One of the biggest worries people have about traveling is whether or not they have to do it alone. In fact, a lot of people prefer not to travel if they don’t have a companion. I, however, prefer to travel alone. I like to do things on my time, on my schedule. Not that I won’t travel with others, because that’s the way I travel mostly, but there’s something so liberating about traveling alone. Despite the feeling of freedom I get from solo travel, I know it’s nerve-wracking for many, so I’m here to give you some tips for a more comfortable solo experience.

Make sure you have everything you need on hand.

If you’re already nervous to travel alone, prevent the most common stressor beforehand: have your boarding pass and license/passport out when you arrive. I choose to check-in to my flights the night before and download my boarding pass to my iPhone. This alone is easier in my opinion. When you arrive to the airport, put your license/passport either in your pocket or keep it in your hand before going through security. Having both of these readily available prevents the stressful situation of having to rummage around in front of a TSA agent, holding up the line behind you.

Ask for help.

If you don’t know where something is, ask for help! Don’t talk yourself out of it because of embarrassment; the people working in the airport are there to help. You can also ask other travelers — and this one really shouldn’t scare you. Sometimes they don’t know the answer, but sometimes they do, especially when it comes to baggage claim. And if you’re too afraid to ask, following people can come in handy in some situations (like going to baggage claim when you don’t know which concourse your bag will be on, not to their hotel).

During long layovers, find familiarity.

My favorite place to relax is a coffee shop. Most of the time when I’m home, you can either find me at a local café or in my bed. When I’m at the airport and I have a long layover, I always search for a coffee shop. The sense of familiarity eases my travel worries and also calms me down after a day of travel. In a place that is utterly unfamiliar, it is my sense of comfort. Finding spots like this can greatly help reduce travel anxiety, acting as almost a comfort blanket.

Remember, you’re not the only solo traveler.

If you feel embarrassed or anxious, even if it’s for no reason other than being a solo traveler, just take some deep breaths and remember: you’re not the only person traveling alone. There are many other solo travelers every day at the airport who are just going on with their day, and some might feel the same as you. Just do what’s best for you and what feels comfortable and don’t worry about them — because they’re not worrying about you.

These are just some of many things you can do as a solo traveler to ease any kind of anxiety you may have about traveling alone. Even if you don’t find it scary, these can still help on a long day of travel as a way to get you through the day.

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