You’ve booked the flight and now it’s time to head to the airport for your introductory flying alone for the first time experience. Let’s make it as stress-free as possible with some helpful tips and suggestions on making your first time flying alone the best experience possible.
It’s completely fine to be nervous or apprehensive about the unknown. And for nervous flyers, there are a number of ways to combat those flight anxiety fears. We’ll discuss that further down.
Related Reads: 8 Benefits of Traveling Alone in 2024
Managing the Airport
The airport can be slightly confusing for travelers who are flying alone for the first time. Check with your airline at the departure terminal for where to check in or drop off your luggage.
Depending on your airline, you may be able to check in online in advance.
Lines for check-in and security may be longer depending on what time your flight is departing. Early morning and afternoon flights are some of the busiest times in the airport.
Prepare to arrive with sufficient time to check in your luggage and make your way through security. Most airlines recommend arriving 3 hours before your flight‘s departure time.
The easiest way to prepare for security is to have your carry-on bag organized. With tight regulations around what you can bring through security, it’s good to be aware of any issues that might arise.
If you are bringing any liquids through airport security you must follow the limits for what is allowed.
- 3.4 ounces or 100ml of liquids are allowed in your hand/carry-on luggage.
- Liquids must be placed in a clear plastic bag.
- If you have over 3.4oz or 100ml of liquids they will need to be placed in your checked-in luggage. Or risk losing them to airport security.
The easiest way to obey this rule is to purchase refillable bottles with your essentials. These can be used to store your shampoo, conditioner, perfume, and body lotions. These handy portable travel bottles can be individually labeled with stickers to help you remember which liquid is in which container.
This depends on each airport and airline, but the rule of thumb is that if you are traveling with electronics, you should carry them on you. When you go through security you will need to remove each electronic device from your carry-on luggage and put it in the tray provided for screening.
Going through security screening should be a breeze once you listen to the security agents. Remove all items from your pockets and remember to take off your belt and shoes. Your items from your carry-on will go through the security control and you can collect them once you’ve made it safely through the security screening.
Women travelers take note that sometimes if you are wearing a wire bra it might set off the security barrier. You will be pulled aside and given a non-invasive pat down by a female security officer.
If you are flying overseas you will need to bring documentation with you. This is usually in the form of a valid passport. You will need to check with the country you are traveling to, in order to check the requirements of what is required from overseas visitors. Don’t forget to double-check whether your passport is still valid.
If you are traveling domestically (within the country or to a domestic territory overseas), you will need to provide documentation of proof of identity. An ID card is usually sufficient.
Check with your airline for what proof of identity is required for your final destination.
Either before you travel to the airport or at the airport itself, make sure that you download some entertainment to your phone or iPad to watch onboard the flight.
I love to use this time to catch up on TV shows that I haven’t gotten a chance to watch yet. If I want to sleep, I’ll download a podcast or listen to some relaxing music from Spotify to drown out external noises such as cabin crew announcements or loud talking.
Some airlines provide entertainment systems onboard the flight, but for shorter flights, there may be nothing to do to pass the time. Having a backup of shows to watch on your phone or tablet is a great way to keep you entertained and for the time to pass by quickly.
Entertainment Apps for Flying:
- Apple TV
- Disney +
- Amazon Prime TV
Lost luggage Hacks
One of the easiest ways to track your luggage is to purchase an Apple Air Tag or a Tile Mate for Android users. Simply pop a tag into your suitcase and you’ll be able to track your luggage throughout the airport. And when you arrive at your destination you’ll be able to see whether your luggage made it to your destination too.
Carry on Essentials
Preparing your carry-on luggage is an essential part of your journey whether you are a seasoned traveler or you are flying alone for the first time. These are the essential items that I bring with me, whether my flight is 1 or 8 hours long.
The travel wallet is the perfect holder to keep all your important documents in one place. When traveling through the airport, you can keep your boarding card, passport, lounge pass, vaccine certificate, and phone in the travel wallet. I do not recommend putting your credit and debit cards in the travel wallet, as having all your essential documents in one place is asking for trouble.
Carry On Backpack
I’ve always been a backpack girl when I go traveling. I love the convenience of having everything I need on my back, and having a backpack that has as many pockets as possible gets extra bonus points from me.
I’ve used my PacSafe Backpack which also happens to be anti-theft and RFID proof. It’s roomy enough that I can bring my laptop and if I am going on a quick night away serves as my overnight bag too.
My phone has a terrible battery life and usually needs to be recharged halfway through the day. On top of that, there is absolutely nothing worse than when your battery dies when traveling. Nowadays, our phones are a lifeline and when traveling through the airport, you’ll find that your phone has all your important documentation on it. From boarding passes to covid certificates, you need it for every step of the journey. Having a portable battery pack is a great way to avoid getting stuck without a phone.
Top Tip: If you are traveling with a lithium battery pack it must go into your hand luggage.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a new pair of noise-canceling headphones for your flight, let me tell you they are worth every single cent. Flying is noisy. There is constant noise from the drone of the engines, the people sitting beside you and the cabin crew announcements mean a never-ending supply of loud noise. I fly with either my AirPods Pro or my over-the-ear Bose headphones to drown out the noise and listen to my podcasts in peace.
If you are traveling long haul, then a neck pillow is an absolute must. You can relax and catch up on some sleep, and with a seemingly new style of neck pillow available to purchase each month, getting the right one is a matter of preference.
Collapsable Water Bottle
With a limit on liquids allowed through security, you can bring this handy collapsable water bottle to refill once you get into the departure area. Each airport has a free water refilling station, so you can stay hydrated on your flight. The collapsable water bottle is the perfect size for fitting in your hand luggage and doesn’t take up much space.
If I’m flying for a few hours I’ll stick a few gel eye masks in my hand luggage to apply during the flight. They leave me feeling refreshed and reduce the dark circles under my eyes.
Flying is notorious for drying out your skin. And if you are anything like me, I suffer from terribly dry skin. Having a pocket-size moisturizer in my hand luggage is perfect for reapplying throughout the day.
It is 100% completely understandable if you are flying alone for the first time and are nervous about the experience. Whether that is being in the airport and finding your gate, or on the plane itself.
If you are nervous about flying, I would recommend that you speak to the cabin crew who can also help you and put you at ease. The same goes for within the airport, if you are struggling to identify where you need to go or where your gate is, make sure to ask grounds staff and they are usually very happy to help you.
On the plane listen to calming music and follow the cabin crews safety instructions. Each airline provides a leaflet on what to do in the case of an emergency landing. Remember flying is one of the safest ways to travel on the entire planet.
Flying alone for the first time can be initially overwhelming, but as long as you keep calm and all your belongings with you, then you’re already winning! Good luck, you’ve got this!