Money-Saving Travel Tips Debunked

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travel tipsIt seems like we hear the same tips to save money on travel over and over (after all, we’re keeping an eye out!).

But what’s worth following—and what should we ignore? Time.com put together its own list, with a twist: these money-saving tips go against conventional travel wisdom. Just in case you don’t have a chance to pop over and read them in full, we’ve summarized them below.

Myth #1: Book Plane Tickets Early for the Best Deals

It probably doesn’t pay to book your flight to your friend’s wedding six months in advance, no matter how hard she insists. Recent studies show that the best prices are usually six to seven weeks prior to your trip.

Myth #2: Get the Extra Car Insurance

You probably don’t need the extra insurance when you rent a car. If you have a major credit card or personal auto insurance, you very likely already have rental-car insurance and should think twice. Of course, double-check with your insurance policy or call your credit card to get the details. The article points out that major rental companies are now charging “loss of use” fees, so it’s worth specifically asking about that.

Myth #3: Ask to Pay in USD

Some people think that being charged in U.S. dollars will help them avoid a foreign transaction fee. But that’s not the case, especially if the merchant uses that as an opportunity to use an exchange rate favorable to him or her. Using your credit card overseas is usually smarter. Often, credit cards have a lower exchange rate than most American banks—about 8% lower—so long as they don’t also charge a foreign transaction fee (if they do, you lose a lot of the discount, so it might not be worth it). They also provide added security if a transaction goes awry.

Myth #4: Plane Tickets Are Cheapest on Tuesday Nights

Contrary to popular knowledge, Tuesday (or Wednesday) nights may not, in fact, be the best time to purchase airline tickets. A new study from Texas A&M found that tickets purchased on the weekends were about 5% less expensive. Other research from CheapAir.com found that there’s really no difference between days.

Myth #5: Hotel Deal Sites Are the End-All, Be-All

You don’t always get the best deals through hotel deal sites. More and more hotel chains are offering price-matching in order to compete with the third-party sites—and they usually offer other perks and packages you can’t find anywhere else. If you find a better rate than the hotel itself is offering, let them know.

Myth #6: Duty-Free = Best Deal

Duty-free may be tax-free, but it’s not always less expensive. The article cites a comparison experiment by Esquire magazine, which found that alcohol and cigarettes are a better deal, but leave the makeup, perfume and jewelry at the airport.

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