Whether you’re a frequent flier or flying for the first time, you might have come across some travel myths that may cause you some travel anxiety. We did some research to put your mind at ease and here’s what we found out.
1. You’ll Always Get A Better Deal Online
Verdict: False. Nowadays, travel agents will beat almost any legitimate quote, says Lonely Planet author Sarah Bennett. And if something goes wrong, there’s no substitute for a bona fide human being, she adds. “Agents can fix things for you in a way that can be very difficult to do yourself.”
Be alert: Factor in hidden costs before booking online, advises Jo Stewart, from intrepidtravel.com. “You might find a cheap fare with a budget airline, but then there’s the credit card fee, extra for luggage and checking in early – sometimes it doesn’t work out cheap after all.”
2. There’s More Chance Of DVT In Economy Seats
Verdict: Jury’s out. Guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians suggest there’s no concrete evidence that being in cattle class by itself leads to greater risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). But sitting in a window seat does. “It all comes down to the level of immobility,” says Dr Tony Ghererdin, medical advisor for the Australian Travel Doctor TMVC Group. If you have to jump over two snoring passengers to reach the aisle, you’re probably not going to stretch your legs as much as you should.
Get moving: Forget diving deep into an argument with your travel buddies about travel myths, you must walk around – simple as that. Your risk starts increasing after about six hours warns Gherardin. You also need to dress appropriately, which means “loose clothing that’s not causing compression around the legs, knees and hips”.
3. Booking Last-Minute Is Cheaper
Verdict: False. Generally, it’s first in, best dressed. Airlines, for example, allocate a certain number of seats in different price ranges, so once the cheap seats are gone, you’re looking at a hefty outlay.
Score a deal: Many tour operators give discounts for booking early, says Stewart. ”For any destination that’s popular, like Europe in summer, you need to get in early because tours and accommodation book out and flights become expensive.”
READ MORE: 7 Tips from a Travel Writer to Ensure Stress-Free Travel
4. Travel Broadens Your Mind
Verdict: Partly true. You’ll get out what you put in, says Stewart. If you plough through 20 countries in 30 days, hanging out with your mates and boozing in Western-style bars, the only personal growth you’ll get will be around your belt buckle.
Blow your mind: “Culture shock is addictive,” says Bennett. “Travel slowly and don’t try to tick everything off.” And get out of your comfort zone, adds Stewart. “I went to Kenya alone and had the most amazing experience just by talking to locals, going to markets and eating local food.”
5. You Won’t Survive A Plane Crash
Verdict: False. Sure, there is no ignoring the huge air disasters where everyone dies, there are no travel myths there. But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed if your plane runs into trouble. Says Ben Sherwood, the author of The Survivors Club: The Secrets of Science That Could Save Your Life. “In fact, according to the US government study [of 568 plane crashes in the US between 1993 and 2000], 95.7% of the passengers involved made it out alive,” he says.
Protect yourself: Score a seat towards the back of the plane, reports a study by Popular Mechanics. After examining the 20 commercial jet crashes in the US between 1971 and 2007, where there were fatalities and survivors, it found the survival rate in rear seats is 69%, as opposed to 56% over the wing and 49% at the pointy end. “But you suffer a rougher ride if you do sit at back,” says former pilot Captain David Paine. “The most comfortable rise is as far forward as you can get.”
6. You Get Sick More Easily On A Plane
Verdict: Partly true. “The air on planes is turned over and filtered rapidly, at a much higher rate than in big buildings,” says Gherardin. Which means you’re at more risk in the check-in queue, he says.
Stay healthy: But if you’re sitting within a metre of someone with an active infection, then you do have a higher chance of contracting it. If you can’t move seats, says Gherardin, the best thing you can do is wash your hands regularly.
Originally published on menshealth.com