There are many things I love and am thankful for when it comes to travel. To be able to explore a new part of the world, meet new people and be exposed to new cultures is a humongous privilege that I try not to take for granted.
About a year ago, I wrote about some of the somewhat random things I love about traveling, like searching for the best airfare, complimentary airplane snacks (Biscoff cookies for the win) and planning what to wear.
Since then I've gone on countless more trips and have realized there are many other things I love about traveling. Not to say I love everything because there are certainly things that I dislike and that frustrate me to no end, but more often than not I'm ecstatic to head to an airport or train station and am very thankful for all the steps along the way that allow me to see and experience new parts of the world. Here are a few more random things I love about traveling:
Route map on a long flight
I love route maps on a long flight! Because I'm a travel nerd, I often will forgo watching a movie or TV show and instead watch our flight progression on the route map while observing all the places we're flying over. Admittedly I sometimes will look at a route map with despair when I realize how far away we are from our final destination but most times I look at this map with pleasure and excitement.
Seeing what kind of food is served on the flight
I have no problem admitting that I like airplane food (sometimes), and in particular I like seeing what kinds of food airlines offer. I can't always say the food is good — at times it's terrible, but occasionally the food is very interesting and unique. I've had Indian food, German food, Italian food and many other types of food over the years. One thing I can say for sure is that I'ma always glad airlines have the standard old bread roll to fall back on in case nothing else is palatable.
Modes of transportation
One of the unique things I enjoy seeing about a place is how its inhabitants get around. For example, in Milan, chic Italians grab their helmets, jump on their vespas and zip around the city alongside cars, trams and the metro. In El Nido, Palawan in the Philippines, the best way to get around town is on foot or by trike, which is sort of like a motorized tricycle that fits multiple people. No matter where I go, seeing how people get from one place to the next is always fascinating.
Showing someone my city
This isn't so much about when I travel but rather about when people come to visit me in New York. I've written two guides for NYC on this blog (see part one and part two) and many of the places I mention are things I love to do and see when friends and family visit, but I also love tailoring others' visits to their specific interests. Like museums? We'll go heavy on the museums. Are you a theater person? Let's rush several shows. Whatever their interests are, I know I can find something for them to do in New York.
Anyone who's ever traveled with me knows I love taking pictures. I am that annoying person always whipping out my camera to capture a monument, a sunset, my meal, my cocktail and whatever else I want to capture. I love doing this. I also love editing these photos after I've returned from a trip. It's a great way for me to revisit the places I went and captured at the time. It makes me nostalgic for what I experienced and excited to one day experience those things again.
There is nothing like an early morning in a place, no matter whether I've been to that place once or one thousand times. I am a huge believer in early morning walks and quiet explorations because it always feels like that's when you have the city to yourself. I usually grab a chai latte or tea, put on some comfortable shoes and hit the road with only a vague idea of where I want to go. I try not to be in a rush in the morning but rather just take everything in and observe a city coming to life.
Seeing the airport where I land
I always find it interesting to see the airport of the city where I'm landing or having a layover. Some places go all out with their welcome signs and country-specific decor while others are pretty bare bones. Either way, I'm fascinated. I also like to see the stores and eating options they have available in their terminals, as well as how close these airports are to the main towns and cities.
The jet lag golden period
I don't know what the correct term is for this, but I like to call it the jet lag golden period. This is when I've returned from a trip and am in that in-between period where I go to bed earlier than I normally do, get at least seven hours of solid sleep and wake up slightly earlier than usual. I call this golden because I love this time period. I have a bad habit of staying up too late so when I'm jet lagged, I'm forced to go to bed at a reasonable hour, only to wake up refreshed before my alarm clock.
The map of where airlines fly
You know when you open up the airline magazine and thumb through the articles, food they offer and entertainment they're showing for the month? At the end of all that is where that airline flies, including their hubs and secondary destinations. I love this map and seeing all of the places that you can get to in one flight. It always manages to amplify my wanderlust.
The occasional airline lounge
Every once in awhile, I get the opportunity to hang out for a bit in an airline lounge, and it makes traveling so much easier. I can relax, use the free wi-fi, grab some food and, if it's after noon, have a glass of wine. The key is getting to the airport or having a long enough layover with enough time to use a lounge. Some are available for day passes and are well worth looking into if you are going to have a long layover or need to freshen up after a long flight.
These random things, plus others, are why I love and am thankful for travel.
Do you have random things you love about traveling?