A working Singaporean takes an average of about 14 days of paid leave a year, a number that’s been ranked the fifth lowest in the world. With the limited number of leave days we get, we figured it’ll be silly to waste them on overseas holidays that are underwhelming.
And who else better to ask for suggestions on the best places to visit than those who fly for a living, specifically, aircrew—who spend about 65 to 90 hours a month travelling to almost every corner of the world.
During their layovers, flight attendants and pilots get to explore the cities, check out the local scene and be exposed to different cultures, making them the best people to ask when it comes to travelling.
To help you plan for your next holiday, we ask five current and former air stewardesses from our local airlines to recommend the best destinations to visit, and which they’d rather avoid.
Scroll through the gallery to see their list of best places to visit.
Of palm trees and unspoilt beaches, Honolulu, Hawaii was one of the top destinations recommended by Jacqueline, 28, who has been flying for six years now.
She said: “Besides looking at hunks and babes, I must say that the place is beautiful on its own. The beaches and shopping are really good as well!”
What’s not to love about this paradise?
Taiwan has much to offer, in terms of its shopping and street food and it wasn’t a surprise to have two out of the five flight attendants we interviewed recommending the destination.
Jing, 28, who has been flying for six years, shared that she enjoys the vibe of the place.
And aside from the good food and shopping in Taipei, Queenie, 28, an ex-air stewardess who had flown for two and a half years, quipped: “Did I mention that the allowance was not bad too?”
Marissa, 28, a former air stewardess who had flown for more than two years, said: “My personal favourite (country) to visit would be Japan, just because I find it really calming. Plus there’s all the food!”
She added: “We don’t get that much free time in Asian countries because the layover period is quite short, so I’m always wishing for Japan flights.”
Known for its pristine beaches, crystal clear blue waters and super Instagrammable floating resorts, Maldives is one destination that most girls would have on their bucket list.
Said Marissa, who picked Male (capital of Maldives), because “when else am I going to get paid to chill in a beautiful resort on a super white sandy beach? Unreal!”
Sarah*, 34, a former air stewardess with 11 years of experience, also shared that the Maldives is one of her many favourite destinations to visit.
‘Worst’ Places To Visit
When asked to list the “worst” countries they’ve been to, most of them were quick to say that there aren’t any.
Jacqueline said: “I wouldn’t say (they are the) worst but it’s more like cultural differences, compared to Singapore.”
I’ve heard a couple of stories about various parts of India being unsafe for female travellers and it appears the same sentiment is shared by some air stewardesses who have had to make layovers in the country.
Said Queenie: “I’ll usually hibernate in the hotel due to safety reasons, and oh, the air pollution too.”
However, she added that she loves the standard of service receives in India as “they are very fast and detailed, which explains why they expect a lot from cabin crew too.”
Jacqueline echoed the point about safety, and also how the food is “too spicy” for her, compared to what she’s used to in Singapore. Another concern is the limited access to clean water.
I’ve always loved Australia for its juxtaposition of city life and the great outback, and it seems like there’s always so much left to explore each time I’m having a holiday there. But it appears it’s a much less dreamy situation for aircrew who are allocated flights to Australia.
Said Marissa: “I wouldn’t say there’s a “worst” country but I never really fancied the Australian flights.
“We were just never given enough time to explore the city more, and because most things shut at 5pm, it can get quite boring.”
But what she did rave about though, were the nice cafes and sushi places that the country has to offer.
*Name has been changed
Don’t want to take leave for a holiday? Visit a nearby destination! Watch CLEO’s new series, #NoLeaveVacay, to see how we conquered Bangkok over a weekend.
Images: 123RF.com, Unsplash
Text: Melissa Goh / AsiaOne / November 2019