travel superstitions

Travel superstitions, do you have any?

I’m a rather superstitious person. I’ve been known to change my travel dates just because my horoscope said it would be a bad period to travel.

Of course, I only changed it because there was a change of timing to my flight and I could get my tickets changed for no extra charge. I wouldn’t change it if I needed to pay extra.

Amulet for safety

Another time I was superstitious was when I was planning my round the world trip.

I made up my mind that I wanted to travel around the world during a trip to Japan with my mom. I decided that I need to buy one of the “Travel Safe” amulets (omamori) from Meiji Shrine.

However I was worried that the amulet’s powers have an expiry date and it would be less effective if I buy it too soon.

Meiji Shrine omamori for safe travel
Meiji Shrine omamori for safe travel

Luckily, I was able to buy one of the amulets during my work trip to Tokyo in 2012. My trip around the world concluded safely although I’m not sure if was because the amulet really worked or that I was really careful throughout the trip.

Fortune telling

Before my 4.5 month travel, I went to a Taoist and a Buddhist temple at home to pray for a safe journey. At the Buddhist temple, I had my fortune told using the numbered sticks in a bamboo vase thingamajig.

You shake the bamboo vase as you think about what you want to ask the deities. Hopefully, only one stick will drop out of the vase. You still need another round of confirmation with the deities. You read the number on the stick and throw a pair of “cups”.

The cups are actually cashew nut-shaped wooden blocks. One side is curved while the other is flat.  If the deities agree with the number on your stick, the cups should fall with their sides facing different directions (up or down).

Fortune telling at Chinese temple
Fortune telling at Chinese temple
[Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelhaas/3350602817/]

The deities gave a holy thumbs up for my number. My fortune telling slip was a “middle”–at the other ends are “good” and “bad”–told me that I would be safe so I was much more calm about my trip.

Toaist fortune telling slip
Toaist fortune telling slip

Hotel room superstitions

Overseas Chinese have quite a lot of superstitions when it comes to hotel rooms. These transient accommodations are thought to harbor many restless spirits–even if there were no deaths in that hotels.

To ensure a peaceful stay at night, knock on the door of a hotel room before entering for the first times. This is to tell the spirits inside that you’re about to stay in where they call home.

Another way to confuse those tricky spirits is to put your hotel room slippers facing away from the bed. Ghost supposedly will follow the direction of the shoe and slip into your bed if you put them in the wrong way.

If you are staying alone in a room with two beds. It’s best to pile your things on one of the beds, just in case a ghostly companion decides to sleep in the empty bed.

This is how you prevent hotel-ghost roomies.
This is how you prevent hotel-ghost roomies.

Do you have any travel superstitions? Share them in the comments below.

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

2 Comments

    1. The one I follow is not to choose a bed in front of the mirror – coz my mom told me when I was young that when I dream, my spirit might think the reflection is my real body instead and I’ll be souless. LOL!

      Other than that, when I travelled with my friends, I noticed some like to knock on the door before we enter.

      Cover up foods in case.. spirits might snack on them (also prevent flies).

      Check under the bed/or DON’T check under the bed in case got dead bodies – this one applicable for China only lol.

      1. I didn’t know about spirits stealing my food. Haha.

        Thank goodness I’ve never checked under beds before. Imagine seeing something looking back.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.