Tips for Traveling Alone

One of the biggest “adult” moments, is hoping on a plane or making a road trip by yourself for the first time.

tips for traveling alone

Surprisingly, I’m not way behind on this monumental step in maturity. The first time I flew by myself I was about 15 or so and I’ve done it several times since. (Even out of the country!) Recently, I’ve been driving solo to Dallas to meet up with Cam since that’s pretty much our best halfway point.

Seeing as I’ve just spent the weekend in Fayetteville visiting Cam, I thought it would be a great idea to share with you all my tips for traveling alone. (Even though I wasn’t alone this time…Cam’s youngest brother was my travel buddy!)

You never know when you may need to make a solo trip for business or a fun weekend getaway. Without further ado, let’s get into the tips.

For the plane

Get organized before you leave for the airport

When you’re traveling alone, you’re going to want to have all your ducks in a row with your travel plans to avoid any stress at the airport. I check myself in to my flight ahead of time, so that all I need to do when I get to the airport is print my boarding pass. Also, I normally fly with just a carry-on, so as to avoid the time and cost of checking a bag. I keep the app for my airline installed on my phone, so I can check my flight status and know where my gate is.

Pack things to entertain you in the airport and on the plane

I love bringing a good book with me that I can really get lost in on the plane. Typically, if I’m traveling during the school year, I have some notes to take or something to read for a class, so I make sure I have everything printed out and bring my notebooks along with me. I also recommend an adult coloring book!

Get to your gate early before you explore

Always find your gate first before you explore or get food. It’ll be easier that way – trust me. Once you know where you’re supposed to be, then you can find the closest stops for food, snacks, or a magazine.

Have someone as a contact or ride for when you arrive

I like to arrange my rides before I even get on the airplane, so as to know if I need to make arrangements myself or if someone will pick me up. Also, if you’re traveling somewhere on business or something, try to see if you can have a contact in that city (maybe a relative or an old friend who happens to live there) that you can contact in case you get in a bind and need a ride or some assistance in some way.

Don’t be nervous!

Flying by yourself is literally the same thing as flying with someone else, and you have to remind yourself that. The plane still flies the same. You still get on and off the plane the same. You check your bag the same, and so on and so on. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! That’s what the airport staff and flight attendants are there for. I always check to verify I’m in the right place and the right line. It’s no big deal!

For the car

Gas up before you leave

It’s easiest just to be prepared, so I make sure to have a full gas tank before I leave. I also check to make sure I have my insurance, spare tire, book for my car with all the instructions and important info, and lots of snacks!

Prepare a playlist….or try podcasts!

Practically all my playlists on my Spotify are titled after the name of the city I was traveling to when I made it. I try to make one at about 30 songs that are upbeat and keep me entertained while driving. (I love the new Bastille, Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book”, and Gavin James’ “Live at Whelans”…all very different, but all very good.) I also LOVE podcasts as I’m sure you know since I am always blabbing about them. My two favorites are Real Simple’s Adulthood Made Easy and The Anxiety Guru podcasts.

Break up the drive if necessary

Map it out, and see if the drive is long enough to stop and stay overnight (or maybe just for dinner). Typically, I only drive 4-5 hours at a time, so I don’t stop. However, I do make note of people I know in cities I drive through in case I would need to make a stop for some reason.

Look at your route, weather, and traffic patterns ahead of time

I may do this a little too much. While it’s definitely not beneficial to stress over, it is good to take a look at what the weather will be like for your drive, and if there’s any events or things that may cause a large amount of traffic. There isn’t much you can do when you’re sitting in the pouring rain in a traffic jam, but it almost helps to know it’s coming, so you can plan on being a little late.

Plan your stops

I know where I’m going to stop and get gas, and I know full well I won’t run out of gas before then. I also look for the towns with good food options, so I know where I can grab something to eat. All it takes is pulling up a map, and after you make the drive a couple times, you’ll remember!

Have fun!

Having a few hours to yourself in a car can actually be a blessing and not a curse. Enjoy just getting to drive and listen to music or an audiobook. You may be surprised that you get a lot of thinking done during this time, or you just enjoy the peace and quiet.

Have you ever traveled solo? What are your best tips?!