The five biggest travel myths busted

There are so many myths around travel - both when you're looking at it from a business and pleasure point of view - but it would seem not everything you're told is true.

We reveal the truth behind some of the most convincing travel myths of all time.

English is widely spoken abroad

Although English is the most spoken language around the world, especially in business, you may be surprised to find that actually not everyone can speak it.

If you're heading to Asian country in Asia, particular, it's wise to learn the basics so you can find your way around and be able to communicate effectively in the case of an emergency. Plus, it's polite to speak the local lingo and shows you have a genuine interest in the country's culture.

Exchange rates are better at home than abroad

More often than not, the exchange rates in the UK are worse than they are at your destination. This is because foreign exchanges on home turf charge commission on each transaction and also give you a worse exchange rate in order to make a profit.

Don't be misled by commission-free deals either. Often these exchange outlets have the worst rates. In many cases, the cheapest way to get foreign currency is actually using your card at an ATM in your destination country, because your bank will give you the best rate. What's more, even if there's a fee, it's most likely to be lower than a currency exchange charge.

Jet lag is caused by no sleep

Many people think jet lag is caused by lack of sleep and the exhaustion of travelling. However, it is actually caused by your body clock adjusting to timezones.

For example, if you're taking a long haul flight, where the time difference is more than a couple of hours, you can, essentially, lose 12 hours of your day. Your body thinks it's night, but it's actually the daytime or vice versa and this can disrupt your sleep pattern.

The best way to overcome jet lag is to live by the time in the country you're in, resisting sleep even if you feel you need it. Even if you hit the sack an hour or two earlier than usual, your body clock will adjust much quicker. If you're struggling to sleep at night, take a herbal sleeping tablet to help your body rest.

Using your phone in the air will make the plane crash

Let's get this straight: One person using their phone on an aeroplane will not make the plane crash. Furthermore, a passenger using a mobile phone has never caused a plane to plummet to earth or even equipment to malfunction.

In fact, some planes allow you to use your phone onboard, despite charging colossal prices for the service. The reason you are told to turn off your phone during takeoff and landing is because it could interfere with navigation equipment, although not enough studies have been carried out to legitimise this.

You shouldn't drink tap water in foreign countries

In most developed countries around Europe, the US, Australia and some parts of Asia, tap water is fine to drink. You may find it tastes odd compared to water in the UK and this might put you off, but different countries add and remove composites that changes the end taste.

However, it's still perfectly safe to drink and will seldom make you ill. If in doubt, purchase a filter bottle to remove any impurities and improve the flavour.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.