When you arrive in a new place, are you the type who heads straight to bed or straight to the bar? Do you acclimatise by immediately chatting with locals or wandering around mapless and happy? We've compiled a list of the quirkiest arrival rituals we've heard of:

Pope John Paul II used to kiss the ground of every place he visited as a way of showing his respect and gratitude to the people welcoming him. When he became too frail to continue the tradition, soil would be brought to his lips.

Members of Van Halen, when touring, would ask for their tour bus to be stocked with bowls of M&Ms - with the brown ones removed. They claimed it was a way to test how closely their contract was being read.

Taking the cake, though, is American singer/actress Jennifer Lopez. When travelling, she apparently requests her room to be stocked with three types of Coca Cola, two humidifiers, bouquets of white lilies, two fans and a precise room temperature of 26°C.

Lonely Planet staff have their quirks and habits as well:

More odd than interesting, but the first thing I do when I touch down in a destination is immediately try to figure out which way is north. I have no idea why. I'm probably slightly OCD. Vivek

Whenever I go to NYC I buy Time Out NY at LAX, read it on the plane on the way over, circling everything I want to go to, then as soon as I've dumped my bags I find the nearest diner that I will then adopt as my local and order a cup of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese and grape jelly. Jane

I always go for a walk - the longer the better. Just wander the streets, get a feel for the place, get a few landmarks and street corners locked in my memory, soak up the atmosphere. This also helps to nudge the body-clock into its new time zone. David

I always find a supermarket - I think what's on the shelves says a lot about a place and I can get excited about the things I might eat while I'm there. It also gives me an idea of average prices and means I can get some basics like bottled water and intriguing snacks. Anna

For me it's all about creating the 'home away from home' space. If I'm in a hotel, I want to check in, test the bed, kick my shoes off (even if I'll be putting them back on to go exploring in a short while), see what's on the local television, unpack a little bit and 'claim' the room. Vanessa

When I arrive somewhere I haven't been before, I like to open a window (bus, taxi, hotel room), lean on the sill, take a whiff of the air, see the colour of the light, see what kind of trees there are and what kind of tails the dogs have and what people are wearing. It's these kinds of details that really tell you you're not in Kansas any anymore - and give you the feel of whatever Oz you've landed in. Rose

So, what're your arrival rituals? Share them with us.

Explore related stories

A man riding his bike on Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California at sunset.

Budget Travel

La-La Land for less: visiting Los Angeles on a budget

Feb 21, 2024 • 8 min read