/ Travel & Leisure

The holiday hassles of a teenager travelling solo

Self-service airport check-ins

There’s a new generation of travellers flying the skies solo – teenagers, of which our guest author Kyle is one. But it isn’t always a smooth journey – here are some of the worst holiday hassles he’s encountered.

Automated check-in machines

Most airports have automated check-in machines nowadays, and I thought this would make it easier for me to check in and avoid the queues. The only problem is that often they don’t work.

It takes at least three tries for the machine to scan my passport. And it freezes up constantly, forcing me to start again, as the ever-so helpful airline workers stand by the machines to advise. In the end, I end up spending the same amount of time as I would the old-fashioned way, but with double the hassle.

Delays and crowded airports

There’s only so much to do in an airport – particularly as a young traveller. So when my flight is delayed, the overwhelming sensation of boredom and frustration kicks in.

The latter feeling is particularly strong when the terminal is busy. There’s nowhere to sit, other than the seats squeezed between two other people. I can’t sit in a restaurant, even if a table is available, because I don’t really have the money or the appetite for an over-cooked burger at exorbitant prices. I just want to get on the plane, get it over with, and start my holiday.

Airport buses

In some airports, there’s a bus to take passengers from the plane to the gate. In my experience, they tend to be late or overcrowded because they usually only send one bus. Therefore, I’m not just waiting in security and at baggage claim, but also just to get to my gate. I don’t see why airports don’t send more than one bus?

Stress-free holidays

In my opinion, most issues can and should be resolved by airports and airlines, because travelling to or coming back from a holiday should be as comfortable and stress free as possible. After all, it is an essential part of any holiday.

Have you had similar troubles to me, or other hassles that frustrate you? Are you a teenager like me who has flown by yourself, or do you know a teenager who has? Did they have a hassle-free holiday?


I particularly agree about airport buses. It’s sometimes understandable at underdeveloped airports in warmer climes, but I find it particularly annoying when British Airways does this at Heathrow, very often at Terminal 3, but once it happened to me at Terminal 5 when boarding a long-haul 767. In a modern northern European airport, a bus should be the exception because of an unexpected problem, not the everyday norm.

Kess says:
8 August 2014

The automated check in problems aren’t just a teenage traveller problem, many of us find the same thing. When I was younger and travelling on my own, I didn’t find anything different to what many adults found already. I would have thought that with smartphones and social media, things like boredom wouldn’t be quite so bad. When I was young (lol I am only 32) I didn’t have a mobile till 17 When I went to New York on my own at 14 to meet with family friends on holiday, I had to use a payphone either end to make contact with family at home. I flew alone again to the USA at 16 to meet a boyfriend and again had to use payphones. Even when I did get a mobile at 17 it wasn’t a smart phone obviously! As to boredom and chair space, well, that’s pretty universal but
(maybe I am old fashioned) I read a book when the flight was delayed or played my Gameboy or read a magazine. My sister who is 25 has a kindle and reads that for hours at a time.
Thinking about it, myself and siblings have actually done quite a bit of travelling from a young age so maybe this is why I never had a problem with *teen* travelling!?
I was taking the tube to school at 12 and taking coaches and trains at 13 albeit with a younger sibling and adults at either end.
Travelling is not stress free and it never will be as there are so many variables and mostly because a bunch of humans are being squeezed into a tiny space together for some time.
The best advice coming from a family of people who lived in different parts of the country..just accept you will be tired, cramped, bored, delayed and pretty miffed off. Once you get all that, you will find the journey a little easier by preparing for those things ahead.
Maybe younger people don’t start travelling on their own till their late teens now? I can’t be that old!??

No travel insurance! Where can I find single journey , 5 days, travel insurance for a teenager -(17) not traveling with an adult? (BTW – couldn’t find the information on the Which? site – tsk.)