What Are Your Travel Rituals?
I’m not talking about packing or prepping for your trip, but the little rituals you do whenever you visit a new destination. Each traveler is different, and it’s interesting to peek at what he or she does during a trip on top of the usual expeditions. Here are mine.
1. Look at the local magazines.
As a print journalist trained in magazine publishing, I’m always browsing magazine stands to see the cover stars, beauty trends, what new titles have emerged, which ones have folded, and how editors have evolved with their blurbs. I also make sure to buy at least one magazine from every new country I visit, even if I don’t understand their language.
2. Visit local beauty stores.
You can tell a lot about the country’s pop culture by visiting their makeup and beauty counters. When I was in Korea, I noticed that not many girls wear blush, but they have an extensive selection of BB creams and black eyeliner. In the US, trends come and go fast, so you’ll find last season’s collection in the red tag section as soon as the new collection arrives. Whenever I visit a different country, I enjoy exploring makeup and skincare shops to see how their local brands package their items and what their beauty standards are like.
3. Visit a corner coffee shop.
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 Toffee Nut Latte, but not when I’m traveling. Hole-in-the-wall coffee shops usually inject the local town’s persona, from their source of coffee grounds to the kind of pastries they bake.
4. Buy pasalubong.
This is the innate Filipino trait I have. Even when I’m pissed that my family is asking me to buy a list of hard-to-find items despite having little space left in my luggage, I can’t help but buy oodles of souvenirs for my extended clan. To save time and money, I allot half a day or one whole day just for pasalubong shopping in one main shopping area, where I can haggle and bargain my way—another Filipino trait I’m proud of. One dozen “I Love Vegas” keychains for only $20? I’ll take it!
5. Buy stamps.
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 in the Philippines. If I’m pressed for time, I’ll just buy a few unused stamps for my collection.
What are your travel rituals, dear readers?
November 15, 2016