Savvy travelers know better than to believe what novice globetrotters accept as common knowledge. Often, such ?wisdom? won?t actually help you land the best travel deals.
So, it is important to know the facts before needlessly purchasing a money belt, scouring the Web for rock-bottom room rates or leaving your wallet stateside during an all-inclusive resort vacation.
Indeed, experts say a little research goes a long way in avoiding the tall tales of travel. Here are the some of the most common money-related travel myths that can be dangerous to your wallet and your reputation as a world-wise explorer.
BRING CASH OR TRAVELER?S CHECKS TO INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS
Keeping your money safe during travel does not have to mean getting a stack of traveler?s checks, or hiding a fattened wallet under your clothes, said Benjamin Glaser, features editor with DealNews, an online source of deal news.
?Your bank probably has domestic and international partners that allow you to use their ATMs for low or no fees,? he said. For example, Citibank offers access to more than 45,000 ATMs in more than 30 countries. It also offers other services, including foreign currency delivery and free phone access to a home-country customer service representative.
Glaser suggested taking out only as much cash as you need at any one time. Also, avoid freestanding ATMs, which thieves can tamper with more easily, Glaser said.
NEVER USE A CREDIT CARD ON INTERNATIONAL TRIPS
Many credit card companies offer attractive exchange rates, so you can do well if you find the right credit card to use overseas. Several cards, such as the BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card, do not charge foreign-transaction fees or annual fees. Some even offer their users points that can be applied to travel purchases.
When using the card at international retailers, take the same precautions you would stateside. ?Use your credit card at legitimate retailers and keep an eye on your statement. If any fraudulent activity appears, report it immediately,? Glaser said. ?You are not responsible for any fraudulent charges.?
LOWER COST MEANS LOWER QUALITY
Glaser said one of the biggest travel-related money myths is that saving cash always means sacrificing quality. But that is not necessarily so. For example, travel to places when they are less popular, and you will save money and enjoy other perks.
?Visiting destinations during off-peak seasons means fewer crowds, better accommodations and maybe more interactions with locals,? he said.
NEVER BOOK A ROOM WITH FREE BREAKFAST
Breakfast is usually one of the most affordable meals of the day. So opting for a bare-bones hotel that doesn?t offer eats in the morning might be your best bet in some cases. But in other situations, early dining options are few and far between. In that case, booking a hotel that offers free breakfast can save travelers time and money.
Elizabeth Avery, founder of the travel site Solo Trekker 4 U, often has opted for ?breakfast included? accommodations when other dining options were not within walking distance.
?When the transportation costs were added, there was no benefit to foraging at a distance,? she said. That has been especially true when Avery has visited resorts, which she said typically have not had good breakfast alternatives nearby.
SPLURGING ON A TAXI IS ALWAYS THE SAFEST OPTION
Public transportation can be a convenient and cost-effective alternative to cabs. Some destinations, such as Mexico City, also operate subway train cars and buses exclusively designated for female passengers during peak hours. Mexico City also has a system of officially registered taxis for tourists.
Avery recommended doing your research, no matter where you are traveling. Take steps such as booking reputable airport transportation in advance of your arrival, and ask hotel staff for advice once you get to your destination.
In her own travels, she can recall at least two countries where she was concerned about taking a taxi randomly. ?In both countries, the hotel concierge offered recommendations of two companies to consider,? she said.