9 tips for surviving a solo long haul flight

Travelling alone is a joy for some but an unfortunate necessity for others.

But it doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. It’s an adventure you can conquer, starting with these tips;

1. Take a variety of activities


Don’t rely on your seatmates being interesting conversation partners. Some people are happy reading the same book for 8 hours straight. Not me!

Take things that will use different senses and either stimulate or relax your mind, depending on your mood.

A good book and a movie are standard but a few puzzles or activities will keep your brain engaged and awake.

Audio books are also a great way to be taken to another world while giving your eyes a rest. Your eyes will get strained looking at a screen through window glare for hours so give them a break.

2. Keep your stuff secure


Pack a smaller bag with everything you’ll need at the seat and pop it in your carry-on. You can then just pull it out and have everything in one place at your seat. Nobody likes the person who keeps getting up to fetch things.

As you board, store your bag in the overhead locker opposite your seat and you’ll be able to see if anyone goes near it.

3. Hack the headphones

Plane headphone jack

Lots of planes have double headphone sockets so you have to use their terrible tinny headphones- which some airlines still have the gall to charge for.

Instead invest about £2 / $3 in this headphone hack (just search for ‘plane headphone jack’ online). It lets you plug in your noise cancelling turbo-bass wonderphones and land without tinnitus.

4. Make friends with the cabin crew

cabin crew

You’ll all be nice to the people around you anyway because you’re decent human beings.

But the cabin crew have a lot to deal with. So be extra nice to them and do what they say without protest. Don’t make unnecessary demands or stop them when they’re busy.

If at any time you’re uncomfortable with your fellow passengers let them know immediately and they can help. Especially when you’re travelling solo it’s good to know someone is on your side.

5. Hydrate – both inside and out

water bottle

Aeroplanes are incredibly dry environments at less than 20% humidity (your home will be around 30%). Low humidity may cause skin dryness and discomfort to the eyes, mouth and nose but presents no risk to health.
World Health Organization

The World Health Organization say there’s no particular need to drink extra water. But if you’re drinking caffeine, or alcohol you will get more dehydrated. And if you’re dehydrated your immune system may be weakened.

I’d rather drink a bit more water if it will help me avoid a plane cold!

You’ll feel more comfortable and confident if you don’t have chapped lips and dry eyes. So bring lip balm, hand cream, eye drops and anything else that will make you more comfortable.

6. Kill the germs!

antbacteria gell

Planes have a bad reputation for spreading bacteria. But this tip is straight forward

  1. Bring antibacterial wipes
  2. Wipe everything you might touch on the journey – Tray table, arm rests, buttons
  3. Sit down

You may look a bit weird but your priority is looking after yourself and you don’t want to get sick while on your own in another country.

7. Choose your seat – And stick to it

plane aisle

If you’re nervous about feeling trapped next to strangers book the seat you want.  An aisle seat means you can walk away without having to climb over anyone.

Check in advance when the seat booking opens so you can get in there early. Or ask at the check-in desk what seat they’d recommend for a solo traveller and explain any additional needs you have.

You may get asked to switch by another passenger who wants to sit next to their friend. You’re completely entitled to say no!

If you chose your seat specially, just politely say you don’t want to move and repeat yourself as many times as necessary. It’s nice to be nice but you don’t owe it to them.

8. Charge up

Phone with no charge

Your well laid entertainment plans will fail if you used all your charge playing Candy Crush at the gate.

Plus you don’t want to arrive at your destination unable to Google hotel directions.

Charge everything up fully before you go and bring a battery pack. They’re inexpensive plus it’s a good idea to carry one whenever you’re in a new place for emergencies.

9. Treat yourself to snacks

nuts of different kinds

Forget the diet for a bit.

You’re on your own. You’re hungry. You’re strapped in.

But you did yourself a favour and packed your favourite treat and now you’re your own best friend!

Aside from being kind to yourself, you don’t want to be stuck for hours without food if the plane food sucks or there just isn’t any. Pack protein rich foods to keep you fuller for longer – nuts, yogurt covered treats or dried meats would be perfect.


Do you have any other tips for solo travellers? Share them in the comments below

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