I do a lot of things that might be considered “group activities” alone; I go to restaurants and coffee shops, I stroll through the museum, and I go to tons of concerts by myself. Sometimes — a lot of times, in fact — I prefer it that way. Once you learn to enjoy your own company, the world really opens up to you — but that’s a post for another time. For now all you need to know is that, done right, nothing is better than getting on an airplane at 7am…. alone. I’ve done it enough times to know! In fact I’m writing this from the aisle seat of a very uncomfortable airplane right now.
I guess I should point out that this isn’t exactly a solitary travel expedition, nor is it a real “vacation” — at least if vacations, to you, involve a beach and the sun and a hot pool boy. I’m going home to Vancouver Island to visit my family.
No hot pool boys for me.
Still, this is not my first rodeo when it comes to flying solo. And it turns out solo is the very best way to fly, at least if you ask me. You have no one to keep track of, no one to slow you down, and you don’t have to… care about things? That’s the best part. Sure, change my seat. Yes, make me voyage across the airport to find a new gate. Fine, let the baggage carousel take 98389475 years. Who cares? I’ve got no one standing next to me grumbling. I can drag my ass through the airport at lightening speed and I’ve got nothing but time once I land.
I’m a very easy-going traveller.
ANYWAY, if you’re taking a solo trip, here are my tips to you.
✨ check in and pay to check your bags online. It’s easy and quick and when you walk into the airport you look like a damn frequent flyer because you know what you’re doing. You’ll get everything you need sent directly to your phone via email (or you can print it at home). A word to the wise — screenshot the emails in case you run out of data or can’t connect in the airport. Nothing is worse.
✨ Don’t stop for food until you’re past security. This may seem like a no-brainer, but turns out it’s not. You won’t be able to get through and find your gate with outside food and drinks, and sometimes you have a lot more frantic searching to do than you think, so hold off on that coffee just a few more minutes.
✨ Indulge in a trashy magazine (cosmo 4ever). You deserve this.
✨ get yourself a bottle of water at one of the little convenience stores by the gates. I always try to hold off — they’ll give you water on the plane — but I always regret it. Have it with you. Drink whenever you want. Control your own destiny.
✨ pack a hoodie in your carry on. No matter how warm you think you are, or how perfectly appropriately dressed you feel, a hoodie comes in clutch when you’re on a chilly plane, or when you need to squish something up into a make-shift pillow. Besides, it’s much cozier than whatever cool fashionable jacket you wore (me, today, denim).
✨ most importantly? Airports have a certain magic to them; there are a lot of big moments happening there every day and you kind of get the feeling that maybe you’re having one too. You could be anyone, going anywhere, sitting there waiting for your flight. Wear a cute (+ comfy) outfit, pack your laptop, sip a coffee and let your nails clack against the keyboard. Make everyone think you’re glamorous and important. You are.
My go-to flying outfit is stretchy black pants (ok, they’re leggings, but they have butt pockets so it seems acceptable), a big comfy t shirt (usually a band shirt because that’s the majority of my wardrobe, but today I’m sporting stripes), either a jean jacket or a leather jacket, and my favourite pair of Forever 21 booties. Annoying because I have to take them off to go through security (and no one even cracks a smile when I express my concern over their smell), but worth it because they would otherwise be taking up a ton of room in my suitcase, and they really pull an outfit together. The pros outweigh the cons in the end.
I’m excited for the trip home; it feels like a century since I saw my poor mom and my old friends (though it’s only been since Christmas). I love Toronto, and I wouldn’t trade my life there for the world, but it’s always kind of refreshing to go home and see people who have known me my whole life. You don’t realize what a big deal shared history is until you have it with no one; every story requires years of backstory, and most of the time it’s not worth it.
ANYWAY, how do you feel about traveling by yourself? Do you love the freedom and the mysterious aura that you seem to take on, or do you just die for someone to talk to in those hours that your phone is on airplane mode? Tell me all about it.