So much of travel requires a certain degree of extraversion. If you’re traveling with other people, you’re stuck with them the entire time. Even if you’re traveling alone, travel often involves being in crowds, being approached by strangers, and having to talk to locals. For an introvert, this can be more draining than a 15-hour flight. So what’s an introvert to do? A few travel tips for introverts can make the social aspect of travel a lot more bearable and the experience of travel way more enjoyable.
Be selective about who you travel with
As an introvert myself, I almost exclusively associate with people I wouldn’t mind being around when I want to be alone (which is most of the time). And that’s even more important when you travel and you’re sharing cramped accommodation spaces and eating every meal together with the same people. You should travel with people who don’t drain you as much. Even the best of friends and closest of family members can be a bit hard to handle for a week straight, so be picky. Travel with people who won’t get offended if you need a moment to yourself.
Avoid group tours
There’s nothing more nightmarish for an introvert than those solo group tours that bring a bunch of strangers together for forced social interaction over a week-long trip in a foreign country (think Contiki and the like). Suddenly every activity is done in a pack with your 15 closest fake friends you just made a day ago. Everyone is trying way too hard, and it becomes almost impossible to get a second to yourself. There’s very little that will redeem that experience for an introvert, so just avoid it altogether.
Sometimes the best way to explore a new place is alone and on your own terms. Without the built-in socializing of travel with a partner, friends, family, or total strangers, the experience can be a lot less stressful for introverts. Taking a solo trip is a good way to disconnect from the social obligations of your regular life. You don’t have to answer phone calls and you have the perfect excuse for missed social affairs – you’re on vacation!
Need some inspiration if you’re traveling solo for the first time? Here you go.
Make time to decompress
Travel is fulfilling and interesting and always worthwhile, but it involves a lot of stimulation that is hard to bounce back from for an introvert. One of the most important travel tips for introverts is that you can recharge as long as you make time for yourself. You don’t even have to be completely alone to do it. You can decompress by reading in a café or by writing in a journal back at your hotel. Do a little bit of whatever activity recharges your batteries every day to keep your energy up. People think blogging while traveling is a lot of work, but it’s actually how I unplug from the hecticness of it all.
Choose your destinations wisely
Being surrounded by a lot of loud rowdy people can be exhausting, even if you’re traveling solo. But not all travel is created equal. You don’t always have to go to the most popular museums or the top destinations. Sometimes being around quiet landscapes can actually be restorative instead of exhausting. And going off the beaten path can be a great way to escape the psychological squeeze of tourist crowds while you discover a more authentic experience. Traveling off-season is also a fantastic solution when you want to visit the world’s most popular destinations without the crowds that come with it.
Travel with headphones and a book
A couple of key accessories, like headphones and reading material, can help create a wall between you and other people when you travel. Listening to music or a podcast has a two-fold purpose when you travel. One, it drowns out the incessant hum of the outside world and two, it makes you less approachable. If someone wants to make conversation or sell something, they usually pass over the person with headphones on. A book or a journal is another way to escape overwhelming surroundings. It’s also a good way to keep yourself busy if you’re dining alone.
Watch your drinking
Many socially anxious people use alcohol to cope with situations that are stressful. On the one hand, this happens because it works and makes social gatherings more tolerable. But excessive drinking can have other unintended effects, especially when traveling. Make sure you’re careful about your drinking to avoid situations that might be unpleasant or even dangerous. You don’t want a nasty hangover to ruin an entire day of your vacation. And you definitely don’t want to wake up to find that someone stole your passport. Know your limits and know when to call it a night.
Don’t be afraid to get out there
Traveling can seem daunting and exhausting and sometimes more trouble than it’s worth, but the world is not just for extraverts to enjoy. Introverts can be adventurers, too. You just have to enjoy the world in your own way, and that’s okay. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Reclaim your place in the world. You’re here, too – and dammit, you’re here to people watch, have tea, and be left the hell alone!