Traveling can expand your mind and lead you to new and exciting experiences. You may have cultivated an idea of what your trip will be like based on reviews of past travelers and viewing the websites of popular attractions. While these resources can yield helpful advice and information, there are some interesting facts and unusual customs that might not be readily known by the average traveler. Here are a few travel facts that can help you embrace the etiquette, explore like a local, or maybe entertain a few people at your next dinner party.
1. 60% OF THE WORLD'S LAKES ARE LOCATED IN CANADA
Taken at the peak of color during the morning sunrise at Moraine Lake in Banff National park
Canada is the second largest country in the world and an astounding 9% of its surface is covered by fresh water. The number of lakes exceeding 3 square kilometers is almost 32,000. These include lakes that disappear and reappear seasonally, lakes with mineral densities three times saltier than the ocean, and lakes located within larger lakes.
2. SOUTH AFRICA IS HOME TO THE LONGEST CONTINUOUS WINE ROUTE IN THE WORLD
Landscape of vineyards and mountains near Stellenbosch Winelands, Western Cape in South Africa
Stretching from the Cape Winelands to the Klein Karoo, this gorgeous route is one of South Africa's most renowned attractions and an important aspect of their agricultural industry. Wine tasting along the route yields a varied array of wines and expansive vineyard views. Find out more about the best ways to explore the wine route and other parts of South Africa through a luxury excursion of your own.
3. OVER 30 MILLION PEOPLE IN CHINA LIVE IN CAVES
The Longmen Grottoes, a world cultural heritage, is one of China's four most famous Buddhist Caves Art Treasure Houses, located in Luoyang, Henan, China
These caves have no indoor plumbing and cost around $30 US dollars per month to rent. Common in the dry climate of Northwest China, these cave dwellings are categorized into three types: cliff caves, independent caves, and underground caves.
4. TRAVEL IS SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TO MAKE YOU HAPPIER
Travel has its stresses, but new experiences offer great benefits to those who seek wanderlust.
Within the first couple days of traveling, 89% of people report significant drops in stress levels and couples report experiencing increased feelings of intimacy towards each other. As a result, travel has been linked to a decrease in the development of heart disease and other types of stress-related conditions.
5. IN ICELAND, YOU CAN SEE TWO TECTONIC PLATES MEETING ABOVE THE EARTH'S SURFACE
Standing over a gap above tectonic plates at Thingvellir National Park in Iceland
In Thingvellir, Iceland, the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates jut out of the Earth's surface in an awe-striking display of natural beauty. Adventurous visitors can dive and snorkel between the plates - what a story to bring home, and one of the most interesting facts about travel to tell others! Packed with geographical wonders, Iceland is a nature lover's paradise.
6. THE AVERAGE PERSON IN SWITZERLAND CONSUMES 22 POUNDS OF CHOCOLATE PER YEAR
Enjoying an ultimate Swiss experience, indulging in fine chocolates up in the scenic mountains of Switzerland
A recent study discovered that the lucky citizens of Switzerland consume an average of 22 pounds of chocolate every year, which surpasses every other country. The fact that Swiss citizens consume this much chocolate may not come as a surprise considering Switzerland is one of the world's greatest exporters of chocolate.
7. SALTING YOUR FOOD IN EGYPT IS OFFENSIVE
Hawawshi, a classic Egyptian specialty of spiced meat baked in bread served with tahina
In Egypt, seasoning your food after it has been served to you is insulting to the chef or the hostess because it implies that it was not to your liking as served. So, if you have a trip to Egypt planned in the near future, make sure to avoid the salt shaker when dining out.
8. PARTS OF THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA ARE MADE WITH STICKY RICE
Notice the details of the mortar holding together parts of the Great Wall of China
A study at Zhejiang University in China revealed that in some parts of the structure, sticky rice was added into the mortar. Further research discovered that the mortar made with sticky rice was stronger and could withstand more damage from earthquakes and other natural elements than the "riceless" mortar. This may have been the first example of composite mortar use. A visit to the Great Wall of China will leave you in awe of the magnificent structure.
9. THERE IS A FREE WINE FOUNTAIN IN A SMALL TOWN IN ITALY
Located in the Dora Sarchese Vineyard in the small town of Caldari di Ortona, this wine fountain offers locally made wine at no cost. The fountain is open to all travelers and (unsurprisingly) attracts visitors from around the country.
Traveling has varying meanings for different people. For some, it means adventuring a natural wonderland with family. For others, it means peacefully self-reflecting amidst ancient historical sites. But overall, traveling is known to be one of the most effective ways to boost happiness and spark creativity. Researching your destination beforehand to discover any quirky customs or unusual travel facts can help enhance your experience by inspiring your exploration or preparing you for the culture. If you'd like more information on traveling to any of the destinations listed above, contact a Cox & Kings Destination Expert.