around a destination and trying to find a deal on that trip. And check the Slickdeals Travel Page frequently – new deals are added every day!
Myth #3: There is a definitive best day to book flights…
Though we’ve all heard some version of the wisdom that Tuesdays (or Wednesdays, or Thursdays…) are the best days to book flights, there’s very little evidence to support this claim. The truth is that the cost of travel is influenced by so many different factors such as supply and demand, competition, your travel date, and even the hour that you fly. The best strategy for saving money while booking flights is to be flexible with travel dates and to start looking in advance.
If you’re craving to play the low-cost-ticket lottery, aim to fly on lesser-demand travel days like Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. If you’re not a fan of constantly comparing competitors’ prices, opt for setting a few Slickdeals Deal Alerts and have the Slickdeals community find a great deal for you!
Myth #4: It’s better to shop for flights with an incognito web browser…
While the theory here is that airlines and travel booking sites may show you higher prices for flights if they know your search history, it’s not quite true. Airlines and travel booking sites typically use complex algorithms when it comes to pricing flights and most companies don’t have the time or resources to adjust individual ticket prices. Right now, these systems aren’t designed to track an individual traveler’s browsing history, but that’s not to say that there may not be a shift with the advance of technology in the future.
Myth #5: Buying from the Duty-Free Shop will save you money…
This one isn’t quite as cut-and-dry as the other myths. Duty-free stores allow international travelers to buy items without having to pay certain taxes. But before you go crazy filling your bag with a bunch of duty-free goodies, you’ll want to be sure to do some research. Scoring decent deals will be dependent on the location in which you’re traveling, as well as the items you’re buying. Aim for items that typically carry a high tax like perfumes, alcohol, and luxury goods, and shy away from souvenirs and treats that you could buy outside of the airport at a lower price, even with the tax.
Myth #6: You should pay in local currency when traveling abroad…
While it’s simple to think there’s no difference between getting charged the local currency over your home currency, it turns out there actually is. Even if you’re in possession of a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees, paying in your home currency is going to cost you. This is because paying in your home currency, also known as Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), can lead to unfavorable exchange rates and additional fees. Though it may seem like a convenience to see the cost in your home currency, paying in the local currency allows your bank to handle the conversion at the current exchange rate and may avoid additional transaction fees and markups.
As long as there are budget-conscious travelers, there will always be myths attached to ways to save on travel, but knowing the truth behind them will help ease worry and doubt when planning your next trip. Taking steps like researching exchange rates, looking for accommodations during non-peak seasons, and creating helpful habits like browsing the Slickdeals Travel Page will put you on the right track to spending less on your vacation. Then your new challenge will be to create adventurous and authentic experiences that will last a lifetime! Bon voyage!