Hipknoties Travel 101: Fact and Fiction
Posted on August 17 2013
When it comes to summer travel, some can't get enough and others would rather spend the season in their backyard pool and spare themselves the hassle of lost luggage, hotels snafus, and sunburns. But, we at Hipknoties believe that there is more fiction than fact floating around about traveling altogether, so we decided it was time to set the record straight for those of you who fall in the latter travel category. Because seeing the world, relaxing, getting out of a routine rut, and/or maybe even meeting a few new friends is a great way to add a shot of energy to your everyday life back at home, and that, friends, is what it's really all about. So get ready! Because here comes the good, the bad, and everything in between when it comes to packing your bags and hitting the road....
- FICTION: Thanks to gag us gas prices and a weak American dollar, travel is only for the rich. REALITY: Total nonsense. While our dollars may be flimsy in Europe, but they're still rock-solid in Latin America. Also worth considering: cruises. No longer for blue-haired biddies, cruises are now catering to singles and families. Woo hoo!
- FACT: Booking an all-inclusive package means you can relax and stuff yourself silly without worrying about the cost of every meal. But all-inclusive rarely delivers on the promise. It may say drinks included, but omit alcohol from the bargain. Some packages limit you to one dining facility only. If you want to sample the hotel's other cuisine, you'll have to pay for it. Be sure to ask what the all-inclusive deal doesn't include.
- FICTION: Americans aren't welcome in many parts of the world. REALITY: This may come as a surprise to you, but most people have other things on their minds besides you! Same thing applies abroad. So long as you mind your business, your P's & Q's, and respect local laws and customs, you'll be fine. For a list of nations where the welcome mat may not be rolled out, check out the State Department's Travel Warning page.
- FACT: Not long ago, if you arrived at your hotel before check-in or wanted to extend your vacation past checkout most hotels held your bags as a courtesy. Those days are over. Hotels are cashing in on the luggage you leave behind for a few extra hours. Expect to shell out as much as $5 per bag to get the hotel to hold it for you.
- FICTION: Everything's so touristy — there are no genuine experiences left. REALITY: Frustrated by the masses? Then get off the beaten path! Check out wikitravel.org, which offers plenty of user-generated suggestions of far-flung locales untainted by lime-green Crocs and Starbucks. Some of their tantalizing suggestions include traveling the storied but oft-overlooked Silk Road in Azerbaijan. There's a single dirt road that leads to Cape Maclear, a mind-blowingly pristine fishing village in Malawi. We bet you won't spot any Crocs there.
- FACT: Hotels are notorious for tacking on fees for everything from bottled water to an extra pool towel. Boo :( And according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, hotels made $1.75 billion in fees alone last year. Didn't use the hotel gym or business center? Carefully review your itemized bill, then ask if they'll remove charges for unused perks.
- FICTION: I don't have enough time off work to go somewhere. REALITY: Relative to our neighbors abroad, Americans are practically caged animals. We average 16.6 paid vacation days a year. In France, the average worker has a whopping 39 days of vacation! Yet 36% of Americans don't even use all of their vacation days. So until you can relocate to France, might as well turn off the computer, ditch the iPhone (except for the use of Instagram and your Hipknoties app, of course), and hit the road already!