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Jet lag is caused by lack of sleep, airplanes are germ hotspots and the early bird catches the best deals. There are so many myths surrounding the travel industry – insider terminology and weird and wonderful rules that it seems only a select few are privy to. While you cannot be expected to know how the world of travel works, you can take comfort in the knowledge that not everything you’re told is true.

The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) reveals the truth behind some of the most convincing travel myths of all time.

Myth 1: Jetlag is caused by a lack of sleep

While popular belief would have it that jetlag is caused by lack of sleep, it has much more to do with the physical shock to our bodies’ circadian rhythms as we travel across various time zones.

So, even if you pop a sleeping tablet to get some shut-eye on your next long-haul flight, you’re not really helping to mitigate the impacts of jetlag.

For more on jetlag, read our article here

 

Myth 2: Airplanes are the breeding grounds for viruses

There is a common misconception that travelling in the confined space of an aircraft combined with the recycled air circulating throughout is the ideal breeding place for illnesses and diseases.

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While it is true that air might be recycled, it is also true that it is filtered. More often than not while travelling, fatigue and a change in environment contribute to your sudden susceptibility for minor illnesses such as colds and flu. The golden rule is to keep hydrated by drinking lots of water and washing your hands regularly.

Myth 3: Organised tours only offer a less authentic experience

There’s a perception that guided tours are the domain of more mature travellers, that they are inflexible and that you will be travelling with individuals with whom you’re likely to have little in common.

Experiencing a destination on your own terms can be exciting, but the experts who put together these guided tours specialize in finding interesting elements and experiences you would not necessarily discover on your own.

If you want to experience a city in-depth, consider doing both? Spend a few hours’ free time in a city exploring yourself, but let the experts take care of all the other details so you don’t have to by joining a guided tour.

Myth 4: Planes are the fastest way to travel

Travelling at speeds of up to 1000km/h, it may seem like a no-brainer that travelling by plane is the quickest way to get around.

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Well often yes, but not always. In Europe especially, if you factor in the time, effort and money spent just to get to the airport, good old train travel may prove to be a quicker and more stress-free experience.