Every year thousands of travellers across the globe set out to see the world and most of them don’t come armed with a stack of money to work through. If your tastes run to 5 star hotels and gourmet restaurants then yes, your trip will be expensive. However, there are myriad ways of keeping the costs down and in some cases this may mean actually spending less money than if you had stayed at home. These include such things as couchsurfing, volunteer work and crewing on boats for bagging yourself free accommodation to tapping into almost endless advice and resources for low budget travel costs delivered to you by thousands of folk who have been-there-and-done-that before you.
2) It is dangerous
This is one of those myths often perpetuated by travellers themselves in an effort to make their own journeys appear more intrepid. Also, horror stories make headlines – the endless accounts of wonderful worldwide travel which number far more – not so much.
There are without doubt some destinations you might want to avoid but we travellers often come from countries which have far heavier crime statistics in reality than the places which we intend to travel to – and which may be deemed ‘risky’. Use the same strategies you would at home for avoiding dangers and keeping safe. The rest you can find out by speaking to fellow travellers, locals and hostel owners for advice.
3) Rainy season means constant rain
Many of the countries on the round the world traveller’s circuit have rainy seasons and dry seasons. Many would-be nomads avoid rainy seasons thinking this means constant rain but this is very seldom how it actually is. Often, rainy seasons are marked by a downpour – almost as regular as clockwork – for one or two hours of the day after which the sun is back out. Sometimes the rains most typically occur only at night. And because rainy seasons are so often misunderstood and avoided they have major advantages for travel – far fewer tourists and far lower prices.
4) Travel is only for the adventurous
This is another myth perpetuated by travellers themselves for the very same reasons as before. If you can pack an adventurous spirit into your backpack great but it is hardly an essential item of fulfilling travel; there is plenty of adventure to be found without having to be adventurous.
Most people set out feeling anything but intrepid and in truth a large number of travellers stick to a well-trodden tourist path for most of their trip. Besides, growing an adventurous spirit tends to be a natural evolution for travellers once initial concerns dissipate and confidence grows.
5) Most people travel in couples or groups
In many countries the exact opposite is actually true and solo travellers far outnumber those in groups or couples. Going it alone or with a girlfriend/boyfriend/friend – neither one is better than the other; both have their advantages and disadvantages. Just know that if you do decide to go the solo route there are countless others out there doing the very same.
6) Street food is dirty/unsafe/will make you sick
If this was actually as true as all the bad hype you hear over and over would have you believe there would be locals by the thousands keeling over in the streets. Street fare is typically the cheapest food available (as well as almost always the most authentic and best) and, as such, the way many locals choose to eat. Like everything, some vendors are better than others. There may well be those who have lower standards of hygiene but this is also true in eating establishments in your own country. Watch where the locals go, follow suit and (besides saving yourself a fortune) enjoy.
7) Travelling alone is lonely
Sure there will be times travelling alone where you will feel lonely but in the greater picture this one is perhaps the biggest myth of all. Should you dare to step outside the normal parameters of life and go travelling, you are going to find yourself surrounded by all kinds of like-minded souls; forming the kinds of bonds and friendship not found so often while limiting yourself to one little corner of the planet. This is especially true should you decide to stay in hostels where your biggest problem is far more likely to be how to get alone time. Loneliness in everyday life at times is common – loneliness for any long period of time is unusual for solo travellers.
8) Guidebooks have all the best advice and recommendations
For starters guidebooks are hardly ever current – too much time passes before they come to print. Hostels and restaurants change hands, travel timetables and routes change or disappear completely and new (and better) options spring up all the time. Besides, some establishments seem to view a coveted entry into the most well-known guidebooks as justification for inflating prices or allowing standards to drop. The best places are often those listed nowhere and which you can only find out about by speaking to fellow travellers.
9) Tours are for tourists not travellers
Among the backpacker set there exists at times a certain element which label themselves travellers and sneer at the tourists. These very same folk would never be seen dead on an organised tour and as a result sometimes miss out on highly enhanced experiences. Sometimes tours are little better than tourist traps but transversely they can be incredibly rich experiences which give you insight and add a value to your adventures which would otherwise pass you by. Don’t fall into the traveller v tourist debate. Who cares what you are as long as your travels bring you THE best experiences!!
10) Travelling is only for the young
So not true. It is an inescapable fact that the majority of backpackers are in the under 30 category but there is an ever increasing set of older travellers too. Maybe once upon a time the traveller stereotype of the 20 something, bare-footed, dred-locked hippy backpacker was the most representative but these days travellers come from literally every age group, every country and every walk of life.