10 Tips For Traveling Alone

It is TOTALLY normal to feel a bit nervous about traveling alone -- especially if it's your first time solo on an airplane. However, I'm no stranger to navigating the airport all by myself, so here are a few tips for how to stay calm when traveling alone:

  1. 1. Keep your passport, boarding pass(es) and luggage receipt in one safe place while your traveling. 

    It can be stressful when you’re traveling alone, so keeping these three things together and in their own bag, folder or ziplock will make it much easier for you to go through customs, and the staff will appreciate your speediness with your items as well.

  2. 2. Plan ahead of time.

    I’m sure we’ve all heard that you should be at the airport and ready to check in three hours ahead of your departure time for international flights and two hours for domestic flights. It really is important that you know how far your closest airport is and take into account any traffic that might occur on your way there. It would really stink if you missed your flight because of a traffic jam on your way to the airport.

  3. 3. Always have a power bank and charger cable on you.

    I’m sure that we all know how much harder it would be to travel if we couldn’t keep in touch with our families and more importantly our rides from the airport to our final destination (Ross and Rachel, HOW did you do it??), so make sure that you have a fully charged power bank and charging cable with you for your trip. Most airplanes nowadays have USB cable ports for you to use during your flights, but in case you have a lengthy layover in a country that doesn’t use the same outlets as you, it is always good to have the option to use a powerbank. 

  4. 4. Don’t be afraid to ask airport staff for help when finding places to go.

    I know that it can be embarrassing and sometimes just straight up nerve-wracking to ask people for help, but the people who work at the airport HAVE to help you, it is quite literally their job. When you are traveling from an airport where English (or any other language you may speak) may not be the official language, you can try and go to a food concessions stand and it is likely that someone there will be able to help you out, they are trained to cater to people of all backgrounds and languages, so hang in there! 

  5. 5. MONEY!

    If you are flying internationally and have a layover somewhere other than the U.S., it is likely that the currency used there is not the American Dollar. Do not fret! In most airports you can use U.S. dollars to purchase food/toiletries. The only catch is that any change that is given back to you will be in whatever the currency of the country you are layover-ing in is (i.e if you have a layover in London Heathrow they will give you your change in the Pounds). If this does not seem to be an option for you, you can also go to a money exchange kiosk (you can find one in every airport) and exchange your U.S. money for whatever currency it is that you need. It is also acceptable in many places for you to use your debit/credit card, I would just recommend using this as a last ditch effort because most cards have an international fee for every purchase you use it for outside of the country.

  6. 6. Turn the layover into a time to relax.

    We all know that traveling can be extremely stressful, especially alone, ESPECIALLY traveling around holidays. So if you have a layover on your way to your final destination try and turn it into a time to relax. Most airports have designated quiet areas for you to read, browse social media on your phone or even take a quick refresher nap. I always love to treat myself to a meal somewhere in the airport and people watch. As most airports have free wifi, you could also catch up on some much needed binge-watching of your favorite netflix show. The possibilities are endless, so try and use this time to recuperate, as traveling is extremely draining.

  7. 7. Keep a timer on your phone for when you need a quick nap.

    If you do choose to take a quick happy-nappy in the airport before your flight, make sure you set a timer that you know you will wake up to. I’ve had my fair share of airport cat naps just to keep myself going, but that being said, I've also had my fair share of waking up to see that not only has my gate been announced, but that they’re boarding. It is imperative that you know how long you have to rest, as well as how long it could take you to get to your gate (that is -- if you decide to rest before your gate number is posted). If it is possible that you have to travel to another terminal then make sure you give yourself enough time to get there. The last thing you want is to wake up from a much-needed nap to see that you’ve missed your flight.

  8. 8. Keep a spare outfit in your carry on… you never know what could happen.

    As someone who has been on more flights than I can count, I know that quite literally anything could happen. I’ve spilled drinks all over myself on planes. I’ve also lost an entire bag of luggage while traveling abroad. This is why I recommend that you bring an extra pair of clothes, you know, just in case. You don’t have to try and pack your entire wardrobe in your carry on, just an extra shirt and maybe some pants. If you really wanna keep your packing light just throw in a dress, it’s an entire outfit in one article of clothing!

  9. 9. Dress Accordingly.

    Traveling can be pretty unpredictable, as I’m sure we’ve all learned at some point or another. That’s why it is so important to dress for the occasion. You don’t want to be THAT person running through the airport practically tripping over your super cute, but poorly picked, heels,  trying to make it to your connecting flight. You also want to be able to lounge accordingly on the plane or even just at your gate in the airport. The safest way to go about it is to wear what feels comfortable. Jeans, a tee shirt and sneakers work just fine. Sweats or leggings -- also a perfect option! You could even wear a cute blouse if you really wanted to, but just make sure that you can MOVE in your clothes. Going from point A to point B is a whole lot easier in sneakers, just saying.

  10. 10. Know your gate, love your gate, CHERISH your gate!

    I. Cannot. Stress. This. Enough. When traveling, your gate is your key to getting wherever your final destination is. When you check into an airport, it is likely that your first flight’s ticket will have the departure gate listed. Double check this on the departing flights board, there will be many around the airport so don’t panic if you can’t find one right away. There is always the possibility that your gate could change, so stay alert. If your layover is fairly short, or you can find your gate very fast, try and take that catnap there. This way you can save yourself the time that it takes to get to your gate and use it for your lil nap instead. That being said, just because you’re at your gate and ready to nap does not mean you shouldn’t still put on a timer. It isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to tell you the flight is boarding. 

What it comes down to is to just be smart. Always stay alert when you are traveling. Know what your next move has to be, don’t be nervous to ask for help and try to relax a little, the world is your oyster and the airport is just a stepping stone for you to get to where you need to be.