Solo travellers are the silent super heroes of airports. We arrive on time, are barely noticed, and leave little impact. Here’s our guide on how to wander through the International Terminal like Wonder Woman or sail through security like Superman.
Depart often (we solo types like to travel) but always, we stress, always, arrive early at your departure destination. Any solo worth their salt will have checked in online prior to leaving home, making bag drop an uncomplicated process. Airlines love solo travellers who don’t check in with countless paraphernalia such as prams (although we may be carting the odd surfboard or two), and sometimes even reward us with an upgrade. Even better, as a savvy solo, you are unlikely to find yourself stuck in the dreaded middle seat. That’s for cosy couples and people with children.
Due to your early arrival (see previous point) you are more likely to sail through security and, if there’s a break in the queue usually reserved for VIPs and airline staff, more likely to be noticed and waved through this line like magic. Even though we solos tend to carry plenty of tech gear (read: laptops) we know the drill and we’re ready. No fumbling through trouser pockets for us for errant $1 and $2 coins and house keys.
When it comes to Duty Free shopping we are decisive. We know what we’ve run out of, we know what we need, and we know what it costs. No Duty Free-dawdling for us. We glide through the aisles like we’re grocery shopping, picking up a good Aussie red here, a lip gloss there, and we’re at the check-out ready with our boarding pass. I recently needed to buy some new Apple ear phones for my iPhone (one of the downsides of being a solo traveller is there is no one to remind you that you’ve left valuable items in a plane seat pocket). The International Terminal has an excellent electronics section in its Lotte Duty Free which saved me the hassle of trying to buy these at a local shopping centre before I left.
Shop and then Drop
Unlike those travelling in couples, groups or families, we need to shop first and then relax, as there’s no one to mind our bags. And, like every airport around the world, you cannot leave your luggage unattended at Brisbane Airport for solid security reasons. But first, I refill my eco-friendly water bottle (solo travellers try to be kind to the planet) at one of the cold-water stations past security. Then, I shop. If it’s a book or a magazine I need, it’s straight to one of the two book stores. I currently have my eye on some cool- yet-subtle kangaroo design caps in the souvenir shop for my German family for next time I visit Europe. A touch of Australiana without the kitsch. And in this shop, you’ll generally find if you buy two or three items, you sometimes get one free.
Solo travellers think about the toilet more than they should. Again, this is because there is no one to mind our bags, so we need to be strategic in this department. In the case of this solo traveller, and after I’ve refilled my water bottle, I empty my bladder. I do this knowing my next destination at the airport involves a coffee, or a glass of wine, and I will need to visit the bathroom again, just before I board the plane. This, we do at the gate, while everyone else is impatiently lined up to board the plane. There’s plenty of toilets at the International Terminal, so you need not worry here.
Solo travellers are the people watchers of the world, largely because we have no one to talk to. I’ll set up my laptop, logging in to Brisbane Airport’s free wifi, and check my emails, while secretly clocking what’s going on with my fellow travellers. You can learn a lot about humanity when you sit still at an airport. You’ll usually find me at Windmill & Co either having a second breakfast (and yes, it’s a predictable smashed avocado on toast with a latte as that’s how we solos roll) or, if it’s later in the day, snatching a sneaky red before I board the plane. From this restaurant on one side you can keep an eye on the tarmac. Dinner and a show? Yes please.
Don’t Board Bored
There’s a silent checklist every solo traveller goes through before they board the plane. Bags? Check. Passport? Check. Credit Card? Check. Toilet? Check. Appliances charged…? Before I board the plane, the free tech charging station is my last port of call. And then I’m free, replete with my new ear phones, to take my non-middle seat, stomach full of avocado on toast, and sit in silence like the smug, seamless solo traveller I’ve become.