Christine BalderasIt's hard not to be a Chicken Little these days. The weak dollar has translated to higher prices abroad for everything from hotel rooms to bottled water. Gas is at $3.33 per gallon at last check, according to the Department of Energy, up almost 20% over a year ago. Never mind that being an American abroad isn't what it used to be. "Ugly American" may be among the nicer terms hurled at tourists these days. But, much of the grim news surrounding travel these days overshadows a rosier truth. Example: the market woes mean resorts are desperate for your business, and are willing to lower their prices to prove it. True, it's likely fewer travelers will hit the road this summer. But that will result in fewer tourists obstructing your view or elbowing you in line. Herewith, we refute the biggest myths about traveling today.
1. MYTH: 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.
2. MYTH: 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 blackberry and hit the road already!
3. MYTH: My travel-induced carbon footprint is bad for the environment and the economy.
REALITY: Tourism accounts for 8% of the world's jobs. A falloff in travel will result in job losses for many nations that rely on vacationers to support their economies. As for the environment, apply the greenie mantra, "Reduce what you can, offset what you can't." Consider public transportation for local trips. Rent a hybrid instead of an SUV. If you can afford to, fly non-stop.
Continue reading 5 Biggest Myths About Travel Today
By Sarah Wexler, Travel Blogger - Marie Claire
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