Travel Myth Breaker: Debunking Road Trip Tales

It’s almost time for back to school. You know what would make your last weekend of freedom even better? Road trip! This classic American tradition has been around since 1903 when two men and a dog drove a Winton Touring Car by the name of “Vermont” from San Francisco to New York City in just over 63 days. Since that time, the road trip has been enjoyed by young and old, man and woman, large families and solo pioneer.

When preparing for their first road trips, many of these brave adventurists are often bombarded by myths and urban legends that both frighten and confuse. We will debunk some of those myths, and set your mind at ease as you get ready for your journey into the unknown.

Rental Cars and Insurance

First of all, we highly recommend renting a car for your trip. Advantages of using a rental car instead of your own include preventing wear and tear on your personal vehicle and the opportunity to drive something different, perhaps with improved gas mileage or increased power. When you’ve decided to rent a car, you’ll likely hear many myths surrounding rental car insurance and whether or not you should purchase it. Some people will say you are already covered if you have your own personal car insurance.

The truth is that many car insurance policies do not include rental insurance. Even if yours does, if something happens to the rental and you have to file a claim with your insurer, your rates will go up. Instead, you could invest in inexpensive rental car insurance that will take care of any damage, inside or out. You never know what might happen when you are on a trip, distracted by new sights and sounds. Rental car coverage — especially when purchased ahead of time — can be a very affordable way to ease your mind and let you focus on enjoying the trip.


Thanks to the 2005 movie “Hostel” (and its various sequels throughout the years), all sorts of scary images and myths about hostels have infected the travel community. The truth is much more pragmatic.

Hostels are a fantastic alternative for housing when traveling on a budget or looking for more of a social atmosphere. There are always things going on in a hostel, and you’ll have a chance to meet other travelers and possibly go on group outings. Hostels range in quality just like hotels, and most provide options for private or shared rooms. As with anything else, do your due diligence, and research where you will be traveling so that you are as comfortable as possible on your trip.

Driving and Gas Mileage

The variety of ideas and methods people come up with to save on gas mileage is laughable. Everything from rolling down the windows to drive without A/C or heat to accelerating downhill in order to coast uphill. The reality is simple. Whatever vehicle you have (again, a rental car is recommended as they have numerous economic options and alternatives), there are really only two factors that affect fuel efficiency: acceleration and wind resistance. The faster you accelerate, the more gas you expend, but the truth is, once you have the vehicle going it takes surprisingly little engine effort to keep it going. As for the windows, at higher speeds, an open window creates a drastically higher wind resistance which results in much lower fuel efficiency, even with the A/C on.

Whatever your budget or time frame, the best way to ensure a good trip is to plan ahead. Do research and have plans in place, along with options in case the unexpected happens. Adventure is fun, but adventure tempered with preparation will insure you can experience many more adventures in the future.