Flying by Yourself for the First Time!

Flying by yourself, nationally (U.S.) and internationally, can be quite terrifying. Having done both, I can say that there is not a better option between the two. Anything could go wrong, but I will admit that for international flights, it takes slightly longer to fix the problem. At least, in my experience, it takes longer.

I traveled internationally and by myself for the first time for this fall semester to Scotland for my abroad program. Everything had started off all right when I took my first flight, a route I had done multiple times to get to my home university in the U.S. I even took the sun rising at 6:00AM as a sign for the good things to come, but it was short lived. For, on my second flight to the East Coast, my plane had been delayed several hours due to multiple planes have mechanical issues. This alone can cause anyone traveling nationally to have anxiety and stress over changing their flights. If you’re like me, you have a plan B, C, D, and E for anything that can go wrong.

However, I had an international flight to catch and my stress level was high. Tips for situations like this are simple: KEEP CALM! and ask the flight assistants for help. Despite the lady I got to reissue my tickets, who did this process so slowly that I literally had a few minutes to spare before I boarded, those flight assistants behind their shiny desk are your best options. What has been really great about certain airlines is that they will cover the cost in a change in flights and you are almost always certified to get a seat.

After getting on my flight to the East Coast to catch a flight to Scotland, which I only had 10 minutes to walk from one end of the terminal to the other, my problems seemed to be long behind me. Nope! Wrong! Being on my first international flight by myself was a whole new experience in which I had no idea what to do if something went wrong. This is probably one of the more stressful situations, especially if you are like me and like to have backup plans for practically everything.

So, when I get to Scotland, turns out my luggage didn’t even make it on the plane to the East Coast in time. Oh, the fun, right? I spent the first two days of my semester in Scotland with no shower, walking 2 hours to the local store to buy a pair of clothes and pjs. Not exactly the best way to start off your semester and first time in another country. Thankfully, it was Scotland that I was in and situations like these can remedy quickly and the people really nice here.

Despite the issues I faced while flying nationally and internationally, it is a good learning lesson. Everyone should know how to handle situations like these, especially with how popular airplanes are becoming as a form of travel and the ease of which you can pop between countries. Staying calm and knowing ways of keeping yourself entertained for the hours spent in terminals and planes are the best way to survive flying by yourself. Also, keeping your loved ones in touch of what is going on is great because they can help you with situations sometimes more than what you can do. Lastly, never be afraid of asking questions. Sometimes being the dumb tourist can work in your favor.