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Summer is here, which includes friends, sun and adventures. Those adventures can be from swimming in a lake to flying on a plane. Recently, I traveled to Washington D.C. for my brother’s college graduation all by myself. At first I was really nervous for the plane ride, but I got on the plane ready to go. Flying alone can be scary, so here are some ways to help your trip go smoother:

When arriving at the airport, arrive an hour early. Having an hour of time will ensure you have enough time to get checked in, go through security, and find the gate you depart from. If you are flying out of a bigger airport, you might want to get there earlier because if the airport is bigger… so are the lines.

Going through security can be a mess. There are so many rules that make it hard. You cannot bring sharp things, such as scissors, or nail clippers in your carry-on item. Also, you cannot take liquids unless they are less than 3.4 ounces. When bringing a liquid that is less than 3.4 ounces, you must put it in a plastic baggy and take it out of your bag when it is going through the scanner.

When you actually walk under the metal detector you have to take your shoes off… I guess you have to make sure you don’t have a shoe bomb. Also, you have to take off your jacket (if you have one on), belts and watches. In my experience, I did not have to take off my earrings or bracelets, so jewelry should be fine to keep on.

Once you’re past security, go to a TV monitor to check to make sure your gate number stayed the same. Yes, the ticket does say the gate number, but it changes sometimes. After you figure out your gate number I would go find it or find the terminal it is in. For example, your gate might be G12. The terminal is G, so follow the signs and find terminal G. Then G12 should be close to where you are.

Now is the time you can explore the airport, unless you have to board the plane. Airports have a variety of food and sometime stores.  The prices are expensive but sometimes it’s worth it. Especially if you have an early flight, Starbucks is a necessity. When I flew, I had a connecting flight in Chicago. The Chicago Airport near terminal H has Garrett Popcorn; it’s like Iowa popcorn. And you can take the popcorn with you on your next flight. HEAVENLY.

In the situation that your plane gets delayed, be prepared. If it gets so delayed that you cannot make your connection, talk with the flight attendants at the gate… THEY WILL HELP YOU. A tip my mom gave me is to be over nice with the person at the desk because they won’t expect it and then they will be more inclined to help you.  Also when you talk with them, keep calm; don’t get stressed over a little thing that can be fixed fast.

Once you get on the plane, you’ll find your seat and meet the fellow who is seated next to you. Be friendly to them. You could ask where they are traveling.  You have time to kill, so make friends while you’re at it. When I was on the plane the person I was sitting by had an accent and somehow had the idea that I went to the University of Iowa. I just pretended I went there; I guess I won’t ever see him again so it’s all good.

Arriving at your destination, make sure that you have a way of transportation. You also want to make sure that you have a place where you’re going to stay the night because you do not want to get stranded on the street.

When traveling some quick reminders/items that you need is: bring your ID, have spare CASH (you can have card, but make sure you have some bills just incase of an emergency), don’t check your luggage because there is a twenty-five dollar fee (unless you’re going international), have a plan, and have fun. You are privileged enough to get to travel… so make sure you have fun while you do it.