Hey everyone! I am back from my month-long trip to England and I am ready to get back into blogging. If you weren’t aware, I went to England to visit/meet my long-distance boyfriend for the first time! It truly was the best month of my life, and I am so excited to go back very soon! For now, I really want to share some fresh new content with you all. In today’s blog post, I wanted to discuss and share some tips for those of you who are planning to/want to do some solo traveling in the future.
Leaving for this trip was really nerve-wracking for me because it was my first time traveling alone. While I have traveled with family and with a study abroad group in college, I have never been completely on my own. I have traveled internationally before, and I felt like I knew what to expect at the airport due to my past experiences. Still, traveling on your own, especially through an airport and internationally can seem pretty overwhelming and intimidating. Whether you are going to be alone for your entire trip, or you are going to meet a friend, I am hoping to calm your nerves and ease your mind about solo travel!
- Pre-Plan EVERYTHING
At times, planning for trips can get stressful, so it is very important to prepare ahead of time. This includes booking a flight and any attractions/activities, being aware of your own personal budget, checking the weather etc. You can make a checklist so that you do not forget any important steps. You can even plan out what days you want to accomplish certain tasks leading up to your departure. If you have your airline’s app, you can check-in and pay for luggage before you go to the airport as well. Anything that will save you time is worth it! Since the pandemic has begun, travel has become much more restrictive, so there are also factors relating to Covid that you must look into (such as booking any Covid tests, quarantining, mask mandates, etc.). Please remember that if you do plan to travel at this time, be safe and do your best to distance yourself from others, wear your mask, and definitely bring some hand sanitizer with you!
- Keep all valuables in one place
When traveling, there are important documents/valuables that you may need, and it is essential that you keep these items close to you and in a safe place (but be sure that they are easily accessible as you make your way through the airport). An example of this would be bringing a laptop case and using this as your personal item. In the case, I had my laptop, phone, passport, and a folder with my negative Covid tests and other important forms. By doing this, it saved me from having to dig around in my carry-on. Constantly check to make sure that these valuable items are on your person, and never leave your bags alone or with a stranger.
- Read about the airline/requirements beforehand
While airline rules and regulations tend to be pretty similar across the board, there is always a chance that you could miss some important information. Airlines will typically have certain rules in relation to the size and weight of your luggage for example, so it is best to look into these things ahead of time. I flew with United Airlines, and looking on their website as well as downloading the app was very helpful. I highly recommend downloading your airline’s app because it will be your guide for many things. You’ll be able to see any changes made to your flight, information on your luggage, and all of the details relating to your trip.
- Be adaptable to change
Traveling can be unpredictable at times. There can often be delays, schedule changes, lost luggage, the list goes on. It is important that in moments like this, you take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Getting angry or upset is not going to help you in this situation, and everyone working at the airport is doing their best. These things are out of your control, so there is no point in panicking. Things definitely did not go perfect for my first time traveling alone! My first flight kept getting delayed, so I had to speak with someone to help me get on a new flight. Then when I arrived in London, my bag was missing (it took a few days for it to be located and brought to me). Things will not always go according to plan, but as long as you stay on top of these things and speak to someone right away, you are going to be alright.
- Be aware of your surroundings
This tip should relate to your everyday life, and even more so when traveling alone. Never take your eyes off of your bags, and never leave it with someone you do not know/aren’t traveling with. As annoying as it may be to drag along your bags with you to the restroom or to grab a quick bite to eat, it’s better to keep your belongings with you. Also, keep an eye out for anyone acting suspicious. Since you’ll be alone, there won’t be anyone to do this for you. If you notice anything strange, be sure to tell someone working at the airport about it. Traveling alone can already be nerve-wracking, but you can’t let this distract you from your surroundings.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I know many people who would rather have a complete breakdown trying to figure something out on their own rather than asking for help. Please never think that asking for help is a weakness (in any situation in life). When you are experiencing something new, you are most likely not going to have all of the answers. If you aren’t sure where your gate is, or if your luggage was lost, don’t hesitate to walk up to someone working at the airport. Chances are, they will know exactly how to help you (or at least they will tell you where to go to get the help you need). That is after all, what they are there for. Plus, it’s better to be absolutely certain of something by asking another person or people instead of thinking you know everything.
Of course, I could go on sharing even more tips, so please let me know if a part two would be helpful! I hope that this blog post has inspired you and encouraged you to think about solo traveling. Trust me when I say that it is not as scary as it seems! Plus, as you do it more often, you will become more and more comfortable. I will be traveling alone again very soon, but this time around, I feel much more prepared and less nervous. I guess it all comes down to what you really want. I knew that I desperately wanted to be with my boyfriend in person, so a little nervousness wasn’t going to hold me back. If you are set on the idea of going somewhere on your own, or you’ve dreamed about it forever, do it! You will never regret traveling, and taking a step toward independence can be such an eye-opening, freeing, and overall wonderful experience! Thank you so much for reading! Safe travels, and I’ll see you next time!