The holidays are finally, properly, completely back this summer. Thank you sir. But many of us haven’t boarded a plane, checked into a fancy hotel, or ordered too many Aperol spritzes from a lounge chair for a long, long time. Thanks to the pandemic that brought the game to a halt for a few years, seasoned travelers now feel like complete newbies. So, here’s our handy guide to how to vacation like the pro you once were.
Prepare properly for the airport security check. Nobody wants this to take longer than necessary. Remember that a total of 1 liter of liquid is allowed, with each container holding a maximum of 100ml. They all need to be in a clear, sealed bag. Why did everyone forget about it? Pro tip: Bring an empty water bottle that you can refill for free at the airport. Alternatively, simply freeze your water to get through security. It’s not a liquid, so it’s allowed. Just be careful not to melt on the way to the airport.
Say hello and smile to the plane’s crew. He is not only polite, but makes their job easier. Because when you’re boarding the plane, they’re not just being friendly, they’re looking for suitable people who can help in an emergency.
Be comfortable. Controversial, but it’s okay to recline your seat. That’s why they were built that way. Just remember to place it vertically not only for setting, but also when food is served. Nobody wants that little table in their face when they eat.
If you’re lucky enough to have an aisle or window seat, don’t hog the middle armrest. The person sitting there already has the worst deal, so it’s only fair that both armrests are loose.
get drunk. Is not cool. And you’ll start your vacation with, at best, a hangover and, at worst, a criminal record.
Clap your hands after the plane lands. Yes, you are excited to have gone somewhere, but applauding your pilot is so basic.
Shall we take a hint?
There is no general rule here, so check your country’s tipping etiquette before visiting. In Japan, you will offend employees if you try to tip them. They see it as their job to serve you and they are paid well. While in the US, most states don’t pay their employees brilliantly, so you get nasty looks if you don’t take a look. And we’re talking at least 10% – more than 20% if you really liked the service.
money speaks louder
It’s a good idea to have at least some local currency with you in case a card reader or ATM doesn’t work, or if you destroyed your card’s magnetic stripe with your phone. Taxis are often cash only, and you don’t want to miss out on a great cash-only cafe or restaurant. Don’t change money at the airport because you will be paying ridiculous fees. Wait until you find a currency exchange desk at your destination or ask your hotel for a recommendation.
Hotels offer a glimpse of a life of luxury (no laundry! No washing!) for a happy few days, but just because you’re on vacation, you shouldn’t forget to do your part for the planet. Most hotels are not changing towels every day. Want a? Leave the old ones on the floor or in the bath. Want to hold it? Hang it up.
Let’s talk about what you can bring from a hotel. Things like flip-flops are thrown away after you leave, and stationery is considered free marketing (it usually has the hotel logo on it), so you’re on safe ground. Here’s a rundown of whether to stay or go:
Mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and other bath amenities
Coffee, sugar, cookies
Pens, letterhead, postcards and envelopes
disposable flip flops
Towels, irons, hairdryers, pillows and blankets are the most commonly nibbled things in hotel rooms. Naughty! Hoteliers also report the regular disappearance of clock radios, paintings, ashtrays, lamps, TV remotes (why?) and even the Bible. You don’t want to be charged for these things after you leave, so don’t.
Bathrobes are also prohibited, although sometimes 5-star hotels may gift you one of their mega-cute monogrammed robes. If in doubt, call reception and ask.
And last but not least, talking about the pandemic is getting pretty boring, wherever in the world you are. Let’s move on. When making new friends at your destination, talk about local food and hidden gems to visit.