Inexplicable Travel Habits of a Long-Term Traveler

Inexplicable Travel Habits of a Long-Term Traveler

By |2016-07-01T10:22:01-04:00September 28th, 2015|Personal Stuff, Travel Tips & Advice|40 Comments

Travel Habits
Before getting on an airplane, I always re-tie my shoelaces.

During a layover, I must sit at an airport cafe for at least ten minutes, but only in a chair that faces away from the counter where I placed my order.

And I always look at the details page of my passport a dozen times or more right before I begin to travel.

I’d like to say there’s a good reason for me doing all of the above. But, in reality, those first two are just examples of my inexplicable travel habits. The last one? Well, I do that simply to make sure nobody has stolen my passport and replaced it with an exact replica, in terms of outside appearance and the stamps inside, but that now has somebody else’s name and photo on the main page.

So far so good…if you can believe that.

The point is that travel involves so much more than just waking up and heading to your next destination. It’s a process, one that involves routines, bizarre beliefs and on occasion, those odd travel habits, of which I’m sure we all have our own. Or so I hope.

The more I travel myself, the more I notice my own process and perhaps by sharing what I go through whenever I travel from one country to another, it will be useful in some way…or else it will just make me sound a little wacky.

Deciding to Go Somewhere

Depending on where I am, and where I decide to go next, the process of moving on might be as easy as booking a train ticket, heading to a bus station or simply walking across a border. However, in many cases, of course, it involves booking a flight. And in those situations, this is what I do:

  • Flight Search – One after the other I pull up my favorite flight search engines and, when possible, I enter a variety of origin and destination airports and various sets of flexible dates until I find a suitable fare (the flight search engines I use are,,, and
  • Book a Flight – I’m usually a little hesitant to book my flight right away, so I generally continue checking the above websites for a few days to see if there are any changes. Who am I kidding? I book flights almost always a few days before I actually fly out. Somehow, despite this, I usually find a pretty good fare, in terms of price, duration, route and preferred airlines. Based on experience, if you search long and hard enough, you’ll almost always find a suitable fare. Eventually, I book it.
  • Frequent Flyer Details – Since I can be quite forgetful at times, I always make sure that I enter my frequent flyer details when booking my ticket or immediately after. If I don’t do it right away, it’s almost a guarantee I won’t remember to do it at all.
  • Aisle Seat – Sitting in a window or middle seat is about the same as sitting on the airplane toilet or just right on top of the wing to me – uncomfortable. Being able to stretch my legs in the aisle and to get up whenever I need to without anything in my way, is something I cherish immensely, especially on long-haul flights. And I’ll always try to get a seat as close to the front of the plane as I can, simply because upon arrival this allows me to get to immigration before most of the other passengers.
  • Dancing and High-fiving – Upon booking a flight, I dance a sweet dance of celebration and I’ll high-five anyone around me. Of course, some might call my dance more of a wiggle and often times I end up just high-fiving myself. So it goes.

Travel Habits - Book a Flight

Pre-trip Preparation

This one is easy. There’s really only three quick steps involved.

  • Passport – Make sure I have my passport.
  • Pack – Pack my stuff about 2 hours before I need to go the airport.
  • Passport – Make sure I still have my passport and that the details on the details page are still my own. Sometimes this requires between 15 – 20 checks to be certain it’s still me. (Why my university psychologist told me, way back when, that my OCD had been solved is beyond me.)

Departure Time

When the time comes to actually head to the airport, I quickly fall into what has become my very standard routine…

  • WiFi. Check. – Given the importance of internet for my work, I double-check to make sure I have my Telecomsquare mobile wifi device and charger in my carry-on bag. I might even triple and quadruple check this one.
  • Give Me Water – I down a glass of water before heading out the door of wherever I’m staying.
  • Precise Timing – Generally, I aim to get to the airport 2 hours before my flight departure time.
  • Good Karma – If I take a taxi or shuttle bus to the airport, I will always give the driver a larger-than-normal tip (assuming nothing sketchy took place). My thinking is that by doing so, my last action in that particular country is a positive one, so surely that will send some good karma my way, perhaps for my upcoming flight, my adventures in the next destination or if I ever return to the same place again. It’s still a working theory though.
  • Flight Check-In – Normally, I just check in. However, my goal here is always to make the airport check-in staff smile. They rarely do. If I try to say something funny, the chance of them smiling is even lower.

Travel Habits - Check-In

  • Airport Security – Now I’m no George Clooney in the film Up in the Air where he buzzes through security as if he was a robot built specifically for going through airport security lines at an incredibly fast speed, but I’m no first time flyer either. I can pull off my belt while taking out my laptop at the same time, empty my pockets in less than 2.3 seconds and I never forget anything that causes the metal detecting machine to beep. Sure, I might hit the guy in front of me in the back with my belt as I try to whip it out (doesn’t sound good, I know) and I never put my liquids in a plastic bag but so far, nobody’s punched me in the face or ever cared that my liquid items were all over the place.
  • Immigration – Try making the immigration officers smile. I try, every time, but they obviously went to the same school as the airline check-in staff. When I’m called up, I’ll usually smile, then I’ll remove my smile when they look at me with such a serious face. Then, as the officer struggles to have my passport read by the scanner, I explain that, well, my heavily-used passport has a difficult time being read by the scanner at every airport, so it’s nothing personal.

    Usually, I’ll also memorize the page where my entry stamp was placed when I first arrived because, now that my passport has had 60 pages in it for a while, this saves everyone a lot of time. Finally, on a more serious note, if the officer asks me any questions, I’ve learned to keep my answers short and to only answer exactly what they asked. Going into long explanations or providing details they never asked for often leads to more questions, suspicion and even less smiling if you can believe it.

  • Departure Lounge Routine – Upon entering the departure area, I first find a seat near a window that offers a view of the runway. That’s where I spend about 20 minutes just staring off into space, watching planes take off and letting the thoughts flow, thoughts about my time in the country I’m leaving, thoughts about my next destination, thoughts about the effectiveness of voodoo and whatever else pops into my head. After that meditative session comes to an end, I head to the bathroom to wash my hands and then over to my actual gate, trying to show up just a few minutes before boarding time.

    Once boarding begins, I like to remain seated at the gate as I’m one of those people that waits until most of the passengers get on the plane before boarding myself. I see no point in standing in line when we already have assigned seats and the plane isn’t going to leave until we’ve all boarded, unless I fall asleep in the gate area like that one time in Oslo. (Thank you to the gate agent who woke me up at the very last minute!) I’ve never really understood why airplanes make people so nutty…that mad rush to get on the plane, as if only the first 10 ticket holders will actually be allowed to fly, would make for a good study in human behavior.

  • Re-tie My Shoelaces – I just do it.

Travel Habits - Boarding the Plane

The Flight

On my trip a few days ago, my flights were from Bucharest to Dubai and then Dubai to Delhi. I flew with Fly Dubai airlines. And for me, it was a pretty standard flight in terms of what I did while on board…except for the bathroom incident.

  • Sleep – On most flights, I sleep plenty. I have a ‘no work’ policy while in the air so it’s either sleep, read or watching movies. Normally, I do a combination of them all, but sleep seems to take up the most time.
  • Movies – Comedies. Even bad comedies. I have trouble watching any other kind of movie while on a flight. I’d watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 over The Shawshank Redemption every single time.
  • Bathroom Time – I drink a lot of water while flying and so, I must use the toilet on board. I’m also quite particular about not having food in my teeth, so I like to check after every time I eat as well. Usually, the bathroom experience is quite uneventful, apart from when I find a huge piece of spinach covering my front tooth. On occasion, though, such as during my last flight from Dubai to Delhi, I enter the airplane bathroom only to find an absolute disgusting mess – the toilet, toilet seat and some of the floor is completely covered in piss. I naturally wonder if it was the woman who just left the bathroom, but I’ll never know. And now the person after me (there’s always someone waiting right outside the door when this happens) will probably assume it was me who peed as if I had a sprinkler system attached to my crotch. Again, so it goes.
  • Seatbelt Ritual – My seatbelt stays on during the flight but for some reason, as soon as the plane touches the ground, I take it off. Yes, while still on the runway zooming along at several hundred miles per hour. It’s a ritual I started about 10 years ago as I have this strong belief that doing this brings me good luck. I know it doesn’t make any sense, and if I do end up on a plane that has a real nasty landing, good luck is probably the farthest thing from what I’ll experience. I am aware of this. But it’s a difficult travel habit to break.

Travel Habits - Aisle Seat

Layover Between Flights

I don’t mind layovers, as long as they’re not longer than about 5 hours. On my trip last week, my layover in Dubai was a perfect 2 hours, giving me the right amount of time to complete my layover routine.

  • Wander the Airport – After sitting for so long, I need to walk and I’ll walk for around 20 minutes, all over the departure area. But if there’s any duty-free shops, I avoid them at all cost as I believe that entering one, unlike taking off my seatbelt while in the middle of landing, will bring me bad luck. (Until I started writing all this stuff down and reading it over a few times, I really thought my habits and beliefs were just the wisdom of an experienced traveler. Silly me.)
  • Cafe Break – I find a cafe. Usually, I’ll order a cappuccino or some juice if they have it. Then I’ll find a seat facing away from the counter where I placed my order and I’ll drink my drink, sitting there for at least 10 minutes. If I’m running late to catch a flight, I still make sure I sit there for 10 minutes unless they’re calling out my name over the speaker system, telling me that if I don’t show up immediately, I’m not going to Bali after all.
  • People Watching and a Game – After my coffee or juice, if it’s not time to board the flight, I’ll brush my teeth and then have a seat at the gate, where I just observe the people all around me, enjoying some good old fashioned people watching. I love trying to guess where everyone is flying to and I must say, I once considered myself quite skilled at doing so. That was until I realized that people are usually going to the destination listed on the screen at the gate where they are sitting. Go figure.

Arrival at My Destination

Finally, I’ve landed at my destination. My seatbelt is off right away of course and then I try to figure out if we’re heading to an actual gate or if our plane will park in the middle of no man’s land and we’ll have to take buses to the terminal. If we take buses, then my entire plan of sitting near the front of the plane backfires because, for some reason, I always end up being one of the last people off the bus.

Travel Habits - Arrival

Here’s what happens next…

  • Arrival Airport Routine – As I head through the airport towards the immigration inspection, I always avoid using the people movers or escalators. I just walk and use the stairs, although, since my goal is to arrive at immigration before the majority of people, I have to walk a lot faster than I would like. But, the reason why I avoid the people movers and escalators is, as you might have guessed, a very sound one. If I use the movers and escalators, I’ll become lazy for the rest of my life and I don’t want to become lazy. Yes, these two things are the key to avoiding laziness, no matter what else you do.
  • Immigration (Round 2) – Back at immigration and this time, it doesn’t matter to me if the officer smiles. Normally, I walk as far down as I can, to the last line of immigration, based on the idea that the other passengers are lazy (yup, they took the people movers!) and they will just enter the first line or two and avoid having to walk more than that. Not every immigration has several lines of course, but if they do, you can find me all the way at the end. Usually, this is faster. And when it’s not, well, at least I wasn’t lazy.

    Then, I just hand over my passport and wait there until it’s given back to me. I do check the stamp in my passport and the date on that stamp right away though, because on one occasion in India, the immigration officer stamped me into the country on September 24th, 2010, which would have been fine. The problem was that I had actually entered the country on May 5th, 2011.

  • Luggage and Customs Inspection – I’ve had good luck with this. In all my travels, never has my luggage been lost. My backpack did arrive on the carousel in Rome once all cut up, the work of Austrian airport police who had sliced it open in several places with a knife looking for drugs apparently. But apart from that, I normally just wait a few minutes and out comes my luggage. With the customs inspection, I just look straight ahead, put on my most confident face as if I know exactly what I’m doing and have been to this destination dozens of times before and, apart from one time in Sofia, Bulgaria, I’ve never been stopped at customs in any destination outside of the US.
  • The First Twenty Minutes – Once I enter the arrivals hall, here’s how I spend my first twenty minutes in this new country. It basically involves taking it very slowly by first sitting at a cafe in order to get my bearings and avoid making any major travel mistakes such as getting ripped off. It works every single time.
  • Into the City I Go – Rested, with sound mind and a better understanding of where I’m going and how to get there, I gather my belongings, go to an ATM to take out some local currency and head to the taxi stand, shuttle counter, airport train or metro station or whatever it is that will take me into the city, just like any normal, sane traveler.

And so my adventures in a new destination begin…and with it, an entirely different set of routines, beliefs and inexplicable travel habits.

I won’t even try to explain why I feel the need to stand, while shifting my whole body weight from one leg to the other every few minutes, for the entire journey to my hostel, hotel or guesthouse, even if there are plenty of empty seats on the bus, train or metro. All I’ll say is that it has to do with a tai chi class I once took 18 years ago.

The rest can most certainly wait until another post.

Any interesting routines or habits – strange or not – when you travel? Any odd beliefs or superstitions you care to share?

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  1. July 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    I would call your habit of checking for twenty times if your passport is still there a compulsion if it wasn’t for the fact that once my passport wasn’t there and I didn’t realize it in time!This brought me a few weeks of hardship so it isn’t that stupid in the end. I guess all habits are okay as long as they dont make you weird or expose you too much. Myself I always check my phone and wallet (but like every minute on average if there is other people around) and the details of my flight. Flying Transaero (they bankrupted last year) I once realized that the terminal number was nowhere to be found and it was a few hours before the flight. The customer service wasn’t answering and the only thing I could do was trying to guess (at Beijing int. airport distances between terminals may be up to 1.5 hour spent in traffic.)
    Layovers are cool but only if they are either really short or really long so you can sleep somewhere without angst of oversleeping your flight and becoming Tom Hanks in Terminal.

  2. Liz May 13, 2016 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    When boarding, I glance in the cockpit. Just to make sure there aren’t any…I actually don’t know what I’m looking for. Cats? Beach balls? Whatever. I just do. I always drink ginger ale on a flight. It’s funny that you said you avoid duty free shops, because I always find one and spray on perfume before heading to my gate! I don’t spray the stinky grandma kind. I use the expensive stuff that I would never buy in real life. I guess luck is in the eye of the beholder.

  3. Ken February 16, 2016 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    Great website. I am sitting in a hotel room tonight after days travel and have enjoyed reading your site.

    We all have them. I fly 30-35 round trips a year, all stateside though some all the way to Alaska. I have several routines that I do automatically

    1. I will not get on a plane without washing my hands. Probably for the same reason you ties your shoes
    2. I repeat the lords prayer to myself while walking down the ramp. I am not a nervous flyer at all. But I still find this comforting.
    3. No matter when I get to the airport I am also one of the last to board. I have never understood it either. There are usually two or three others sitting there wondering the same thing.
    4. I also try to get as close to the front as possible and on the isle unless I want the view. Fortunately I am usually on the same airline and sit in FC a lot.
    5. I make it a goal to not speak to anyone for any reason from the moment I get to the airport to the moment I leave other than the obligatory greetings and such. I just want to be left alone.
    6. I had a no work policy, but I now find myself working more and more on the plane.
    7. I listen to Pink Floyd, usually Meddle, on 99% of the flights I take. I have been doing it for years and for whatever reason it never gets old.

    enjoy your site

  4. Judith October 15, 2015 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Recently, I found your blog and I’m happy that I did. It’s full of funny and useful information. Keep up the good work;)

  5. Marie October 15, 2015 at 6:54 am - Reply

    What a hilarious but interesting post you got Earl. You remind me of a friend, who I once traveled with. She got lots of rituals, and some of them made me laugh. But I do check on the time mostly when travelling. I don’t wanna be late 🙂

  6. Adrian October 15, 2015 at 3:18 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,

    As always great advices. I really like your method you use on immigration. When I go through this, I also like to smile and make eye contact and even try to make a joke (if I can read the person and I know I get away with that joke).

    Thanks and have a nice day!

  7. Absolutely hilarious Earl!

    I love reading about your travel habits. The most important thing for me is to check that I’ve got my passport, my purse and a couple of English newspapers!

    Before the development and popularity of the kindle, reading material was an issue as I’m a fast reader, I prefer to read books with at least 1,000 pages, and I always read a few different books at the same time! The problem had always been weight so I used to keep the weekend papers. Sometimes for months at a time and then read and chuck!

    I have a kindle and an ipad now of course but the routinue persists. Get the weekend edition of – The Times, the Guardian & The Observer, keep them for when I’m travelling long-term, and then read and chuck LOL!

  8. Tara- Hippie Hits The Road October 7, 2015 at 5:05 am - Reply

    I like the idea of sitting for 20 minutes for a coffee after landing… My problem is usually the coffee in the airports is so damn expensive… But I can still sit for 20 minutes to adjust, I like that idea. And I usually have a small can of Nescafe instant coffee in my bag (just in case… hey, coffee is really important!), and if I buy a bottle of water (or if there’s clean/cold water there I use my super-sturdy bottle that’s been with me for ten years) I can make a frappe and sit for 20 minutes or so drinking that.
    I’m also a firm believer in drinking lots of water while traveling. Also sometimes drinking lots of beer. I always try to get one beer in every airport… maybe that’s why I don’t always have money for coffee. Either way, between the coffee, beer, and water I need an aisle seat. If it’s a short flight, I prefer the window for the view and/or sleep purposes, but if it’s more than 2/3 hours, I’m an aisle girl.
    It’s always interesting to hear about other people’s travel routines… Next time I fly I’ll have to think about it a little more.
    Although I almost never make it to the airport two hours ahead of time… But I do ALWAYS check where my gate is first.

    • Marie November 23, 2015 at 6:03 am - Reply

      It really is damn expensive, I couldn’t agree more. Beer sounds interesting. LOL!

  9. Lisa October 6, 2015 at 12:40 am - Reply

    I loved this!

    It reminded me of being on the move, which is what I need right now after 15 months in Laos, and have planned for December 🙂

    It also reminded me of a few things I do while I travel.
    -I always need a window seat. (It makes it easier to sleep if I have something to lean against. Plus the view keeps me entertained. One time flying East of Japan the sky was so clear you could look up and see stars in the darkness, and look down and see (I am assuming boat lights) lights which looked like stars in the darkness of the night ocean (no moon was out). It was amazing! Like being in the middle of the sky.

    -Many years ago I checked a bag or 2. Not anymore! Each time I checked a bag it would come back with a notice saying it was inspected…and believe it or not I would always find I was missing panties…SO…I do everything in my power to not check baggage. If it is too heavy I remove and throw things away lol. (Plus I dislike waiting at the baggage claim, so a win win! Both time and panties saved!).

    -Immigration is usually easy…I actually have this good luck ritual at the Thai boarder where I must look at the little cartoon military boy and girl, and read the signs I have read a hundred times. I feel that it prevents them from thinking I have reason to pull to the side, and that if I do not do it I will get pulled aside. So silly haha. And I must say hello in their language no matter where I go.
    The only issue I have had is with the US where the immigration officer was asking me a million questions…of course my own country is the most difficult to get into!
    I have ALSO been stopped by customs for an entire baggage search. Which I forgot to mention I had Turmeric, tea tree and other oils, and loads of anti-biotics…it was funny the officer was asking me “before I look in your bag do you have….” as though I had already done something wrong.

    AND the most confusing of all!
    Every time I go to Thailand I must eat McDonald’s. This is baffling as I NEVER would eat there in the US. I would Eat Burger King and Wendy’s and Jack in the Box…pretty much everywhere BUT McDonald’s…but for some reason when I cross over into Thailand I cannot wait to go eat there…it is an unexplained phenomenon! lol

  10. […] Source: Inexplicable Travel Habits of a Long-Term Traveler – Wandering Earl […]

  11. Colle Writes October 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Well expressed, Earl! Habits are like those uncalled for routines we systematically do without realising it. I tend to look at the barista when I’m in a cafe (not at an airport mind you) and if they look ‘sympa’ (Fr, slang for nice/have the know how of how to treat a customer – which is a rarity) I order something I really like. If not, I just get a tea. Then go elsewhere for something else. Maybe some have to get a sandwich there and then but I have to weigh up the barista and take it from there.

    Yet habits are so difficult to break!!

  12. Peter October 1, 2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

    The only interesting routines or habits that spring to mind are:
    1. My luggage stickers go on the back of my passport (I got told off by UK immigration for defacing my passport)
    2. My boarding cards and passport go in my right knee pocket of my combats and my right knee pocket ONLY.
    ..and I guess 3. I ALWAYS where combats to the airport, because otherwise where would my passport and boarding card go?

    Always good fun to read about others ticks and habits – good or bad 😉

  13. Maria Beatriz September 30, 2015 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Hey Mr. Wandering,how are you doing?

    Sometimes I listen to ambient noise .This one reminded me of you and this specific post.

    Yout writting skills are as awesome as your travelling ones!

  14. Raz September 30, 2015 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Awesome man! Just hilarious :))
    Keep them coming

    My traveling is full of signs, habits and karma rituals… it is more than the practical 🙂 so I relate to that

  15. Ramesh September 30, 2015 at 4:50 am - Reply

    So you are in India right now…do buzz me if you are coming to Kerala!

  16. Jolie Baskett September 30, 2015 at 1:47 am - Reply


  17. Poonam September 29, 2015 at 8:03 am - Reply

    I just love reading your travel tips 🙂
    I am definitely going to avoid duty free shops main reason being I spend a lot more than anywhere else.

    Keep writing the travel tips it surely helps me a lot.


  18. Claudia September 29, 2015 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Call yourself obsessive compulsive, will you? Now, you made me laugh. I have never actually studied my habits when I travel. But I think I will start doing that, to check if I have a pattern. I surely prefer isle seats. Even if I can stretch my legs just fine. But you know, I drink a lot of water during flights so I use the toilet quite often – I promise I am not the one who peed all over the toilet. I spend my flight between reading, sleeping and watching movies. Usually movies instigate sleep. Most of the time, I fall asleep at the gate too (yup, been called several times, including being shaken and invited to get on board). I actually do explore the duty free. Some airports have really nice ones that I actually forget I am at an airport – feels more like a mall. And in the end, I forget that I am meant to fly out and this leads to yet another “last call before take off” call.

    One thing though, I think I have managed to get a few smiles from immigration officers. Ha!

  19. Melissa September 28, 2015 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    The rush at the gate is all about securing that overhead bin space for your carry-on, since there’s not enough room for everyone to stash a bag. The people without a carry-on who do it…I don’t know.

    One of my travel habits is that I always double check my seatbelt right as the plane starts taxing down the runway. I give it an extra tug to make sure it’s secure.

  20. Turner September 28, 2015 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    We’ve all got ’em. I tend to save clothes that have been laundered at home (as opposed to washed with unfamiliar detergent and air dried) to use for special occasions or when I need to relax. I also always try to find cupcakes in random countries… Turkey disappointed me.

  21. Reva September 28, 2015 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Ha! I love these. I’m now aware that I have some specific rituals that I’ve never considered before!

    • Wandering Earl September 29, 2015 at 4:35 am - Reply

      Hey Reva – Thanks…and hopefully your rituals are a little more on the ‘sane’ side of things 🙂

  22. K September 28, 2015 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed reading this Earl!

    As the plane takes off and j feel the g-force I visualise leaving all my ‘stuff/life/vision of myself’ behind and send a prayer up to the universe for a safe journey.

    On leaving a country I visualise all the faces and experiences I’m greatful for.

    It just feels good 🙂

  23. Veronika September 28, 2015 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Hahaha, this is hilarious! You’ve formed quite a few habits, Earl! 🙂
    Sleeping by the gate? Wow.
    I’ve never tried to put together a list of my own, but it would be just like a quarter of yours! 🙂

    • Wandering Earl September 29, 2015 at 4:39 am - Reply

      Hey Veronika – Haha, that’s what you think! I thought I would only have a few habits to write but the more I thought about everything, I was quite surprised to discover that I had more than a few. I bet the same will happen if you try to make a list!!

  24. steve theis September 28, 2015 at 11:49 am - Reply

    you never mention customs officers steeling from you,,, when I crossed the border going into Mexico from Guatemala the customs guy stole my jewlry and my stashed money by palming it right in front of me,, he knew that the bus I was riding wouldn’t stop again until next day – and a hundred miles before I saw my pack again.. same thing in Miami entering the country and switching planes.. customs went threw my pack and I didn’t see it again till Detroit.. thing were missing.. advise!!… watch the customs agent’s hands instead of looking into his eyes – if you have nothing to hide….

    • Wandering Earl September 29, 2015 at 4:40 am - Reply

      Hey Steve – I never mentioned that because it’s never happened to me. Like I said in the post, I’ve never been stopped by customs officers except for one time in Bulgaria. Apart from that, they always let me through without checking my stuff.

  25. Mark September 28, 2015 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Hey Earl, glad to read you routines. I love the one of sitting down an your arrivel for 20 min.
    I read that original post a year or so ago (20 min’s in a new country) and have used it a couple times now especially after a looooong flight, best tip ever. Don’t think I’ll ever be a long-tern traveler as i’m to old 🙂 but working on it. Thanks to the trip i did with you to India it rekindled my travel bug and since been to Spain (the Camino), SE Asia, India again heading to Peru tomorrow to take Spanish for 5 week then off to Sri Lanka and parts unknown for the winter. Thanks for the blog and keep them coming!!!

    • Wandering Earl September 29, 2015 at 4:42 am - Reply

      Hey Mark – Glad to hear you’ve used that little tip! That’s not too bad my friend, all of that traveling and with Peru coming up, it’s bound to get even better. I’m actually back in India now for my next tour.

      Keep me updated with your trip to Peru and good luck with the espanol!

  26. DML Blane September 28, 2015 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Whenever we travel outside of the U.S. we always pack disposable cloth washcloths. Get them at Walmart or other box stores or dollar stores. At Walmart they come in a pack of 18 for about $3.00. You often won’t find washcloths in Latin America or many areas of Europe. Use them one day and then throw them away. My travel tip for today!!

    • Jen M. September 28, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      I didn’t know there was such a thing! In the future I will take some of these with me. I really missed washcloths on my recent trip around Eastern Europe.

    • Wandering Earl September 29, 2015 at 4:43 am - Reply

      Never heard that one before!

  27. NTripping September 28, 2015 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Hey Earl, funny post full of small tips!

    I like to arrive at an airport approximately one hour before a flight, which normally gives me enough time for check-in and security, but not too much so I don’t end up getting bored before boarding.

    Also, no matter how much time there is until boarding, first thing I do is find my gate – you never know, especially in a new airport, how far your gate can be. If there’s time, then coffee, WC or whatever, but first finding my gate.

    Cheers, N.

    • Jub September 28, 2015 at 11:56 am - Reply

      You’ve got more guts than me mate, I tend to be first to check in at the airport and last to board the plane. Awesome how everyone is so different.

    • Wandering Earl September 29, 2015 at 4:44 am - Reply

      @NTripping – That’s a good habit, checking the gate first. I could see how that might end up being an issue. I remember once in Brussels when I didn’t do that and then suddenly discovered I needed to take a bus to my terminal and of course, I had to rush to get there. The only time I can remember actually running to the gate. Good call on that one!

  28. jub September 28, 2015 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Fun post! I like the ritual of facing away from the counter at cafes. Unlike you, I opt for the window where possible. It’s Jub time on the plane, which does mean I don’t drink water before the flight so I can hibernate all flight. Not optimal for health, but jet lag…what’s that!

    Also, paranoid about checking passport is there 17 times every time. Good tip on remember the page number of the stamp, though I strategically didn’t tell the immigration lad when entering back into Poland the other day.

    • Wandering Earl September 29, 2015 at 4:47 am - Reply

      Hey Jub – I can see how that might be strategic in certain cases as well!

  29. Candice - Desert to Jungle September 28, 2015 at 9:42 am - Reply

    I don’t have many routines. When I flew out of Dubai a lot I had a routine there, though. I’d go through the check-in/immigration/security procedure then head to the shopping area. I’d buy a UK newspaper, a couple of cans of Red Bull for my destination (it tastes different in other countries), then buy a chunky necklace for about $10. Then off to duty free and slap on some expensive moustouriser and finally to over to the Amouge stand and douse myself in the world’s most expensive perfume. Finally, I’d head to the Irish pub and, without fail, end up chatting with somebody working in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    • Wandering Earl September 29, 2015 at 4:48 am - Reply

      Hey Candice – That sure is a routine 🙂 But you’re telling me you go into the Duty Free Shops and it doesn’t give you bad luck?? Weird.

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