How To Fill Up Your Travel Karma Bank

good luck travel karma

“I like to think of it as a bank account,” Mac said in a Glaswegian accent so strong, the to became tay and the ou became ooo and I had to ask him, please repeat.

Mac’s recent run of good deeds, he clarified, was accruing credit. The grandmother he’d helped onto a public bus, the homeless man he’d shared his chips with, the free lifts he’d given me: all these gestures would accumulate, until Mac hit trouble somewhere and needed a withdrawal.

While I’m not sure you can credit and debit travel karma in this way, Mac’s idea of turning generous behavior into emotional wealth is a habit we could all get into.

To increase your own global good luck, why not:

  • Shout a drink/meal. Budgets are the baggage of almost every traveler, and they often dictate the whole itinerary. Next time you meet up with visitors, buy them a beer or pay for their food. You’ll not only fill up stomachs, but help save a few precious dollars for the next step of the journey.

travel karma pick up hitchhikers

  • Pick up hitchhikers. This ultimate act of trust will send your travel karma credit soaring. Whether it’s a short distance or a drive across the country, take notice of who’s holding a thumb out along the road.
  • Share airport taxis. Are you ever overwhelmed by those first early moments in a new place? Because you know the feeling, why not smooth the transition for a fellow nomad – it may lead to a new friend, or at the least, a social excuse to meet up again later.
  • Offer your couch. Begging acquaintances and friends-of-friends for a night’s accommodation can be uncomfortable. So beat a traveler to the question and invite him/her to stay. Understand that a roof is more important than Egyptian Cotton, and share your linen, bathroom, and tea kettle, too.

travel karma give directions

  • Give directions. When you notice someone showings symptoms of Being Lost (forehead stuck in a frown, head buried in a paper map or phone app), premeditate their request and give directions. Better yet, escort them to their destination. Have a chat along the way, then everyone ends up in a happier place.
  • Use your connections. Do you know the barista at a local bakery, the clerk at a travel agency, or the city’s mayor? Anyone who can help improve a person’s experience of your neighborhood or city? Pull a few easy strings and tie your new and old acquaintances together.
  • Help out in public places. Bus stations, food stalls, banks and pharmacies invite confusion in a foreign environment. When someone doesn’t understand the language, the ticket machine or the ATM, step up and lend some advice.

travel karma take photos

  • Offer to take photos. Selfie sticks (and selfies themselves) make this one harder to gauge, but it’s still a sweet thought. After all, no one wants a photo album full of forearms and magnified foreheads.

What thoughtful gestures fill up your travel karma bank?

2 responses to “How To Fill Up Your Travel Karma Bank

  1. I grew up with a mom who constantly watched crime shows like “Cold Case Files” and other sensationalist murder/crime programs, and she lectured me constantly about how strangers can be potential murderers, so I’ve been conditioned not to pick up hitchhikers…but I will try to do the other things on this list more often to be more helpful to weary travelers 🙂

    • Your mom sounds pretty smart ; ) I think it says something about the general safety of the country, when visitors are encouraged to hitchhike – New Zealand vs. the US. So maybe don’t pick anyone up here, but see how the other ideas fit in!

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