Never clap when the plane lands.

(Alamy Stock Photo)

The holidays finally made a full comeback this summer. Thanks god. But many of us haven’t boarded a plane, checked into a fancy hotel, or ordered too many Aperol spritzes from a sun lounger for a long, long time. Thanks to the pandemic stopping the game for a couple of years, seasoned travelers now feel like newbies. So here’s our practical guide on how to spend the holidays like the professional you once were.

flight risk

Recline your seat, we dare you (PA Wire)

Recline your seat, we dare you (PA Wire)

fly two:

  • Prepare yourself properly for the security check at the airport. Nobody wants this to take longer than it has to. Remember that you are allowed a total of 1 liter of liquids, and each container can contain a maximum of 100ml. They all have to be in a clear, sealable bag. Why has everyone forgotten this? Pro Tip: Pack an empty water bottle that you can refill for free at the airport. Alternatively, simply freeze your water to pass through security. It is not a liquid so it is allowed. Just make sure it doesn’t melt on the way to the airport.

  • Wave and smile at the plane crew. Not only is he courteous, but he makes your job easier. Because when you’re boarding the plane, they’re not just being friendly, they’re looking for the right people who can help in an emergency.

  • To feel comfortable. Controversial, but it really is okay to recline the seat. That is why they have been built that way. Just remember to put it upright not only for landing but also when serving food. Nobody wants that little table in their face when they eat.

Fly don’t:

  • If you’re lucky enough to have an aisle or window seat, don’t hog the middle armrest. The person sitting there already gets the worst treatment, so it’s only fair that they occupy both armrests.

  • Get drunk. Not great. 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 very basic.

Shall we take advice?

There is no rule of thumb here, so check the country’s tipping etiquette before you visit. In Japan, you will offend the staff if you try to tip them. They see it as their job to serve you and they get paid well. Whereas in the US, most states don’t pay their staff brilliantly, so you get nasty looks if you don’t cough. And we’re talking at least 10%, more like 20% if you really liked the service.

Money talks

It’s a good idea to have at least some local currency in case a card reader or ATM isn’t working, or if you’ve destroyed your card’s magnetic stripe with your phone. Taxis often only accept cash, and you don’t want to miss out on a great cafe or restaurant that accepts cash only. Do not exchange money at the airport because you will pay ridiculous fees. Wait until you can find an exchange booth at your destination or ask your hotel for a recommendation.

Checking in

Hotel Adriana, Hvar - We would very much like to check in here this summer please (Adriana)

Hotel Adriana, Hvar – We would very much like to check in here this summer please (Adriana)

Hotels offer a glimpse of luxury living (no laundry! no dishes!) for a few wonderful days, but just because you’re on vacation, you shouldn’t forget to do your part for the planet. Most hotels don’t change towels every day. Want one? Leave the old ones on the floor or in the bathroom. Do you want to keep it? Hang it up.

Let’s talk about what you can take from a hotel. Things like slippers 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 is a summary of whether you should stay or go:

Take it:

  • Mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and other bath amenities

  • coffee, sugar, cookies

  • Pens, stationery, postcards and envelopes

  • disposable slippers

Leave it alone:

  • Towels, irons, hair dryers, pillows and blankets are the things that get pinched the most in hotel rooms. Mischievous! Hoteliers also report the regular disappearance of alarm clock radios, paintings, ashtrays, light bulbs, television remote controls (why?) and even the Bible. You don’t want to be billed for these things after you leave, so don’t.

  • Bathrobes are also off-limits, although sometimes 5-star hotels may gift you one of their monogrammed mega-fluffy robes. If in doubt, please call the front desk and ask.

conversation killer

Be your best self on holiday, like footballer Bukayo Saka (The FA via Getty Images)

Be your best self on holiday, like footballer Bukayo Saka (The FA via Getty Images)

And last but not least, talking about the pandemic is getting really boring, wherever you are in the world. Let’s move on. As you make new friends at your destination, talk about the local food and hidden gems to visit.

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