Certain Instagram feeds and photos might get us all excited about new places, but nothing beats actually going there - once you've done your research of course. We've weighed up ten travel myths and uncovered the truths so that hopefully you'll feel excited and inspired to board that plane.
Myth 1: Travelling is all about ‘finding yourself’
Truth: If you go away with the sole purpose of 'finding yourself', you’ll probably be disappointed (and lonely). The truth is, you are who you are, wherever you go. The real value of travelling is in learning new ways of appreciating or changing your life, which can be done by observing those who live differently.
Be grateful for what you have by helping others who have less. Volunteering with children in India, Cambodia and Myanmar, for example, can be a humbling experience. For something more spiritual, opt for a yoga retreat in the Philippines, Spain, Indonesia, France and beyond. Namaste.
The truth is, you are who you are, wherever you go.
Myth 2: It’s cheaper to buy a local SIM card at your new destination
Truth: Not always. Travelling from and back to Singapore? A Changi Recommends Wi-Fi router can give you 4G pocket Wi-Fi and unlimited data from S$5 a day in over 25 destinations – great for saving money if you're travelling in a group.
If you’re going solo, check the telecommunication providers in your home country for the best packages. M1 offers a Data Passport and Unlimted Data Roaming plan (with a daily charge) while StarHub's Happy Roam lets you surf overseas at Singapore data rates.
Myth 3: Airport shopping is more expensive than shopping in the city
Truth: When it comes to airport shopping, some outlets such as The Shilla Duty Free offer prices up to 40% cheaper than retail stores downtown. For example, top-selling beauty products such as the Shiseido Bio-Performance Lift Dynamic Cream and Elizabeth Arden lipsticks are an impressive 25% cheaper at Changi Airport – perfect for those in search of savings on skin-care and cosmetic items.
In addition, prices at the airport in Singapore are GST-free, which means you can automatically save 7%. Buying at the airport will also save you the trouble of claiming your tax refunds on things you bought elsewhere.
Myth 4: Checking in early for your flight is a waste of time
Truth: At airports like Changi Airport, checking in early is a bonus for many reasons. If you're changing flights and have a long layover, or if you simply have some time to kill, you can check in up to 24 hours before your flight departs, depending on your airline.
Once that is taken care of, you can take a refreshing dip in a rooftop pool and watch planes take off at the same time. Alternatively, catch the latest blockbusters at the free cinema! You can also treat yourself at a top-notch restaurant such as The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck. (Psst, early birds travelling through Changi from August – October 2017 get rewarded with special perks such as a whopping 20% off the restaurant, a $2 Starbucks latte and more! Check out other sweet deals here.)
With so much to do, try not to miss your flight!
Myth 5: Travel insurance is not necessary for short trips
Truth: Anything can happen anywhere, especially if you're travelling out of the country into unexplored terrain.
Rock climbing with your buddies or planning some scuba diving in Thailand? You might need a different category of travel insurance to someone going on a beach break or someone with a tendency to miss flights (we all know someone like this!).
Travel insurance providers in Singapore all offer varying policies for cases of lost luggage, hospital visits, post-trip medical coverage and more. If possible, buy your insurance early, just in case you find yourself unable to fly, or your flight is cancelled at the last minute.
Consider what hopefully won't but might occur before you leave, do your research and ask for quotes.
Myth 6: You can only deal with jet lag once you've landed
Truth: Studies have found that it takes around a day to recover from every time zone you travel through, and this could be worse if you’re flying eastward. However, your suffering can be avoided. Prepare in advance to stop jet lag-associated issues such as indigestion, problems with bowel movements and appetite loss from ruining your trip.
A few days before you fly, adjust your sleep schedule to match that of your new destination’s time zone. Avoid fitting too many things into your schedule and if possible avoid any business meetings when you first arrive - you want to feel ready for action, not exhaustion.
Myth 7: Hotels are more expensive if you book directly
Truth: Hotels do offer good deals with their loyalty programmes and tie ups with credit cards. In fact, booking directly with hotels could just result in more credit card and hotel loyalty points that bring you more perks and privileges. Both large hotel groups like Millennium Hotels and Resorts and smaller boutique hotels like Naumi Hotel often offer great promotions in the form of free room upgrades and discounted prices when you book directly with them and accumulate loyalty points. These loyalty points can then be used to redeem other exclusive privileges, such as complimentary stays or dining vouchers.
Myth 8: One-way tickets are always more expensive than round-trip tickets
Truth: By doing a bit of research before booking your flights, it is possible to get one-way tickets that are cheaper than round-trip tickets. Traditionally, round-trip tickets were kept lower in price to entice passengers to fly the same airline for both legs of their journey. However, times have changed with the evolution of online travel sites and apps now making it so much easier for travellers to compare flight costs before booking the air tickets. To enjoy the best prices, you’d need to be flexible with flight times and open to picking less popular flight timings.
Myth 9: Low-cost carriers only fly to nearby destinations
Truth: With better aircraft technology and cheaper fuel prices, long-haul low-cost routes have become more viable, and there are now greater route options offered to passengers by low-cost carriers. For instance, you can travel to London Gatwick from as little as S$199 on Norwegian Airlines, and this comes with complimentary in-flight entertainment!
You may also travel long-haul to Athens and Honolulu with Scoot, without burning a big hole in your pocket.
Myth 10: Check-in late and you’ll get upgraded
Truth: On the contrary, checking in early (and not late) may actually boost your chances of getting a free upgrade. Seat upgrades are often given to the most frequent fliers to reward their loyalty. Also, if there are seat upgrades to be given, they are generally given out on a first-come-first-served basis, so checking in early is definitely the way to go. And the next best tip we have for you is to always be nice to the people checking you in at the counter.
For every myth that exists about travelling, one can unravel some positive truth to debunk it. All you need is a little preparation and care.
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