5 Travel Traditions I Started With Myself That Make Every Trip So Much Better

Right now, I don't have any trips in the books. I've run into my friends or people I know in the grocery store, and that's always their first question: "Where are you going next?" Truth is, I'm not quite sure of the answer yet. I do have a bucket list, a suitcase basically ready to go, and a lot of wanderlust and excitement attached to getting on a plane and going elsewhere. I would love to roam around Bali, after watching Eat Pray Love, and hike to the massive waterfalls or lagoons in Iceland. It'll happen, and when it does, there are some travel traditions I started with myself that I'll do once again — little routines that seemingly make every trip so much better.

When I first started traveling, I seriously had no idea that I would love it so much. I had no idea that I'd want to center my life around cameras and doing adventurous things. In fact, growing up, I was always the girl who was scared to go on the monkey bars and didn't want to be a cheerleader because getting lifted in the air sounded terrifying. Oh, how things have changed.

Now, I'm catching flights and making memories from coast to coast. I'm taking pictures of palm trees, mountains, and historical landmarks that I once only saw in textbooks. I'm incredibly grateful for it all, and these five traditions I've made along the way. It's your turn, OK?

1I Order Ginger Ale On The Plane

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When you first start traveling and seeing the world, everything can be really overwhelming. You're unsure of what lines you're supposed to be in at the airport, and don't know how to find your gate. Then, you land in your destination. You may have to navigate your way through a country where the food, language, and culture are entirely different that what you've always known. Long story short: The butterflies in your stomach can be real.

So, I started a tradition with myself a while back to order ginger ale on the plane. I was on my first long flight to Italy, and needed something to calm my nerves, that also reminded me on home. Ginger ale ended up being a lifesaver for me, and something I rely on every time.

(Side note: If it's a particularly long flight, then I'll fill up a reusable water bottle at the gate and carry it on, too. You have to stay hydrated, people!)

2I Purchase And Write In A Journal

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As much as I love taking pictures and documenting my experiences in videos when I travel, I've come to love buying and writing in a journal wherever I go. It helps me keep track of where I ate, what I did, and how I felt in those moments. So, if I ever decide to go back, I know exactly what I want to do or see again — and that the seafood risotto at the restaurant in the middle of the city wasn't particularly my favorite.

So far, I've found a unique little notebook with a floral pattern at a market in Prague and a leather-bound book with blank pages in a shop in Florence. The journal itself is always an amazing souvenir to have, aside from all the words and stories within it. It's like an expansion pack to the passport stamp I got at the airport.

3I Pack A Pillowcase From Home

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I've fallen head-over-heels for traveling. But, every trip that I've been on, no matter how long it has been, I've always gotten a little homesick. I find myself missing my bed after days spent in planes, trains, and automobiles — and eating out every single night gets old after a while. I learned that packing a pillowcase from home is something sweet that I can do every time I travel.

The sweet thing about this tradition is that it's easy and doesn't require saving much space in my suitcase. Pillowcases are incredibly lightweight and can actually be great for wrapping up fragile souvenirs or camera gear that I take with me. Having a little piece of home nearby is also super comforting.

4I Grab A Postcard At Every Stop Or Experience

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In my room, I have an envelope. If you open it, at least a hundred or so postcards come pouring out — each one from a different city, national park, or excursion that I took around the world. It's another super simple and sentimental tradition that I have with myself when I travel.

Every stop that I make on a 10-day trip through Italy or a long weekend on the West Coast, I grab a postcard there. I normally try and find one with pictures that remind me of what I did, or things that I've seen. To this day, my favorite one is a vintage print that I got in Florence, followed by one that reads "Explore Oregon" in photographs that I keep taped onto my mirror.

It's no surprise that traveling can get expensive, but these little souvenirs cost next to nothing and hold a bunch of memories inside. Together, they create quite the collection and scrapbook of where I've been around the world.

5I Make Traditions With My Travel Buddies

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Last but not least, my favorite travel tradition that I have with myself involves the people I travel with. To this day, I still haven't gone on a solo trip, and don't know if I ever will. But, that's simply because I love traveling with people who make my life at home so much brighter — my friends and family.

I've surrounded myself with a pretty good crew of people who appreciate seeing the world. They're eager to try a new gelato shop or wake up early and take pictures on a beach a few hours away. Every trip I go on, I make it kind of "tradition" to go with someone new or create a routine with a friend who I have traveled with before.

This could be something like grabbing smoothies before going to the gate at the airport, or posing the same way in pictures. It seemingly makes every trip so much better.