Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tips for Traveling Alone

Traveling is something that I love to do but up until I started college 8 hours away from home, I had never traveled by myself. I know it might seem odd to be nervous about traveling alone especially as a 19-year college student, but as someone who doesn't fly often, this was a whole new experience for me. I lucked out a bit as the first time I flew without my parents I was with my roommate who had experience traveling alone so she was able to give me tips and answer any questions I had (which there were lots) so that definitely eased my nerves when it came time for me to travel entirely by myself.

I traveled by myself for the first time when I flew home for Thanksgiving Break last November. I had booked a 5:00am flight out of the Columbia airport which was nice as it got me home to Ohio before 9am but it was also a bit stressful as I had to wake up at 3:30am and find someone to give me a ride to the airport because I didn't have my car on campus and there were understandably no Uber's running at 3:30am. Long story short, I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, seriously, I don't know why I thought I needed to be there so early. There was no one at the airport at 3:45am and it's only a 15-minute drive from campus but it's better to be early, especially when it's your first time traveling alone.

I've since flown alone 3 times as well as taking weekend road trips so I've come to develop a list of my tips for when you're traveling alone, whether it be flying, driving or checking into hotels, I'm here to share my experiences and tips on how to make your travels as easy as possible.


Early is Better Than Late
I'm notorious for showing up at the airport several hours before my flights begins boarding. While I don't need to get there three hours before boarding, it's much better to be early and have time to sit down and relax than having to run after you get through security to your gate. It's also nice to be there early in case of a gate change so you can be where you're supposed to be when it comes time to board.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask Someone for Help
This is something that I was hesitant to do when I traveled alone for the first time but I just had to remind myself that the airport staff was there to help me. Whether it's asking which direction your gate is or simply for a gate-check bag tag, don't be afraid to ask for assistance because you'll feel better instead of sitting there wondering "what if?" the whole time.

Bring a Portable Charger & Make Sure It's Charged
When I was flying back to Columbia after Christmas break, I had just boarded my connecting flight in Washington, D.C. when my phone alerted me that I only had 5% battery left. I had brought a portable charger with me but when I turned it on, I realized I had forgotten to charge it. It turns out the charger had permanently died so my mom ordered me this one off of Amazon and it's fantastic! I can get at least 5 full charges out of this thing! Especially now that most boarding passes and GPS systems are on our phones, it's important to make sure you have a charged phone at all times while you're traveling.

Have Confirmation E-Mails On Hand & Ready
My roommate and I traveled over Easter Weekend and we stayed overnight in a hotel since we didn't want to spend most of our day in the car traveling to and from Columbia. Checking into hotels is a simple process and the employees there will ask you for the information they need but I would suggest you have your reservation confirmation handy just in case anything were to happen.

Research Your Destination Prior to Arriving
When traveling to a new city, I would recommend doing a simple search and looking to see some of the things your destination has just so that when you arrive, you have a general idea of what you would like to do. You can choose to research more or less depending on your travel style, it just comes down to whether you like having a list of everything you want to do and see or if you like to just explore and see what you discover.

Have a General Game Plan
When my roommate and I went to Savannah, we had a general idea of what we wanted to see and do but we had no idea where to start. You can save a decent amount of time by having a general idea of where you'd like to go first so you don't sit there and bounce ideas around.

What tips do you have for traveling alone?

xoxo,

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