Travel Pro Interview Series: Maaike

Don't get stuck in the routine, take risks, get out of your comfort zone and go on an adventure!

By Ankita Seth

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Q: When and why did you become a Traveler?

Maaike: When I was 11 years old, my family took me on a trip to Thailand. I had never been to a country outside of Europe so I was really amazed. The food, the people, the nature, the smell, the vibe, the cities: it was just so incredible. When I came back from that trip after a month of backpacking, I knew I wanted to see more of Asia. I told my parents that I would travel through Asia ‘’when I’m a big girl’’. So here I am, traveling the world. The trip to Thailand really encouraged me to see more of the beautiful world we live in.

Q: What kind of a traveler are you? Do you like being a minimalist backpacker or enjoying luxury travel?

Maaike: I’m a flashpacker actually. Most of the time I travel with my backpack, but I don’t sleep in dorms and I don’t mind spending some money on cool activities. I also sleep in luxury lodges sometimes because I’m active in the travel industry. So I think I’m both. I don’t like luxury that much and I love to travel like a minimalist, but if a resort or an awesome hotel invites me to stay in a their beautiful accommodation, I won’t say no for sure. But if I have to pay it myself, I rather sleep in private rooms in hostels or boutique hotels.

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Q: What advice would you give a woman who wants to start traveling but is struggling with doubts and uncertainties?

Maaike: I think traveling makes you wise and it also makes you more independent. You have to take care of yourself, because there are not many people around that you know really well, like your friends and family. You need to make decisions on your own and you have to solve problems if something is not going the way you planned it. So it’s a good way to get more confident and independent. Just drink a glass of wine, book a ticket to the other side of the world, book a hostel for the first night where you can meet a lot of other travelers and that’s it. You’ll be fine!

Q: What should every female traveler pack?

Maaike: Definitely a camera or smart phone to take good pics, but also a powerbank, a good bag, some cute dresses, a few sunglasses, a notebook and that’s it. You don’t need much and you definitely don’t want to carry a lot.

Q: How do you manage your budget before you travel?

Maaike: Well, I work in the travel industry fulltime so every month I have a good income. I try to fly as cheap as I can and I always spend hours looking for the best and cheap flights. That really saves me a lot of money. I also do some research on how expensive a country is, so I’m mentally ready for that. I don’t determine a budget per day, because you just have to see what you’ll need to spend when you’re already in that country.

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Q: What is the best and worst countries to travel as a woman?

Maaike: That’s a difficult one for sure. I’ve never been to a country where I didn’t feel safe. Maybe India or some countries in the Middle East. Just a country where women have no or just a few rights and where men are the ‘’boss’’. But if you follow the rules, like wearing the right clothes and don’t say anything bad about the politics, you’ll be fine. Just act normal, don’t go to weird places by yourself and stick with other people you trust. If you do that, I’m sure you’ll be fine!

Q: What is your tips for first time female travelers.

Maaike: Book a dorm room in a hostel where you can meet a lot of people and be social. Just ask people if they want to hang out with you. Believe me: almost every traveler likes to meet other people and they do want to explore a certain place with you. Don’t sit on your room, go outside, even if you’re alone. Go to a bar and have a drink like everyone else. You’ll definitely make friends over there!

Q: What was your favorite meal that you’ve had while traveling?

Maaike: Aaaah I do love Thai food for sure! Rice with vegetables, delicious chicken and spicy sauce is definitely my favorite meal. But I also loooooove the curries, the fruit, the fresh juices and all the desserts.

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Q: What is your favorite place in the world to travel and why?

Maaike: I really can’t choose, because I’ve been to many countries that are so different. I think Mexico and Caye Caulker in Belize are definitely on top of the list with my favorite countries. Mexico is just so beautiful and it has it all: beautiful beaches and islands, a great culture and stunning nature. But the vibe is my favorite thing about this country. I don’t know why, but the vibe is so good. And Caye Caulker, Belize is just paradise. The sunsets, the beaches, all the palm trees, the ocean life… everything is amazing. But I adore more countries of course!

Q: What countries are next on your list?

Maaike: In a few days I’m going to Nicaragua. I’ve never been there, but I always hear great and positive stories. I’ll be there for a week and I’m going to sleep in the most beautiful accommodations you can imagine: eco lodges with infinity pools in the middle of Mother Nature. Can’t wait! In December I’m going on a yearly trip to Germany and in January I’m going to New York City for the first time! I also have a weekend planned to the North of France. And in April I’m leaving on a big trip. I’m going to travel for a few months through Central America and South America. So so so so excited!

Be sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook and find her travel stories on her Blog.

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