Travel Taboos You Should Follow – Better Be Safe Than Sorry!
It’s that time of the year again. Amid the various festivals that we celebrate every year in Singapore, the 7th lunar month a.k.a. Hungry Ghost Festival marks a special period that invokes a myriad of emotions from paranoia and fear, to amusement and joy. Growing up, our elders never fail to warn us of impending ‘dangers’ if we were to stay out late alone or travel during this period, yet there’d be no repercussions to watching Getai (staged performances) till the wee hours… ahem. Do you try to go home earlier during the 7th lunar month? What happens if you have to travel? Do you knock on the hotel room door before entering?
Let’s look at some common travel practices and taboos to eliminate potential spooks and bad luck for a safe vacation! In case you are wondering, this piece of travel knowledge is applicable all year round – better be safe than sorry!
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This year, the 7th lunar month falls on 11th August to 9 September 2018 of the Gregorian calendar. The ‘Ghost’ day is on 25th August 2018. Be sure to update your calendar!
#1: Knock, Knock, Knocking… …
When you first arrive at your hotel or Airbnb accommodation, do you have the habit of knocking on the doors three times before you enter? Some people do so to make their presence known, as they believe it to be a form of respect to any spirits that may be lingering in the room. There are others that would even choose to enter the room sideways, as a symbol of a new beginning, and an end to the energies from the previous occupant. Our friends working in the hotel industry advise that it is good habit to knock on room doors before entering as front desk systems sometimes experience technical issues and the previous guests may not have checked out of their room.
From a fengshui perspective, shoes are believed to carry negative energy, amassed from the places you came from. To neutralise the adverse effects, fengshui believers will position their shoes to face a wall or outwards of the room. From a practical perspective, keeping your shoes near the entrance keeps dirt away from your living spaces and improves your overall hygiene. Putting them against the wall will make your room look neater too. It’s win-win.
#2: Flush The Toilet
Do you have the habit of flushing the toilet in your hotel room upon entering? The notion of flushing toilets is to rid the room of any negative energy that the previous occupants may have left behind. This may also be a common habit for many who use public toilets, and ensures the toilet is cleaner.
#3: Filling A Room With Light
Ever wondered why spooky movies or horror shows are often depicted in darkness? In the laws of Feng Shui, Yin & Yang denotes darkness and light, so by choosing a room with windows or switching on the lights, you are increasing the Yang energy (which is a good thing). As some hotel rooms or Airbnb accommodations may have been left vacant for a long time, they could amass a substantial amount of Yin energy, causing guests to feel discomfort and troubled at times.
A brightly lit room generally feels more inviting, and the imaginative mind is less likely to not run wild. So go ahead and open the curtains or flip on the lights when dusk falls.
#4: Don’t Face A Mirror When Sleeping
Have you heard the myth when you were a child? That if you look into the mirror during midnight while scraping an apple, you can see your future? What about the broken mirror with 7 years of bad luck? In addition to trying not to break any mirrors, facing a mirror while sleeping can be a disturbing idea. Fengshui practitioners commonly advise against the positioning of mirrors facing the bed. If there are mirrors facing the bed, you can use towels and sheets to cover them before going to bed. Mirrors are thought to be disruptive to your rest, so covering them will help you to sleep more comfortably and soundly. Covering the mirror also helps to prevent a late night scare, if you wake up at night and spot your own less-than-presentable reflection.
What’s scarier than seeing your own reflection in the mirror at night?
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#5: Check if There Are Any Religious Ornaments Around
Religious homeowners and hoteliers may leave religious knick-knacks around, so keep a look out for such objects in your Airbnb or hotel accommodation. If spotted, try to request for a change of room. Otherwise, leave the items alone and try not to touch them. Some trinkets are placed specifically for reasons other than its aesthetic value. On a related note, you will be liable for compensation if you inadvertently damage hotel property, so keep your hands to yourself!
#6: Do Not Leave Any Beds Unoccupied
If you are travelling alone and are assigned a twin room, do you only use one of the beds?
There is a belief that one should not leave the other bed vacant, as this would be an indication as well as an “invitation” that there is still room for someone else! Instead, place your suitcases, bags, or clothes lying around the other bed, making it as messy as you can to show that there is no space left. This is also a useful way to make your room more lived-in and comfortable.
#7 Avoid Taking Corner Rooms At Extreme Ends
“Are we there yet?” This is a common question when you unfortunately get a room that’s situated at the far end of the corridor in a corner. While this is good for privacy and the extra exercise can be helpful during a vacation, rooms at the far end of the corridor with minimal human traffic are believed to harbour excessive Yin energy, which can make you feel uneasy or drained. You can always try to make a request in advance when making your hotel booking, but you should also note that room locations are still subject to availability at the time of check in. Good luck!
#8: Do Not Turn Your Head Back Or Stay Out Late At Night If You Are Alone
If you ever hear your name being called out when you are walking around a quiet, deserted area, do not turn back – especially if you know you are not near known company. While some people believe it to be the work of spiritual beings, it could also be a potential mugger. Stay alert and be streetwise!
In fact, there is certainly no reason for you to stay out late in a foreign country as you are in an unfamiliar territory.
The Chinese believe that the number 8 is the luckiest number because when it is being pronounced in Mandarin, it sounds like the word ‘prosper’. If anything, these 8 travel tips should provide you with an ease of mind while abroad.
While we’d love to stop at 8 travel tips, here’s another essential point to note.
Travellers who are travelling this coming 7th lunar month (or anytime in the year) should take up a travel insurance policy. With TIQ Travel Insurance, you’ll receive one of the best travel insurance policies that offers 24-hour worldwide emergency hotline support, automated flight delay alerts and claims, and a personal accident benefit of up to S$400,000! For every taboo that you’ve taken care of, TIQ by Etiqa can help you handle everything else that may go wrong.