It's fitting that I am writing this from 35,000 feet. Airplane wifi, what a gift.
I've flown across the country a few times in my life and have learned a bit about what works and what doesn't when traveling alone. (I'm certainly not a pro traveler but I'm a huge fan of sharing what you know so that others can hopefully learn!) If you've got a flight coming up, I hope these help you sort out your trip so you don't make some of the mistakes I have in the past. (Throwing away water bottles at security? You think I'd know by now...)
Bring an empty water bottle and your favorite snacks
I'm telling you, food at the airport will cost you an arm and a leg. I like to bring an empty water bottle to fill up at the airport, after going through security. High-protein bars (RX, Lara, and Clif brands are all faves) are great for snacks. I also like to bring popcorn or granola in sealed bags.
Pack your carry-on bag carefully
I usually bring a new book so that I've got the whole thing ahead of me on my trip. (Plus, I'm not a super-reader and so bringing more than one book is a little ambitious.) I also like to bring my laptop, computer and phone chargers, snacks, earbuds, and my journal and a pen in my carry-on. I always used to overpack this bag and would regret it as soon as I hoisted it up onto the security belt. Consolidating has 100% made my life easier during my travels.
Use a mobile boarding pass
I used to be a paper purist, someone who wanted to hold a paper boarding pass in my hand. But let me tell you, using a mobile boarding pass will make your life THAT much easier. Pulling out your phone is usually easier, at least for me, than juggling your ID and a paper boarding pass. Most airlines have their own apps, but you can also put your boarding pass in your Wallet (if you have an iPhone) through your email.
Wear comfortable clothes
This sounds like a "duh" point, but it's a game-changer. I usually wear something like leggings, a t-shirt and tennis shoes. Also, it's super important that I bring a cardigan or light jacket because airplanes can be chillaaayyy. (Comfortable clothes also make it easier to sprint across the airport when you're about to miss your flight. I know this from experience.) Also, shoes that easily slip on and off make the security line a lot less hopping around on one foot trying to remove your shoes and more, "Look at me, I thought ahead." (Again, experience.)
Do you have any must-know travel tips? Share away. :)