tops and flops of tulum

12 Tops And Flops of Tulum

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Dear Aviator,

In January I went to Tulum in Mexico for the first time, to spend my vacation there. This destination has been on my bucket list for so long and I was finally able to experience the vibe myself. To be honest, I loved and hated it at the same time. Here are my 12 tops and flops of Tulum so you can decide for yourself if it is worth the journey for you.

tops and flops tulum

1. Top Beach  #lifeisgood🏝

Tulum Beach can be very relaxing as long as there is no partying taking place as there is a lot of loud music playing. Especially at night. So how is it relaxing?

Compared to other popular beach travel destinations, you will not find any noisy water sports, no screaming kids and no aeroplanes (unfortunately) which fly over you at low levels. However, you will find one hotel next to the other at the beachfront. Luckily there are no huge hotel bunkers, instead, there are beautiful small boutique hotels that are integrated into the surrounding jungle. To get access to the beach you need to use the entrance of a hotel or a day beach club.    

TIP: Gitano Beach Club is a place to be when you are looking for cold drinks, tasty food and good music at the beach. You can chillax in cosy day beds and you can take a refreshing swim in a private bay.

tops and flops tulum

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

tops and flops tulum

2. Flop Payment  #midevil 💳

OMG! This was the worst and so annoying! Some venues accepted credit cards only – then we discovered the machines did not work. Others accepted cash only but to get local currencies was not easy either. When paying by card most venues charged a service fee. So be careful, sometimes these charges can be up to 10% of your original bill. 

TIP: Bring some cash. Pesos and USD dollars with you. Have at least two credit cards and be prepared for a lot of hassle when paying.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

At Los Bowls de Guadalupe you get healthy food and you can pay by card!

3. Top Entry  #forall 🤗

Mexico is one of the few countries which lets in unvaccinated tourists without any test. So this is very convenient for some and reduces the pre-travel stress significantly. Even though hygiene measures were in force, everything was open and you could enjoy a “normal life” without having to think about Covid all the time.

TIP: Enjoy to the fullest!

tops and flops tulum

4. Flop Safety  #drugwar 🔫

I had mixed feelings when it came to safety in the Tulum bubble. Before my trip I read some shocking news about guns fired between different cartels, causing injuries to tourists and that the local police were highly corrupt. The pandemic also appears to have worsened the situation, with robberies on the street. The recent events made the Mexican government send armed soldiers to the tourist hotspots to provide safety for the people. 

Tip: Leave your expensive jewellery at home. Do not have a lot of cash with you and do not walk in abandoned parts of the city at night. Use your hotel safe to store valuables. If someone tries to rob you,  just give him/her what you have. Your life is far more valuable than your possessions.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

5. Top Parties #godancing 🕺

To be honest, before I went to Tulum, I thought it was a destination to relax, to have healthy food and to dress up. But it is also an extreme Party location. You can go dancing to the beats of world-famous DJs.

TIP: Party venues stretch over the entire city. I personally enjoyed the open-air parties right at the beach the most. The regular cover is extremely expensive though. 

tops and flops tulum

6. Flop Prices #ripoff 💸

Prices in Tulum shocked me so much. Tulum has nothing to do with the rest of Mexico. It is a bubble right in the middle of the jungle. It is somehow working but very insatiable. The entire infrastructure is not built for the size of the city. Fresh water comes with trucks to the beach hotel and electricity is produced through generators. Prices for parties, hotel rooms and dinner can easily cost several hundred Euros in a country that is relatively poor. Everyone is trying to get your money and this can be very annoying on vacation and ruins the vibe. Tulum is a destination for tourists who do not necessarily have to look at a travel budget.  

TIP: The Prices for food are more responsible in downtown Tulum. Do not go there if you have a small travel budget, because Tulum will not be so enjoyable.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

7. Top Food  #inheaven 😋

Tulum offers food outlets for every taste, budget and high-end tasters. For vegans and vegetarians, this is the place to be. As a foodie, you will be floating on cloud nine in Tulum.

TIP: I enjoyed Meze and Taboo for dinner. Both venues slowly transformed into a party location in the evening. Prices are generally higher at the beach compared to restaurants and cafes in the downtown region.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

8. Flop Taxis  #theworst 🚕

Taking a cab in Tulum is a nightmare. There is no UBER service or any other transportation app. There is no taximeter, so the price will be set by the driver. Prices go up ridiculously at night. During the day you pay around 15€ between downtown and the beach. At night they want around 70€. 

TIP: Negotiate the price before taking a taxi. Tell them which price you want to pay and stick with it. Drivers will try to ask for more money.  If they ask for too much money for the trip, go to the next taxi. Have cash with you, because not all drivers accept cards.

tops and flops tulum

9. Top Vibe  #unique 🚀

Tulum is a bubble and the vibe within it is exceptional. I love how people dress up just to go to the beach. It is glamorous in some way but also down to earth. I did not have the feeling that it was artificially nice but genuinely friendly. It has a certain type of people living and visiting there, I would say. 

TIP: Get some clothing which suits the Tulum vibe before your journey. Prices are a lot more expensive there. 

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

10. Flop Cocktails  #awful 🍹

If you are into cocktails, then I have to disappoint you. Tulum lacks good barkeepers. Anyways, that’s a perfect reason to drink less. Alcohol is toxic to your body. Instead, have a green smoothie at the RAW Love Beach.

TIP: If you need to have a drink then have one with mezcal –  the world-famous tequila of Mexico.  

tops and flops tulum

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

11. Top Nature  #stunning 🌿

Most people visiting Tulum forget how beautiful the surrounding nature is – they may be too focused on partying and relaxing at the beach. You definitely have to visit the Cenotes, which are sweet water sinkholes connected through a tunnel system with the ocean. They are spectacular and a must-visit, like the beachfront Maya Ruins of Tulum 

TIP: Origin Dive project offers an amazing exclusive experience in a Maya reserve. Besides diving into an underwater cave (without experience) you will fly over a Centore with a zip line. I absolutely recommend doing it. It was one of the best activity experiences I have ever had.

tops and flops tulum

Experience with Origin Dive Project 

 

Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an

 

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

tops and flops tulum

12. Flop Streets #wrongturn 🚧

Streets in Tulum are a big big flop – especially in Downtown Tulum.

 Some of them are so terrible that I would not call them streets even though they lead to a residential area and to high-end hotels. At night there is no street lighting and you have to be extremely careful. Additionally, traffic to and from the beach can be a disaster because the infrastructure is not made to cope with the high number of visitors.

TIP: Rent a scooter to be flexible and to get around quickly. But I would only drive one if you have experience and feel safe driving one. 

tops and flops tulum

So…are you going to Tulum after you read my blog post about the tops and flops of Tulum? Please let me in a comment below and do not forget to like the post!

Your PilotPatrick


how risky is flying

How risky is flying during a pandemic? How to make it safer!

Dear Aviator,

I noticed that a lot of people are scared to travel during the pandemic. Especially on board an airplane in which social distancing is not possible, people are fearing infection by the coronavirus. Are these worries justified? 

In this blog post I will inform you how risky flying is during the pandemic. How high are the chances of getting the virus and which safety measures make it safer.

how risky is flying

Photography by Manu (Professional photographer & plane spotter)

How risky is flying during the pandemic?

What do you think is more dangerous? – going to the supermarket or flying on an airplane? Spoiler, it is the first!

The chances of getting the coronavirus on an airplane are existent but very minimal.  If this is the case why do people fear to fly at the moment. Let me give you an analogy. You probably recall that a lot of people were, even before the pandemic, afraid to fly in fear of an accident. The chances of having a fatal accident traveling by plane are so little. 1 in 29 Million. By bicycle it is 1 in 340,000. 85 times higher. Yet, I know so many people who are afraid to fly but I don’t know anyone who is afraid to ride the bike (except for me).

Blog post: Tips against the fear of flying

It is identical to current times. People jump easily to the conclusion that air travel must be unsafe because that thought-process has already been made in our brain before. We irrationally associate it with risk, even though an airplane is the one of the safest indoor environments.

how risky is flying
how risky is flying

Airlines do the best they can

Airlines do their best to make flying even safer. Cabin attendants are wearing special protective uniforms. Emirates provides a hygiene travel kit with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for every passenger. Social distancing procedures are in force during boarding and disembarking (some airlines free up the middle seat) Airlines use enhanced cleaning procedures.  

When it comes to infectious disease, airplanes have an excellent safety record because the air people breathe while flying is some of the most filtered air in travel, according to Joseph Allen, who directs the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

how risky is flying

Cabins: The safest indoor environment

The air in (many) planes is a 50/50 mix of outdoor air and recirculated air. The outdoor air is bled off the engine, conditioned and delivered into the cabin. The other 50% is recirculated air that goes through HEPA filters.

All major commercial jets have ventilation systems with high-quality HEPA filters capable of removing 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and other airborne particles with a size as small as 0.3 microns. For comparison, Covid-19 is thought to be between 0.06 to 1.4 microns.

Additionally, authorities have installed body temperature checkpoints at airports and implemented social distancing measurements. To numerous destinations you need a negative PCR-test prior departure which reduces the chance that a passenger infected with Covid-19 being allowed to board. (source: CNN)

how risky is flying
how risky is flying

Tips to lessen the risk

  • Wear the right mask at all times. Make sure it covers mouth AND nose.
  • Reduce the usage of the lavatory. Wait some time after another passenger used it.
  • Disinfect surfaces around your seat you may touch during the flight.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with your fingers.
  • Spread out in the cabin to create more space between fellow passengers.
  • Think about the full travel experiences and not solely about the flight itself.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly especially after using the lavatory.
  • The shorter the flight the less the risk of getting infected.

how risky is flying

The risks of getting infected are higher in security queues or on the way to the airport in the public transportation or when visiting the supermarket before the flight to get some snacks. So think about the full travel experience and not only about the flight itself. 

It is not about confining yourself and stopping doing things you enjoy but to use your capable mind to do research on the information that is just a google search away. Make the best decision for yourself, your mental health and others.

I hope you you find my article: “How risky is flying during the pandemic?” informative. Don’t forget to to like the post post and share it with users. 

Stay safe and healthy travels

Your PilotPatrick


corona vacation

What is it like to spend a vacation in Croatia in the times of Corona?

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Dear Aviators,
to be honest I was a bit worried to go traveling again after we had the lockdown in Germany and borders were closed. Numerous questions came to my mind when I thought about my first vacation in times of Corona. Is it really safe? Does it even make sense? Will the restrictions impair my vacation? What are the safety measurements in a foreign country? You might have the same mixed feelings when you think about your next trip. In this blog post / report I will share with you my impressions during my latest trip to Croatia.

Dubrovnik Airport

Coastline of Dubrovnik

Old Town of Dubrovnik

Traveling by airplane

I was curious to find out how air travel will be during a pandemic. I got a little glimpse of it when I flew on my way back from Australia via China to Germany in the beginning of February. Passengers started to wear masks and the service on board was tremendously reduced. (full video here on YouTube) Now a face mask is mandatory during the flight and there is almost no food and drink service. Direct flights are also reduced from Berlin due to Corona. So to get to Dubrovnik (DBV) I had to fly from Vienna (VIE) with Austrian Airlines.

It was great to observe that Corona has not only negative aspects. Flying has never been so easy going: No major crowds at the airport, quick security checks, no pushing of other passengers. Instead smaller and clean airplanes, respectful passengers, no panic while disembarking and everyone is trying to keep distance from others. Some measurements seem awkward but it is great to see everyone is obeying them.

Staying at the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik organized by Turkfluencer

Direct Ocean front

What to expect at the hotel?

Last time I flew to Dubrovnik I was still a flight student back in 2008. So I was thrilled to come back to re-explore the region. I stayed in the Rixos Premium Hotel Dubrovnik, which is situated at the waterfront not far from the famous old town. Waking up in the morning overlooking the calm Adrian Sea and having a coffee on the terrace lets you forget about all the terrible things happening in the world right now.

Covid-19 measurements in the hotel

The hotel staff wore masks. There are plenty of stations to disinfect your hands. At the buffet restaurant you were required to wear a face mask and gloves but besides that you did not have to.

I really enjoyed that all facilities of the hotel, like the outdoor pool, indoor pool, sauna, bars and all the food outlets were completely open. The Rixos hotel really spoiled me with their Turkish hospitality. I enjoyed a dinner show at Umi Teppanyaki, Dry aged meat at the Turquoise restaurant and a romantic dinner in their open air fish restaurant  by the sea.

Are restaurants open?

Most of the restaurants in the city were open even with a fewer number of tourists which normally would visit during the summer. Make sure to visit restaurants outside of your hotel as well. 80% of the people are dependent on tourism in Croatia. To go outside for dinner to support local businesses like the Gverovic Orsan restaurant, a traditional mediterranean restaurant which is also one of the oldest ones in Dubrovnik. Their signature dish is the black risotto and during all meals you can enjoy stunning views of the Adria. Don’t miss trying fresh oysters from Croatia.

Cabana day

Fish restaurant at the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik

Umi Teppanyaki restaurant at the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik

Protection is key

The face mask has become a mandatory accessory in our daily lives. You need to wear a mask whenever you get into an enclosed public building in Croatia. You are supposed to keep at least 1,5 meter to others but this is almost impossible in the narrow streets  and small houses of the old town.

Please do not to forget your other safe companion: sun protection. As you know I have a long lasting partnership with Eucerin to spread the awareness of the importance to protect yourself from the sun.

Why should you use suncare?
First of all not to get a painful sunburn. Secondly to lower the chances of getting skin cancer. Solely in Germany, 200.000 people became diagnosed with skin cancer for the first time in 2016. Additionally, the sun is the reason for many other skin damages. You should protect yourself during any #sunnymoment and it is never too late to start with it!

For your health and beauty

I never really thought about it, the UV- Light and HEV- Light does not only influence the healthiness of the skin, but also the aging process. The research of Eucerin revealed that the high-energy visible light (HEV) induces free radicals which also cause visible signs of skin aging and hyperpigmentation. About 90% of the visible skin aging is caused by UV- Light and HEV- Light.

Three easy tips for the proper protection

  1. The right product: Find the right product for you and your skin type. Eucerin Sun Protection has a huge product variety thus meets your age, preference, and needs.
  2. The right amount: Think of the size of a golf ball. That is the quantity you need to cover your whole body.
  3. Think twice: Best is to apply sunscreen twice, so you don’t miss out on any unprotected spots on your skin.

What are my favorite products?

Eucerin offers a wide range of sunscreen products for any age, skin type and occasion.
For the face: SUN OIL CONTROL FACE GEL-CREME
For the body: SUN OIL CONTROL BODY DRY TOUCH (NEW) and TRANSPARENT DRY TOUCH (refreshing)

All three products have an ultra-light texture and dry really fast on the skin. A big plus is that they are not as sticky as you know it from other suncare products. Additionally the Oil Control products have a mattifying effect so your skin is less shiny for your vacation photos.

Activities in Dubrovnik

Now it is the time to discover and re-explore  European cities which are normally over crowded with people. Normally, Dubrovnik is packed with tourists during high season. Thousands of day visitors come by cruise ships and it is hard to enjoy the full beauty of the city. In the last two years the city became even more famous because Games of Thrones and Star Wars used the scenic city as their movie set. This is summer, it is all different. I spotted only a few tourists strolling through the old town. I can recommend booking a city tour by @experiencedubrovnik, the official tourism board of the city and do the walk on top of the city wall.

Fun fact: Did you know that Dubrovnik was the first city to have a quarantine?
Back in the days mariner returning from their trips had to isolate themselves in a building for 40 days before they were allowed to enter the city. They never had the black death.

Old Town of Dubrovnik

Adria from the Cable Car

The Old Town Dubrovnik

What can you do?

I decided to do activities which did not require me to be surrounded by a lot of people.

  • Cable Car ride to have stunning views of the city, the Adrian Sea and the islands surrounding Dubrovnik. Do this prior sunset for the best light and pleasant temperatures.
  • A private boat trip. I chartered a Jeanneau 30 boat with @Dubrovnikboats for the full day. My skipper Frano showed me the old town from the waterside and took me to some beautiful bays at the Elaphite islands to go swimming, cliff jumping and diving into caves. Be sure to stop at Bowa restaurant for lunch.

Boat Day are the best days

Bowa Restaurant

Bowa Restaurant

Drinks on the island

Local Oysters from Croatia

  • Day trip to Montenegro. @finestluxurytours from Dubrovnik took me ona full day trip to show me the highlights of Montenegro. Within 10 hours I visited the picture perfect cities Perast, Kotor, Budva and Porto Montenegro. “At birth of the planet, the most beautiful encounter between land and sea must have been on the Montenegrin coast line” Lord Byron.

Luxury Mercedes Car of @finestluxurytours for the day trip

Sokol Fortress in Dubrovnik

Comfortable Montenegro day trip

Yachts at the Porto Montenegro

Perast, Montenegro

Verige 65 restaurant in Montenegro

Verige 65 restaurant in Montenegro

Verige 65 restaurant in Montenegro

Did Corona impair the quality of my vacation?

At no time did I have the impression that Corona impaired the quality of my vacation. Moreover, the hotel was not that crowded, reservations were not required for restaurants, less waiting time for attractions, the city was less crowded and activities were more affordable. The only thing I was worried about was that Croatia will be determined as a risk country which would require me to self isolate myself when returning to Germany.

Gverovic Orsani in Dubrovnik

Are you planning to go on vacation soon? How do you feel about it?
Let me a know in a comment below and please do not forget to like the blog post.

Happy and healthy travels

Your PilotPatrick


Best business class

Best Business Class in the world

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, it is a very long flight down to Cape Town in South Africa. I had the chance to travel in the best Business Class in the world. Even though I was not the pilot, I was really excited to go on that flight. In this blog post, I share my flight experience, give you tips when booking tickets and you can win a high-quality pajama of Mey bodywear. 

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Boeing B777 in Cape Town (CPT)

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How can I afford to fly Business class?

Most commonly it is believed that all crew and airline staff can fly for free or really cheap fares. For me, it is not the case. I have to pay full price for all my flight tickets. On long-haul flights over 8 hours, I try to book Business Class tickets. Of course, it is not cheap. For this round trip, I paid 2200€. This is a lot of money and about three times the price of an Economy ticket. I was pretty much open to fly with any airline, but Qatar Airways was for my travel dates almost 50% less expansive than other airlines. I do not fly long haul very often. That is why I invest in the comfort. Especially when going on vacation.

Tip: Compare prices and adjust travel dates. This way you may be able to save significantly. Sometimes a different airport of departure can help to save as well. Join a loyalty program and collect miles. This way I was able to fly First Class for less than 500€ last year.

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Rimowa Classic flight Cabin trolley

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Cheers - Excited for my first flight with Qatar Airways

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How did I do the booking?

I book all my flight tickets direct via the website of the airline. This gives me an extra feeling that the reservation went through and is confirmed. Additionally, I can manage my booking like changing seats and ordering special meals online. Qatar Airways offers the great advantage to reserve the current fare for up to 72 hours. This costs a fee but in my case, this investment was well worth it. I still had to wait for the approval of my leave. When I finalized the booking the fare increased by over 1000€, but I still only paid the old price.

My tip: In general fares are cheaper when you book well in advance. But it is still common that prices may go down just prior to departure. Reasons for that may be low booking numbers or special deals. I suggest subscribing to the newsletter of your favorite airlines so you do not miss any special discounts.

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Business Class Cabin Boeing B777

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Layover at Doha Airport

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The Best Business Class in the world

Qatar Airways is the World’s Best Airline at the SKYTRAX 2017 World Airline Awards. Referred to as the “Oscars of the aviation industry”, which is voted by travelers across the world in an annual passenger survey. Furthermore, Qatar Airways won an award for the World’s Best Business Class.

That is why I was really excited to fly with Qatar Airways for the first time. My expectations were high. Especially when flying in their premium product.

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Breakfast in the sky

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Sky of central Africa

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The flight experience

I flew from Berlin Tegel via Doha to Cape Town. In total, I was about 16 hours in the sky for each direction. On all four legs, it was a Boeing B777-300. The aircraft are fitted with a 2 class configuration with the premium class up front. The Business Class consist of only 24 seats making the cabin really quiet. It is a 2-2-2 seating configuration.

The seat

Unfortunately, it was still the "old" Business Class seat on all flights. Qatar Airways recently introduced the Qsuite, which they call first in business. I really hoped that I will have the chance to test their new product.

Their "old" seat can keep up with any other Business Class seat. The extra-wide seats convert to a fully flat bed with enough space for your shoulders and feet. The rows are so far apart that they ensure privacy, space, and storage. Seats also have a massage setting and fully adjustable armrests, with precision controls to create the position that is right for you.

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Flying in a Mey pyjama

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City Center of Doha on departure

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Business Class catering

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Entertainment and service

The entertainment program seems endless. Food can be ordered whenever you want. The catering was all right. The excellent service made up for it. Especially the return flight was a lot of fun because the purser (head of the cabin) recognized me from my social media channels. Together with the crew, I did a boomerang for my Instagram story.

Tip: Stop in the amazing Business Class lounge in Doha. I had a layover of more than 7 hours at the airport. I went for dinner, took a shower and rested in private quite rooms. On board, I enjoyed row 2 the most. This row had no missing window, was not in the bulkhead and the full storage was available.

 

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Doha Business Class lounge

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Was it worth it?

Totally! My vacation already started on board and I arrived well rested at my destination. It is always hard to say goodbye to a great vacation. But knowing that I will be flying back comfortably, I am actually looking forward to my return flight.

Two years ago I flew to Cape Town in Lufthansa's Business Class. I paid about the same price for this flight.  The connection via Munich airport was a lot quicker, but the flight with Qatar Airways was a whole different experience.

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Thanks for the amazing flight with you

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Give Away

On both flights, I was flying through the night. MEY, a well known German fashion brand for day- and nightwear, provided me with a comfortable pyjama. I am already a big fan of their undershirts which I wear underneath my uniform. But now I love to sleep in their pyjamas as well. You can win one fancy MEY pyjama in my favorite color blue worth 120€. Additionally, I will send you an amenity kit with a personal note.

 

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Giveaway!

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The lucky winner is Jens!

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Here are the steps to join the contest:

  • subscribe to my newsletter with your email
  • leave me a comment just underneath this article with your clothing size
  • subscribe to my YouTube channel

I will randomly pick a winner on the 28th of February 2018.

Happy landings and good luck!

Your PilotPatrick

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