Travel Myths Busted
When should you book to get the best rates? Are city breaks better on weekdays?
Common lore says “Tuesdays” and “Always” respectively, but while this may have been the case in the past, the world of travel is a very different place now!
We checked with some experts to debunk the myths and update you with the real inside scoop…
Myth 1: Midweek is much cheaper
In an interview with ABC7, a Hopper.com executive reminded travellers that cities like Berlin are often not cheaper on weekdays as they see so many business travellers – and this creates high demand on those weekdays.
Hotels in business districts and many of the popular, central locations may not have cheaper midweek deals. The midweek myth still holds true for some hotels though – especially those not commonly used by business travellers. In other words, anything’s possible!
- Look for hotels outside central business districts and the “usual” central locations – try a just-off-centre creative neighbourhood or an historic part of the city for your next big city visit.
Myth 2: You’ll get the best rates when bookings first open
Booking flights as early as possible worked in the past, but these days you’re more likely to get a better deal 6-8 weeks before a holiday, according to Hopper’s Liana Corwin.
“If it’s something like Christmas or New Year you want to give yourself at least two months,” she advises, “But every route is different.”
- Check when specific airlines commonly run their special offers
- Also check regularly with travel booking websites or apps. Hopper, for example, claims to predict the best options and cheapest times to book – and alerts users when low prices come up.
- There will often be special discounts that are exclusive to one provider or website, so it’s worth doing more research.
Myth 3: Last minute bookings are always a better deal.
Filling empty rooms or seats with cheaper offers does still happen, but many last-minute deals are not cheaper at all.
Some hotels and tour companies rely on this myth and make a lot of money from it because there’s a perception of getting a deal. If you compare prices to what was available earlier though, many of these are exactly the same, or even more expensive.
Booking at the last minute can be stressful too – it doesn’t give you much time to plan, arrange visas, see a doctor or get extra prescription medication for your trip, and it’s easy to forget things when you pack in a hurry.
Waiting for last-minute deals can save you a lot of money, but it can also leave you in the lurch if you don’t like the last-minute options that do come up.
- Booking to depart in just a week or two’s time can work if you’re going somewhere like Europe on a shorter break, but make sure you cover all the essentials – especially all your medical needs and travel insurance.
- For more exotic destinations and longer holidays, booking at least 1 month ahead of departure is a good idea.
- Set aside time to make lists and sort out travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked that holiday, and make sure you list all medical conditions and any new symptoms or investigations. Those details are easy to forget in the rush and excitement of a last-minute trip, but not being covered can end up costing you a fortune.
Myth 4: “All-Inclusive” means you won’t have to pay anything else at all.
CheatSheet warns travellers that even though a deal is “all-inclusive” the reality is that you may be faced with extra, unexpected costs.
This can apply to resorts, tours, hotels and cruise ships. We’re sure you know all about the importance of checking whether drinks and shore excursions are included in your cruise price, but what about other, unexpected costs like seeing a hotel doctor or spending 8 hours at an airport when a flight is delayed? Those are never part of the deal.
- Read the terms and conditions of your deal carefully and ask about items that are not mentioned so you know exactly what you’re getting.
- Make sure you have the appropriate travel insurance so you can seek medical help without worrying about huge extra bills.
- Check that your travel insurance policy covers things like delays, lost passports, natural disasters, and terrorism. Just like holidays, many travellers assume their travel insurance deal covers everything, only to find out too late that these items were optional extras which they hadn’t selected, or that cover is limited or completely excluded.
Myth 5: Book on a Tuesday
This is one of those online booking tips that has become standard, but most travel experts agree that while booking earlier in the week is better, you don’t have to wait for Tuesday.
- Once again, research is your friend. Start looking at various deal websites, airlines and hotels well ahead of time. You’ll see some patterns in pricing and you’ll be able to select the best options for your requirements.
Myth 6: Get to attractions early to beat the crowds
This myth has been around for decades, and travellers around the world have been showing up early and standing in looooong queues – yet still the myth persists!
Most travellers like to get started early and fit more into their visit, making early opening times extremely busy at many attractions – even during the week.
- Midday usually sees the fewest visitors, says CheatSheet, and we tend to agree. Enjoy a mid-morning brunch or grab a sandwich along the way, and visit those popular attractions while everyone else is having lunch.
- Late afternoon is often quieter too – give yourself an hour or two before closing time, depending on the entry procedure and requirements.
- Check if you can book tickets in advance and ask about fast-track tickets that allow you to skip the long queues.
Myth 7: I’m going to Europe and I have my EHIC so I don’t need travel insurance.
This is a very expensive myth. Yes, it is important to carry that European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when you visit Europe, but it doesn’t cover everything and travel insurance is still so important.
EHIC can get you discounted treatment – sometimes there is free treatment, but not always, - and this varies from country to country.
EHIC doesn’t cover anything besides some medical treatment. Forget about compensation for lost luggage, damaged or stolen phones, lost passports and delays, plus the more serious items like medical repatriation, floods and other natural disasters, and all those other situations travel insurance can help with.
- Accidents and illness can happen even if you’re close to home. Be prepared and travel with peace of mind. Those extra bills can add up fast, even if you haven’t gone very far, but a travel insurance policy is a very small cost in comparison!
- Make your travel insurance even more cost-effective with 20% off when you purchase through our website. That includes 20% off medical premiums and any optional cover that you add to your policy!
Have you heard any other travel myths lately? Tell us about them and we’ll help separate facts from fiction!
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