10 Tips To Help You Navigate An Airport By Yourself

10 Tips To Help You Navigate An Airport By Yourself

Some tips that may help make your travels a little easier!

I've had the opportunity to travel a lot since last July. I’ve done more traveling this year than I have within the last six years combined, and it has been a hell of a lot of fun learning how to travel on my own. My parents always emphasized the importance of travel so my siblings and I could see how people live in other parts of the world. Further, they always said hard work warrants time to relax and recharge in the form of vacation and travel. As my siblings and I grew older, and expenses and schedules grew tighter and fuller, our traveling as a family hasn’t been as often as we all may like it to be. Nonetheless, as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun traveling a lot on my own, and financing a lot of my own trips.

Most of the time, I am traveling to visit my boyfriend who is serving in the army. But recently, I’ve also been traveling a lot for school and dance. Since the New Year, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit my boyfriend three times! Two of these three trips has basically forced me to learn how to navigate airports by myself since I always travel to see him alone. I live in New Jersey, and it is more convenient to fly out of Newark International Airport (EWR), and if you know NJ airports, EWR is HUGE. One of these trips I even had to drive myself there, park, take the air train to the terminal, and then proceed to find the correct security level for the airline, and find my gate. It was really nerve wracking at first, but since I’ve done this journey to see him a few times now, I think I’ve finally nailed navigating the airport by myself.

If you are someone who longs to travel, chances are you will have to learn how to navigate an airport by yourself at some point. Here are 10 tips on how to navigate an airport by yourself!

1. Print your boarding pass out at home the night before.

Almost all airlines have online check-in so you don’t have to spend time at the check-in kiosks at the airport printing your boarding pass. It saves a lot of time depending on what time of the day and time of the month/year you are traveling!

2. If you are driving yourself to the airport, read the highway signs.

They are all clearly marked and labeled, but the roadways may be confusing, especially if you aren’t familiar with them yet. This is probably not a good time to be jamming to Meghan Trainor – lower the volume and focus on the signs!

3. At least in the case of Newark airport, and Atlanta airport, the air train/air shuttle only has a time gap of about 1-3 minutes.

If you miss one shuttle, there is probably another one coming shortly after. Don’t panic (unless you’re flight is late and you’re left sprinting through Atlanta airport trying to find your connecting flight’s gate, not understanding the terminals aren’t connected, and you HAVE to take a train/shuttle).

4. All major airports do not have connecting terminals.

Sometimes connecting flights are late, and that 4 hour layover you thought you had just turned into a mad dash to your next gate (see #3). Also take note that not all airports will call their “air train” an “air train” – read the signs inside the terminals carefully!

5. It will help if you read the TSA guidelines for the specific airline you are traveling on before you travel.

If you’re like me and only travel with carry-ons, different airlines have different regulations for carry-on size. If you’re bringing a carry-on, also be wary of the amount of liquids in your bag, and electronics.

6. Once you make it to security, make sure you have your boarding pass and state-issued I.D. out.

This will be marked, but do it as quickly as you can so you don’t hold up the line. Security lines can be very time consuming if you’re not prepared.

7. After you’re through security, grab your belongings and make sure you have everything. Then follow the signs (again, reading them carefully) to your appropriate gate.

8. The last four flight’s I’ve been on have been delayed in some way. Check the big monitors posted throughout the airport terminals.

You can locate your flight, check to see if the flight is on time, and see if your gate changed. Definitely do this because just recently, the flight I was on changed gates at the last minute because the plane was having major maintenance issues!

9. Be cautious with who you interact with, but also be open to friendly conversations!

I’ve had some great conversations with some people I’ve met at my airport gate. On the other hand, I’ve also met some creepy people, so be aware of your surroundings. On my last flight, I met a woman who was in her mid-thirties and from Trinidad, and we chatted the entire hour and a half long ride to our destination. She had traveled all over the world, and it was so fun exchanging travel stories with someone who was as cultured as she was.

10. Arrive early, breathe, and get excited!

Part of the adventure of traveling by yourself is the stress that comes along with it. Don’t look at flight delays or travel obstacles as joy-killers. It is part of the experience!

Cover Image Credit: Julia O'Brien

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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An Open Letter To The Friend Feeling Left Out...You Will Find Your Place

It may not feel like it now, but eventually you will find the people that make you happy.


When I first came to college, I was most excited to make new friends, people that I could make new memories with for the next four years of my life. The first couple of weeks of school I met many new people. I made a bunch of new friends, all of them with their own unique and lovable personalities. I even thought I had found a group I belonged in.

But as the semester went by, I started to feel myself beginning to be isolated. Trips to the dining hall were being made without me, and I stopped receiving invites to the movie nights. I would try and tag along if I could, but I still couldn't help feeling like I wasn't wanted there.

I immediately began thinking I had done something. Did I say something mean? Did I do something to upset them? I couldn't stop thinking about it. I then decided to do the adult thing and ask if there was something that was wrong. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding in communication.

When I finally mustered up the courage to ask them, they responded back with, "We're not mad at you. We just feel like our personalities don't go well together."

At first, I was kind of hurt. I had finally thought I had found a group, only to be pushed away because they didn't like my personality. But then I started thinking… why would I want to be friends with a group of people like that?

I began spending more time with my other friends and got even closer with them. They started inviting me to dinner and to different events around campus. I began to feel like I had found my place again.

As I look back, I wonder why I spent so much time with people who never seemed to want me there. The entire time, I could have been spending time with the people who wanted me around. From here on forward, I plan to only surround myself with the people who make me feel happy.

So, to the person out there who feels like the forgotten friend, get out there and start looking for new ones. Wasting your time and energy on people who don't want to be with you won't get you anywhere. Invest your time into finding new people. You will find your place with the right friends.

And as for me...

GIF Credit: weheartit.com

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