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The ability to believe is often tied to a desire to believe. And what do you desire more than getting a super deal on your trip just for booking on a Tuesday, or getting a great price on a bottle of Scotch for shopping at Duty Free? Then again, some myths persist for their ability to shock, scare or annoy, like bacteria-laden coffee on flights or the “need” for excessive rental-car insurance. This list seeks to debunk—or confirm—the world’s most pervasive travel myths, using Orbitz booking data whenever possible.

RELATED: 5 airline perks you didn’t know you could get in coach

One-way tickets are more expensive than round trip

This belief is so pervasive than many fliers buy a round-trip ticket even when they only need a one-way. Well, there may be good reason this idea has stuck around for so long: According to Orbitz data, one-way tickets are more expensive than round-trip tickets 83% of the time.

Include a Saturday stay to get a cheaper airfare

Have you ever rejiggered your departure and return dates to accommodate this common myth? Turns out, there is some truth to it. According to Orbitz data, Monday is the cheapest day of the week to fly home, followed by Tuesday, and then Sunday, though Sunday is still roughly 10% less expensive than Saturday. So yeah, stay the weekend!

Tuesdays are the cheapest day to book a flight

According to Orbitz data, Tuesday is the least expensive day to book a flight. But that doesn’t tell the entire story. When it comes to the cheapest day to book a flight, the truth is that it’s whatever day you find the cheapest flight—and that isn’t always Tuesday. When it comes to “Travel Tuesday” (the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday) for instance, Skyscanner recently determined that it’s actually the worst time to book international flights, and second (out of three) on the domestic front. Ouch! If you really want to save, sign up for Orbitz’s fare-sale alerts.

Clearing your search history will get you a better ticket price

Many popular travel hacks occupy a space somewhere between fact and fiction, but this one is patently false. While many airline websites and online travel agencies do use cookies, they’re not in place to track how often you visit and screw you with higher prices if you don’t book at first browse. If flight prices go up between flight searches, it means one of two things: Either the promotion that was running the first time you searched has ended, or that class of fare is no longer available (there are multiple fare classes within economy and each has a different set of fare rules and restrictions associated with it). If you want the best price, check out Orbitz’s weekly flight deals.

Cellphones interfere with aircraft navigation

The good news? Today’s cellphones operates on completely different frequencies than any aircraft, which means that the radio waves they emit cannot under any circumstances impact the navigational equipment of the plane. The bad news? You’ll still need to listen to the flight attendant if she tells you to put the phone down or turn it off—failure to obey the instructions of cabin crew is a crime.

Hotel rooms are never ready until 3pm

While most hotels have a policy of not allowing check-in until 3pm, many hotel rooms are ready much earlier than this, particularly in large hotels like Starwood, Marriott and Hilton, where cleaners are on staff around the clock. If you arrive to a hotel before this time, ask if you can check-in early, but keep in mind that even if your room is available, you might need to pay a little extra if you want to get to your room to rest.

Airplane coffee is teeming with parasites

This sounds like a conspiracy, but—sadly, grossly—it isn’t. News outlets such as TIME have reported on airline tap water contaminated with e. coli and other parasitic organisms. As is the case with most things in aviation, however, tap water quality onboard aircraft is strictly regulated, which means your coffee probably doesn’t have any micro-organisms in it. (Except maybe some clickbait.)

Duty-free shopping saves you money

Have you ever wondered why items at duty-free shopping centers appear to cost the same as at your local shopping mall, in spite of apparently not having tax? There are many reasons for this: First among them is that the “duties” such as value-added tax (VAT) don’t exist in the United States—only in some foreign countries. The next time you shop duty free, search the internet to make sure you’re actually getting a deal.

ALSO: Also good to know: You can instantly earn rewards good toward your next trip, only with Orbitz Rewards!

Airlines will pay for your hotel if your flight is canceled

Although denied boarding compensation is now something most flyers think to ask about in the wake of the “Dr. Dao” incident, it’s only available in certain circumstances. If a flight cancellation requires you to stay overnight somewhere, for example, the airline isn’t necessarily required to provide you with a hotel. In many cases, such as cancellations related to weather and other “Acts of God,” you’ll be lucky if you even get a voucher for a discount!

You definitely need rental car insurance

Rental car companies aggressively sell supplemental insurance, including collision-damage waivers or “CDW” coverage, but the majority of renters don’t need this. Your own car insurance usually covers car rentals (pro tip: Get your policy out right now to make sure yours does!), but even if it doesn’t, one of the credit cards in your wallet likely covers you for up to the full cost of the vehicle. Just be sure to confirm all that ahead of time.


A plane’s rear section is the safest place to sit

This one is tricky. On one hand, data has shown that passengers in the back of aircraft (and in middle seats) have tended to fare better on impact. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that the plane’s rear section is inherently safer. It’s more useful to look at a given airline’s safety record rather than relegate yourself unnecessarily to the back of the plane.

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Tagged: Feature

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Robert Schrader
Robert is a writer and photographer who's spent the better part of the past decade roaming the globe. Read hundreds of inspiring, informative travel articles on his blog Leave Your Daily Hell, or see the world through his eyes on Instagram, where he's @leaveyourdailyhell.

One thought on “The 11 biggest travel myths — debunked!”

  1. Although your auto insurance will cover rental cars, that is ONLY IN THE US! I believed this for years and was lucky. Last fall in France I was added as a driver to friend’s reservation when I scrapped up a rental. We’d refused additional ins but booked using his useless credit card. $1,000 learning experience.

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