11 Common Myths About Traveling Abroad (& Why They’re Wrong)

March 28, 2024

There are plenty of common myths about traveling abroad that are widespread and can often discourage people from wanting to go out and see the world. And while these concerns are valid, it is also important to understand that these are common misconceptions.

As a female solo traveler, I (understandably) have received a lot of questions over the years regarding how I’m able to travel the world alone. I took my first solo trip to Phuket, Thailand in 2018 at the age of 24 and spent the majority of that year exploring SE Asia and traveling internationally alone.

And I’ve never looked back!

In this blog post, I aim to share why many of these travel myths are wrong in hopes of providing some peace of mind for those of you with big travel dreams that have not yet come to fruition, whatever the reason may be.

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Below I’m sharing 11 common myths about traveling abroad, and why you shouldn’t listen to them (because they’re wrong):

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11 Common Myths About Traveling Abroad (& Why They're Wrong)
11 Common Myths About Traveling Abroad (& Why They're Wrong)

1. Traveling is Too Expensive

The biggest and most common myth about traveling abroad is that it is simply too expensive. And while traveling certainly can be made to be expensive, that doesn’t mean it has to be. Any of your travel goals will still require some financial planning, but there are many affordable travel options available to suit different budgets.

Here are a few options on ways that you can make traveling work with any budget:

  • Travel to Affordable Destinations – There are countless beautiful and culturally-rich places to visit that won’t break the bank. Look for destinations that are lesser known, have a lower cost of living, or where your home country’s currency goes further. 
  • Utilize Rewards from Travel Credit Cards Utilizing travel rewards credit cards is another great option. These cards allow you to accumulate points or miles with every purchase, which can later be redeemed for flights, accommodations, or even cash back. It’s important to compare different rewards programs to find the one that aligns with your travel goals and spending habits.
  • Travel Off-Season – Timing trips during off-peak seasons can also help save money. Prices for flights and accommodations are generally lower when demand is lower. If possible, try to plan your travels during the shoulder season (the period between peak and off-peak seasons) to enjoy favorable weather and fewer crowds, while still taking advantage of reduced prices.
  • Choose Budget-Friendly Accommodation – Avoiding the five-star hotels and opting for budget-friendly alternatives is another effective strategy. Instead of staying in luxury hotels, consider booking hostels or guesthouses. These accommodations are usually much cheaper and often provide a unique opportunity to connect with fellow travelers.
  • Save Money on Airfare – A lot of the time, your airfare can be the most expensive part of any vacation. So saving money on this part can greatly help you travel more. Keeping an eye out for flight deals can ultimately help you decide where to go next, all while saving you money for more adventures.
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2. Travel Planning is Too Overwhelming

Travel planning can be an equally exciting and overwhelming task. It certainly can feel like a whole job in itself (coming from me, a full-time travel agent). With endless destination options and a multitude of arrangements to consider, it’s no wonder why many people get stressed out. 

Here are some ideas on ways you can make the travel planning process more fun and enjoyable:

  • Create a Travel Bucket List – Creating your own travel bucket list is a great idea as it will keep all of your travel goals and destination ideas consolidated in one place. Even just by keeping it saved in your Notes app on your phone, you can add and update your bucket list whenever you want. This way, you already have the first step of travel planning readily available for you – Figuring out where to go!
  • Use Pinterest Boards – One of the ways I get a lot of my own travel inspiration is on Pinterest. I’ve used my account to create Boards for destinations I have an interest in, so anytime I come across something on Pinterest, or anywhere else on the internet, I can save it to that destination board. Even when I am not actively planning a trip, it makes it easier to collect resources on destinations I may travel to in the future, and have these readily available to reference. You can have a look at the way I have my Pinterest Boards organized here, to use as an example.
  • Hang up a Push Pin Map – When I first started traveling, I DIY’d my own push pin map of the world to use as another source of inspiration. I kept different colored push pins for the places I have already visited, and the places I wanted to go. This is basically an extension of my Pinterest Boards, just manifested as a visual aid for my home. 
  • Tackle one Part at a Time – When planning a vacation starts to feel too overwhelming, just remember to tackle one part of the planning at a time. For example, first you may want to start by booking your airfare, then move on to your accommodations, and lastly booking your tours/dining/day trips/etc at the end. 
  • Consult with a Travel Agent – A final option would be to consult with a travel agent and delegate the travel planning to someone else for you. Travel agents will still work with you to give you the vacation you are looking for, and help to narrow down the search by providing you with options to choose from. So you get the best of both worlds – You still get to make all the final decisions when it comes to your travel, without needing to spend excess time on the research. 
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11 Common Myths About Traveling Abroad (& Why They're Wrong)

3. I Don’t Have Time to Travel

Another common misconception that people believe is that they simply do not have the time to travel. And while I can certainly understand struggle of juggling your day-to-day life (I balance a 9-to-5, running this blog, and traveling myself too so trust me – I get it), there are absolutely still ways that you can incorporate more travel and adventures into your life. 

Traveling doesn’t mean that you have to take an extended period of time off of work, or neglect your other responsibilities and day-to-day life.

I’ve written a few in-depth blog articles diving into this topic further already, and plan to keep ’em coming.  But here are a few of the key things that have helped me navigate the balancing act and travel more with a full-time job:

  • Maximize Your PTO/Vacation Days – Most full-time employees in the US are given about 2 weeks of PTO (paid time off) per calendar year. Make the most of these days off by using them around weekends and paid holidays that you already have off of work.
  • Take Weekend Adventures – Travel on the weekends! Make the most of your weekend time by completing the day-to-day tasks that you usually save for the weekends, during the week. You can also extend your weekends so you would only need to take an extra day or two off of work.
  • Explore Locally on a Staycation – Staycations are pretty underrated, in my opinion. Use your weekends to explore more of what’s around you locally or nearby destinations. Things such as road trips or nearby National and State Parks are a few ideas for options for a staycation.
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11 Common Myths About Traveling Abroad (& Why They're Wrong)

4. Solo Travel is Dangerous for Women

Solo travel is often perceived as dangerous, especially for women. While it is important for all travelers to prioritize their personal safety abroad, women often face additional risks that require extra precaution and awareness. However, this doesn’t mean that if you’re a woman, you should stay home. The idea that solo travel is dangerous for women is one of the biggest myths about travel.

As a solo female traveler myself, I’m happy to report that this common myth about traveling abroad is one that can be debunked. 

Wanna hear something interesting? Statistically, more than half of travelers worldwide are female (64% are women, while 36% are men). And according to Forbes, “the average US traveler is a 47-year-old woman.”

Before I first took the leap into solo traveling myself, I looked up to a lot of other women in the travel space that share their own experiences and advice online. Here are some other solo female travel blogs to check out for inspiration:

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5. The Best Time to Travel to Any Destination is During the Peak Season

Another common myth about traveling abroad is that the best time to visit any destination is during the peak season, or high season. While different destinations may offer unique attractions at certain times of year, the truth is that there really is no perfect time to travel. 

I actually tend to avoid traveling to super popular destinations during their peak season altogether. Peak season for travel destinations means that prices are higher and the tourist attractions you want to see will be more crowded. 

Personally, I aim to travel during the shoulder seasons or off-season for popular destinations. What these seasons are will vary based on the destination, but this often means that the cost on airfare and accommodation will be lower, and you’ll experience fewer crowds. Which to me, is a win-win. 

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6. Hostels are Dirty / Unsafe / Only for the Party Crowd

Hostels have a rep for being dirty, unsafe, and/or where you stay only if you are in your 20’s and looking to party. And while, sure, there are plenty of party hostels out there, that doesn’t mean they are all the same.

Hostels are a great accommodation option for those looking to travel on a budget, regardless of demographic. These days, hostels come in all shapes and sized and offer a variety of accommodation options. Many hostels have all-female dorms for women, 24-hour security and reception, and even offer private rooms that are often still cheaper than staying in a hotel.

It’s just important to do your research beforehand to get a feel for the hostel you’re looking at. I research hostels before on Hostel World and go through the ratings and reviews left by other travelers that have stayed there.

7. You Should Always Exchange your Currency at the Airport

One of the biggest travel myths I’ve seen is that you should always exchange your currency at the airport for the best rates. This myth couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

The airport is probably the last place you will ever want to exchange currency, as there they will have the highest conversion rates – Meaning, you get less for your money.

I have found that the best (and easiest) way to exchange currency is when you get to your destination. Just be sure to bring your debit or ATM card with you and pull cash from a local ATM upon arrival. As long as your bank isn’t charging steep foreign transaction fees, this is the easiest way to pull out cash and allows you to only take out what you need. I will usually just end up visiting an ATM a few times during a trip, depending on how much I end up needing in cash vs just paying by card. 

11 Common Myths About Traveling Abroad (& Why They're Wrong)
11 Common Myths About Traveling Abroad (& Why They're Wrong)

8. Luxury Travel is Irresponsible

Another common travel myth is that luxury travel is irresponsible, because it is often seen as synonymous with overindulgence and wastefulness. However, it is important to acknowledge that responsible luxury travel is not only possible but also crucial in today’s world. By choosing to travel with trusted operators and properties that practice responsible tourism, you can still enjoy the lavishness of luxury travel while minimizing your impact on the environment.

One way to opt for sustainable luxury travel is by looking for Eco-friendly accommodations. There are many hotels and resorts around the world that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness in their operations. For example: Tulum, Mexico is a popular tourist destination that is also known for its eco-luxury beachfront hotels, many of which that aim to be carbon-neutral (or already are). 

You can also ensure responsible luxury travel by selecting operators and properties that actively give back to the planet. Many luxury travel companies now support local communities, conservation efforts, and sustainable practices. Whether it’s partnering with local organizations or implementing eco-friendly initiatives, these operators contribute positively to the destinations they operate in, making a real difference. 

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9. The Travel Guidebooks Know Best

While travel guidebooks can definitely be a great resource when planning your next vacation, it’s a common misconception to think that they are going to be your best source of information. There is an endless amount of resources and many different online platforms available that help to make trip planning easy and accessible for everyone.

One of the best resources for your travel research will be – other travelers! Blogs and social media channels where others share their own personal travel experiences will provide you with some of the best insight on your destination.

10. You Don’t Need Travel Insurance

Another big common misconception about traveling abroad is that you don’t need travel insurance. And, sure, you don’t need travel insurance… Until you do. 

One primary reason travel insurance is so important is due to the unpredictability of unforeseen events during trips. Travel insurance serves as a shield against financial loss caused by things such as lost luggage, non-refundable accommodations, and medical emergencies.

Travel insurance also just serves to preserve your peace of mind while you’re abroad – Something that, I don’t think, anyone can put a price tag on.

A glance at statistics suggests that the likelihood of such scenarios is not something to be ignored. In 2019 alone, nearly half of all US travelers encountered unexpected disruptions during their travels. 

Being prepared and covered for all kinds of scenarios during your travels is the best way to protect yourself financially. 

11 Common Myths About Traveling Abroad (& Why They're Wrong)

11. You Must Plan Vacations Years in Advance to Get the Best Deal

While there can certainly be advantages to booking any travel years in advance, it’s a common misconception to think that this is the only way you can get a great deal on an awesome vacation.

As someone who works in the travel industry full-time as a travel agent, let me fill you in on something: Often times, the best time to book travel will be a few months out from the departure date, maybe around 1-3 months. Pricing on airfare and accommodation all varies depending on availability (demand). However, sometimes airlines will lower airfare costs as takeoff approaches, in attempt to fill up the plane as much as possible.

While you can certainly keep an eye on ticket pricing yourself manually, an easier way to check for flight deals is by signing up with programs that will alert you when deals are available. The two I use religiously myself are Thrifty Traveler and Going (formerly known as Scott’s Cheap Flights). 

Takeaway on Common Myths about Traveling Abroad

Ultimately, a lot of these common myths about traveling abroad are the things we tell ourselves to keep us from getting out there to see the world. The good news is, is that these misconceptions about travel are simply inaccurate and untrue. The key takeaway I want you to gain from this blog post is that if traveling is really something you want to do (or do more of), then you can absolutely make it happen. Your travel dreams are attainable with some proper planning, common sense, and the right mindset.

What are some other common myths about traveling abroad? Share with me what you think in the comments below!

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The Gal Behind the Blog

Hi I’m Rylie – Welcome to my corner of the internet!

I’m a solo traveler & photographer turned full-time corporate travel agent – born and raised in Southern California but now based in Colorado.