Plane travel used to be considered an elite option reserved for those who have piles of money, not so much a past time for the masses as it has become. Today with budget airlines, hostels aplenty and hundreds of blogs and websites (like this one!) advising you on how to get around on a budget, it is far more accessible and therefore has become mainstream.
For those of us who haven't been away from home before, it's usually a bit of a learning curve. What to pack? How do we tackle jet lag? How do I convert my money? These are all things novice travellers learn with time. After your first few trips abroad you can start to develop travel habits that can be quite telling on whether the travel life, is actually right for you.
We've compiled a comprehensive list on how you can tell whether you were a born explorer or better off as a homebody based on your typical habits and traits. Not to pigeonhole those who aspire to travel more but to let you know which behaviours are best left at home. If you can't part with them, it's probably best not to depart at all.
Let's start with the born travellers
25 1. You're Great at Reading Maps
This gift doesn't come naturally to everyone and nobody is saying that if you can't read a map you shouldn't travel because with apps like Google maps and Waze, and a decent data plan you can usually find your way with the touch of a button.
For those born travellers, the difference is, that you are inherently gifted with directional orientation. You can find yourself in new places and within a few moments of studying the map, you have uncovered key points of interest and the quickest route to get there. You notice that in new places, people are often coming to you for help with directions, even strangers on the street since you have the aura of a traveller.
24 2. You have a collage of plane tickets
When I was a kid, I had a collage of movie ticket stubs. If you are born to travel, you have held onto their plane tickets from each of your trips and either have them stashed in a travel box or proudly displayed in a frame (or multiple frames) in your house.
This homage usually serves as a reminder of all the glorious countries that you have visited and reminds you that there is more to see, do and discover. Sometimes it might even include photos or cut-outs from countries that you have yet to visit and serve as more of a travel vision board of sorts.
23 3. They know you by Name at MEC
Whether it's to buy a new knapsack, tent or some compression bags - you're a regular at your local Mountain Equipment Coop. When you come through the door they already have your guidebook set aside for your newly planned expedition and can't wait to hear about your latest trek through the Sahara dessert / Balkans / Swiss Alps. If you are a regular here or at any other outdoor exploring shop, it's evident that exploring new terrain is your priority and purpose.
22 4. People Come to You When Planning a Trip
If you're a traveller, most people in your inner circle will know it and regard you as their guru when they are planning their next adventure. Whether it's for accommodation options, best and quickest routes, or even choosing an airline for long-haul journeys - you are regarded as the best person to come to.
Even though there's tonnes of information and travel tips available online, your carefully curated Instagram and/or travel blog has made you an official source on the matter. Also, it means some good quality one on one time since it's rare that you're not MIA gallivanting abroad.
21 5. You Collection of Travel Toiletries is second to none (and always on standby)
Ever since you were young you collected small refillable bottles and squirted the bathroom hand soap into them in preparation for your imaginary journeys to far away places. You packed away in your Ninja Turtles backpack and were always ready for an unexpected expedition.
Now that you're older your variety includes everything from mini toothpaste to the travel sized razors for shaving. You've even got travel tweezers which find their home on rotation between your first-aid kit and toiletry bag. If a friend or travel pal forgot something, they know they can count on your for your mini-mart of travel-sized goods to get them out of a bind.
20 6. You Know the Best Travel Apps
Whether it's Skyscanner for finding the cheapest flights or LoungeBuddy for helping you locate an oasis of luxury during your next stopover in the storm of people that is Standsted International, you're usually up to snuff on travel apps to make your life easier.
Also, if you don't know the app, you're not too afraid to ask your fellow travellers you meet on the road what they recommend and are often keen to pass along your findings to friends when you return home. When you're not reading about the features of the latest releases, you're practicing one of 3 languages on DuoLingo.
19 7. You Feel At Home in The Airport
For most people, the airport is that dreaded place you go to pay 3.5o for a bottle of Dasani water that you must chug before waiting in endless, frustrating lines prior to your flight. For most, it's a matter of necessity and 'get in and get out.' For serious travellers of the world, however, it's the gateway to adventure. Stepping foot in the airport before your journey fills you with hope and optimism and the promise of new and exciting experiences. Any bad food, clueless tourists, or screaming babies are drowned out by the potential for beachside Spritzes and sunset strolls.
18 8. You Own At Least One World Map
If you travel a lot you no longer look at a globe and think of your grade 10 geography class. You see a map of the world as standalone work of art and your main source of inspiration. Die hard travellers may decide their next trip by throwing a dart at cork map or spinning the globe with eyes closed to see where their finger lands - because for born travellers, there is no bad place to visit.
A map may manifest itself in other unlikely places like placemats, on a bedside lamp, throw pillows and/or coffee tables but its presence is never uncertain.
17 9. You Know the Travel Credit Cards Like The Back of Your Hand
With there being an influx of credit cards on the market and your bank often thrusting new rewards, new promises and higher thresholds for spending - it can seem like a frivolity to have a travel- specific card. The true travellers know that in addition to racking up points with everyday purchases, travel cards can include such insurances like built-in car rental insurance, trip cancellation insurance and other travel-specific perks that make it a no-brainer for a serial jet-setter.
A card without a foreign currency transaction fee is high on your priority list when it comes time to pack your essentials.
16 10. You Can Pack for Any Trip
A week-long trek through the Austrian Alps? A weekend away in Boston? You always know just exactly how many pairs of pant/shirt/short/shoe combinations are required and how to create cohesion within your wardrobe to lighten the load. Your friends often marvel at how you are able to hop around the world while always looking fabulously fresh.
Any seasoned traveller knows the key to a successful suitcase is a carefully curated packing list that is tailored to the length of stay and climate. The items are laid out and scrutinized before each being rolled into categorized compression / zip-lock bags that both maximize efficiency and space.
15 11. You Have a Collection of International Coins
Every traveller has a stash and the size of it often corresponds to their seniority on the road. Since it's a compilation of coins from places you visit, it only makes sense that the more countries you visit mean the bigger the pile of coins.
This isn't always for nostalgia sake as we know that it can be near impossible to change small quantities of change after a trip, often times it's more practical to hold on to the coins! Especially for an avid traveller who will more than likely return and bring along the leftover coins from their international pile.
14 12. On Your Way Home From a Trip, You have the Next One in Mind
A true traveller is always thinking ahead to future trips. When you are abroad, it's likely that you will meet people from other countries - especially if you're living #thathostellyfe and surrounded by internationals. When you make friends while away, people talk of home and what life is like and more often than not, it can entice a traveller to plan a visit to see their friend and experience their country.
Even if you don't make friends, it's not unusual to think about your next trip as you near the end of another and start to feel those back to reality blues coming on. To quote "The Bruce Dickenson" (Christopher Walken) "I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more travel!"
13 13. You Are an Expert With Time Zones
It's a noticeable quirk when someone can quickly calculate a time zone difference and/or recognize an obscure area code. Your first thought might be that they are an international spy, a math wizard, or business person. While they very well may be all three, this person is above all else, a super traveller.
With a total of 24 time zones across the world, it seems unlikely that any single person could possibly distinguish them all. If you spot this traveller (or are this traveller!) sign up for travel trivia down at the hostel pub stat.
12 14. Whatsapp has replaced Your normal Phone and You Don't Miss It
When your phone company wanted to constantly charge you a fee every time you left the country, you decided to take matters into your own hands and disconnected it all together. Now you live that WiFi life and can only be contacted via Whatsapp, Google Chats, Skype or via your blog. The truth is, no one uses the phone recreationally anymore (what's a landline?!) so you don't really miss it at all.
This way you can travel with ease without sinking hundreds of dollars in roaming / additional add-ons that just don't suit the lifestyle of a wanderer. Emojis are more fun anyways.
11 15. You can say 'thank you' in at least 4 languages
Grazie, merci, danke, asante - are just a few ways to say thank you. As a traveller you have come to rely on others for directions, recommendations and general know-how when away from home so thank you becomes one of the most (if not the most) important phrases to learn. If you've always had an affinity for languages it can be an indication that you were born to roam! Speaking the local language is incredibly rewarding as it helps to bond you to the local way of life and people. Even if you're not a natural, oftentimes the blunders make for incredibly amusing stories for your friends and family when you return home.
Now it's time for the 10 clues that you should probably stay at home...
10 Stay at home: You Need At Least Two People To Carry Your Luggage
If you have packed for every possible anticipatable outcome it can be an indication that you're not so comfortable going with the flow. For the travellers understand that having a lighter load for daily comfort is more important that packing each and every one of your creature comforts. Travel is a lot about letting go of expectations and detaching from your 'norms' so to speak in order to embrace and experience another way of life. If you are taking the trolly piled high through the airport or in desperate need of multiple hands to help you load up your luggage- chances are you have a long way to go before you achieve travel-savvy status.
9 Stay at home: You Are Inseparable With Your Selfie Stick
Travellers know that living in the moment is imperative to the experience. Sure, getting a few snaps can be really special for memory's sake when you get home but for every moment you spend grinning into the camera to achieve the perfect shot - the less present you are to really experience your surroundings. Selfie sticks also make you look like a tourist by default, even if you are using it for a really, really creative purpose.
If you're okay with being labelled a tourist, maybe just be more aware of how often you're making yourself(ie) the center of the story.
8 Stay at home: You Have Insulted The Locals
Whether intentional or not, if you don't take the time to research local customs of the countries you visit then you are not a super stellar traveller. When wearing an exposed spaghetti (ha) strap top in the Vatican City, chewing bubble gum in Singapore or flushing the toilet past 10 pm in Switzerland - you should be aware of the implications.
If you are breaking rules and acting as if it's 'no big deal' it can be enough to insult those who abide by them. If you aren't tolerant enough to observe the local customs, it may be best to take a staycation in your own town after all.
7 Stay at home: You Forget Your Essentials
Otherwise known as a rookie error, it can be forgiven if it's something as silly as a toothbrush. If you forget something more serious like your passport or plane tickets when heading into your airport limo - it could be a subconscious message that you are not meant to be travelling, like ever. A great way to avoid this mishap is by abiding by the savvy travel bible and preparing a packing list complete with checkboxes.
Review your packing list before you head out the door and it should be smooth sailing, erm flying, all the way!
6 Stay at home: You didn't Check-In Online
Long cues that drag on in the airport as you nervously check the time in between yawns, are your karma. You are the creators of this line simply because you didn't check-in online! If you haven't mastered the online check-in (or bothered to explore it at all) you need to step up your travel game.
It takes a few mere moments and allows you a seamless experience when you finally arrive at the airport. There's really no reason not to! Unless you really, really like waiting in long lines for things that are totally avoidable.