How to Fly Solo: Travel Edition

Flying across the country hundreds of miles away from home alone?  You’re crazy.  I’ve always navigated the airport with family or friends.  But this summer I had the opportunity to travel to the West Coast… sans family and friends.  When others are responsible for logistics and tickets, it’s easy to just sit back for the ride.  But if you’re flying solo, don’t forget these tips for a smooth trip.

1. Have time to get lost

Nothing is worse than being late and not knowing where you’re going.  Allow ample time to arrive, park (or be dropped off), check luggage, go through security and find your gate.  And if you have extra time, you can easily charge your phone, check Insta or grab a bite to eat.  For me, it meant getting my free drink at Starbucks!

2. Know where you need to be once you land

Are you renting a car?  Is someone picking you up?  If you’re supposed to meet someone, you should know where they’ll be—duh.  I was being picked up, and let me tell you: LAX is ha-uge.  Beforehand, I had a map of LAX and knew exactly where to meet my shuttle pickup.  You’re going to be tired and ready to get moving once you land so plan this step ahead.Shells Rocks Laguna Beach Los Angeles California

3. Ask questions and get help if you need it–

–no, when you need it.  Can’t find the bathroom?  Delayed flight?  Which gate?  You aren’t really alone because plenty of other people have been in your shoes before.

4. Make sure you make a long fun playlist and have something to preoccupy yourself

If you’re feeling some pre-trip nerves or just don’t want to be bored, be sure to have some music to listen to or a book/magazine.  I enjoyed listening to Coldplay and Miley Cyrus (because we all need a little “Party in the U.S.A.” when we fly to LAX).  Find more boredom busters here.  Getting a window seat also can make the flight more interesting (see #5)!Laguna Beach Los Angeles California Palms Trees

5. Talk to people

On my trip, I started a casual conversation with a couple and their darling little daughter.  I found out they were from Los Angeles and asked about some places to go.  Get advice for your trip en route.  On the plane, we were flying over a desert terrain, and I asked the guy next to me if he’d been to the Grand Canyon.  Noting that he had, the man looked out my window and said it was definitely the Grand Canyon.  You learn so much more if you engage with those around you.Desert Airplane West

6. Download your ticket ahead of time 

While I do love holding on to keepsakes to ticket stubs and coins, having my plane ticket on my phone took a lot of stress off and, honestly, just made it simpler.  Check to see if your airline can send you a link to your ticket before your trip; be sure to screenshot it!

7. “Treat.  Yo.  Self.”

(A warm s/o to Parks and Rec for this beautiful life motto that I’m adopting.)  Give yourself a pat on the back!  You’re all grown up now!  Treat yo self to some Starbucks or a cookie.  Oh, and I’ve giving you permission to go grande.

After flying solo, I felt so proud of myself and quite independent.  There’s definitely freedom to traveling solo in that you don’t have to wait for everyone to grab their bags or all agree on one restaurant.  Traveling without the aid of friends or family may be more work on the planning side, but look forward to the time to breathe and find your own adventure.



{Did I miss any tips for traveling solo?  Share in the comments below!}Version 2

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