20+ Weirdest Travel Superstitions Around The World
|20+ Weirdest Travel Superstitions Around The World
|Table of Content
Travelling can be a stressful time and everyone wants their plans to run as smoothly as possible on the day, so the last thing anybody needs is luck plotting against them. Maybe that is why so many of us follow strange superstitions when it comes to traveling.
Whether it means avoiding setting off on certain days or dodging specific dates, sitting in silence before leaving, or putting garlic in your suitcase – there really are some odd superstitions around the world when it comes to traveling!
But the myths and legends don’t stop when you arrive at your destination – as many locations and monuments come with their own superstitions. With this in mind, we have found 20 interesting travel superstitions that we felt we simply had to share. Check them out below and then leave a comment telling us what your travel superstitions are!
Top 20+ Weirdest Travel Superstitions Around The World
1. No Looking Back
It is widely believed that when someone is about to go out on his/her journey it is wise not to look back as they are leaving because it may bring bad luck. People also avoid heading back home even if they forget to bring something.
2. Travel Cues
Rather than bring luck to your journey or ensure you make it home safely, some travel superstitions are designed to let you know that future travels are coming. Itchy feet are a sign that you will take a trip — this superstition being so well-known that the phrase “itchy feet” brings to mind a sense of wanderlust these days. Some more dated customs state that finding a ravel on your dress or spotting a spider running down its web are hints that travel is in your future. Wondering where you’ll go? Another superstition suggests that listening to the cry of a dove will offer clues. According to legend, the direction of the call of the first spring dove tells you which direction you will travel.
3. Airplane superstitions
The scariest thing about traveling for most people is flying on an airplane. Because of this some people make certain that they step on every plane with the exact same foot, always sit in the same seat or aisle and some even kiss the land after reaching their final destination to thank the spirits for getting them there safely.
4. Sweetness and Light
Once you’re in your room, make sure to let in as much light and air as possible by drawing the drapes, turning on the lights and opening the windows. This is said to allow new, fresh energy to flow into the space.
5. Picking the Dates
Some travelers believe it’s bad luck to travel on a Friday? Why? It is believed to be ill-fated since Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Others will not travel on the 13th of any month and others still refuse to fly on Halloween for fear of evil spirits. For many people traveling on a Sunday is believed to be the luckiest day to begin a vacation.
People in the US often use the phrase "knock on wood" to ward off bad luck, although this superstition is said to have originated in Europe.
During the Medieval period, many churches claimed to have pieces of Jesus' cross. Church officials would say that knocking on the wood would bring good luck, according to Yahoo.
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7. The Numbers Game
The number 13 has long been affiliated with bad luck in the USA. In fact, many hotels will skip the 13th floor and many airlines refuse to use the number 13 on gates, aisles and seats. Similarly, in Italy the number 17 is considered unlucky and in China the number 4 is deemed ill-fated.
8. Leaving your wallet or purse on the ground.
Placing your wallet or purse on the ground in Brazil is said to bring bad financial luck. This superstition is also popular in other South American countries, as well as the Philippines.
Similarly, people in China commonly use the phrase that translates to "a purse on the floor is money out the door," to warn against not valuing wealth. It may stem from the idea that putting money on the ground — the lowest point — could look careless or disrespectful.
9. Lucky Charms
Some people need a lucky rabbit’s foot to travel, but one carry-on that got our attention is garlic. Yep, you read that correctly. In Bosnia and Herzegovina it is considered lucky to pack some garlic inside your luggage.
10. Sit on your luggage
If you see people sitting on their suitcases at the airport, it doesn’t always mean that they’re tired. In Russia,some believe that sitting on your luggage before a trip brings good luck.
11. Superstitions Surrounding the Sea
There are several beliefs about sea travel. First, unnamed boats are considered unlucky. You must only travel on boats with a name. However, the boat’s name must not end in the letter ‘A’. Finally, the original name of the boat must never have changed or the journey could be tumultuous at best. If all of these criteria are met, then the journey should be a pleasant one.
12. Keep money around
It’s always good to have extra money around, right? For most people, spare cash in their bags and suitcases are there for when they need it, but for Filipinos, you’re not supposed to spend it. If you manage to leave it untouched, you’ll be blessed with more money the entire year!
13. The Necessity of Silence
It may surprise you, but some people believe that noise can bring bad luck to a journey. For example, some folks in Ukraine have been known to sit together amongst their fellow travelers in complete silence before they go on a trip.
14. Spill some water
This might upset your mom a little bit -- but tell her it’s for her own good. In Serbia, pouring water behind a person about to travel attracts luck. Apparently, the act demonstrates effortless movement which translates into good fortune.
15. Travel Indicators
Two superstitions we’ve heard are not fear-based, but rather a sign that travel is in your future. The first is itchy feet. The other is noticing a spider running down its web. Both of these are said to be indicators that you will be going on a large trip soon.
16. Baggage Claims
Eager to hit the road? Grab the nearest empty suitcase, bag or carry-on and run around the block with it on New Year’s Day [source: Capo]. If superstition holds, you’ll soon find yourself on a journey. Before you leave, celebrate an old Russian custom to bring a bit of luck to your trip: Pack your bags, and take a seat on your suitcase. Have friends and family gather round for a moment of quiet reflection and goodbyes. Finally, no matter what you do, never put wet clothes in your suitcase, as it’s considered bad luck [source: Thomas and Thomas]. Hang that swimsuit up to dry, or carry it separately just in case.
17. Lucky Destinations
Of course, the whole point of travel is to enjoy your destination, and some spots come with their own long-standing superstitions. When you’re in Rome, throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain ensures you will one day return to the city. Visitors to Ireland can win the gift of gab by planting a kiss on the Blarney Stone in County Cork’s Castle Blarney. Even destinations in the United States have their legends: If you find yourself in Springfield, Illinois, head to the birthplace of former President Lincoln. Rub the nose on the bronze bust above his tomb, and you’re guaranteed to have a lucky day.
18. Doomed Numbers
Beyond unlucky 13, certain numbers are unlucky solely because of their relationship to travel disasters. Many airlines refuse to incorporate the numbers 666 or 911 into flight numbers due to the negative connotations associated with these numbers. In addition, many airlines retire the numbers of crashed flights to ease fears of superstitious passengers — and also as a sign of respect for those lost. After flight 261 crashed in 2000, Alaska Airlines retired this particular flight number. U.S. Airways retired 1549, the number used to identify Captain Chesley Sullenberger’s miracle landing on the Hudson, while most airlines avoid 191 after both Delta and American lost flights with this number. Finally, all flight numbers lost on September 11th have been retired by most major airlines.
19. Where’s your bed facing?
Most hotels in China are guided by the principles of Feng Shui. While in Japan, beds have faced either south, east, or west. Otherwise, north-facing sleepers might attract the god of death.
20. Hide your thumbs!
The word “thumb” literally translates to parent finger in Japanese. So, whenever a funeral hearse passes by, everyone is advised to hide their thumbs as a show of protection.
21. Don’t touch the Bible!
Most hotel rooms have a Bible or a Koran by the bed – don’t touch it! The Chinese believe that holy books are put there for a reason. It’s best not to disturb whatever it is that’s decided to protect you during your stay.
22. Is this bed taken?
If you’re traveling alone and happen to book a room with two beds – make sure to put your stuff on top of it. The Chinese believe that empty beds invite unwanted guests. So, if you don’t want a spirit sleeping next to you at night, make sure your suitcase occupies it first. For extra measure, make sure to pat the pillows to signal that the bed is in use.
Video Top Wierdest Travel Superstitions From Around the World:
Crazy Travel Superstitions in Some Countries
After one of their airplanes had a series of mechanical issues, Nepal Airlines sacrificed two goats to help solve the problem. The Boeing 757-200 had some electrical issues, and in addition to making the physical repairs, the airline also sacrificed the farm animals to honor Akash Bhairab, the Hindu god of sky protection. That’s what we call covering all of the bases.
While they might cry over spilled milk, Serbians rejoice over spilled water. According to custom, spilling water behind a person going on a trip, or to a job interview, will bring them luck and ensure that everything ends happily. We like this superstition, just be sure to keep a paper towel handy.
You’ve painstakingly planned every second of your trip, packed your suitcase to the brim, and set your out-of-office message. The only thing left to do: pop a squat for a minute or two and quietly reflect. According to Russian lore, doing this before a journey — long or short, near or far — brings good fortune and a safe and successful trip. Not to mention, it also offers the opportunity to ensure you’ve packed everything you need. And while we’re on the topic of Russia, stay away from empty buckets when traveling through the country. Carrying or even laying eyes on one will bring no good. Oh, and don’t whistle while you’re inside a home (it’s bad luck) or gift your hostess a bouquet with an even number of stems (a dozen roses are reserved for the dead). And while you’re at it, avoid yellow buds at all costs — it represents infidelity and might just curse your relationship.
Many Americans are terrified of the number 13. From scary movies to old wives tales, the harmless number gets a really bad rap. For this reason, many hotels in the U.S. don’t have a 13th floor. According to a USA Today article, 13% of Gallup Poll respondents said that they would be bothered by a 13th floor room assignment. So next time you check into a hotel, look for the number 13 in the elevator…let us know when you find it.
If you board an Air China flight, don’t be surprised if there is no row 4. In China, the word for four sounds eerily similar to the word for death. This understandably freaks out passengers (no one wants to sit in death row), so many Chinese carriers go from row three to five on their planes.
Before a show in America, performers are usually told to “break a leg.” The strange comment means “good luck” and “best wishes.” In Norway, locals use the phrase “Tvi Tvi” as a way to say, “good luck.” Technically, the phrase puts a curse on the person before they embark on a journey. The belief is that no evil spirits will approach them because they are already cursed.
Meditation is a great way to curb anxiety, which might be one reason Ukrainians do it before taking a long trip. Ok, so it’s not quite meditation, but it is customary for people to sit together in silence before they travel.
You have about 30 days every month to start a trip, but for the love of Pete, don’t start a journey on the 17th. In Italy, 17 is considered the unluckiest number because it means “ I have lived,” when translated to Roman numerals. If you’ve lived, that means you’re ready to die, and Italians don’t like the thought of that. For this reason, locals will rarely start a trip on the 17th.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
If you thought garlic breathe was bad, then you’re going to love garlic clothes. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is considered good luck to pack a clove of garlic in your suitcase. This is done to ensure that you encounter no setbacks at border crossings.
We hope that they throw a fabric softener sheet in there too, just to balance things out in the odor department.
Back in the day, St. Martin was a monk, patron of the poor, and all-around good guy. Sadly, he was thrown in a mill stream and killed by the wheel. Every year, the people of Ireland celebrate St. Martin’s Day on November 11, and because he died by a wheel, no wheel is supposed to turn on that day. In other words, if you planned on taking a road trip, it would have to wait until Nov. 12.
In Japan, people are often advised to tuck their thumbs into their fists when walking through cemeteries. The reasoning is simple; In Japanese, the word for "thumb" directly translates to "parent finger." The legend warns that tucking in your "parent finger" will protect your parents from death.
The superstition of believing that toasting with a glass of water brings bad luck or even death is commonly held in Germany, although the tradition has roots going back to ancient Greece.
According to Greek mythology, spirits of the dead would often drink from the river Lethe, which is named for the goddess of forgetfulness. After drinking from the river, the spirits would forget about their lives on Earth before entering the underworld.
You might not pay much attention to manhole covers, but in Sweden some people believe that the symbols on them can bring either good or bad luck.
As legend has it, stepping on a manhole cover marked with a "K" is good luck because it represents the Swedish word for love. Stepping on a cover marked "A," however, is believed to bring bad luck because it stands for the Swedish word for heartbreak.
In reality, "K" stands for kallvatten, which means "clean water" and "A" stands for avloppsvatten, which means sewage, although the superstitious are still careful where they step.
Local folklore advises women against eating goat meat because it allegedly causes facial hair growth, as well as stubbornness.
However, some people have also offered up the theory that men created this superstition so they could have more meat to themselves.
How To Ensure Good Fortune When Travels in Some Countries
If you are looking forgood fortune in Brazil, there are certain objects that can help you. A porcelain elephant will bring you good luck and a pot of rock salt in a corner of your house (or hotel room, as the case may be) will keep bad luck at bay. Indeed, salt is associated with good luck in many parts of the world and is said to bring prosperity and protection, perhaps because of its preservative and curative usage in ancient times. Although spilling salt is said to bring bad luck, it is easy to counteract: just throw a pinch of salt over your left shoulder to instantly undo this misfortune: it is the superstitious equivalent of pressing Command + Z on your keyboard!
The Portuguese good luck charm par excellence is the Rooster of Barcelos—also a symbol of faith and justice. According to legend, this rooster was instrumental in proving the innocence of a pilgrim who had been sentenced to death by hanging after being accused of sterling silver. These hand-painted porcelain roosters are ubiquitous in Portugal and make a great gift to take back to loved ones as they are not only lucky but will also bring a touch of color to their homes.
France and Spain
In both France and Spain, accidentally stepping in dog droppings is said to bring good luck, but it is unlikely that you will find this is a worthwhile trade-off. Fortunately, there are many more pleasant ways to attract positive energy. Visiting Spain during New Year’s? It is traditional to eat twelve grapes at midnight to ensure a year of good fortune, a custom that has spread to some Latin American countries such as Cuba. The idea is to eat each grape in sync with each of the twelve chimes of the clock, so peeling and deseeding is a good idea for newbies. Oh, and don’t forget to wear something red for an extra boost of good luck.
Greece has its own fruit-related New Year’s tradition. Pomegranates are hung above the front door for the duration of the Christmas holidays as symbols of abundance and good fortune. The winter fruit is then smashed on the threshold as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, with all the lights out. The more seeds are scattered, the luckier you will be in the coming year. It’s probably a good idea to check with your hotel before doing this, since pomegranate can stain. Or better yet, spend New Year’s with Greek friends and bring in the new year in good company.
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