I really like this list, there’s just so much incorrect and / or outdated travel advice out there and this rundown from Compass works to dispel quite a few of the worst “truths”.
“Buy your train tickets before you leave home.”
You have to remember that traveling an hour or two between cities is as commonplace for commuters in other countries as it is for those of us who ride NJ Transit. It isn’t necessary to book early, and doing so can even become a detriment. Yes, you should be familiar with the train schedule, but wait until you’re in the country to purchase tickets. Otherwise, if you miss your train, you’ll lose the value of the fare, or find that your “wisely” pre-purchased ticket for a train departing three hours from now requires a change fee that costs as much as a brand-new ticket.
“If you loved the hotel, make sure you book for next season.”
Hotels bank on the fact that the high of a great experience will prompt guests to open up their wallets for next year’s trip. Do so only if you don’t mind going through the whole process again (plus the cancellation), because hotel rates are often at their peak during high season—even for the following year. The old rule about getting a good rate when you book early is so 1990; rates fluctuate throughout the year based on many factors, so the best advice is to keep checking until you see a reasonable rate, and then pounce.
“Book your air as soon as possible.”
This is the most pernicious advice left over from last century. Like hotel rates, airfare changes constantly, and booking six, eight or 12 months in advance can get you some of the most obscene prices. Of course, if you wait till the last minute, you’ll get gouged. Find a happy medium: for international trips, two months for the well–traveled, three or four for the skittish. (For domestic fares, I’ve done well booking just a week or two prior.) We all know that a good rate to Europe is around a grand, so if you’re seeing $1,600 eight months in advance, walk away. It will probably go down. And in general, mid-January is a slow time for airfare sales, which results in lower prices.
Check out the remaining 5 travel myths you might want to ignore here.