Traveling the World the Introvert's Way
Updated: Jan 8, 2022
5 tips for introvert-friendly travel
Hopefully, it won’t be long before travel can make a full come-back. After a year of lockdowns, many of us are itching to hit the road again, including introverts. However, for us quiet ones, travel can also pose many challenges. Far from everything familiar, navigating new surroundings and situations, maybe even being thrown together with strangers – when you think about it, it’s a miracle introverts enjoy traveling at all.
Just in time for introverts to relieve our pent-up desires to travel. Nele Giese has traveled the world. As an introvert she understands the unique challenges and offers fabulous tips for us all to travel happier. -Steve Friedman
But don’t let that stop you from exploring. If you find a way of traveling that is compatible with your personality as an introvert, you can protect yourself from getting overwhelmed on the road. The following tips will help make your future trips more introvert-friendly:
1. Prepare before you start your trip
Most introverts feel better when they know what to expect and have a plan. Travel, on the other hand, is notorious for throwing you into unexpected situations. You simply cannot plan every detail because things will not always go as you imagine. That doesn’t mean you cannot prepare for different eventualities to feel more confident, just remain flexible.
One important aspect of this is to read up on your chosen destination. Get an idea of what it’s like and what you can do there. No need to work out a detailed itinerary unless you want to, but it’s always useful to decide in advance which sights you want to see, and which are less important to you. This way, you can prioritize and make sure you see those places you really care about, without getting overwhelmed by trying to do and see it all.
2. Choose wisely how you want to travel
There are many ways to travel: Solo or with others, short trips or extended stay, city or countryside, active holiday or relaxing at the beach. Each of these will affect your energy levels differently. For example, staying in a hustling metropolis might leave you tired much sooner than a quiet beach resort or a hiking trip in the wilderness. A short weekend trip means you can afford to power through without too many breaks and recover once you are home, while a longer stay needs a slower pace.
Who you travel with is also important. Many introverts love solo travel because it is entirely up to them how much or little they want to interact. There’s no need to constantly discuss plans with others, make compromises, or have to take someone else’s needs into account. On the other hand, traveling with a friend or partner can be rewarding as you get to share your experiences. It will also take the burden off you of having to organize everything by yourself. But make sure that the person you travel with is someone you don’t mind being around pretty much 24/7 for the length of your trip.
3. Take enough breaks
For us introverts, alone time is absolutely essential. This is no less true when you travel. Wherever you go, make sure you find a place where you can unwind and restore your energy. This could be your room, or the outdoors, or a cozy café. Wherever you feel comfortable.
If you’re traveling with someone else, it’s best to make sure they know you might need to take some time off occasionally. Maybe you don’t even need to be physically separated but can do something quietly in the same room. Otherwise, suggest that you split up for a time. There’s surely some attraction your travel buddy is dying to see that you don’t care about anyway. They can go check it out while you enjoy a quiet moment to yourself.
If you have an activity or tool that helps you unwind, for example, reading, music, or journaling, make sure you take ample books, downloads, and pens so you can use it whenever and wherever necessary.
4. Expand your comfort zone
It’s important to slow down and take breaks when necessary, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also challenge yourself from time to time. Travel is unique in how it constantly throws new opportunities your way to stretch yourself and become more comfortable with new situations. You don’t have to take every single one of these opportunities, but don’t let them all pass by, either.
The trick is to find the right balance between challenging yourself and making sure you still feel safe. One good way of doing this is to always check-in with yourself before you decide to decline an opportunity. Ask yourself why you don’t want it. Is it out of fear? Or because your energy is already depleted for the day? In the latter case, take a deserved break. But for the first, surprise yourself occasionally by saying yes.