Flying Solo: A Guide to Flying Alone
Over the past few years I’ve gotten used to flying alone. Between flying home to see my family, and meeting my family for vacations I’ve gotten pretty used to navigating flights, layovers and everything in between. That being said, I know flying alone can be intimidating for some people. I don’t know if it’s because they feel like they have to pay attention 100% of the time, or they just don’t like being by themselves for that long. But here’s a secret - flying solo is fantastic...at least I think! In fact, I‘m writing this post and a few others while flying to Vermont alone!
Not sure about my theory on flying alone? Here’s the deal...
Turn it Into A Date for One
This might sound incredibly strange but there’s something great about having the entire day to yourself, somewhere other than at home. Yeah, at home you can have self-care days and go grab coffee or run errands by yourself but there’s always the added pressure of being at home and being accessible more than when you’re on vacation. I find that something that helps me is to start trying to relax before I even get to my vacation destination. I give myself time to sit in a restaurant by my gate, get some real food (instead of living off fast food and snacks) and just relax. Sure, I like to get some work done but I also give myself room to just chill. If I have enough time and I‘m in an airport with some small stores I’ll wander around and just decompress.
Ask for Help if You Need It
There’s nothing to gain from being confused, frustrated, tired and trying to get somewhere. If you find yourself in need of help - just ask. It’s hard flying alone because there’s no built in help the same way there is when traveling with others. Which is why I think so many people are scared to travel alone. But, everyone who works at the airport, on the plane, etc. are there to help you. Sure, there can be days where people are less than helpful but for the most part if you just ask for what you need and are nice to people, they’ll be more than happy to help you out!
Get Work Done While You Wait
One of the main reasons a lot of my friends hate traveling alone is because it can be boring. After an entire season of a Netflix series or rewatching a movie over three times, they’re right, there’s not a lot to do. But, there’s always something to do. If you’re in school and you’ve got homework - try and get some of that done before vacation even starts. If you’re like me and you have a side hustle, business, blog, etc. work on things that need to get done before you get home. Not only does this give you a way to pass the time but it also helps you get things accomplished before you even really start your trip! Plus you feel productive and to me that’s one of the best feelings!
Download the Airline App and Add Your Boarding Pass to Your Phone
These days everything is electronic, including your boarding pass. Sure, you can still get a printed one but come on, those are so much easier to lose compared to your phone. I like to download the airline app and enable all notifications in case something changes and I need to know what’s going on. I also like the apps because they give you maps of the airports including where the food and coffee are - which are essential locations for me when traveling. I also like to add my boarding pass to the Wallet app on my iPhone. Yeah, I can get To my boarding pass through my airline app but it‘s so much easier to have it on my home/lock screen through my Wallet app.
Check the Monitors
Maybe I’m old school but I find that the best information is always the one on those big airport monitors with all of the flights on them! Sure, I get alerts to my phone but I find it’s best to check the monitors every now and then because sometimes an alert or notification gets lost and I miss a change to my flight. I find too that if I triple check my information on my phone, the monitors and the gate I‘m less likely to feel overwhelmed, especially in a big airport.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
No one likes feeling rushed, and it’s even worse when you’re by yourself and there’s no one to calm you down or cheer you up. An easy way to avoid this added stress is to give yourself plenty of time. My general rule for myself is to get to the airport at least an hour and a half before my flight boards and book layovers that are at least an hour and a half long. That way if the airport is busier than expected or my flight is delayed by a few minutes I don’t have to stress about whether or not I’ll make my flight! There’s no point in adding to a long day by making yourself late and stressed out!
One of the ways I‘ve gotten myself to love flying solo is to pack light when it comes to my carry on bags. If you’ve read my other travel posts you know that I‘m the queen of packing for an entire trip in only a carry-on so sometimes my bags are a little heavier than usual. The key is to make sure you can comfortably carry your bags without any major struggle. It‘s stressful enough trying to get through TSA, to the gate, onto the plane, to another gate, etc. so don’t make it worse on yourself by adding in a giant, heavy, unmanageable bag.
Let’s face it, sometimes you simply don’t have time to stand in line waiting for food. But believe me there is nothing worse than being alone and hangry on a flight. It’s bad enough to be hangry with someone else but I can promise you being hangry, tired and not getting to eat because you don’t have time is enough to make you swear off travel for good. I always pack a few granola bars or easy snacks to take with me as an emergency stash. Plus it never hurts to have food with you so why not throw a few things in your bag?
Keep Yourself Entertained
I get it, flying alone can get boring; especially if it’s a full day of traveling with a lot of long layovers. I always seem to end up with a layover somewhere, and since I try to avoid short layovers I‘m usually sitting at the gate with not a whole lot to do. Sure, I’ve always got work I can do but after working on the plane for a few hours sometimes I just don‘t want to. That being said, I‘ve got to find something to do so I don’t go stir crazy. I love to scroll through social media, FaceTime a friend, catch up on shows, or even just people watch to keep myself busy. Finding a way to keep yourself entertained will help make the time go by at least a little faster and make flying alone more enjoyable.
There you have it! A few ways to make flying solo a little more enjoyable, productive and overall not as horrible as so many people thing! Are you a fan of solo flying or no? Let me know!