Five Travel Myths that Cost Consumers

Week three of AAA's summer travel series

Phoenix. May 22, 2013. From airport security to booking online, travel has changed considerably over the last decade. For the third week of its Summer Travel Series, AAA Travel pros are debunking five travel myths that cost consumers time and money.

“Several aspects of travel have changed, leaving half-truths and incorrect information in the minds of many travelers,” said Amy Moreno, director of travel for AAA Arizona. “As a full-service travel agency, we equip travelers with current industry information so that they can make the most out of their vacations.”

To keep travelers from wasting time and money this summer, AAA Travel experts would like to dispel the following travel myths:

Myth #1: Using a travel agent costs more. 
Using a travel agent can save money and time. Agents have access to deals and perks from travel providers that aren’t available to the general public. They’re also privy to destination-specific information, and act on the consumer’s behalf if anything goes awry. They also save travelers time by doing all of the research and legwork for them. 

Myth #2: Always purchase the insurance at the rental car counter.

Travelers should check their personal auto policies and credit card companies to determine if they need more coverage. Extra coverage can be costly. Supplemental liability coverage can cost between $10-$14 while loss damage waivers can run $27-$30 per day, respectively. Combined, this can add $259-$308 to weekly car rental costs. No matter the choice, make it beforehand so there’s no pressure to make an on-the-spot decision.

Myth #3: Score on airfare by waiting until the last minute. 

Fewer flights and empty seats in the sky mean the later travelers’ book, the bigger the ticket price. This is especially true during peak travel periods, such as summer and holidays. Flexibility is key to booking. Travelers generally will find lower fares when booking midweek versus weekends. 

Myth #4: Everything costs extra on a plane. 

Travelers are wary of asking for something on a flight out of fear of having to pay extra. However, there are still several things they can get free of charge. For example, if a passenger would like the whole can of soda or the whole bottle of water, most airlines can provide this complimentary. It never hurts to ask.

Myth #5: Buy foreign currency before leaving the United States.

Travelers usually get the best exchange rate if they exchange currency in the country they’re visiting. However, it’s wise to bring enough currency in the event for a taxi or if cash is needed right away. Travelers should be aware of currency exchange locations near their hotel, and if there are any holidays that would cause a bank or currency exchange to be closed. When traveling abroad, use the expertise of a travel agent. Always check the exchange rate before leaving the United States. Use free currency converter apps for Smartphones while abroad.

“One of the best ways to know what is true or false when it comes to travel is by consulting with a trusted agent,” Moreno said. “What a traveler doesn’t know, or believes to be true but actually isn’t could end up costing more than what they thought they’d save in the first place.”

AAA is the largest leisure travel agency in the United States. For more information on AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/travel

Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.