Do you shiver at the thought of a party hostel? Worn out after a day full of group activities? Do you often need time to yourself to recharge? Same.
Extroversion vs. introversion is definitely a hot topic these days, and it can make you wonder: Are introversion and travel inherently incompatible?
Extroversion vs. Introversion
On the one hand, you have extroverts, who usually get energy from the people around them. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to recharge when they’re alone and too much social interaction can leave them feeling drained. Think of it as a spectrum: almost everyone has both introverted and extroverted characteristics, and one side is often more dominant.
Of course, trying new things is usually a good thing! But in my first six years of solo travelling, I was often going beyond what felt comfortable for me. While breaking out of your comfort zone can be extremely liberating, being in a foreign country with so many new impressions every day is bound to wear you out, especially as an introvert.
Over the past few years, I’ve come to accept my introverted side and learn how to combine it with travel. Now, I want to share some tips with you that have really helped me enjoy my travels even more!
#1 Travel Solo!
Let’s get this one out of the way, shall we? If you know me, you know I love solo travel. Although I do enjoy travelling with other people, it can also be very tiring for me. If your senses are becoming overstimulated, it’s much easier to take a time-out when you’re travelling solo. If you do travel with other people, I think it’s always a good thing to talk about it before you leave. Just let your travel companions know you need some alone time every now and then.
#2 Pick a Tranquil Destination
Some destinations are busier than others. I tend to avoid busy cities and prefer to explore nature or small villages. If you do love to visit bigger cities, you could go out early in the morning to avoid the crowds at tourist spots.
#3 Walk in the Park
And that brings me to my next tip. Hiking is one of my favorite activities—national parks are definitely my go-to destination. Whether you’re in the mountains, a forest or even a city park, walking can really help to clear your mind. After a stroll in nature, you’ll be able to handle stimuli much better!
#4 Choose the Right Accommodation
Airbnb, hotels and campsites are definitely my favorite type of accommodation, but I’ve also stayed at a lot of hostels over the years. These days, I don’t stay at hostels as much anymore as I used to, simply because these places can get quite crowded. Luckily for us introverts, many hostels also offer private rooms. This way, you can still get the hostel experience!
#5 Meeting Other People
While staying at Airbnb’s and hotels can be super relaxing, they’re not particularly great for meeting other people. And for me, this is also part of the travel experience! To meet fellow travellers on my journeys, I usually do free walking tours (They are everywhere in Europe. Just Google search ‘Free walking tour’ + the city). I find this to be easier than walking up to strangers in a bar.
You can also book excursions, sign up on Meetup.com or use Couchsurfing. Alternatively, search for expat or travel groups on Facebook by typing in the name of the place you’re visiting. There’s usually loads of group activities to be found, from pub crawls to cooking lessons to movie nights and board gaming marathons. This way, there’s still a nice balance between staying in a tranquil accommodation and going out to meet new people whenever you feel like it.
#6 Bring a Book
Make sure to schedule enough me-time. When I notice I’m experiencing too many stimuli and starting to feel a little bit overwhelmed, I will go sit in a corner and read. Half an hour later I usually feel much better and I can get back to whatever I was doing. I also love reading in cafes during solo trips, and e-readers can be perfect for that (although I’m pretty oldschool with my paperbacks myself)!
#7 Dare to Say ‘No’
Everything is new when you’re travelling. Public transport can be stressful, you sleep in different places, you do many things you have never done before and you meet new people every day. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your energy level.
If you need a break from the crowds and just want some me-time, dare to say ‘no’! I know this may be hard to do in the beginning (I know it was for me), especially because other people will not always understand and try to persuade you to come hang out with them anyway. Just thank them politely, and don’t feel guilty about it. Doing what feels right for you will get easier over time.
#8 And Don’t Forget: It’s YOUR Trip.
Maybe you feel like you have to cram your vacation days with activities. You may even feel a little bit guilty if you do the exact opposite (Why do I feel the need to read a book alone in my room when there are frigging palm trees outside??)
But you know what? You can do whatever you like and don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. You’re allowed to skip the famous museums or pass up on the must-visits. It’s okay to take a break from sightseeing and spend the day in your hotel room binging Netflix. Take a rest day if you feel like it. The palm trees will be there tomorrow.