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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