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3 Common Travel Hacks That Don’t Actually Work

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Planning a trip soon? Don't pay attention to these common travel hacks that aren't actually true — here's what you should do instead.

There's a lot of bad advice on the Internet when it comes to travel. Certain travel “hacks” are repeated over and over on social media, despite the fact that they don't actually work.

Woman Checking Phone at Airport

Here are three of the most common false travel tips, and what you should do instead:

1. It's Cheaper To Book Flights On Tuesday

You may have heard that Tuesday is the cheapest day of the week to book flights.

This isn't actually true, but it's not hard to see where this claim may have originated. While there's no cheapest day of the week to book a flight, Tuesday is one of the cheapest days to fly.

Booking a Flight

According to Thrifty Traveler, who analyzed Google Flights data, flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays can be as much as 20% cheaper than flights on other days of the week. This goes for both domestic and international flights.

It's also generally cheaper to fly on early morning and late night flights.

So while the day you book your travel doesn't actually have an impact, the day (and time) of when you fly does matter. If you can afford to be flexible in your travel dates, flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday is the best way to get a cheaper flight.

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Man at Airport

2. Using Incognito Mode Gets You Cheaper Fares

Another common travel tip is that you should search for flights in Incognito mode on Google Chrome (or another web browser) in order to see the cheapest fares. Similarly, you may have heard that clearing your browser of cookies before you search can help you find a lower fare.

This originates from the belief that airlines are using browser cookies to track your searches and will show you higher prices based on your behavior, such as if you do several searches for a certain flight over the course of a few hours or days.

Woman booking a flight with her phone

The reality is that airfare pricing is dynamic and constantly fluctuating. If you see that airfare for a flight you've been considering has gone up a few hours later, it's not because the airline was tracking you.

While Incognito mode has no impact on airfare fluctuations, one thing you can do is set a fare alert on Google Flights. This will notify you of any changes in price for a flight you've been watching.

And keep in mind that the best time to book your flight right now is between 21 and 115 days before you plan to travel.

Flight to Mexico

3. Dress Nicely For A Flight Upgrade

Finally, there's a commonly repeated travel hack that dressing nicely at the airport can help you score a free upgrade to first class. The thought is that if you are dressed up and ask nicely, the gate agent may give you a complimentary upgrade.

Unfortunately, there is zero truth to this claim, so you might as well trade business casual attire for sweatpants and dress for comfort on your next flight.

Woman looking at phone in airport

While dressing nicely isn't going to get you an upgrade, there are ways to score first-class flights for free. Earning a higher-tier loyalty status with an airline is one of the best ways to ensure regular complimentary upgrades, while accumulating airline miles is a great way to be able to book first-class flights for free.

Check out this guide to learn how you can score free flights using credit card points, which is known as “travel hacking” and is one of the best ways to actually get free first-class flights.

Travel credit card

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