Monthly Archives: September 2016

Answering Your FAQs about Vienna International Airport

14th September 2016

vienna international airport

Waiting at the airport for the flight back home after a trip is the wurst (yeah, first world problems I know…) and it’s even more crappy when the airport you have to spend some time doesn’t sing, dance and feed you with wonderful food to send you off into the sky.

So does Vienna’s flying building entertain you and make you wish you never have to leave like Tom Hanks in The Terminal? Well, I’ll let you know as I answer some Frequently Asked Questions about Vienna International Airport.

My exclusive tour itinerary included wandering around Terminal 1 on a Sunday afternoon between 13.30 and 15.30, stopping off near the D gate area, with a special exclusive stroll to the G area. Sadly, despite my surname, I missed out on getting detained by security – now that’s the real VIP treatment I’ve heard, they give you a special massage and body rub, plus they interview you in detail wanting to know about all the cool places you’ve blogged about and been.

What’s the most important thing to know?  This airport is one where you don’t go through security until the gates. So first you scan your ticket at a machine, and then there’s passport control, and then you are stuck in your gate area until the security/luggage scanning before you board.

Now for an easy one … How much for a bottle of water? It’s a shame you can’t find a nearby small lake, babbling brook or well to satiate your thirst, so plastic-encased h2O is the only thing on the menu. Cheapest I could find was €1.90 (that’s £1.62 / $2.15) and after you go through security you can get it from a vending machine for €2.00 (that’s £1.70 / $2.25).

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And can I get my Big Mac or a grande triple chocolate soya mocha shot at the airport? Of Course, this is the 21st century after all. You can stuff that chain store food / drinks in your mouth at the arrival gates. And you might want to stock up on that early as the food at gate D wasn’t too great and ridiculously expensive. See the photo above? This piece of cardboard, with bits of cheese, a slice of tomato, a bit of mozzarella and a bottle of Evian cost me €10 (that’s £8.50 / $11.25). Have I inspired you? I really hope the answer is no, but if not, check out the delights of restaurant eating here.

Whatever. What about the real essentials? Is there Wi-Fi? Yes! All you have to do is sign in and say you agree and you all globally connected and ready to experience FOMO and all that. It’s relatively quick and there wasn’t a time limit.

I know enough. Can I charge my phone, tablet and laptop while waiting? At the end of each seating row there are plugs place where you can charge your phone. And if they’re all full up, you can play the game of guessing who you can disconnect without noticing, or use it as a potential conversation starter (“Is this your plug or are you pleased to see me?”)

vienna-international-airport-1Are the chairs comfortable at all? Could I let’s say nap a bit comfortably when I have long stopover?  As you can see from the image above you even have options! Since there are no armrests between the seats you can even lay down and if you manage to get a spot at the end of the seat you are all set and can charge and your electrics and chill. They always say the best place to waste time is in bed right?

What about the toilets? There were enough toilets throughout the place and they are as good as it gets. You might want to know that the toilet stalls are closed off, so you are all private to do what you will. And the toilet paper is the sandpaper type, but it’s recycled so you get bonus points from Greenpeace, etc. I heard if you get enough you can qualify for a free trip on one of their protest ships…

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Anything cool you saw? The PEZ shop, if you haven’t stocked up on PEZ this is your last chance. I am still amazed how the pez toys open their mouths so much, that’s some snake level mouth/jaw dislocation skills.

Anything else I need to know? I’m not a fan, but there are smoking cabins around the airport and once you go through security and arrive at your departure gates if it is busy then it is difficult to find a seat. So make sure to go in on time to puff to your heart’s content.

Have you visited the airport? What was your experience and do you have any tips?

STAMP THIS! TRAVEL BLOGGERS’ PASSPORT STAMP STORIES PART V

6th September 2016

01 passportstamps

While some are trying to catch all 150 Pokemon (this is going to be SOOOOO outdated in a bit), others love to gather up passport stamps and since I love hearing the magic tales behind people’s favourite passport stamp/visa I asked travelbloggers to share the story behind their favourite bits of ink and these are the glorious results…

01 Wanderlust in the MidwestWanderlust in the Midwest | Chloe
My favorite stamp is so controversial that this country no longer marks one’s passport. My first visit to Israel was in May 2012, when I went on a 10-day Birthright trip. Imprinted with fresh ink, this stamp is the easiest to read–and one of the most prominent–in my passport. And it is this stamp that prevents me from visiting countries such as Lebanon and Kuwait, but at the same time gives me pride of my heritage.

The second time I visited Israel was a mere year later, and I was shocked to learn that, within that short time frame, stamps had become a thing of the past. Now, Israel gives you entry and exit cards (which they create by scanning your passport) as proof of your time in Israel; they stamp the entry card on the way in, and your boarding pass on the way out. So in a way, my passport contains a little piece of history.

02 World of a WandererWorld of a Wanderer | Colby
Passport stamps are a novelty that I hope never fades, given all things electronic these days. It’s just something about hearing that thrompthromp, ink pad to passport, sound when going through immigration, or the memories that flood over me when I’m feeling nostalgic and flipping through my passport, that just never gets old. Each stamp holds a memory. Each one takes me back to a time and place. My favorite passport stamp is a stamp I recently acquired in Indonesia.

Bali has been at the top of my list for ages! It was the ONE place I was determined to visit during my year of teaching in South Korea. It has been the only place I’ve fallen in love with before even visiting. Bali was a big deal. I’d planned on going this summer during summer vacation, but due to time and financial constraints I couldn’t make it happen. I was seriously bummed about it.

I guess the universe decided to be ever so gracious because a few weeks before I was set to take summer vacation I received a message saying I’d won a trip to Bali through a giveaway I’d entered! Talk about fate! Not only was this a free trip, but it was also a workcation for creatives and digital nomads to work with other like-minded individuals through a series of workshops. It was perfect!

I met so many incredible people on this trip. I experienced Bali in a way I never would have experienced it, if I had visited on my own. It was everything I thought it would be and more, and I plan to move there someday. So, this stamp is definitely my favorite of them all.

03 The Thought CardThe Thought Card | Danielle
My favorite passport stamp is actually one of the easiest that I’ve ever gotten. Iceland was my most anticipated destination of the year and I had big plans. I wanted to visit Vik (the black sand beach in the South Coast), snorkel Silfra and take in 360 degree views of Reykjavik from the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church.

But before I could do any of these, I had to pass through immigration first. Usually immigration asks a ton of questions but surprisingly this didn’t happen in Iceland. I handed my passport, got it stamped and I was on my merry way – no questions asked! Looking back at my favorite stamp from Keflavik Airport reminds me of the recurring theme of my trip – carefree is the way to be.

04 The Red Box TravelsThe Red Phone Box Travels | Tanja
Until 2013 wherever I went I received a stamp in my passport. I have two old passports full of stamps but since Croatia joined the EU three years ago my passport does not get stamped anymore. I need to travel somewhere outside Europe to get a new passport stamp nowadays. What would be my favourite passport stamp? Without much thinking I have to say a visa/work permit for the UK. I visited London for the first time in 2006 and this year I travelled to London for the eleventh time! If you read my blog you know how much I love London. But I have also spent a couple of months living & working in England eight years ago.

I joined an internship programme aimed at Central&Eastern Europe. I had my work permit in my hands and I had my flights booked but my appointment at the British Embassy was scheduled only two weeks before I was supposed to be in England. It was nerve wrecking but everything went well and I got my work visa! I was so happy! I spent a couple of months working in beautiful Suffolk but the experience was not all good. Being in England was a dream come true but I was not prepared for all it entailed and in the end I returned home earlier than I was supposed to. However, it was a great experience and a lesson learned. Nevertheless, that work visa is still my favourite passport stamp.

05 Veera BiancaVeera Bianca | Veera
Passports often hold the most interesting, and the most important stories – especially to ourselves. The one stamp on my passport that I perhaps treasure the most is the one from Taiwan, as it just brings back so many good memories. Back then, I was living in Hong Kong which I’d still say were the best days of my life. I traveled to Taiwan alone and remember the excitement of boarding yet another plane across the globe, far away from home. It was somehow that moment when I knew my life would be dedicated for travel.

And the same stamp reminds me of my funny return to Hong Kong from Taiwan. In general, my style is rather business casual, but Taiwan got me excited about all thinks pink and fluffy, so I ended up buying myself a pink jumper with reindeer and hearts across it (I still don’t know why). I was wearing my jumper and holding onto my new Rilakkuma iPhone cover (also pink) as my boyfriend greeted me at the arrival hall – you should have seen the shock on his face. Unfortunately, him being one of those serious suit-up guys and a fare bit older than me – he didn’t really appreciate my new sense of style.

Thanks so much for sharing your stories. 

What’s the story behind your favourite passport stamp?