Travel Rituals and Superstitions

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03/02/08 – Travel Rituals and Superstitions

The more I travel the more I find my travel habits are less like habits and more like rituals and superstitions.

The more I travel the more I realize these different idiosyncrasies that manifest themselves during my packing process and my travel process. For starters there is my wife’s favourite ritual……..the batteries. I will charge and check my batteries obsessively before a trip. I can be taking a 50min flight down to Philadelphia (PHL) for 3 hours on the ground or taking a 4 day, 20,000 mile journey around the world, and I will do the same obsessive checking and rechecking of my batteries.

Once my bag of gear has been laid out, inventoried checked, rechecked and packed, I will check my bag’s contents probably 3 or 4 more time before I walk out the door. Why? I have no idea, I know my kit is complete when I walk out the door, from gum to DVDs to laptop and cameras and gaffers tape, I know it is all in there. Does that stop me from waking up at 1:00am to stick my head in the bag again? Nope.

When I have an early flight in the morning and I am waking up between 3:00am and 9:00am to catch a flight I will get out of bed at least a dozen times over the span of 15 minutes to check the alarm and make sure it is on and the time is correct. I’ll get in bed, pull the covers up, stick my head on the pillow and promptly pop back up , walk across the room and check that the alarm is on and the time is correct again.

Once I have arrived at the airport I have few rituals or superstitions. The one consistent ritual that has taken place on every single flight I have taken since late 1991 is listening to the same song. As soon as I get into my seat I cue up the start of Van Halen’s “Top of he World.” It was a tape at first, then a CD, now an iPod, but it’s always the same song, in the same spot ready to go………..ready to go for what? I’ll tell you. As soon as I hear the engines get powered up on the runway, the breaks gets released and I can feel the plane starting to roll down the runway I hit play. Every flight, no matter how short the flight, no matter what, the plane starts to roll and all I hear is Van Halen’s “Top of the World.”

I figure I have always listened to “Top of the World” and none of my flights have had anything go terribly wrong. Why change this ritualistic superstition, right?

What are your rituals and superstitions? Come on, you know you have some, post them in the comments and let’s hear ’em!

Below is a YouTube video of Van Halen’s “Top of the World”

Happy Flying!


  1. Aren’t you supposed to turn all electronic gadgets off as soon as the plane’s doors close? You may be on a plane to Philly, but your iPod may cause your plane to head out to Alaska. Watch out man!

  2. Seshu

    Yes…….at the start of every flight there is an announcement to turn off all electronic devices……


    Happy Flying


  3. At least you picked a good band. I love Van Halen. I’m an 80s throw-back, I guess.

    I don’t have any superstitions about anything, but I hate flying, so thanks for all the info you’ve shared about it. 🙂

  4. I too like to listen to music when I fly. It relaxes me as I’m a bit anxious (that’s an understatement btw) of flying. Most of the time they don’t notice that I use my iPod, but it’s annoying when they do. And why is it that iPods would cause any havoc? It’s not a laser driven gadget. Do the airlines know the difference?

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