The Introvert's Guide to Travel
Vacations can equate to sensory overload. From checking off the destination’s iconic sights to countless museum visits and exploring the pulsing nightlife with locals, traveling to a new destination can quickly become overwhelming.
It’s a common misconception that introverts are shy or antisocial. They may receive their energy from alone time, but that doesn’t mean that they’re missing out on experiences on the road. While extroverts seek constant stimuli from their environments, introverted travelers simply require ample downtime to recharge between social activities. Here are a number of guidelines that will help introverts maximize their time abroad.
Consider Your Destination
Picking the right destination can make all the difference for an introverted traveler. Massive cities packed with more worthwhile sights than can be completed in a single trip can be overwhelming. Likewise, destinations that focus on high-energy activities and thrilling adventures can be draining, especially if there's no natural way to build in a rest day.
Instead, seek destinations that offer a balanced blend of stimulating and relaxed activities, allowing for quiet periods of recharging after every activity. Dedicate a few days to exploring Vancouver’s diverse culinary landscape and uncovering its art scene, then escape into the solitude of the North Shore Mountains for the remainder of the week. Or, if you still crave a taste of upbeat nightlife, get social in Mykonos' clubs at night then rest and recover on its sun-drenched beaches during the day.
Schedule Downtime Activities
If you’re traveling in a group, it can be helpful to communicate your needs and preferences with your party prior to embarking on your journey. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when your extroverted travel mates pack the itinerary with a day hike to Guatemala’s active Volcán Pacaya, followed by a chocolate making class at ChocoMuseo and an evening of dancing to blaring pop music at Lucky Rabbit.
Take an active role in creating the itinerary and build in a rest day. Adding leisurely activities can be beneficial for everyone, extroverts or introverts, and your travel companions just might thank you for slowing them down. Also, understand that traveling together means you can still spend time apart. Alter the itinerary to allow for alone time to recharge, so that you can focus on your preferred activities.
Low Commitment Opportunities to Socialize
Welcome a healthy blend of company and solitude by placing yourself in environments that encourage small interactions for low commitment socializing opportunities. Hostels often have communal spaces that encourage socialization, but if shared dorms sound exhausting, then opt for a private room. You can interact with fellow travelers over breakfast in the morning, then return to the quiet of your room at the end of a tiring day.
Local tours also offer a wealth of opportunity to interact with other travelers, and whether you’re participating in a free walking tour of London, a brewery tour of Bruges or cooking class in Chiang Mai. You can socialize while exploring a unique part of the city, and then bid your new friends goodbye and return to your hotel or private dinner without feeling guilty.
Though introverts delight in a quiet moment, they also enjoy meeting friends on the road. If rowdy hostel pub crawls or pool parties sound intimidating, then consider social apps Meetup or Bumble BFF for more manageable experiences, like sharing a meal together or embarking on a photo walk to capture the iconic canals of Amsterdam. By studying your new friend’s profile and engaging in initial conversations, you can quickly determine whether or not you’d like to meet.
Similarly, location-based Meetup encourages new friends to meet according to common interests, minimizing the need for cliche first encounter questions pertaining to favorite pastimes. Events organized through Meetup also display the number of attendees, allowing you to determine whether or not it’s a group size you can manage.
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