Photo: Jesse Wagstaff
Let’s talk about travel habits. We all have them, some good and some not so good – I’m talking to you people who take their sweaty shoes off during a flight. I had to really think hard about what my travel habits were, I guess when it’s a habit you just do it without thinking too much don’t you? But I searched deep into my brain, past the stream of movie quotes and useless trivia until I got to thoughts of my own travel habits where I picked out the good ones for you to incorporate into your own travels ASAP.
1. Talk to locals.
After all, connecting with people from around the world is one of the most fulfilling parts of travel. I like to ask locals about their favorite things to do in the area everywhere I go and have ended up with so much helpful advice by doing this. Everything from shady areas to steer clear of to unmissable hidden treasures to visit and even those hole in the wall places that you just have to eat at. You don’t have to walk up to strangers either, if time permits start by talking with people you are already interacting with like the staff checking you in at the hotel or the waiter bringing you food at the restaurant you are dining at.
2. Have a travel song.
This is a habit I picked up while on a Contiki tour many years ago. Each morning when we got onto the bus, our tour manager would play the same song. The idea was that by listening to the same song each day on the bus, it would associate the song with our travel memories and years from then if we heard our travel song we would instantly be transported back in time as memories flooded our thoughts. I can tell you that it works and even now, years later, every time I hear that song I am back on that bus with my friends.
You don’t need to have a bus or be on tour to adopt this habit for yourself though. Simply pick a travel song, keep it on your phone and take a moment to play it every time you have a memorable travel experience. It’s like having your very own time machine.
3. Collect something.
I collect a magnet and shot glass everywhere I go. They’re cheap, light, easy to fit into luggage and I can find them everywhere so it is easy to keep up the habit. I know others who collect things art, trinkets, postcards and photo frames. No matter what you decide, start collecting something each time you visit a new place. It’s a great way to have reminders of your travels in your home because every time you see your collection it will transport you back to that city. You’ll probably also find that with each item there’ll be a story to tell, ‘…I got this shot glass to commemorate my life’s biggest bucket list item – being ringside for WrestleMania…’ True story.
4. Return with a gift.
Every time you travel, buy a gift for someone. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but it helps if it is unique to the place you visited or your travel experience. Gift it to someone you care about – family, friends, neighbors and use that opportunity to share a story about the place you visited. Note this has to be a story about the place and not how cool you are because you traveled. There is something very powerful about sharing stories and travel stories are no different. They can bring awareness, understanding, connection and inspiration and, a time when the media would have us all believe that the world is a scary place and we shouldn’t go anywhere, it’s not a bad thing to be spreading the beauty of our world.
5. Write in a journal.
This is another time machine trick because you would be surprised how much you forget as post-travel life goes on. Invest in a travel journal — there are so many cute ones out there now and each time you travel be sure to write in it. I like to use plane, train and bus rides to write in mine because it’s a great way to make the most of that time and get the thoughts on paper while they’re fresh. You don’t have to write every little detail because that would probably take forever, just write ‘What I Don’t Want to Forget About my Time in…’ at the top of the page and go from there writing anything memorable that springs to mind. Your favorite memory, something you learned, how you felt, funny moments and people you met are all good starting points too.