Flying Alone for the First Time

airport-dunheger travel blog

 

For too many first-time travelers, the airport isn’t the first exciting stop on the trip of a lifetime or even a mundane step to their next destination – it’s a place of mysterious bureaucracy and worst-case scenarios. What if you miss your flight? What if your bag gets lost or stolen? Where do you go first? How does everyone else magically know what to do at security? Nip the fear of solo travel in the bud and study these tips!

 

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date. If you’ll need a new passport, order it well in advance of your trip.
  • Make a packing list and do a test run about a month in advance to ensure everything fits comfortably. A travel luggage scale from Dunheger will help you check your pack weight against your airline’s restrictions.
  • Remember the 3-1-1 rule while packing. All liquids must be in 3 oz or smaller containers and fit in a single quart-size plastic bag.
  • Wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane, with shoes that easily slip on and off.
  • Double check your flight status and charge all devices the day before your departure.
  • Take advantage of online check-in if your airline offers it.
  • Use a zippered document pouch to hold your passport, boarding pass, and other important papers. Keep this easily at hand as you’ll need these documents several times throughout check-in, security, and boarding.
  • Be calm, confident, and polite towards all airport staff. Going through security and customs isn’t scary – a smile goes a long way.
  • When you arrive at security, don’t wait until you’re at the front of the line to prepare your things. Start taking off your jacket, shoes, jewelry, and belt right away and carry them through the rest of the line. Unzip your bag and make sure your laptop and bag of liquids are easily accessible. When you do reach the front of the line, you’ll have everything ready and can immediately grab a couple plastic trays and be on your way.
  • Stay hydrated! Pack an empty water bottle and fill it at a water fountain inside the airport.
  • Save money by packing your own snacks.
  • Double check your flight’s gate on an arrival-departure board, and keep an ear out for announcements of changes
  • A boarding zone may be listed on your pass. Standing in the way of other passengers at the gate doesn’t get anyone on the plane faster, so remain seated until your zone is called.
  • Don’t put your boarding pass away. You may need to show it to both the gate attendant and to a flight attendant on the plane so they can direct you to your seat.
  • Don’t shove your bag in the first open overhead bin you see. Keep your bag as close to your seat as possible out of courtesy to your fellow passengers.

                     Passangers waiting at the airport, Flickr © Caribb

 

  •  Take out everything you’ll need in flight before putting your main carry-on in the overhead compartment
  • Use a wet wipe to sanitize your tray table and arm rests.
  • Pack items that do double duty. A large sarong can double as a blanket and bundling up a fleece jacket can form a makeshift pillow.
  • If you have a smartphone, tablet, or laptop on board, turn it off or switch it to airplane mode.
  • Keep your blood flowing by wearing compression socks or taking a walk, provided the seat belt light isn’t on and food and beverage service is not in progress.
  • On overnight flights, try to stick to a normal bedtime routine. Brush your teeth, wash your face, etc. This helps stave off jet lag.
  • Use your own pen for customs forms and don’t wait until you’ve landed to fill out this important paperwork.
  • Be patient at customs – attitude is everything. The customs officials may have a few basic questions for you, such as where you’re going and how long you plan to stay in the country.
  • Don’t change your money at the airport. Order foreign currency at home, or find a bank after you arrive. During an exchange, double count before leaving.
  • Have a plan for transportation to your accommodations – don’t just hop in the first taxi you see.