Tips for solo layovers in the US

Have you just booked a solo flight to the States?

Realised that there’s a layover of under 2 hours? Are you in a slight tizzy because you’ve either never had to do this alone before?

scared panic

Firstly it’s okay to be a bit nervous about these things. No matter how many blogs or friends or guide books tell you it will be a breeze. If you’re getting a little anxious about it, it’s totally FINE.

Shhhhh, okay?!

You’re not alone.

alone spongebob

If you’re traveling from the UK or Europe and have to change somewhere in America, you’re probably flying to an airport ‘hub’.

These are medium sized airports dotted around the states, in small towns. Their general purpose is for connecting flights. Chances are you’re one of many people on your flight doing this, already less reason to panic if almost 300 people are in the same boat as you.

travelers same boat

Chat to your fellow travelers

best friends

Find out more about them, and ask where they’re headed. You can keep it as light or as serious as you want. They also won’t think less of you if you say ‘I’ve only got 90 mins to connect flights’ (see point above)  – they’re most likely going to be as time conscious as you.

You might even make actual buddies with them. It’ll make you feel heaps better to let out your stresses with a traveler (trust me on this one).

Freshen up

After security, if you only have a spare 20 mins before you have to board, use it wisely.

doctor who

No Doctor Who, no you should not.

You don’t need a souvenir from that random airport in Pennsylvania. Use the facilities, grab a coffee and some more bottled water and snacks.


 ‘Aint no greater feels than a proper toilet after an 8 hour plane journey.

If you have a couple of hours, treat yourself to a sit down meal, and make sure that it’s time zone appropriate. Eating fried chicken at 7am will not help your body clock, no matter how much your body is craving it. I landed at midday one year, so it was in perfect time for a tasty lunch, and by GOD that fried chicken was good.

giant burger

This burger will be EVERY meal appropriate

The basics and other things to remember…

You’ll have to go through customs at your first stop instead of your destination.

ebola gif

Obviously, if this is you, you might be wise NOT to travel right now.

Good news is you only have to do the customs thing ONCE on entry, as your connecting flight is domestic.


Your luggage will go straight to your destination (and will not be pulled by a tiny dog in a coat), so make sure you head for security as soon as you’re done with customs.

If time is super tight, get a seat as near to the front of the plane as you can, on the aisle. Check in as early as you can to secure your seat. Simple.

If your first plane is delayed by a considerable amount of time and you miss your connection, your airline will get you on the next available one. If you miss your connection because you were farting about in Duty Free, this is YOUR problem.


…and remember, relax, have a drink and enjoy the experience. It’s not as scary as you think.

5 responses to “Tips for solo layovers in the US

  1. Love this! I agree with everything you say, having done many of these short stopovers myself. I think the best option is always orientating yourself to the gate you have to go first and then freshening up and having a walk around just to stretch my legs.

    Sam xx – how to make the most of your twenties


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