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It can be scary to fly alone. Especially if it is your first time! But it doesn’t have to be. Today I’m breaking out my top 11 tips for flying alone.
You’ll feel more comfortable and confident flying alone after reading this post and implementing the tips for flying alone covered in the article.
There are many things you can do to make flying alone more comfortable. From pre-booking your desired seat to packing properly and all the way to being internet safe. You have the power to make your solo flying experience as positive as you want it to be. Flying alone doesn’t have to be as intimidating as you build it up in your head!
This list contains my top tips for flying alone. These aren’t generic flight tips that apply to anybody flying.
I’m laser focused on helping you the solo traveller feel more comfortable flying alone!
Flying is the first step in your solo trip, and you want to make it a positive one!
Table of Contents
1. Book Your Seat Early
I know lots of airlines charge a fee for pre-booking your seat.
It is super annoying and a money grab. I hate it, but in many instances it is better to bite the bullet and pay to book your seat in advance rather than leave it to chance when you check in for your flight.
This is especially true if it is your first time flying alone or it is a long haul flight.
Booking your seat in advance is one of my top, most important tips for flying alone- especially if you’re a solo female traveller.
It isn’t a big deal to be stuck in the middle on a short-haul flight that only lasts an hour, but it can be really uncomfortable being in the middle on a long-haul intercontinental flight.
Trust me. I was stuck in the last row in the middle seat on an 8 hour flight from Canada to Europe. I was between two large men, and they were both manspreading and had their hands behind their heads with their elbows infringing on my space.
It was a very long flight.
You can’t avoid sitting by terrible people even if you book your seat in advance, but you can at least snag a seat that makes you feel most comfortable.
For me, it is the window seat, but I know lots of women prefer the aisle seat, so they can quickly get out of their seat in case something happens.
Whatever makes you feel most comfortable!
Whether it is the window, aisle, or middle seat you feel most comfortable in, it is well worth the extra money (especially on long-haul flights) to pre-book your seat.
It takes a level of stress off your shoulders and removes one unknown variable from the equation!
2. Don’t Sleep Until You Get on the Plane
This is one of the most important and serious tips for flying alone.
It comes down to your safety, and you need to make sure you’re safe because you don’t have a travel buddy to watch your back for you.
I know it can be tremendously difficult to resist taking a nap in the airport, but you have to!
Between travelling for hours on end, long layovers, and jet lag, it is so tempting to close your eyes while you’re waiting for your next flight.
You have to (have to!) wait until you’re on the plane before you give into that temptation!
You’re a solo traveller, and that means you don’t have the luxury of having a travel companion to survive the airport with.
You are 100% responsible for your stuff and your safety, and that means you can’t doze off.
Single sleeping people are a target for having their stuff stolen, and that isn’t a headache you want to deal with.
Taking a nap also puts you at risk of oversleeping and missing your flight.
So fight the temptation, grab some caffeine, and keep your eyes wide open until you get settled in your plane seat.
Then zonk off and enjoy a well-deserved nap!
3. Be Internet Safe
Admittedly, this is more of a general flying tip and not a tip for flying alone.
But that doesn’t make it any less important!
In fact, it is so important that I chose to put it on my list of tips for flying alone even though it is a general flying tip.
You’re most likely going to connect to a public wifi network when you’re at the airport. The only time you won’t is if you have a personal wifi device like a Skyroam where you bypass the airport’s wifi.
Even if the airport wifi is password protected, it is a public wifi network, and you’re at risk of having your online data stolen.
There are a lot people using airport wifi every single day, and all it takes is one person with bad intentions to hack into your personal device and access your private online data.
You do not want the hassle of having your bank information stolen and having to shut down all your accounts and get new debit and credit cards!
The only way to protect yourself when using a public wifi network is installing a VPN on your phone, tablet, and laptop.
It basically puts a forcefield around your online activity that shields it from private eyes!
Using a public wifi network is as safe as using your personal, at home wifi network that only you have the password to when there is a VPN installed on your phone!
My Favourite VPN
I’ve tried a lot of VPNs over my years of travelling. Most of them I cancel my subscription after the first year because they slow my phone down so much.
That is until I discovered NordVPN!
There is a reason it is the most popular VPN on the market!
It doesn’t slow your phone down to the crawling speeds the most VPNs do, so it is a much more enjoyable user experience.
You can connect up to 6 devices on a single NordVPN account, so you can protect all of your devices for one low fee.
The monthly cost of protecting all your devices and your online privacy is less than the cost of a single Starbucks.
You have no excuse not to protect your online data and privacy! If you can afford to travel, you can afford the small cost of installing a VPN on your devices.
One of the best features of NordVPN is the ability to change your location on the VPN to make it look like you’re in a different country.
You then gain access to that country’s Netflix and Disney+ video library and can watch shows you wouldn’t normally be able to watch!
4. Bring a Book
Even if you have a direct flight, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the airport.
One of my top tips for flying alone (even if you’re not a nerd) is to bring a book.
First and foremost, it helps you pass the time. You may get tired of using the internet in the airport or may not have a tv screen on the plane.
It is important to have something than the internet to entertain you just in case.
Additionally (and perhaps more importantly), it can serve as a way to deflect and avoid people you don’t want to interact with.
I’ve used reading a book on multiple occasions to get out of talking to the person next to me on the plane.
Most people respect that when you’re reading a book, you don’t want to be disturbed.
I think having a book is one of the most powerful tools you can have with you when you’re flying alone.
A lot of people think that people travelling alone want to chit chat with everybody and anybody who approaches them, and that isn’t always the case.
In fact, only 1% of the time do I actually want to talk to someone else when I’m flying alone.
Basically everyone understands that people reading don’t want to be interrupted, and most people are respectful of that.
Even if you’re not a big reader, grab a magazine, comic, or novel and have it in your bag in case you want to signal to the world that you are not interested in being disturbed.
5. Try to Keep it to One Carry On Bag
You are 100% responsible for every item you’re carrying onto the plane with you.
You have to navigate the airport with your carry-on luggage, get your luggage through security, and, perhaps most importantly, have to deal with that luggage when you use the washroom!
If you cringe at the thought of lugging your carry-on luggage with you to the washroom, you probably want to rethink how much carry-on luggage you have.
I know it can be difficult, but one of my top practical tips for flying alone is to try as hard as you can to keep your carry-on luggage to one piece of luggage.
For me, I normally have a backpack and a small purse, but it can definitely be more if I’m at the end of a long trip. Especially if that trip involves Disney!
But try as hard as you can to keep your carry-on luggage to a manageable level.
You have to take your carry-on luggage everywhere you go. You don’t have a buddy to watch your luggage if you go to the washroom or want to grab a snack.
It is all on you!
You have to pack up all your stuff and bring it with you every single time you move from one place to another.
6. Have a Screenshot of Your Accommodation’s Address
You need to have easy access to the name and address of your accommodation.
Especially if you’re travelling to another country!
You have to include this information on your customs declaration.
It is so much easier to complete your customs declaration if you have a screenshot of your accommodation’s information easily accessible in your phone.
You don’t have to be connected to the internet and don’t have to scroll through all your emails to try to find your confirmation.
This may seem like one of the oddest tips for flying alone, but it really is an important one.
The easier it is to access the name and address of your accommodation, the quicker your customs declaration is filled out, and the sooner you can jump into the immigration line.
You’re not allowed to have your phone out in most immigration areas, and the less amount of time you’re stuck in line, the better!
You don’t have anyone to chart with, and the lines often feel like they never move!
You want to get in and get out with as little wait time as possible!
And having your accommodation information available to you quickly is one of the best ways to do that.
7. Have Lounge Access
There is hardly a better feeling in the airport than relaxing in a lounge.
It is perfection!
You’re comfortable, have complimentary food and drinks, the wifi is strong, and you feel much more relaxed as a solo traveller.
There are three main ways you can get lounge access:
- Have a credit card that gives you lounge access
- Fly business or first class, and the airline gives you lounge access
- Invest in a Priority Pass card
I’m not going to go into too much detail of each way to get lounge access here.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of how to get free lounge access, sign up for my email list to get your free copy of my ebook all about getting into lounges for free!
Being in an airport lounge is luxurious, but it often makes solo travellers feel more comfortable and less awkward as well.
This is one my tips for flying alone that is most difficult to accomplish, unfortunately.
You need to do some work behind the scenes before you get to the airport in order to be allowed into an airport lounge.
But the effort is so worth it!
Having access to a lounge as a solo traveller makes the entire airport experience so much better!
It is nice to have lounge access when you have a travel buddy, but it is even better when you’re travelling alone.
8. Pack a Pen
This one goes hand in hand with tip number 6.
You need a pen to fill out all those customs forms, and odds are the flight attendant is not going to give up one of their pens if you don’t have one.
Stick a few pens in the front pocket of your backpack or in your purse and leave them there for life!
You will be surprised how often you need a pen when you’re travelling alone, and the airport is no exception.
This may seem like one of the most obvious tips for flying alone, but you would be shocked at how often people beg to borrow my pen when I whip it out on the plane.
Just make sure you get it back! I’ve lost many a pen to people who ask to borrow it and never return it.
9. Keep a Close Eye on the Departure Board
This is one of the most important tips for flying alone!
You need to need to need to check the departure board on a regular basis!
Flights change gates, depart early or late, or are even cancelled all the time! You need to check the departure board frequently and stay updated on your flight.
One example to bring this point home is when I was flying from Dallas to Quito. The flight changed gates five times and changed departure times three times. It was a wild ride, and I never would have known about these changes if I didn’t check the departure boards as often as I could.
As I keep saying, you are alone and 100% responsible for keeping track of your flight.
It isn’t uncommon for flights to depart early if everybody is checked in, and you don’t want to miss a flight just because you’re in a common area and not paying attention.
You need to always know when and where your flight is departing from, so you can plan your decisions around that.
Keeping updated on your flight has become even easier in modern days.
Most airlines have an app you can download and track your flight directly from the app.
It makes it super easy to keep track of your flight wherever you are even if there isn’t a departure board near you.
A word of caution though: the apps normally update much slower than the departure board.
You should still check the departure board in the airport every now and then.
Listening to the announcements is a good option too, but if you’re like me, you normally drown them out. They’re so frequent that you just stop listening at some point.
10. Pack an External Battery
Okay. This is another tip that probably applies to everybody, but I think it is especially important for people flying alone.
An external battery is a lifesaver!
You run out of phone, tablet, and laptop battery so quickly! You don’t want to be in the situation where you desperately need to charge your devices and don’t have a place to plug them in.
A lot of airport seating have USB charges built into the chairs, and you can often find a plugin alone the wall.
But you don’t want to have to rely on those!
You can spend a lot of time wandering around trying to find a seat close to an outlet. They are the most popular seats and are normally the first to get snagged.
An external battery takes all that headache away!
You can stay wherever you’re camped out and charge your batteries at your convenience.
It is super handy and something you should be travelling with in any event.
One thing to note is you aren’t allowed to pack external batteries in your checked luggage. They have to be stored in your carry-on luggage.
It isn’t really an issue but more something to be aware of!
11. Have a Plan to Get to Your Accommodation
This isn’t really a tip for flying alone, but it is really important!
You need to have a plan on how you’re getting from the airport to your accommodation.
You don’t want to be in a situation where you arrive in a new city and have no idea how to get to where you’re staying.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated plan.
Your plan could be as simple as knowing you’re taking an Uber or taxi to your accommodation.
It can also be much more complex.
You might need to know what bus or train to get on. Where to get off. How to walk from the bus or train station to the front door of your accommodation.
These are things you need to know before you get off your flight.
You’re tired, in a new city, and might have a language barrier to deal with.
Having a plan on how to get from the airport to your accommodation starts your trip off on the right foot. You don’t have to worry about making any decisions after a flight, and you already have a plan in place.
Of all the tips for flying alone on this list, I think this tip is one of the most overlooked ones.
I know it doesn’t directly relate to flying, but it also really does when you think about it.
Watch the Video!
There you have it! All my top tips for flying alone.
I’ve been on probably close to 100 flights alone, and I can tell you from experience that all of the tips for flying alone on this list will make your life so much easier!
It makes the flying process smooth and makes airports slightly less dreadful.
If I had to choose the top 3 tips for flying alone that you need to pat attention to, they would be:
- Be internet safe and install a VPN on all your devices
- Don’t sleep until you get on the plane
- Have a plan on how you’re getting from the airport to your accommodation
The other eight tips for flying alone on this list are extremely important as well, but those three are absolutely essential.
Flying alone truly isn’t scary. It can seem intimidating for new travellers, but it gets so much easier each and every time you do it!
I love travelling alone, and having the annoyance of being 100% responsible for your carry-on luggage and lugging it to the bathroom with you is a small price to pay for the amazing experience of travelling alone!