**This post was composed at the airport, before I flew to Bali!
I wrote about biting the bullet and pushing myself to say yes more, which means today, I fly to Bali to meet Laura. On my own.
Some people really love to fly. Some people really love airports. Some people really love doing things alone.
I don't love any of those things. Sure, I want to see Laura, go to Bali, have a holiday etc. But I've always been super reliant on other people - I've never flown on my own, let alone a long haul flight halfway across the world. And so this trip? Well it's really out of my comfort zone.
Here I am, at the airport. Checked-in. Waiting for my flight in the exclusive airport lounge (obviously), eating all the food and waiting for my Clarins facial (Uh-huh, I'm that girl). And guess what? I'm alive.
I knew this would be really difficult for me. That my anxiety would take over and have me up all night worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong. And the logical part of my brain obviously knew it would all be fine.
That being said, I made sure I put myself first with this trip, and today I wanted to share a few travel tips with you to hopefully make the experience of flying alone for the first time, as stress free as possible.
I mean I'm no expert, but if you struggle with this kind of stuff like I do, it might help some. And if not? I can read this back and have a big smile on my face. Because: Bali.
Top Tips | Flying Alone for the First Time:
- TAKE CARE OF TRANSPORT - It takes 2 hours on a good day to get to Heathrow Airport from where I live. I decided I'd drive there (trains stress me out and I'd rather do everything on my own time) and make use of the parking facilities near the airport. When I went to book in with Purple Parking, I noticed that they offered an additional chauffeur service wherein you simply roll up to the departures gate, a driver meets you there, takes your keys and parks your car for you. At an extra cost of £5 it wasn't something I was going to turn down. I popped my keys in his hands, skipped across the road and was at my check-in gate. Simples. (They collect you on the way home, too).
- TREAT YOURSELF - My friend at work told me about the exclusive lounges they have at airports. Who knew? For £25 I could get access to high-speed wifi, all the food I could possibly eat and any drink I fancied oh, and of course, facials and massages. Urm, sorry what? If that isn't a deal and a half I don't know what is. Of course, it's not a necessity by any means. But when you'd considered wearing a nappy because you were so scared of this journey, being safe in the knowledge that you've got some comforts to look forward to isn't the worst decision you could make right? Right.
- KNOW THE PROCEDURE - I know this sounds a bit silly, but just knowing what to expect when you get to security helps a tonne. So before you leave the house, make a mental note of the important stuff you need to remember: you'll need to whip your shoes off (probs best to leave the slinky stilettos at home ladies), take your electronic goods like laptop and camera out of your hand luggage, remove anything that's metal and have your passport and boarding pass at the ready. Having this down means you'll be feeling more confident when you arrive and it's way less likely any nasty anxiety attacks will creep up on you.
- BE FRIENDLY - When I was telling Laura how nervous I felt about flying alone one of the first things she said to me was: 'BE KIND, MEGS. TO EVERYONE'. And she was right. I wore a smile everywhere I went, struck up conversations with the Clarins therapist and befriended the air hostesses by accepting everything they offered, thanking them and meaning it each time. It just meant I didn't have to feel guilty asking for something if I needed it and that subsequently, the people around me were happier too :-)
- THINK ABOUT YOUR TOILETRIES - On a long haul flight (depending on who you fly with, of course) they'll supply you with a little toothbrush, paste, socks, a blanket, pillows and eye mask. Check with your airline what's provided so you don't double up and waste valuable hand luggage space. Do pack yourself a mini deodorant, face wipes, a spare pair of panties, (who knows how long you'll be in them) and a hydrating face mask/moisturiser/serum to freshen up before you land...long haul flights make you stink/dehydrated. Fact.
- HAVE AN ARRIVAL PLAN - The last thing you want is to be panicking about what you're going to do when you get off the plane at the other end. Whatever your trip entails, book in to have someone meet you at arrivals. Whether that's your friend (Hi, Laura!), or booking a taxi driver to meet you with your name on a sign. That way, when you walk through the exit you'll have a sense of familiarity, which can't be a bad thing.
With a bit of forward planning, common sense and some self-belief you'll be good to go. And for the record, it's way more fun making that journey on your own than it is with other people. Totally stress free and relaxing. It's left me feeling totally chuffed with myself and so utterly liberated that I actually can't wait to do it again!
Did these tips help at all? I'd love to hear from you guys on what helps you, too - let me know in the comments below.
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for all the Bali posts coming up!