Traveling alone is interesting at the best of times and one learns very quickly how to cope with the experiences of flying no matter how long the journey. The very first thing is learning not to mix boarding times with departure times! It is very embarrassing to hear your name called over the airport public announcement system. Then having to appear as the last passenger to board and walk down through all the faces that express their disapproval for having had to wait for you!
Before you even reach the boarding stage there are things that you may like to consider to enhance your experience on an aircraft and on your journey. Start with your attitude, when traveling there are sometimes events that are out of your control, take the weather, traffic problems, airport delays, any number of reasons, there are security issues as well as customs to negotiate. Sometimes you just have to let go and go with the flow. Raising your blood pressure from stress, and taking out frustrations on other people who to all intents and purposes may not be able to change any thing is a pointless and damaging process, mostly to yourself and those around you!
Maintaining some control is achievable by becoming proactive and working out what you can control. Confirming flights both a week before, and twenty-four hours prior to your trip will ease concerns. Staff will give a guide as to check in times, you will need to have all documentation ready with correct dates and times. You will have weighed your luggage and be aware of how much you are allowed to carry on board with you and what needs to be checked into the airline as baggage for the hold. This varies on what airline you are traveling with and in which direction you are traveling.
Medications for you or family members may need a doctor’s certificate. Having been the victim of many DVT’s I cannot travel with out having medication syringes with me at all times. There has not been a problem looking like a junkie as long as the information is available to border officials. Always have medications with you in case your checked baggage goes missing or is sent onto another destination. Yes, it does happen although not as frequently as it seemed to in the past.
As a solo older age traveler, I have learnt to be careful with bags. I travel with a bag that I can manage and lift easily, without having to be dependent on others. In today’s world I doubt there are many travelers who do not have a bag with wheels, they are a godsend. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate help on some occasions! A sore back and muscles make for unpleasant travel companions.
Many people handle their bookings online themselves these days. Prior to making a firm booking with an airline, check their seating and its suitability for your flight. The space between seats, the pitch of the seats, there are many variations some of which will be comfortable and some that may spoil your journey. Length of journey is also important. While you can put up with uncomfortable on short, cheap trips, a long haul flight-sitting bolt upright in small seating is a disaster. I prefer bulkhead seats, as there is generally more room for taller people. Unfortunately, that is where the baby cradles are located, but if there are seats available worth a try. If you do not want to be disturbed, avoid seats at the back of the aircraft close to kitchens and toilets. Despite being close to the kitchens, staff often serve the meals last to clients in these seats. Avoid a seat with a back that is close to the wall, as you will be unable to lean it into the reclining position.
Do you suffer the likelihood of frequent toilet visits? Choosing an aisle seat is a good choice, for both you and your fellow passengers. Planning to get some shuteye, a window seat may fill the bill allowing you to rest your head against the window. Traveling with children, the central bulkhead seats are probably the best, with room for kids to move and the inability to kick the seats in front can relieve the constant stress of worrying about upsetting others. Although when I have been traveling, it seems some parents really do not care about the comfort of others. With the right attitude though,even the worst parents in the world will not spoil the wonderful privilege of air travel.