Flying is so stressful, especially as someone who's a homebody. But I've always admired people who do it by themselves. Although I've been to two different countries and moved across the globe, I've never flown by myself until my last trip to Taiwan. I'm really glad that I got the experience at the beginning of this year, and it made me feel so independent for the first time.
Being a very low-key paranoid, dramatic person, I was freaking out about this trip from the moment that I had to buy my flight tickets. I checked over five times to make sure that I had my name spelled right, correct date for the flights, and have enough time for layovers. Frankly, my first solo trip was still on the safe side. I only had one layover in JFK, where I've been to before.
Knowing which terminal and gate that you should be at is very, very important when flying. Before, I would just follow my family around because they always knew where to go. I already knew this was something that was going to stress me out on the trip, so I made sure that I did my homework before arriving at the airport. I've researched how to get to different terminals in JFK, which was actually very easy once I understand how. I've also downloaded the apps from the airlines to help me get the latest flight information since things are constantly changing. Another tip that could be helpful was saving the airline customer services number on my phone, just in case.
The best thing that I've done for this trip was not bringing too much carry-on. When it came to the time that I had to use a restroom, getting food, or even just refilled my water bottle, I had to bring everything with me because there was no one else to watch over my stuff. Luckily, I only had a backpack, so it wasn't bad for me to move around. I was so used to having my parents or my sister watched over my stuff when I had to go away to do something, I almost forgot that I wouldn't be able to do that when I travel alone.
Also, keeping myself entertain was very important. I made a playlist and downloaded some podcasts beforehand. I also brought a little notebook, so I could brainstorm some ideas. When I was on the plane, I tried to sleep during most of the time. For the times that I was awake, I just zoned out and hang out by myself (which is what I'm really good at doing!). Although I downloaded some movies to my Netflix, and there was also in-flight entertainment, I didn't watch any of them. But I still think it was important to have those ready just in case I really need something to distract me from the long wait before I arrive at my destination.
I can't believe how accomplished I felt after that one trip, but I think I really got out of my comfort zone flying solo for the first time. I will definitely be going back to Taiwan more often now, and I believe my trip will be better the next time!