If you’re not a big traveller, maybe it’s because you’ve had bad experiences. And if you’ve had bad experiences, maybe it’s because you’ve been doing it all wrong. There are a number of misconceptions people have about travelling, from booking to customs to accommodations to saving money, and we’re here to help.
Travel expert Loren Christie spoke to Canada AM about the biggest myths in the travel industry and debunked the heck out of them. Here’s what you need to know before you book your next trip.
True or false: Booking your flight and hotel and travel separately is cheaper than booking a full package.
FALSE. Packages tend to be cheaper. If hotels are selling directly to you, it’s because they’re burying the rate in the cost of a package (think of perks like breakfast, parking, attraction passes or other add-ons).
Tip: It’s more important to consider the best value vs. the best deal, because you get what you pay for.
Your hotel keycard can be used to steal your identity.
FALSE. No personal data is kept on a keycard. Even after you’ve checked out, your information can’t be pulled off the card. The only thing that happens if you lose it is you’re locked out of your room, and you have to embarrassingly ask the front desk for a new one.
Tip: Notify the front desk as soon as possible so you can get a replacement. That way, the card you misplaced is deactivated, rendering it useless.
Last-minute deals are the best.
FALSE. For the most part. It’s all about supply and demand, and within 21 days airlines’ rates will go way up. Price increases on hotel rooms, on the other hand, are less common, but you’re not going to save a ton of money by booking a hotel at the last minute either.
Tip: If it’s truly a last-minute holiday, a pre-packaged vacation is the way to go. But if it’s a special occasion it’s not worth taking the risk of potentially missing out on your planned trip.
A Nexus card will get you through customs quickly.
TRUE. The card, which is a pass that allows pre-screened travellers expedited processing when entering Canada and the U.S., is the way to go. There’s an application process and interview with border officials, but short-term pain for long-term gain, right?
Tip: If you plan to get a Nexus card, do your interview at a land border instead of at an airport because it’s much less of a wait. Process time is a couple days vs. weeks or, in some cases, months (hello, Toronto Pearson Airport).
Tuesday is the cheapest day to buy.
FALSE. It used to be true back in the day, when airlines would release all their new fares to agents early Tuesday mornings. But that all changed in the Internet age.
Tip: It’s not about when you buy but when you fly, so choose off-peak midday business hours for the best deals.
For more insider information from Christie, watch the video, above.