You may have been on family trips with your parents to guide you but now it is time to take a leap.
Is it finally time to take your first flight alone, are you excited?
If you were like me, your excitement was metered by a little bit of anxiety. Being anxious is normal because you are not sure what to expect at first.
Why am I here?
I am here to simply give you some tips that will make flying alone an experience to look forward to every time.
These first time flying alone tips will also help you conquer the fear of flying alone. You can then access all those places you have been dreaming of since childhood.
- 1. Picking the destination
- 2. Assess documentation
- 3. Make copies
- 4. Packages and baggage
- 5. Alert the Bank
- 6. Report early
- 7. Comfort is crucial
- 8. Listen to the instructions and know what to expect
- 9. Relax and let go
- 10. Distract yourself
- 11. Arrival
- 12. Immigration requirements
- 13. Foreign exchange
- 14. Always be on the lookout
- Final word
1. Picking the destination
There are many places in the world that would catch your attention. Maybe you have been dreaming of Machu Picchu or the Maldives, the choices are unbound. The important thing is to gather information.
Gathering information about where you are going will help you prepare mentally. Understanding the basic culture of where you are going will be of help. The easier you interact with people the more you will get to explore.
You also need to check the routes being used by the airline to understand possible layovers.
Some layovers can take a while requiring you to get accommodation. Simple information like this will help you plan ahead and avoid some frustrations.
It is important to look at the weather patterns. Looking at the weather patterns will let you be aware of any extreme weather to be expected or know what clothes to pack up.
2. Assess documentation
You have your dream destination in place and now it is time to see if you can actually travel. If you are traveling internationally, you need to assess the state of your passport and visa.
If your passport is almost expiring, then you need to re-apply just to be safe. Depending on the country you are going to, some need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months
Passport and visa validity varies from country to country so be sure to confer. Failure to do this may lead to serious issues with authorities in case you overstay abroad.
Check your visa status and apply early if you want to travel on time. Being locked up in a foreign country doesn’t seem like a good experience.
3. Make copies
The only way to be safe from complications is always to have backups. Your travel itinerary needs to have both digital and physical backing.
They come in handy in the case you forget your documents at home or your phone/laptop dies out. There are airlines with excellent customer service that will confidently trace your ticket and have you seated.
I cannot tell you how often I have seen people miss flights due to misplaced tickets. As long as you have your tickets tracking number, the airline can help you tell you when your flight takes off.
Not only should you take copies of your ticket but also the passport and the driver’s license. Put them in a folder and keep it within reach. In the case that you lose your wallet, you will have copies to help the police identify who you are and how to help you.
4. Packages and baggage
How long will you stay in a foreign country? How many clothes and other things do you actually need?
After answering such questions, it is time to look at your airline’s baggage requirements.
Find out what is the maximum weight that the airline can accept per individual baggage. There are different limitations to the amount of liquids and bags you can carry. All bags are weighted and charged a fee for transportation.
Being that different airlines have different requirements, you will have to do some custom research. There is a lot of information from airline reviews and websites that can help you understand what to expect.
Clearly label your luggage to avoid confusion. If you can get something like a marking that can uniquely identify your luggage the better.
Keep emergency underwear and toiletries in your bag just in case you experience long layovers. These first time flying alone tips are especially convenient if you are traveling for more than a day.
5. Alert the Bank
You will most definitely need money wherever you are going. Since most of us walk around with plastic money, you might need to inform your bank that you’ll be using your card abroad.
Some banks tend to freeze accounts especially if they cannot identify the location of use. Your bank will flag your card since spending records are arising from new locations that do not relate to your regular spending routine.
When using your credit card make sure it is chipped. Chipped cards are compatible with many payment systems used all around the world.
You will find that many countries are heavily reliant on credit cards to pay for basic things like transport and food.
6. Report early
One of my major fears was getting to the airport on time. I had to get to the airport early so as to get through the various checkpoints.
You never know how busy the airport will be that day so to be safe get there at least two hours earlier. Once you are there, get to understand the layout of the airport and ask questions just in case you are lost.
Immigration and security may take a while especially if you are singled out for some reason.
Make sure that you do not have any illegal substances on you or luggage. You will avoid a whole lot of trouble.
If you are on the clear and you have a bit of time before boarding, you can try and make friends with people headed the same direction. It will lessen the anxiety to have someone familiar on board.
7. Comfort is crucial
Now, you may be flying for many miles and the last thing you want to be is in discomfort. You want to put on comfortable shoes and clothes.
It is proven that if you remain seated for a long time, your legs are bound to get swollen. The last thing you want is tight shoes pressing on your already swollen feet. Wear loose fitting clothes and shoes just to remain comfortable.
If you have neck or back issues, you are allowed to carry your special pillow cases with you.
If you are going to a hot/cold country, dress appropriately. You certainly do not want to land and find that you are completely unprepared.
8. Listen to the instructions and know what to expect
Among the reasons that you are scared of flying alone is that you are expecting the worst. You may have seen movies that have scared you but this is not always the case.
Flying is a wonderful experience that all can enjoy.
When you board the plane and it is almost take-off time, both the pilot and the air hostess will issue instructions. Listen to the instructions very well in the case that you find yourself in need of help.
If you have any questions, call the air hostess aside. It is their job to address your queries.
Turbulence also gets to many people. In order to understand why the airplane is unstable at that point, you need to know what turbulence is.
It is simply when airplanes run over pockets of moving air in the sky. Consider it as a form of road bump, and it is perfectly normal.
9. Relax and let go
During take-off and landing, you will experience some anxiousness which is perfectly normal. Take-off and landing are not entirely smooth procedures but they’re manageable.
If you are already a nervous wreck, you can employ several mechanisms to keep you calm. For instance, if you are seated by the window, close your eyes and take your mind elsewhere.
Alternatively, you can relax and tell your mind that this is perfectly normal. Meditation has been found to be helpful in relaxing the mind and the body.
Some of you may need medical prescriptions to keep the nerves calm and some of you just a bit of alcohol.
Whichever route of relaxation you decide to take, make sure it does not become a nuisance to the other passengers.
I have a friend who always starts humming her favorite tune to keep herself calm during take-off. You can try and see if these tips for flying alone for the first time can help you relax.
10. Distract yourself
When I flew solo for the first time, I used this trick to keep my nerves in check. If you are traveling for miles on end, your mind will start noticing the time. And this will be the case if you’re just bored.
So what do you do?
Grab a book or comic and get your mind distracted. Most airlines provide headsets that can be connected to individual seat screens. You can plug in and watch a movie or listen to music.
I personally prefer to read a book or watch an action movie. Even through turbulence, my mind usually gets busy being entertained and not to be worried.
We all are distracted by different things, therefore, pick a method that works for you.
When the plane finally lands at your destination, you need to double check that you have all of your belongings before leaving the plane.
Most people have a habit of losing small things like keys in the rush to get out.
Sometimes the baggage is delayed and you have to wait for it if it’s not too far out. If you are reconnecting to another flight be sure to recheck the bags in. Otherwise, your baggage will have to come to you later.
12. Immigration requirements
Out of all the first time flying alone tips, this is one you cannot disregard. How you conduct this process may save you a lot of frustrations.
What I always do is that I check with the immigration requirements of the country that I am going to. When I arrive at that country, I have an inkling of how it works.
There are usually forms that you need to fill in order to get through immigration and customs. Take that time to carefully fill that form and declare any items that need to be declared.
Remember that every country has its own clearance procedures. If a country is strict on food items being brought into the country, abide by their rules. If not, you stand to be turned back.
13. Foreign exchange
Most people rush to exchange money at the airport which is ill-advised. For a better option, you can exchange a little bit of money before leaving your country.
This bit of money is meant to help you pay for a taxi/food as you wait for the banks to open. You can still choose to exchange your money at the airport if you don’t mind the poor rates.
14. Always be on the lookout
Now, these tips for flying by yourself for the first time would not be complete if I didn’t say be careful.
Why you ask?
Not everyone has the best interests for you.
From the taxi that picks you up at the airport to the hotel that you stay in, ensure that it is legitimate.
Identify yourself with common scams run in that country and be prepared. A little self-defense class never hurts just in case you need it. Additionally, keep in mind the 50 safety tips for traveling alone.
Get all 50 safety tips for traveling alone in one complete PDF
Get all mentioned 50 traveling alone tips for men and women in one ebook for FREE. Save the PDF on your device and read offline while flying to your solo adventure. Have a safe trip!
There are many who have regretted the decision to travel without planning. Don’t be one of them.
All these tips for flying alone should be your company as you traverse the world.
What about you? Do you have any more tips to add? Let me know below.