6 Small Things You Can Do to Be a Perfect Passenger

Catching flights. To me, it is my passion, my hobby. The moment you walk in to an airplane, you make yourself comfortable at your seat and a few moments later, you feel the plane taking off and the ground disappears more and more with every mile you’re ascending.

While others are looking less forward to being inside an airplane, we can all make a difference and make the flight as comfortable as possible. It all starts with you. Think about what made your flight uncomfortable in the past. Was it an annoying passenger? Was it miscommunication with your flight attendant? Was it the fact that you forgot something?

Whatever it was, you can make sure it won’t happen again. Or, at least, you can learn how to be a perfect passenger and make a wonderful start on a stress-free flight. 

Be prepared

It’s all about preparation. Before going on board, make sure you got everything you need.

If you are taking carry-on luggage, be sure to check the sized that are allowed at your airline to avoid trouble inside the aircraft or having to pay extra for putting it in the hold.

Take with you a bottle of water, some snacks, and a pull for when it would get cold in the airplane. You never know how the food is like or when you get thirsty during landing or take-off, thus have to wait approximately 10 to 30 minutes before asking your flight attendant for some water. Just bring your own.

Not all airlines request boarding passengers to show their boarding pass, but it can never do any harm. So be sure to not put your boarding pass away until you are sitting on your seat. I’ve had lots of delays because passengers cannot find their boarding pass anymore while boarding and thus hold up an entire line of passengers behind them.

Be polite

Treat the flight attendants and passengers with respect. We are all in one space, one aircraft, for a certain amount of hours. Don’t make a hassle for nothing, don’t get drunk or high, just stay decent, polite and show manners to everybody.

Your flight attendants are trained to be polite to you. So greet them back, say thank you and please like they do to you. It is just one word, but it means so much more. Just your smile can make someone’s day. And don’t be afraid to start a conversation with them, it’s a pleasure to talk to passengers and it makes time pass quicker, too.

Be realistic

Schedule changes, delays or cancellations can happen. It is not always due to logistical or organizational reasons. Nature happens, too. Unfavorable wind, a rainstorm, snow, a tropical storm, you name it: natural changes can happen and they can affect your flight. Be reasonable and don’t blame it on your crew, airline or fellow passengers. It is natural and it will pass. Be patient and accept whatever solution your airline gives you – vouchers for another flight, hotel coupons, etc.

The same things is applicable for overbookings. Often, it is hard for passengers to understand the concept of overbooking. Airlines always overbook their seats. Depending on the airline, a certain percentage of all seats is overbooked, just in case people cancel, get sick, or just don’t show up ur check in.

“But why do they sometimes call a name of a passengers who didn’t arrive yet? If the seats are overbooked, shouldn’t you call for everybody who didn’t show up and not only one person?”

When we call for a certain passenger, it means they checked in themselves and their luggage, but didn’t board the plane yet. An overbooked seat that somebody purchased, but never checked in for, will not be given anymore attention to, since that person obviously was no longer interested in the flight, got sick, etc.

Be on time

Do the check-in and boarding on time, so there will be no delay because of this. If everybody is on time, the flight can depart at the scheduled time of departure and there will be no unpleasant surprises.

Be clean

Keep your seat, table and area in the airplane clean. Do not leave behind a mess during or after the flight. The planes are cleaned after every flight, but show some respect for the next passengers and your crew and just keep it clean. Flight attendants pass by often with waste bins so you can easily pass is to them. Also, there are waste bins in the galley (kitchen) of the stewards, so you can always go to them and give it personally. We always appreciate that!

After paying a visit to the toilet, don’t leave it like a kid’s pool at the beginning of summer. Clean up, wash your hands, and if there is a problem, there is a flight attendant call button inside the toilets as well.

Be calm

Stay calm and relaxed. There is no need to stress. The world is far below our feet now so it has no use to get caught up in delay stress. If you are scared of flying, talk to the flight attendant, they will help you. There are a lot of things we can do to help you cope with that fear.

When a passenger in front of you is making too much noise or if there is a problem, don’t freak out immediately. Talk to us so we can help you.

If you see, hear or smell something that concerns you: again, communicate with us. Let us know. Why do you think the window blinds have to be opened during take-off and landing? It is so you, our passengers, can let us know if there is a problem. So everybody can keep the situation in control.

Hopefully you take these tips into account next time you hop on a flight. And remember, flight attendants are here to keep you safe and comfortable. It’s our job to do so.

Make the Jump: Go Solo Female Travel!

Solo female travelers have seen a lot of revolutionary changes the past years. It is now more accessible and more acceptable to travel alone as a woman, even if it is at the other end of our dear world. Something that used to be not done, is now a must do in every woman’s life.

But what is so special and fulfilling about traveling by yourself as a woman?

Maybe it is the courage and strength you show yourself and others in your close environment. Maybe it is the connections you make, the unforgettable experiences you go through, or the realization how much this world has to offer. I find this Spanish saying summarizing solo female travel perfectly: “Todo lo bueno en la vida nace de un salto al vácio.” All the good things in life are born out of a jump in the unknown.

Going on a solo trip is the most terrifying, liberating and eye-opening experience anybody can ever have. Why? Because the best, wildest and most beautiful version of you comes out during this time. You have that “je m’en fou” attitude and you take more risks than you normally would. You can do what you want, not what your friend of family member wants to do. This is time for yourself. Time to ignite your soul and make the jump.

The most used reason to not go on a solo trip as a woman probably is the following: because it is not safe.

Of course, a very important aspect of a solo female trip is to do research. What country do you want to go to? What city? Which neighborhood will you stay in? Be careful and always be safe. Also: respect the local rules and norms. Make connections, talk to people and hear what they have to say about where not to go (alone) or how to act/ dress in certain areas.

If you did proper research and you don’t go looking up danger, or entering a church wearing just a bikini, you should be totally fine.

So go on. Make that jump, accept that frightening challenge, take your salto al vácio. Because I, together with all other solo female travelers, promise you: it is worth it.

The Best Way to Book Your Budget Holiday

That deep state of relaxation, that immense thrill of expanding your boundaries, that exciting feeling of strolling around in unknown streets and that spontaneous, wild version of you being outside your comfort zone and away from the daily life; going on a holiday is something we all cherish. It has become an essential part of our lives. But how do you book your dream holiday while being on a budget?

Personally, 2018 and 2019 – so far – were two years full of traveling and adventures. Some were unplanned, some were solo, some were in another continent, some ended in me celebrating my seventh month of being an expat in a foreign on this day.

One question I frequently hear is: “Where do you get all the money from for your travels?”

Prioritise your dream holiday

Let me make one thing clear. If you want something, really want something, you make it a priority. This is applicable on all things in life. With traveling, it’s the same. There is no magical, hidden treasure for people who want to go on holiday – unfortunately. You make money for it, like you make time for it.

However, I have one golden rule when it comes to planning and booking a holiday, and that is the following:

Set up a budget.

Wherever you want to go on holiday to, whenever you want to go, with whomever you want to go; you will need to set a budget for all your costs and keep some “emergency money” extra. Because while you’re traveling, anything can happen – don’t be scared, I’m not talking about medical emergencies, I’m talking about ordering too many of those delicious cocktails, planning another trip in your trip,… life happens, you know?

A for Effort

Next up is the planning part. My best experience is putting a trip together by yourself. That means you have to do all the work, like: checking multiple websites, OTA’s, apps, and online searching tools. It sounds exhausting and you probably want to click away this tab and look for package deals, but trust me, it is worth the effort.

Here are some tools I recommend: Skyscanner and Google Flights helped me out a lot during my quests to the best flights with my preferred airlines and dates. Google Flights even lets you choose your stop (which airport, how many hours, etc). Booking.com has a Genius reward program which allows you to get extra benefits out of your booking. And lastly, websites of hostels always guarantee you the lowest price.

Here’s a tip for when you have no clue where in this beautiful world you want to go to: on Skyscanner, you can put as destination ‘anywhere’ and they will provide you the cheapest flights for periods of whole months. That rule applies as well for known destinations: just click on ‘entire month’ when selecting the date.

When you have set your budget, you can start filtering on this, the date you had in mind for your ideal holiday, and/or the destination. The more information you possess, the merrier; it will be a lot easier to find your perfect holiday combination.

Sidenote: are you still doubting about certain flights? Create a price alarm so you get a notification you when there has been a price change in your selected flights. On some websites you can also reserve your flights: KLM lets you reserve your flight prices for €15.

So you already have your flights reserved or booked. Now it is time to book your accommodation before the prices go up – the disadvantage of checking everything by yourself (make sure to always clean up your cookies too).

Another important detail to remember is your included luggage when booking a light. For example, Lufthansa included my checked-in luggage in the flight prices, while Turkish Airlines didn’t, and my flight prices went up with €140. It may seen unimportant and just a small detail you can ‘arrange later’, but it is an essential part to not get caught in the flight deals. Always read the conditions of the flight fares.

Booking your stay on a certain location is more a question of personal preferences. Some would prefer the budget hotel, others see themselves being in a surf hostel, you may prefer an Airbnb: the cost may be the same, but of course, you aren’t the same as your fellow travellers.

If it is the first time you are using Booking.com, Airbnb, or another OTA, make sure to use your leverage as being part of the late majority and get extra discounts on your very first booking.

Livin’ la vida loca

Finally, you got your flights and accommodation all set up. Next up is planning your activities and discovering the city or country you will visit. My personal favourite guide is Lonely Planet’s “Guides”. They have offline city guides for a collection of cities worldwide. You can filter on different categories like food, attractions, etc. and within those categories you can filter on degree of popularity, price, etc. Culture Trip offers you a wide variation of blogs about different fields of interests for your next destination.

To summarise my collection of tips: always set up a budget, use the right sources to check your flights and accommodation options, use those online advantages such as discounts and never forget to read the small letters. Hopefully, these tips will facilitate the booking of your next holiday so you can enjoy it even more. I wish you happy travels and lots of eye-opening adventures.