What Are Your Travel Rituals?

I’m not talking about packing for your trip, but the little personal things you do whenever you visit a new destination. Each traveler is different, and it’s interesting to see what they do aside from the usual itineraries. Here are my personal rituals whenever I step foot in a new country.

1. Look at the local magazines
As a lifestyle journalist, I always drop by newspaper and magazine stands to see the cover stars, beauty trends, what topics are hot, and how editors have evolved with their blurbs. I buy at least one magazine from every new country I visit, even if I don’t understand their language.

My best friend J sends me magazines from all over Europe. Check out my Cosmopolitan Magazine stash (L-R): Spain, Italy, Germany, and France.

2. Visit local beauty stores
You can tell a lot about the country’s beauty standard by visiting their vanity stores. Whenever I visit another country, I enjoy exploring pharmacies, skincare shops, and makeup counters to see how they package and advertise their items. When I was in Korea, I noticed that don’t really like contour and blush kits, but they have an extensive selection of BB creams and black eyeliner. In the US, girls go all out with the contour and smokey eye. In Asia in general, the whitening trend still leads the market.

Shopping in Seoul, South Korea, January 2014

3. Explore the coffee shop culture
After days of exploring, I take a day off and sit for hours at a local café—preferably not the franchise kind. Sorry, Starbucks! I still love your grande iced mocha, but not when I’m traveling. Hole-in-the-wall coffee shops give a more local vibe. I also purchase bags of local roasts to bring back to the Philippines.

La Monarca Bakery in Santa Monica, California, circa 2014

4. Buy pasalubong
This is the innate Filipino trait I have. I can’t help but buy oodles of souvenirs for my extended clan—myself included. I allot half a day or one whole day just for pasalubong shopping. I also haggle and bargain well—another Filipino trait I’m proud of.

The easiest way to spot a Filipino in an international airport is to look for the balikbayan box.

5. Buy stamps or mail postcards

I’ve been collecting stamps since I was a little girl, even if letter writing is now a lost art and the mailman is relegated to delivering mostly bills. If I have time, I’ll buy a postcard, write a quick note, lick a stamp, and send it to my family (or myself) in the Philippines. If I’m pressed for time, I’ll just buy a few unused stamps for my collection.

Just a small part of my stamp collection. I’ve been collecting since I was 7.

What are your travel rituals?

Date posted: November 15, 2016
Updated: March 18, 2018

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