Tips For Flying Alone With Anxiety


Plan Ahead
Don't be afraid to be that person with a billion printed out documents and a strict schedule. If it helps you have peace of mind, do it. Ask Google the stupid questions that you are too worried to ask anyone in person. (Like How do I know if the plane's bathroom is occupied?) If you have questions that you're going to have to ask the person at the check-in desk, see if you can ask ahead of time via email. Trust me, half of the worry that's clouding your mind is caused by the things you don't know. So ask and find out.

Choose An Aisle Seat
Most airlines allow you to choose your seat 24 hours prior to flying, so take advantage of that if you're in it for the long haul. The first time I flew long distance, I assumed a window seat would be the best option as I would feel hidden away and wouldn't need to disturb anyone. That resulted in an 6 hour need to pee. Not fun. Go with the aisle, not only is it easier to go to the bathroom, but you can keep an eye on whether anyone is in there so you aren't stuck trying to find your balance right outside the bathroom door. On top of that, you'll be able to see when the stewardesses are going to start offering drinks so you can plan ahead AND you won't need to shout what drink you want over the two or three people that'll be sitting between you and her/him.

Try and organise your carry on bag as much as possible. When going through security, you'll of course have to pull out any laptops/tablets/toiletries (check Google for anything you aren't sure of), put whatever you'll have to take out in a separate compartment of your bag so they're easy to get to and won't give you that panicked feeling when you're laptop is wedged between your books and people are waiting behind you. I've been there, trust me, it isn't the best. A backpack is your best option as it's large and usually comes with a variety of pockets. If you're super stressed, you can go as far as to pull off your jacket/cardigan/hoodie and fold it up into your backpack prior to queuing up so you won't have to deal with that on top of the other stuff, jewellery is another one. Take a little coin purse and keep any pieces in there, tucked somewhere safe in your bag, until you're all the way through. It's what I do, and to be honest, it makes it easier on both ends. I hate the part after being through security when you have to rush to try and put everything back into your bag and get your shoes on. The less you have to pull off only to put back on, the better.

A Bag Within A Bag
If you need to put your carry on bag in the overhead compartment but are worried about having to keep going to it for your items of entertainment, I recommend you pack a bag within your bag. Whether a cross body, clutch or any ol' travel bag, put all the things you think you'll need on the plane in it. Then when you're waiting to board, get it out and carry it on as it is. When getting to your seat, put it down and go ahead and stow away your carry on. The easiest option for this is a cross body, as you can then put it on when waiting to get off the plane ridding yourself of the annoyance of carrying two bags. Plus a helpful packing tip for getting an extra bag onto your packing list!

Aisle Companion
Now you've made it to your seat, and there is one person next to you also travelling alone. You just want to sit and be in your own brain, I get it. But sometimes a dreadful thing happens.. they want to talk. On long haul flights, this is rare. But short haul, it's 50/50. It's nice to make chit-chat, of course, but when shy, it can just be plain awkward. So what I like to do is, whether it's music on my phone or the movie on screen, once it seems like an acceptable time to do it, I put one earphone in (the one that isn't between you and your aisle companion), and leave the other out. This way it doesn't feel like you're being rude to them. They won't think you're purposely tuning them out as it still offers them the option to talk to you, but it's also inviting them to get on with whatever they wanted to do during the flight. Most of the time, people are just trying to be friendly and then end up sitting there wondering if they are expected to continue with the talking throughout the flight.

Ribbon That Case Up
So you've survived the flight, go you! And it's the heart-wrenching moment to find out whether your case made it all the way with you. "Ooh, that's my case coming towards me! Wait, no, that other woman just took it. Oh, no, I see it now. Ha. That'd of been embarrassing. Here it comes. Wait, is that my handle? No, is it? I don't know. Crap, crap. Okay, that family took it. Good. There it is! Coming out now. Is it? Why'd I choose black!?" I've been there. (Twice, but shush.) Whether you buy a flamboyant case, a luggage strap, or just tie ribbons on every surface that you can, make sure you'll be able to tell yours apart in a line up.

Smile, Be Brave
No matter what happens, just smile. I know it can incredibly hard when your eyes are welling up with tears and you just want to run back to the familiarity of home, but you booked this flight for a reason so keep your mind on it. Ask a worker if you're lost or don't know what to do about something, believe me, when their shift comes to an end, it is incredibly unlikely that they'll remember you asking whether you ought to go left or right. Don't psych yourself out too badly, and be gentle with yourself. You can't plan the unexpected and airports can be daunting, no matter how many signs they put up. You aren't ever stupid for needing a little help.

Bonus Mini Tips

Choose An Overnight Flight
If you don't do good with loud noises or the hustle and bustle of people, try an overnight flight. The atmosphere is much calmer than your average day flight and you tend to get left alone more.

Be An Early Bird
Get to that airport as early as you're able to, the last thing that's needed in this situation is the added stress of thinking that you're going to miss the flight. You'll only be sitting in a seat waiting to find out the number of your gate, so give yourself that extra 90 minutes. Or heck, 2 hours. You'll be surprised at how fast the time goes when in the buzz of a place like an airport. Grab a drink,  a magazine or your book, sit patiently and get that calm in before the.. storm? Well, that doesn't sound pleasant. You know what I mean. Plus this gives you ample amount of opportunities to use the bathroom before boarding.

Meal Requests
On your airlines website, they will most likely offer you he choice of requesting a "special" meal. Whether veggie, vegan or gluten free, you needn't worry your head too much wondering if there'll be something for you if you take advantage of this.

Buuuuutt, just in case you hate the food, take some snacks in your carry on. To save a few pennies you can pre-buy some packaged snacks preventing the dreary duty-free cost, so long as you either eat them or throw it away before arriving to your destination. I have to finish this bag of chocolate? Oh well, guess it's outta my hands. *wink, wink* But really, it's good to have something at hand for these situations. Especially if your flight is overnight and you won't want to disturb anyone. Also take an empty water bottle to fill up once you're through security, or buy the biggest one you can find. Your skin and lips will thank you for it.


I know these tips may be obvious, but they're what help me when taking a flight. I'm a worrier and most of time, I get my mind freaked out when it doesn't necessarily need to be resulting in non-fun travel. The first time when doing anything is scary, but you can do it. Think of all the others who have and believe in yourself. Heck, if you booked the ticket, you are strong enough to follow through on it. 

- Anne x

1 comment

  1. These are such fab tips; I wish I'd read this before I flew on my own (but that was in 2011!) I stupidly chose a window seat and wish I'd chosen an aisle seat. I hope this post really helps someone flying on their own for the first time :) xx


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