Frequent travelers are a peculiar kind. They have their own set of habits, travel hacks, and quirks (more on mine), developed over the years, developed over countless hours on planes, airports, getting accustomed to ever-changing environments. The travelers’ tribe.
I was thinking about writing a blog post about it when last week, Jean Philip de Tender (who I regularly bump into when we both have an early Monday morning flight in the Brussels Airport Diamond lounge) wrote a blog post where he calls it ‘the travellers’ tribe’ and where he aptly describes the quirks of the frequent travelers:
We say hello when we board the same plane on a Monday morning.
We get annoyed when we cue for the security check and have people unpacking in front of you.
We have our favorite shops in airports around the world.
We used to buy too many gadgets but learned to avoid checking the newest offer.
We love Easyjet because we really feel special as a frequent traveler unlike the more traditional carriers and loyalty programs.
We pick up a stack of newspapers and magazines in the lounge.
We travel hand luggage only.
We carry plenty of books on our Kindle.
We buy a salad or some sushi before boarding to have something healthy to eat.
We update our playlists on Spotify and Apple Music and plug in our AirPods not hearing the safety measure rules performed by the staff on board.
We look people at customs right in the eyes.
We enter or leave Schengen and sometimes forget where we came from / go to, having to check the boarding pass first before we can answer if we are here for business or leisure.
But above all … we love traveling and visiting new places.
The travelers’ tribe
Jean Philip refers to Seth Godin’s ‘Tribes’, where Godin argues “a tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have joined tribes, be they religious, ethnic, political, or even musical“.
For many regular travelers, it will be super-relatable.
- Every Monday morning on my 6h10 flight from Brussels to Amsterdam, I will meet the same guy with the same Rimowa Pilot business trolley (that he had for over 10 years).
- The continuous struggle with loyalty programs that are (clearly) not designed by or for frequent travelers (there’s a world to win there).
- We’re black belt hand luggage packers. I even have my color-coded toilet bags, my shoes with hair nets, …
And there probably are more habits.
- We organically move in and out of company – from moments we travel alone to moments we spend time with others, we have never met before.
- We learned how to instantly read the puzzling UX of airports.
- We learned how to instantly read a city.
- We’re trained to find power sockets in the strangest of places. How we know how to squeeze the last bit of energy from our phones and laptops.
- We spent so much time talking to taxi drivers, receptionists and flight attendants that we can either predict the conversations or turn the conversations into something memorable.
- We have our favorite places around the world, we frequent by the slightest opportunity. That one coffee place in Athens. That Thai place in Prague. That one hotel in Amsterdam.
It is starting to read like the travelers’ tribe manifesto.