There are so many myths about travel, the topic could nearly be considered folklore. Yet the most prevalent misconceptions are those that are ironically contradicted by the most facts. These are some of the most frequent misconceptions about going from one place to another.
1. Americans Don’t Travel As Much As The Rest Of The World
According to the market research organization GfK Austria, Germans are one of the most internationally traveled people in the world. Approximately 65% have been outside of their borders at least once. Yet, only 20% have ever left continental Europe. Compare this to the United States, approximately the same size as continental Europe. Only 20% of Americans have ever traveled internationally, but roughly 65% have traveled once domestically for leisure purposes. Well what about Australians, whose country is about 80% the size of the US? They have about a 20% international travel rate as well. There is a strong correlation between average passport thickness and how close the nearest international border is to you.
2. Traveling Is Dangerous
There is a growing amount of evidence that suggests the more vacations you take, the longer you will live. We are also living in the safest time in human history. Consider that trips we take for often granted today, like a trip across the Atlantic Ocean, are 9,000 times safer than they were just 100 years ago.
3. Traveling Is Always Expensive
There are so many ways to save money on travel – the two general rules being – things get more expensive the faster you travel and the less flexible your time is. Plane tickets cost more if you have to fly on a certain date and when you have less time to see things you end up paying more to compensate. You can however turn the Internet into a powerful tool against the airlines, use multi-city flights, or stop chasing cheap tickets all together to save.
4. You Need To Print Out A Boarding Pass Before Going To The Airport
Printing boarding passes – or paper really – is so 2003. I don’t travel with a printer in my backpack (ouch!) but simply by showing my passport at the check-in desk or self-check in I’ve never had any problems. Remember, you’ve already booked your flight and the airlines have you on record. Unless the airport (for security a few require ticket confirmations) or airline specifically says you can’t fly without one, don’t bother. Most airlines now support mobile boarding passes or online check-in (then print your tickets at either the airline’s kiosks or check-in counter).
5. Reading About A Place Or Seeing It On TV Is The Same As Going There
Cognitive studies show that we are mentally bound within a philosophical framework about the world around us and unconsciously we attempt to categorize the rest of the world within our own framework. Those perceptions we hold tend not to change unless there is a psychological change within ourselves. This psychological framework is based on our personal experiences – so while watching is seeing, seeing is truly believing.
6. Your Chance Of Dying In A Plane Crash Is 1 In 11 Million
That figure, typically cited, is based on risk for the average American – but most people aren’t “average” Americans (or Americans for that matter). Also, 80% of plane crashes occur during take-off or landing (recall “plus three, minus eight“) so it’s not how far you fly but how often, that determines your particular risk. For frequent flyers those odds boil down to about 1 in 20,000. But since I’ve just scared the hell out of you, allow me to reinsert hell back into you. For perspective, consider that your rough lifetime chance of getting struck by lightening is 1 in 10,000. Lastly, 76.6% of people involved in plane crashes survive and there are 7 more ways to increase your odds.
Keep Your Facts Updated
Science is anything but static – which is really the beauty of its methodology. Some facts change more quickly than others so be prepared to keep mesofacts from screwing up your next vacation. You can start by updating 8 things you probably got wrong about the Great Pyramids in Egypt and these cultural facts you didn’t know Bulgaria will surprise you with.