I’d never flown on my own before. When I think of flying; I’m with my family, or friends, or at least one other person. I’m never in charge and I’m never the leader. Checking in, going through security and finding your gate is usually a breeze when you just follow your family around, but a week ago I flew by myself for a 9 hour flight to America. I actually quite enjoyed myself, (even if I did end up in A&E and now being wheeled around Disney; cheers ankle) and found it to be quite… easy?! It’s the before that worries me; once I’m on the plane I’m fine, I can relax – it’s everything that comes before! I didn’t have my parents telling me what to do, or friends to laugh at our mistakes with. Regardless of my worries; I arrived safe and sound all by myself – woo! If you’re flying by yourself (or just flying in general) here are 7 ways to make it easier.
The day before you fly it’s always best to get a few things prepared. Get your hands on a luggage scale or any scales and weigh your suitcase (if you’re checking it in) and make sure its well under the weight limit. When you check in I can’t imagine the panic of it being too heavy and having to rearrange my belongings, throwing things away or putting things in with my hand luggage. Of course; there would also be a fine to pay if you go over the limit. I always make sure I’m below the limit not only for that reason, but so I can shop and bring back goodies home in my suitcase! Once you know your case is a good weight; it’s important to pack your carry on. I’m writing this with the mindset that you have a check in case PLUS a carry on; I know lots like to pack everything in a hand luggage size but let me talk you through what you should have in your, lets say, backpack; (also, things would be slightly different between long and short haul flights)
- Hygiene / beuaty products – face wipes, hand sanitizer, moisturiser, lip balm
- Electrical devices – phone, iPad, iPod, laptop etc
- Neck pillow (can carry separately)
- Sleep mask
- Jumper (it can get really cold on planes!)
- Notebook & pen
- PASSPORT and TRAVEL DOCUMENTS!
Just remember to have all beauty bits and liquids under 100ml, and for extra prep put them in a clear bag so you save time at security! Of course, your passport needs to be handy, safe and on you at all times! You can normally print off your boarding pass or check in online as well – I tend to print off anything and everything just to be on the safe side!
Easier said then done, but staying calm is key for a smooth solo flying experience. My biggest tip for staying calm is time management, and making sure I have a LOT of spare time. Yes you can get bored, but running to your gate or missing your flight most definitely wouldn’t be… calm. Make sure you have time, and don’t get too comfortable thinking you have loads to spare, because it can pass quickly and before you know it you’ll be ready to board your plane! For me, once on the plane is the most calm part of flying.
With all that spare time you have it’d be silly not to have a browse round Duty Free. There’s endless amounts of beauty, gifts and food to look through and purchase if you want to! I was kindly given some vouchers from World Duty Free to ease me in to my solo journey, and it was SO much fun! I picked up some amazing products, had lots of swatches up my arm and there are also lots of treatments available to further relax you ready for your flight. You should always treat yo’self at Duty Free!
Flying mid morning is my absolute fave – checking in; having lots of spare time to have a play in Duty Free and then I can sit down and have a good hearty breakfast. Full English or pancakes? That is the question. Regardless of your flight time; it’s so important to get yourself a bite to eat, whether it’s a quick grab and go to eat on board, or a nice solo date. You can always get food on board if you’re in a hurry (please, please don’t be in a hurry! Huge flying faux pas – especially when travelling alone = stress!) but of course the options are pretty limited to the likes of Pringles and some questionable sandwiches. My flight was a 9 hour flight departing Stansted at 10AM; my ideal flight time according to my belly – and yes, I’ll get lunch and maybe some snacks included, but that won’t stop me picking my own food up after a lush breakkie – let’s face it – the food is the best part of the flight! All my parents used to hear was ‘MUM when’s the food coming?!’ On this particular flight the food was actually pretty fabulous – for lunch; chicken with mac & cheese (random but I’ll go with it), cheese and crackers, a bread roll and a chocolate mousse. I then heard a hostess bringing something else round; a Cornetto! Then, afternoon tea – sandwiches, a scone and a little cake!
This is something I do in many situations; it’s an absolute gem of a trick! Faking confidence is super helpful in MAKING you have the confidence. For example, I can pretend I’m a business woman on business who’s just secured a huge deal with some important man and I have millions waiting for me at the destination because I’m such a Girl Boss. Just have little scenarios in your head and role with it!
I will literally talk to anyone. Anyone. It’s helps when you’re alone because it allows you to feel a part of something. Don’t get me wrong; I love to zone out and do my own thing in my own company, but talking to others passes time and you never know who you’re gonna meet, develop a relationship with or share a common interest with! Chat to people in queues, chat to staff, to the waiter at breakfast – whoever! Who you sit next to on the plane is always a worry; especially if you’re flying long haul! I was the first from my row to arrive so I was settled in – turns out I was sat with the sweetest 7 year old boy and his mum (the rest of the family were sat somewhere else) who were excited for their first trip to America and Disneyworld. I was sharing all my America faves with them, tips and tricks, places to go, places to eat and telling him all about Disney. I love how wide eyed and excited young’uns get – he had so many questions and it was so nice to be able to answer them and excite them further for their trip!
As I said, for me, once I’m on board that’s when I can relax and find myself at ease. I can sleep, I can watch movies, read, listen to music, write in my notebook and eat my snacks – lavvvly! Well, I make the best of a 9 hour sit down with strangers and such! For many, the actual flight is the stressful part (for me it’s the before!), there was a woman behind me crying as the plane took off, a few fast asleep trying to forget what’s happening, and others looking concerned and worried. I feel I won’t be very helpful at this part because (touch wood) I’ve always had a good experience when flying. This time was different though as I didn’t have my parents to chat to, to reassure me or to hand me sweets when my ears popped; but honestly the time WILL pass and you will get to your destination – it gets easier as it goes on and there are so many distractions on flights these days. If you tell one of the hostesses that you’re a worried flyer, they will do their best to comfort and support you!
SO. I’ve officially flown solo. I quite enjoyed myself; but I’m pleased to be flying home alongside my family!
A quick mention on what to expect when you arrive at your destination. Every other time on arrival I just follow my family; but this time I had to read signs, follow instructions and do it all by myself. Whilst the customs queues and security inspections (and second inspections) in total took 2 hours; it was a smooth and simple (very hot) 2 hours. Then it’ll be time to retrieve your suitcase, and begin your adventure!
I hope if you’re about to fly solo you look at it as exciting; it’s okay to be nervous but it’s better to be nervous-excited! Have you ever flown on your own? How was your first time? Are you a pro now? What do you think?! Leave your tips for flying solo, or flying in general for myself and others to read!