It doesn’t take much to start a lifelong affair with travel. You might get hooked on a weekend in Berlin, on the beach in Thailand, or halfway up a mountain in Nepal. Wherever it happens, once you’ve got the bug there’s no going back. You’ve almost certainly become a traveller for life.
Suddenly, you’re always thinking about your next trip. You spend hours searching for cheap flights, researching dreamy destinations on Instagram and adding new apartments to your Airbnb wish list. You start growing a collection of friends around the world and your diary becomes packed with Skype dates to reminisce and catch up.
You know it’s only a matter of time before you’ve saved up enough to travel again. You’re a traveller at heart. The only question is where you’ll go next.
You’re a traveller at heart if:
1. Nothing matches the feeling of booking a flight. You end up trying to hide your grin for days, and get a little jolt of excitement every time you think about getting on the plane.
2. Your travel wish list gets longer, not shorter, the more places you visit. It seems like every time you go away, you hear about somewhere new you just have to discover.
3. You form an instant bond with anyone addicted to travel, be it over a shared experience or somewhere you’re both planning to go.
4. You actually like looking at other people’s holiday photos. Even that really annoying couple on Facebook (but only if they’ve been somewhere fun).
5. You love giving travel tips, and will happily spend hours annotating Google Maps or putting together recommendations for friends.
6. Sometimes you do so much research into a destination that you feel like you’ve been there before you’ve stepped onto the plane. All well and good until you accidentally tell someone about the best bar or hostel, then have to confess you’ve never actually been.
7. You spend hours reading about other people’s gap year adventures, either to get ideas for where to go next or to reminisce about your own.
8. You enter every competition you find to try and win free flights, hotel stays or tours. Even the ones that don’t really look legit.
9. Food instantly takes you back to places you’ve been. There’s nothing more rewarding than finding your favourite dish in a restaurant back home, or trying to make a new recipe from scratch.
10. Your home is filled with memories from around the world. You might drink your coffee from a silly souvenir mug, write your to-do list with a pen snaffled from a hotel lobby or have a windowsill decorated with your best flea market finds.
11. Sometimes you feel more at home when you’re away. There’s at least one place you long to revisit, and where you know you’d go back to in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose.
12. Packing has become a fine art. A week with just cabin baggage presents no problem, and if you’re travelling with hold luggage you know exactly how to wrap a bottle (or three) to get them home safely.
13. You’ve already planned out your trips for next year. And the year after that.
14. Your guidebook collection takes over several shelves, with all the books slightly battered from the trips they’ve been on.
15. You firmly believe weekends are for adventures, not sleeping. You’re the master of mini-breaks and are working your way around every interesting destination close to where you live.
16. You’ve started to form very strong opinions about airlines and airports, particularly the best budget carriers and how to choose seats for a long-haul flight.
17. You spend a lot of time thinking about how you could travel better, whether that’s through volunteering, ecotourism or simply spending longer getting to know a new city.
18. Learning a new language is always on your list of new year’s resolutions (even if you never quite manage it.)
19. Overnight trains and epic bus journeys have become part of the fun. No longer are they an arduous means of reaching a destination, but a key part of the trip itself.
20. You know that travel doesn’t just mean jetting off to far-flung destinations – or spending lots of money. A weekend at the seaside with friends can be just as enjoyable as a mini-break abroad.
21. You have a collection of obscure foreign currency – too small to exchange – that you keep “just in case”.
22. Travelling vicariously through Netflix is your fallback for an evening at home. Documentaries, TV shows and films all provide inspiration for places you could travel. You might not let on, but you’ve definitely dreamt about hosting your own series.
23. You’ve forged great friendships in online travel communities, and on the road, that have gone on to become some of the strongest relationships in your life.
24. You’ve put some serious thought into your desert island essentials, and where you might like to get stranded (for a few weeks, at least).
25. Nowhere – and no one – feels far away. There’s nothing better than realising that even the other side of the world is only a flight away.
Eleanor is the Senior Web Editor at Rough Guides and a freelance writer.
She tweets at @elliealdridge.