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7 Essential Travelling Tips For Introverts

7 Essential Travelling Tips For Introverts

The travelling narrative is a populated one: images of half-dressed figures jumping into lagoons and friends smiling at the camera are the go-to when you picture a trip overseas. Going abroad for any length of time, it seems you’re expected to come home with a killer tan and 50 new Facebook friends whose native tongues combined outnumber the flights it took you to meet them.

On the face of it, travelling is the extrovert’s sport; it can seem as much about socialising as it is about seeing the world. For the introvert, however, constantly being required to whip out your small talk skills is a prospect that is daunting at best, a nightmare at worst. But there’s more to travelling than the people you’ll inevitably meet: it’s about reflection, experiencing new cultures and getting quality time away from everyday life – three things introverts excel at. So, if your idea of travelling looks a little more Wanderer Over a Sea of Fog than travel tours, read on to discover how to make the most of your introversion on your trip abroad.

#1 Try going it alone


The idea of introversion is often used to mean ‘antisocial’, but in reality introverts simply need time to themselves in between periods of socialising. The introverted traveller needs to find the sweet spot between too much time alone and too much time with other people. Travelling alone is the easiest way to control this, giving you plenty of quality time in your own company and the ability to tailor your itinerary to what suits you best. Fancy staying in the same place for another week? Done. Want to catch your friends who show up in a neighbouring city? Jump on the next flight. Craving a night in? Easy. Travelling alone also opens up the possibilities for meeting people when you do eventually crave company; you’ll have no choice but to strike up a conversation with fellow travellers in the hostel, or locals when you’re exploring the city. Either way, you’ll find your inner extrovert when you need it most.

#2 Travel in small numbers

If you’re not a lone wolf, consider travelling with one or two other people. As an introvert you’re likely to have a couple of very close friends and these mates will make the perfect travelling companions. Paired up, you form the perfect nucleus to meet new people when the urge strikes but you can easily break away when you need some down time. Approaching other groups of travellers will be easier with a partner, while you’ll be in safe knowledge that you don’t have to do all the small talk alone. Travelling in a small number also makes it easier to plan out your itinerary; introverts are often excellent researchers, meaning you’ll be able to expertly navigate a foreign public transport system or put in the work to find the best kept secrets of the places you visit. And while some take introverts to have poor social skills, they often make fantastic leaders, meaning you’ll be able to steer your crew in the right direction when faced with a little indecisiveness.

#3 Releasing your social butterfly


Introverts aren’t commonly known to enjoy socialising, but when you do release your inner social butterfly, you’re actually more likely to make deep connections and maintain friendships after your travels have ended. While the extroverted explorer may find themselves chatting up large groups of travellers at the hostel bar, introverts will end up seeking out individuals with whom their connection is longer lasting than a Facebook friend request. Given this, while you will need your own space every so often, you should equally remain open to the possibilities that arise when meeting new people.

#4 Look to the locals

Introverts also spend more time reflecting upon their surroundings and pick up on subtleties that others may miss. These traits will help you soak up the local culture, putting you in the perfect position to understand the finer details of foreign lifestyles. Put your listening skills to good use; you’ll be able to engage locals on a deeper level than just small talk and see every new city or town from a resident’s perspective. Even if you have to dig deep to find the energy to socialise, saying ‘yes’ can open up a door onto amazing adventures you didn’t even know you could have.

#5 Using your recharge time


So, you’ve chosen your travelling companions and you’ve decided how much time to dedicate to being a social butterfly. Now let’s think about that all important alone time. If you’re the introverted type, you’ll want to use your solo hours to reflect and to create. Got some long train journeys or bus rides ahead of you? Though many would dread scaling these lengthy transport times alone, they’re a great chance for you to kick back and mull the world over.

These periods of alone time also provide you with the perfect opportunity to switch off and recharge. It’s likely you have a favourite activity that helps you do just that; whether it’s reading, keeping a journal or heading out with a camera hanging around your neck, dedicate some serious time to doing what you love, without distraction. Creative flair will be doubly fuelled by your new surroundings, so make the most of your newfound cultural immersion.

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#6 Get offline

While you’re recharging, you might find it helpful to switch off in another respect. Travelling often leaves you with little or no access to the internet, or technology altogether. Disconnecting from Wi-Fi, resisting the urge to check Facebook or curbing an addictive Insta-scroll means you’ll have the change to fully engage in that book you’re reading or spot some awesome photo ops.

#7 Resisting the pressure

When we think about travelling, it’s easy to let a photo reel play in our heads of what it’s all supposed to look like. In the digital age where travel pics end up on every social media channel going, it’s easy to forget that a lot of stuff has been left on the editing room floor. It’s possible to succumb to an inverse FOMO – instead of enjoying what’s around you, you spend more time worried that your travels don’t look the way they’re supposed to. Legend has it the newly-returned traveller gushes about their time away, proudly reeling off a list of far off lands visited and life long friends made. But as an introvert, you can have the best of both worlds – use your down time to really enjoy your own company, while making real new friends and lasting memories when you’re enjoying others’ company.

Don’t worry about posting envy-triggering updates or fret that everyone else is having fun while you’re chilling on your own. Remind yourself that this is your trip and you can do what you want with it. If all you want to return with is a few dozen books ticked off your reading list, a bag full of undeveloped film rolls and a smile on your face, that’s cool. And if you wake up an extrovert one day, like a social butterfly from its introverted chrysalis remember: there’s always next time.

(Photos: Author’s own)

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