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13 Weird Travel Superstitions from All Over the World

Friday the 13th is most famous for two things: the extremely bloody slasher film, and for being significantly unlucky. But whether you’re superstitious or not, it’s quite interesting to learn about what people might do to avoid catching bad luck while traveling. Here are 13 travel superstitions from all over the world that you should know about:

1. Add a clove of garlic

For people in Bosnia, you should place garlic in your suitcase. We’re not sure if it’s the smell or the presence of the garlic itself, but apparently it brings good luck. If you were able to cross borders and go through immigration without complications, you have the vegetable to thank.

2. 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.

3. 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!

4. 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.

5. Shh!

In India, it’s considered bad luck to call people out when they’re about to leave. If you have something important to say, you better start running after them instead.

6. Where’s your bed facing?

Most hotels in China are guided by the principles of Feng Shui. While in Japan, beds are faced either south, east, or west. Otherwise, north facing sleepers might attract the gods of death.

7. 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.

8. Don’t sweep

Make sure your host doesn’t start sweeping the moment you leave their home. In Bulgaria, it is believed that the act of sweeping is sign of sweeping a person away from life.

9. 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.

10. Say Tvi Tvi

In Norway, the phrase “Tvi Tvi” is said to put a curse on someone. It’s also said as a precaution before a trip because it is believed that spirits will not bother someone who’s already cursed.

11. 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.

12. Run around the house, fast!

In Latin America, they say that running around your house seven times not only increases good luck in travel, but also brings more travels if done during the new year.

13. Tabi-tabi po

It has been instilled in most Filipino children to say tabi-tabi po whenever walking on grassy, unexplored areas. Many practice this as a form of respect to the “entities” that may live in the area. They say if you forget to utter the phrase, you may anger a resting entity and get punished for it.

You may want to keep these superstitions in mind when traveling. Until then, if you want to book your room and flight, do so with Traveloka


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