I tend to think that any day you’re traveling is a pretty lucky one, but if you’re looking to pack an extra dose of prosperity into your next trip, these locations offer you the chance to get fortune on your side.
There’s plenty of splendor to be found on either side of the iconic Hoover Dam, but for real luck, you’re going to have to travel to the Nevada side where two huge winged statues known as the Winged Figures of the Republic keep watch over the canyon. Touching the statues toes, in particular, is said to bring good luck—and with the Las Vegas strip less than an hour away by car, it’s no surprise that these lucky tootsies stay gleaming.
The Trevi Fountain may date back to the 1700s, but the tradition of wishing on a coin and throwing it into the fountain is actually much newer—in fact, it can be traced back to the Academy Award-winning 1954 film “Three Coins in the Fountain.” The ritual of throwing a coin with your right hand backward over your left shoulder into the fountain has caught on in a big way since then; workers have to sweep the fountain nightly to keep all of the thrown coins from building up, with the proceeds going to the Catholic non-profit Caritas to help those in need, because good karma is the best kind of luck.
Entrepreneurs take note: while this 8th-century Kyoto shrine is dedicated to the god of rice and sake, it is also renowned as a go-to spot for the business-minded who are looking for a little luck. The walk through the orange torii-gated paths is spectacular on its own, but for maximum luck payoff make your way to the sub-shrines at the top of the summit to make sure your next business venture is a big success.
Above the marketplace of this Bavarian hub towers the Schöner Brunnen, a 14th century fountain in the shape of an elegant Gothic sire. Though the intricate carvings and gilded peaks would be plenty to make this fountain an icon, it holds a special reputation among those looking for luck thanks to two rings embedded in the grate around the fountain that are said to bring good fortune to those who spin them.
In the heart of Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city, lies Hagia Sophia. At various points throughout its history the architectural beauty has served as a Greek Orthodox basilica as well as an imperial mosque, but it now welcomes visitors as a museum. For those hoping for a health boost, the main attraction is the Weeping Column aka the Column of St. Gregory which is said to “weep” with a healing holy water. Visitors can insert their thumbs into a hole in the side of the column and if it comes out damp, legend holds that their afflictions will be cured. Another belief holds that if you place your thumb into the column and rotate your hand in a circle, you may be granted a wish.
There’s no shortage of statues of the 16th President at his tomb in Springfield, Illinois, but luck-seekers need to pay special attention to the large bronze bust in front of the memorial. Based on a sculpture by Gutzon Borglum (you might recognize his work from Mount Rushmore) the likeness sits on a granite pedestal in front of the tomb where thousands of visitors, including no few politicians, keep his nose rubbed-to-gleaming for good luck.
Rubbing the belly of a laughing buddha is a long-held tradition for courting good fortune, but the numerous buddha statues at this large monastery in southeast China may have a belly up on the rest. Legend has it that the buddha figure from the series of rock carvings named “The Peak That Flew Hither,” outside of the temple entrance is the origin of the tradition, inspiring luck-hungry visitors from all over the globe to come and give the buddha a friendly pat.
Take a stroll over to the south side of the Mercato Nuovo in this ancient Italian city to pick up one thing that’s bound to be on everyone’s shopping list – good luck. The bronze statue of a boar affectionately known as Il Porcellino (“the piglet” in Italian) is said to grant visitors who place a coin in his mouth and rub his snout not only good luck, but also a guarantee to come back to Florence one day, which sounds pretty lucky all on its own.