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Traveling alone can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time being on your own. Navigating airports and figuring out shuttle schedules can get confusing if you haven’t had experience doing it by yourself.
As someone who has been traveling alone since I was 16, I’ve become very familiar with the hustle of airports and the ever-flowing sea of people, all scurrying in a hurry to meet their respective schedules. Here are a few tips that have helped me through the years to never miss a flight *knock on wood* and keep my head pointed in the right direction when I’m traveling alone in a new place and have no idea what to do or where to go!
Travel as Light as Possible
Okay admittedly, this is usually a difficult one for me. I have always been one to over-pack. However when I’m traveling alone, I do my best to travel as light as possible to avoid having to lug a ton of heavy luggage to and from the airport. I usually check one bag and then either take my good ole’ trusty backpack or a carry-on suitcase on the flight, depending on how long the trip is. Week-long trips I usually take a carry-on suitcase so I can use it for toiletries and hair/makeup products, and for shorter trips, I usually just take my good, ole’ trusty backpack. 🙂
After going through MANY soft-shell suitcases, I now personally prefer hard-shell cases, especially if I’m flying. With the luggage being constantly tossed around and transported from checkpoint to checkpoint, hard-shell luggage is a lot easier to keep clean and is also better for protecting your items packed away inside! I love love LOVE marble print, so my favorite luggage is this Calpak Astyll 22-Inch & 30-Inch Spinner luggage set! It comes with both the checked-size suitcase and the carry-on and has the 360° wheels, so it’s super easy for rushing through an airport.
Pack a Spare Outfit in Your Carry-On
This is actually something I would recommend to everyone, whether you’re solo traveling or not, but I think it’s a super important tip so I thought it needed to be included!
I usually check luggage when I travel, so I always like to pack an extra outfit in my carry-on in case something happens where my luggage is lost or doesn’t arrive with my flight on time and I end up having to go to my hotel without it. Normally, if your luggage is lost, the airlines will try to get it to you as soon as possible, which is usually later that day or the following. If that does happen, it’s good to have a spare change of clothes for later that day or the next day so you aren’t stuck having to go out and and find a store in an unfamiliar place. This little tip has definitely saved me a few times when either my luggage was lost or arrived late so I didn’t have to wear the same icky airport clothes until my luggage arrived.
Always Have a Phone Charger
It baffles me how people who are traveling alone can get by without a phone charger with them! I have mine with me at ALL times when traveling so I can always make sure I have my phone on full-charge should something happen and I need to contact someone. NOTHING is more stressful than getting off a plane and pulling out your phone to call for an Uber or Lyft, and you’re phone only has 20%! SO stressful, and it causes a lot of unnecessary hassle for you and when you’re traveling alone, you want to keep things as simple and problem-free as possible.
I recommend 2 things:
1) I like to always keep my phone charger either in my carry-on where it’s easily accessible, or in my purse. This makes it a lot easier to grab and plug in your phone for a quick charge while waiting on the plane or sitting and enjoying some lovely airport cuisine. 😉
2) Use an extra long and colorful charger! This seems like a silly one, but I always think it’s better to use a phone charger that’s long and that’s also colorful at the airport, because when you’re crowded around a small charging area and everyone is charging their phones and a million cords are intertwined, it makes it a lot easier to plug it in and still use it and distinguish which one is yours if it’s long and a different color. Also, I always have a super hard time finding a plug near an open seat, so using an extra long cord phone charger allows me to have extra options as far as where to sit and still be able to charge my phone!
Here is one on Amazon that’s 10 feet long (they have an option for 6 feet as well!) and it also comes in different colors if pink isn’t your thing (you just can’t sit with me on Wednesdays).
*I actually use a 10 foot phone charger as my normal, every-day charger since the extra length is SO much more convenient!*
Always Carry a Book
Or a magazine, or a deck of cards, etc. Basically, always carry something to keep you occupied if you don’t have access to the internet. I don’t know about you, but when I’m traveling (especially by myself), I get bored SUPER quickly if I don’t have something to do to keep me occupied, and while my phone with its endless apps and internet access usually does the trick, I always like to have something to entertain myself when I can’t use my phone (like on the plane because I’m not paying for that plane WiFi…expensive). I usually choose to carry a book since I don’t have a lot of free time to read between work and school! If you aren’t much of a reader, you can also bring a game or brain puzzle or something that will keep you busy to make the time pass faster.
Now this completely depends on the kind of books and reading material you are interested in, but I personally like romance novels (yes, yes, I know. I’m a hopeless romantic and I don’t care who knows it!!) and dramas. I’m working on a post for you guys coming up about my favorite books I would recommend, but until that’s ready, I would definitely say to check out some books by one of my favorite authors, Jojo Moyes. She is SUCH an incredible writer, she really is. The way she weaves a story pulls you in, and completely captivates you, making the story stay with you long after you turn the final page. Paris for One, The Girl You Left Behind, and Me Before You are just a few of my favorite reads from her that I would recommend to keep you occupied during those long, boring plane rides and sitting around, waiting in an airport.
*ALL OF THESE BOOKS BY HER ARE AMAZING!!!!! Fair Warning: The Me Before You book is the first book in a VERY addictive trilogy. If you read Me Before You, you’re probably going to want to IMMEDIATELY read the other two books After You and Still Me. They are incredible and I would 10/10 recommend!*
Pack a Sweater/Light Jacket
This is one I always make sure I have on me when I’m traveling, whether I’m with people or going solo. Cars, airplanes, airports, etc are almost always COLD. I’m usually always cold anyways, so I make sure to have a spare jacket or sweater with me at the airport or on the plane so in case I get a case of the chills, I won’t be miserable the entire flight. I personally like lighter jackets that keep the chill away, but won’t leave me hot and sweating on my plane neighbor (because let’s be honest we’ve all experienced that. NASTY.)