Sunday, 21 October 2012


How to become a flight attendant?

The life of a flight attendant is exciting for many reasons: you get to travel the world whilst getting paid for it, you'll stay in exclusive hotels, receive discounts on flights and you are the center of attention at every airport.
But if it is such a great lifestyle, then why doesn't everyone do it? How hard is it to become a flight attendant?

This article will inform you about the recruitment process and the requirements involved.

You usually don't need to bring any skills along other than being a people's person. Some airlines may require you to obtain a first aid certificate before you attend the interview.
What recruiters are looking for is a sociable, sophisticated and approachable person, with good English skills. A second language is beneficial, but it is not always required.

Your look:
There is the common perception that a flight attendant has to be extremely attractive. While some of them are, it is not a recruitment requirement. Weight plays a role, but as long as you are not morbidly obese anyone can give it a go. Tattoos and piercings have to be covered/removed and grooming standards are extremely strict. Most airlines have a minimum height requirement, which varies, but usually revolves around 165cms. The more conservative you look for your interview the better.

The process:
The process varies with each airline, but they are all trying to achieve the same thing: To find the most suitable candidates out of thousands of applicants. In order to filter through the less qualified ones, certain strategies are applied. Most recruitment processes start with an online application form. Once the form is processed you may be invited to a recruitment day or an interview.
The recruitment day usually involves an information session about the job itself. Questions are encouraged and you make a good first impression if you ask a couple of valid questions.
Then the group will go through various rounds of tasks.
Tasks include group discussions about a certain subjects. The recruiters will look how well you interact with others and how well you participate in the conversation. The ideal balance lies between contributing and letting others speak, whilst acknowledging their statements.
Other tasks may include a team building exercise, where each team is given a specific problem to solve. Problem solving skills are important to being a flight attendant. Once again most recruiters would like to see a balance between taking the lead, without disregarding other member's input and opinions. Dominance is discouraged and a flexible attitude towards leading and being led is beneficial.

The job:
The job may be a little less glamorous than you think. Yes you will stay in amazing hotels, yes you will get great discounts with other airlines and hotels, but this comes at a price.
The price is that you will have to clean up other people's dirty meal trays, you will be yelled at by passengers and sometimes fellow staff, and after each flight you'll surely have a story to tell, good or bad ones.
The discounted flights are certainly a bonus, however, a seat is never guaranteed and if it is a busy flight you will be left stranded at the airport. Thus if you wish to travel somewhere, which involves a stopover, you might get stuck where you didn't plan on going. Once again, that is not such a big deal if it is London or Paris, but if it is Johannesburg on your way to the Maldives for example, then you'd probably think that you should have paid the full fare, so you won't get stuck somewhere unsafe all by yourself.
This has happened to me personally and it is frightening when there is no certainty about your date of departure.

All in all, working as a flight attendant was a great experience that I will never regret and I can encourage anyone to try it for themselves.

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Beautiful blue skies, crystal clear water and 28 degrees. It is a perfect day to head over to Moreton Island. Moreton Island is a large sand island off the coast of Brisbane, Queensland. If you are one of the lucky ones, who have a boat you can easily ride across in under 30min.

If you don't have a boat, then visiting this beautiful island can become quite a challenge. There are ferry services that take you across, but since there are no roads on Moreton Island, there is no way of exploring the island unless you bring a 4WD across. 

With a permit you can drive your 4WD along the long deserted stretches of beach Moreton Island has to offer. You need to purchase your permit before your trip. This can be done online at

Micat, Tangalooma Launch, Reality Cruises and Amity Trader are companies that can take you across. Amity Trader and Micat can take both passengers and vehicles. Tangalooma Launch and Reality Cruises are passenger carriers only.

Taking your car across is quite expensive and only recommended if you are planning on staying over night. Camping on selected beaches is allowed with a permit, which can be obtained from the same website as mentioned above. You can also find a small number of campgrounds scattered across the island. 

Tangalooma is a tiny township consisting of a handful of resorts, restaurants and bars.
If you are not a fan of camping, then Tangalooma is the ideal place for you to stay on Moreton Island.

Activities on Moreton Island are endless: snorkeling, scuba Diving, jet skiing, beach volleyball, hiking, just to name a few.

A great spot for diving and snorkeling are the deliberately sunk shipwrecks on the western Side of Moreton Island. The shipwrecks can be accesses from the beach by swimming accross (approx. 50meters) or can be walked to during low tide.

To sum it up: Moreton Island is a bit of a challenge to get to, but well worth the effort!

If you need more tips and info please visit:
Here you can also find a travel itinerary for Australia that includes a drive along the Great Ocean Road, Ayers Rock and many more adventures!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


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Sunday, 23 September 2012

ITINERARIES, yes or no?

ITINERARIES, yes or no?

Each traveler has their own philosophy about visiting another country.
Some like to mingle with the locals.
Some like to stick to their own kind.
Some like to do both.
Some like utter luxury, others want to test how much they can live without.

There is an abundance of travel quotes that summarize each of these attitudes towards traveling.
Just to name a few:
1.  “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
– John Steinbeck

2. “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”
– Samuel Johnson

3. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

4. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

5. “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
– Lao Tzu

6. “Not all those who wander are lost.”
 – J. R. R. Tolkien

7. “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”
– Clifton Fadiman

8.  “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
 – Mark Twain

9.  “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
– Bill Bryson                                       

10.  “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
– Susan Heller

11. “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.”
– Paul Theroux

What is my philosophy? I haven't found it yet, I believe. I used to hate itineraries, because I felt restricted by them. But then I realised, that an itinerary is just a piece of paper and I don't have to do what it says. I eventually came to the conclusion that an itinerary can be a valid source of information that helps me and others find what they are truly looking for in their perfect holiday.

I have been traveling with an itinerary in mind ever since, but I kept my options open, by not booking everything in advance. If I wanted to ditch my itinerary there was nothing to hold me back. Those were the trips that were the most memorable to me.

Sometimes not having any clue on what to do at your destination could have you miss out on some great adventures. You may get stuck in a rut of visiting backpacker bar after backpacker bar for entertainment, when there is a whole world out there to be explored. You just didn't know about it.

For those reasons I believe that it is always important to research at least a little bit about your destination.

First up an itinerary can tell you whether you even want to visit a place. If you don't like long bus journeys, but local buses are the only way of getting around, you may want to consider a different destination. If you love fine dining and wines, but your destination does not allow alcohol to be consumed, you may be better off somewhere else.

To sum it up: Itineraries don't just restrict you, they guide you where needed.
To me an itinerary is a back up plan. It gives you ideas and inspires you. It helps you when in need. 

Happy travels! 
Need help with your travel itinerary? Visit

Friday, 31 August 2012

Kathmandu, Nepal


Scam stories:

What would traveling be without scams? It is almost hard to imagine. Almost every country will have their scam specialty.
Scams are a lot of things... a daily hassle, things that could potentially ruin your trip and most certainly stories that you will tell back home.

For those reason I would like to write about some of the scams out there. But I also want to emphasize that the simple fact that scams exists must not put you off travelling. The main advice I can give each and every traveler is easy: Use your common sense.

A guide to scams and how to avoid them:

Taxi Scams: The most common of all. In almost any country you have to be wary of taxi drivers. It is the easiest way to rip anyone off. You are foreign, you don’t know your way around and you may not know how much a fare should cost. Some taxi drivers might also take you around for a lot longer than necessary.
The way out: Use reputable taxi companies. In some countries other companies will try to copy the name of a reputable company by just changing it slightly. So read the labels carefully. Get an idea of how much a ride per kilometer will cost in the country of your destination.
         Ask about the price before you enter the taxi. Even if the driver ensures that the meter is used, just ask about a rough quote beforehand. Some meters are tempered with and run a lot faster than they should. In order to ensure that the driver does not take you around unnecessarily get an idea of how far your destination is away. And last but not least... if you are certain that you are being ripped off, get the locals involved. Ask the concierge at your hotel or staff at the place where you are being dropped off, to argue on your behalf. Most locals will be happy to help.

Hotel Scams: Hotel scams and taxi scams are very closely linked. If you ask a taxi driver to take you to the hotel of your choice, he might tell you that the hotel does not exist anymore, has moved or is fully booked. Some drivers then suggest to take you to a better hotel they know of. These hotels pay the driver a commission to take their passengers there. Most of these hotels will be overpriced and below standard.
The way out: The best way to avoid this is to book the hotel in advance and insist on being taken there, otherwise you will use a different taxi.
         A different hotel scam involves copying the name of a well known and highly valued hotel. The taxi driver (if he is involved in the scam) will tell you that the hotel has relocated. We have heard that this specific type of scam happens in Hanoi. A way to avoid it, is to book your hotel in advance or make a reservation over the phone. Or   simply check the hotels website prior to your arrival. If the hotel did move, they most certainly would have updated their website.

Gambling scams: I have heard that these scams are common in Thailand and around South East Asia. But they could happen anywhere. A typical way of getting foreigners involved in a gambling scam is to approach them on the street and engage them in a conversation. The local will then invite you to their home or a cafe to meet his or her family or friends. They are very clever in convincing people to join. At their home or cafe you will be casually asked to participate in a harmless game of cards or the like. This will then slowly turn into a more serious game   where money will be bet. People are being pushed to continue. By the end of it you will have lost a lot of money. If you don’t have enough cash on you, you will be taken to an ATM where you’ll be closely monitored so you won’t be able to escape. After you hand over the cash (and this can be thousands of dollars) you        are usually released. It will pretty much depend on your bank balance and the ATMs daily withdrawal limit that will determine how much you’ll loose.
They way out: This is a tricky one. Often locals simply want to get to know you, without any hidden intentions. It would be sad to reject everyone simply on the basis of fearing the possibility of a scam. Ways to avoid it are:
- Don’t ever go to someone’s house by yourself. Especially if you have just met.
- Ask the local to meet at a busy public place instead
- Say that you don’t play cards (make up an excuse)
- Leave when you start to feel awkward
         Many scams are based on the fear of being impolite or disrespectful. Out of respect or social norms many people will continue with their actions, even though they know it’s wrong or it will have a bad consequence. Just remind yourself that, as long as no one forces you to stay, you can always leave. Just do it!

The friendly stranger and all of his friends: I have heard about this particular type of scam happening in Turkey. But it can happen anywhere. A stranger might approach you and engage you in a conversation. You and him or her seem to have a lot in common. He invites you to a bar and drinks are ordered. More of his friends join the party. A few hours go by and the table is filled with many drinks. Before you know it, everyone disappears and you are the only one left at the table. The bar or restaurant now makes you solely responsible for paying the bill. Usually the restaurants are in on this scam and will threaten you if you refuse to pay.
The way out: Once again, be wary of who you trust. If you think this is were the situation is heading, be the one to leave. Excuse yourself and leave them with money to pay for your drinks or just disappear before they get the chance to do so themselves.

Tour and taxi scam: This has happened to myself, so I can speak from experience. It happened in New Delhi in India, however this could also happen anywhere. I believe this is a scam that a lot of people would fall for and it was a clever one that was certainly difficult to identify as a scam.
         I arrived in New Delhi at night and I got myself a taxi voucher from the airport to ensure that the taxi won’t overcharge me. As soon as I left the building I was surrounded by screaming drivers that all wanted my business. I was approached by a calm man who saw my voucher and he ensured me that he was the one who works for the company that issues the vouchers. I followed him to his taxi and told him that I was going to wait at the New Delhi trainstation until the first train arrived in the morning. When we drove past, it was dark an no one was there. So I decided to stay at a hostel in Paharganj, the backpacker district close to the trainstation. I gave him the names and addresses of some hostels in the area, but he did not seem to be able to find them without a block number, which was not mentioned in my guidebook. He even stopped at a police station to ask the police officer for directions. He then came back to tell me that the police offer does not know where it          is either, but that there is a travel agency around the corner that is still open (at 4am... odd isn’t it).
         They were happy to help me by calling the hostels from my guidebook to ask for availability and location. I was told that all of them were booked out. We tried calling the offices that sell train tickets, but they were also sold out, because they said that there was a festival and tickets were booked out months ago.
         I even spoke to some of the people myself and they all told me that everything was booked out. Meanwhile my “friendly” taxi driver was waiting outside. I was stranded, so I thought. No trains, flights, buses or hotels available.
         He then offered that they are selling private tours for around $1000 for two weeks. Knowing that $1000 is a lot of money in India and no backpacker would ever spend that much in two weeks, I was not convinced. In addition to that I did not want to be stuck with a tour guide for the rest of my holiday. I felt like I needed to do my own thing, so I rejected the offer which seemed like my only option.
         The travel agent then made a very generous offer and offered me a room free of charge until the next day. Then he was going to try and find a hotel, train etc. for me.
         To cut a long story short: I had an odd feeling from the start, but slowly I realised that I was stuck in the middle of a massive scam. When I was told that every hotel, train and flight was booked out, I did in fact speak to the same person over the phone (most likely the taxi driver who waited for me outside). The travel agent tried to create a desperate situation for and my only available option seemed to book a tour with them.
         In the end I did not book a tour, I ran from the room I was given, jumped on a rickshaw and 5 minutes later I was at the trainstation and had a ticket to Agra for the same day. To kill some time I walked around Paharganj and I was given a lot of flyers that all advertised available rooms.

         Everything I was told was a lie, there was no festival and nothing was booked out. Since this experience happened right at the beginning of my trip and it made me overly cautious which helped me from being scammed again. I then had the most pleasant trip of a lifetime!
The way out: I guess the moral of the story is, that scams can often be hard to identify as   such and you will have to use your common sense and your gut feeling in order to distinguish between a scam and an honest person. Always be sceptical, but don’t reject everyone right from the start.

Hi I am your pick up!: This is an easy one. You arrive at the airport or trainstation and someone approaches you and tells you that they are the pick up from the hotel that you have arranged.
The way out: Always ask a few questions first. Don’t answer any of their questions. Some people trick you into telling them where you are staying only to use this information to trick you into thinking that they were your genuine pick up.  Ask from which hotel they have been sent or ask what your name is. Usually the hotel will provide the pick up agent with your name. If they don’t know it, they are not the right guy.

Train ticket scam: This is a well known scam in New Delhi.
         In some countries it is easy and recommended to buy a train ticket or bus ticket through a local travel agent. It saves you the time and money to drive to the trainstation yourself to buy the ticket from there. Most agents charge a small booking fee for their service. However, some agents will try to make as much money off you as possible.  In New Delhi, the trainstation has an office on the second floor that issues tickets. This is the official ticketing office. A lot of people hang out around the trainstation,who will tell you that the office has moved or is under renovation and is now located elsewhere. They will show you the way to the new office. These offices make their money by tricking people into believing that they are at the offical ticketing office and increase the price for the tickets significantly.
The way out: You are very lucky if you manage to make it to the official ticketing office without being stopped by someone. Don’t even believe your hotel or people in uniforms. Most people are in on this scam and work on behalf of those travel agents. Just walk your way towards the main building and up the stairs. Ignore anyone who is trying to stop you. Believe me, they will! And they are very good at convincing people that the office is no longer there. It is and it will be until further notice! Be assertive and firm and tell them you were already there yesterday and they should leave you alone.

General advice: If you visit another country you may be surprised at how friendly, helpful and welcoming people are. And most people are like that, because it is part of their culture and upbringing. However the golden rule is: Use your common sense.
   You wouldn’t accept a ride from a stranger at 2am, so don’t do it when you are overseas no matter how nice the people are over there.
   You wouldn’t visit a stranger’s house by yourself, so don’t do it when you are overseas no matter how nice the people are over there.
   You wouldn’t walk around dark alleyways in the middle of the night, so don’t do it when you are overseas, no matter how nice the people are over there.


Ever wondered how people come home with all these great bargains from their overseas trips? Beautiful dresses from Thailand, wooden statues from Bali, shoes from Vietnam. The list is endless. Well it has a lot to do with what I call the Art of Haggling.

Sounds easy, right? Things are cheaper in many countries already anyway, so you don't have much to loose. Well, unfortunately that's not always how it works. You will be surprised by the initial markups of some sellers.
Those obviously fake Nike sneakers that are actually quite uncomfortable, but just look so damn cool, can't be that expensive, so you think. That quickly changes when the tiny sales woman types in a few digits into her calculator and passes it over to you with a friendly smile. You quickly try to convert the currency into a more familiar one... $80!!!! That can't be right... You calculate it again... $80!!!

WHAT! That's almost more than what you'd pay for a genuine pair of shoes back home. So how are you gonna bargain an ridiculously overpriced item down to a reasonable amount?

Here's a guide to: The ART of HAGGLING
If you are from a Western country, the art of haggling may be foreign to you. However, it is a skill that will come in very handy when travelling. In a lot of countries you will find that you will have to haggle for the items you buy. The seller is not particularly dishonest when he or she asks for a high price to begin with. It is part of the art of haggling.
The seller will start with a high price that may even seem ridiculous. Then the customer asks for a ridiculously low price. You’ll do this 2 or 3 times until you meet in the middle.
I personally tend to walk away if the starting price is ridiculously high, since it makes it harder to haggle. Other people see it as a challenge. Be prepared that some seller will not sell the item to you for your asking price, even though it may seem reasonable, since they know that they can sell it for a lot more to an inexperienced tourist.
This is why the art of haggling is so important. The more people know about it and the more people practice it, the less people will be ripped off overseas.
Don’t consider yourself a cheapskate and don’t ever feel bad. Your gut feeling will tell you what’s right and wrong.
You’ll bite yourself in the behind when you buy an item and see it for 80% less somewhere else. That’s when you know you’ll have to start haggling.

The mighty calculator: Many people don’t speak English and a calculator becomes an indespensable necessity. Don’t worry, you won’t have to carry a calculator around with you. Every shop will have a calculator. Trust me! You will usually pass it back and fourth until you have come to an agreement.
Humor: This is a very important part of haggling. You will need a sense of humor. It will help you to take the transaction less seriously and it will make both parties more comfortable. And you might even get a better deal. If you are perceived as a nice person the sellers are more willing to give you a good price compared to an arrogant and bossy customer.
Know your currency: Haggling doesn’t work if you don’t know the local currency and the conversion rates. If you look unsure, sellers will notice that and won’t take your bargaining seriously. Always act like you know what you are doing. If you are in a two currency country such as Vietnam (Dong and US Dollar) it is recommended that you haggle in the local currency. This will often give you the opportunity to lower the price a lot more than doing it in US Dollars. For example: 1 US Dollar = 20 700 Dong
It willl be much harder to haggle the less digits you have to work with. Haggling below $1 becomes almost impossible, because $0.75 won’t look appealing to any seller.
15 000 Dong however has a completely different look and effect.
Deals: If you are at a store that sells a lot of things that you like, it is a good idea to ask for a deal. The more you buy from the same seller the smaller the price per item becomes. Once you have found a good store with a fair asking price it is recommended that you do most of your shopping here.
Enjoy it: Haggling can be a hassle, but it is also a lot of fun! You will certainly have a laugh with the sellers and it is a great way of getting to know the people and their culture. See it as a kind of cultural exchange. You are not only exchanging money and items, you may exchange a smile or even have a cup of tea at the store and a good conversation. Most sellers welcome their customers immensly and will be happy to give you a deal that will satisfy both parties.
There are the odd ones who only sell their items if it means a huge profit for them. So be wise and don’t buy because you fell like you have to!

Happy Haggling!