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Depending on the trip, travel can be easy, hard, or somewhere in between. But it’s rarely (if ever) one of the below. Here are some of the most popular and enduring beliefs that do more harm than good when it comes to planning, navigating, and enjoying both domestic and international travel.

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Travel is expensive

Side View Of A Young African American Man Looking The Barcelona Cityscape On A Rooftop At Sunset.Side View Of A Young African American Man Looking The Barcelona Cityscape On A Rooftop At Sunset.

Just because travel can be expensive doesn’t mean it has to be. Yes, travel to Bora Bora — one of the world’s most expensive destinations — is out of reach for many of us. But you can find similar overwater bungalows in Mexico for a fraction of the cost. Once you stop believing this myth, a literal world of possibilities will be opened to you.

You have to speak the language

We always try to learn a few key words and phrases before we set out to a new country with a different language. But here’s a little secret: You can get a lot out of life with a smile and a few gestures. And you can get almost anything else by saying “please,” “thank you,” and “bathroom” in the local lingo. While language barriers are real, you really can get almost anything after memorizing a handful of words. Here’s looking at you, Japan!

Travel is dangerous

Fact: People who believe the world is dangerous rarely travel. People who think the world is good often do. While there are extreme cases in which travel can sadly result in assault or even death, avoiding travel due to outlying safety statistics is like avoiding the ocean because sharks kill a dozen people out of millions a year in them.

You should always travel like a local

Back view of a two sisters looking at the Eiffel Tower

This one might surprise you, but when you really think about it, it’s not always the best idea. After all, locals don’t visit the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, or the Taj Mahal. While we all love insider tips and traveling off the beaten path, there are just some things—touristy things—you have to experience when you’re visiting a place for the first time. Although the word is now stigmatic, the truth is, we are all “tourists” while traveling to someplace for fun, so you might as well embrace it. And, of course, you don’t have to be a “local” to be respectful during your visit.

Travel requires lots of bags

Back view of a woman walking forward in the Navarra desert carrying a yellow backpack. Travel concept

This is false. People who pack light and recognize that other parts of the world have stores to buy things in have been doing just fine for decades. They’re also happier and more refreshed (and their backs probably aren’t hurting as much). Don’t believe me? Travel writer Rick Steves carries only a backpack for his annual tours of Europe. It’s only possible if you accept it.

Travel can fix us

Although it’s true that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” that doesn’t mean it will necessarily cure what ails you. Furthermore, some people who travel are often running away from their problems, while others simply can’t sit still. Point is, to get the most from travel, we must all first feel comfortable in our own skin. Remember the old quote, “Wherever you go, there you are.” In other words, you can’t run from yourself.

Travel takes a lot of time

Vacation doesn’t have to be a two-week or summer-long extravaganza (though kudos to you if you do have the time and money). Keep in mind, for example, that you don’t have to see everything in Europe in one fell swoop. If you only have a long weekend available and still need an adventure, accept that you cannot and will not see everything, then book what you can. Seeing some of a new place is better than seeing none of it. Get a little sample of many different places will also help you decide where you do want to spend more time, when you’re finally able to.

Travel ends after having kids

Dead wrong. Families both large and small regularly travel to domestic and exotic, far-flung locations. Although extreme adventures like hiking Machu Picchu probably aren’t right for toddlers, the vast majority of world experiences are open to all ages. You might need to adjust your plans a little with kids in tow, but you’ll see a lot more throughout your lifetime if you abandon this myth.

Traveling solo is lonely

A happy young Asian woman with a film camera around her neck travels solo.

Loneliness is a legitimate fear. We’re social creatures after all. But most solo travelers are quick to report the numerous social encounters they experience while traveling by themselves. In that way, solo travel might be the best of both worlds: You get to interact with others and enjoy extra “me time.”

About the author: Blake Snow contributes to fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies as a bodacious writer-for-hire and frequent travel columnist. He lives in Provo, Utah with his supportive family and their “bullador beagle.”

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Tips & advice

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Blake Snow

Blake Snow

Blake contributes to fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies as a writer-for-hire and frequent travel columnist. He lives in Provo, Utah with his supportive family and loyal dog.

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