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Travel Teddies: The Bear Essentials Of A Trip Away

Traveling with a teddy bear

Picture, for a moment, being stood in the bedroom of your home. In this fictional scenario, you have a husband who is in the middle of packing for an important business trip. You’re helping him to ensure that he has all the essentials. Fresh shirts? Check. At least two suits? Check. Cell phone charger? Check. Picture of you and him together to put by the bed? Check. Now, how about his teddy bear?

At this precise moment, three out of four people reading this are wondering why a teddy bear would be brought into the conversation. The remaining one person is nodding along, having accepted that this is a normal part of the routine. That’s because according to research, one in four men travel with a teddy bear everywhere they go.

The research was carried out in the United Kingdom, where it's generally accepted that they have a stronger interest in stuffed toys - and especially teddy bears - than exists elsewhere, but the figures are surprising. The hotel firm Travelodge was responsible for providing the statistics, at the same time as confirming that during a twelve month period, they'd returned 75,000 bears to their owners after they'd accidentally been left behind following a hotel stay. At the time the research was performed, Travelodge had only 458 hotels across England and Spain. That's a lot of plush toys per hotel, and those are just the ones who were accidentally left behind. That leads us to consider how many people of all ages, and from all walks of life, are walking through airports with teddy bears in their suitcases, and why they do it.

Luckily for us, the original Travelodge survey can help us with that quandary, too; they surveyed people as to why they traveled with a teddy bear, and over 35% of respondents confirmed that they relied on the bear to help them deal with the anxiety of being away from home. For some people the bear was literally a home comfort, for others, it was a gift from a partner and so served as a physical reminder of the person they were missing back at home. The overall picture painted is one of a world of nervous travelers with separation anxiety. But if teddy bears can genuinely bring health benefits to people traveling, then who are we to question it?

The idea of relying on a stuffed toy to bring us emotional stability isn’t a new one. The BBC surveyed a variety of people a few years ago about how and why they interacted with their teddy bears, and most people cited a deep connection that went back to childhood. It is, after all, during childhood when we form our most powerful emotional bonds (to our parents, our families and the friends of our youth), and if we were given a soft toy at a young enough age, it’s natural that we form a connection to the object. In our minds, the teddy bear is connected to the feeling of being young and vulnerable, and yet cared for and reassured. That’s a powerful, comforting and nostalgic psychological link.

The more we look into how and where we see teddy boys and soft toys as adults, the less we should be surprised about how many of us are still finding it impossible to set off for a journey without taking them with us. They're around us all the time; we just don't always notice it. One needs only to read this Fluffy Favourites review to see how the ultra-popular online slot has enraptured its audiences. There are hundreds of different themes that a slot game developer could go for; the company behind Fluffy Favourites went with soft toys because they know that there’s a huge adult audience out there who have a strong emotional bond with them. They’re drawn to the characters, and so they play the slot.

It’ not just that more people have a travel teddy bear or soft toy than we ever imagined; In some extreme cases, we’re starting to think that teddy bears are becoming more experienced travelers than we are! The Instagram account Gelo the Bear has more than two thousand followers and has made more than six hundred photo posts. All of them are the same thing; Gelo dressed up in the national dress of whichever country he’s visiting, enjoying his vacation. From the pictures, it looks like he’s been to every major country in the world. What’s remarkable here isn’t just the number of air miles that the bear has racked up; it’s the number of people who are interested in seeing the travels of a teddy bear on social media.

So are travel companies missing a trick with this? Could airports make themselves more popular with commuters by appealing to their travel teddy friends? Could hotels offer express teddy services within the room, including cleaning and dressing facilities? It’s probably something to consider for the niche or luxury end of the market. Wherever someone identifies a potential need, there’s usually a new company not far behind, looking to provide a way to fill it.

The main takeaway from this article, though, is for those 25% (or more) of people who simply can’t stand the idea of traveling without a soft toy or a bear to keep them company. Because it isn’t the sort of thing that people talk about, you’ve probably always assumed that your hobby is strange. You might even feel the need to hide your teddy bear collection when friends and family come to visit you, out of fear they’ll laugh. You no longer need to do that. At least one in every four people you meet is exactly the same as you.

With that in mind, travel with your teddy proudly. Don’t leave him squashed inside your suitcase, sit him on top for the world to see. Have him on your knee on the plane. Who knows - it could even be a great way of making new friends!