How To Travel Happy When You’re A Total Introvert
There's nothing wrong with actually scheduling recoup time.
There are those who appreciate the green, green grass of home and yet still long to see what shade the grass is on the other side. Here are some tips to ensure introverts can travel comfortably, even in company.
How to plan
The planning stage is your chance to make this adventure yours. Don’t love talking on the phone or making small talk with travel agents? Bless the internet! Try an online travel agent to help you suss out destinations and hotels. Be sure to monitor flight prices so you can snap up the best deals as they come. As for where to go as a lone wolf, you might want to choose far-flung lands over bustling cities. Think a regional road trip over, say, a tour of London’s busiest pubs. As you nut out your itinerary, make sure you block out days were you can just recoup energy by reading, walking, or even staying in all day.
What to pack
When it comes to packing, your aim is to be as self-sufficient as possible. Pack smart to limit the odds that you’ll get lost or otherwise wind up needing to ask for help. Download offline maps of cities to your devices, and carry back-up printed copies. Pack these necessities: concentrated laundry liquid and a string-up cord (so you can do your own laundry); a wristwatch (to save phone battery and stay hands-free); and rubber bands to roll clothes up tight and fit more (i.e. books) into your suitcase. And, of course, try not to dress like a tourist — and don’t unfold that big map in public: the more invisible you can be, the more you can move independently through even touristy spaces.
Choose your companions very, very wisely. Maybe travelling alone is your big chance to spend time with numero uno, but if you’re travelling with a friend or partner, choose someone you feel easy with, and who’ll respect your space when necessary. (See also: How to travel with your bestie and not want to kill each other.) Boozy group bus tours are probably not what you’re about, but don’t rule out group tours entirely. There are plenty of small-group “local living” tours on offer that feature private accommodation and flexible activities, and often attract others travelling solo or in pairs. The one I took on a Italian lemon farm is up there with the best weeks of my life.
Getting there and staying there
It’s less common these days, but there’s always one person on a plane who loves a good natter. Any introvert worth their salt already has a good noise-cancelling pair of headphones to block out human interaction and nearby crying babies. And while many long-haul flights provide eye masks in that little kit of disposable sleepover goodies, you’ll likely find a better light-blocking one at a travel store before you board. These will come in very handy in shared dorms (the horror!), too.
If you can splash out, hotels or whole-apartment rentals will offer the privacy and creature comforts you know, in your heart-of-hearts, you love best. But for many of us travelling light on dollars, private rooms in hostels or taking the wheel in a campervan can suit both the budget and your sense of adventure.
Of course, if your brain hurts just thinking about leaving the house, virtual reality tech is starting to get pretty swish… A future where you can program your ideal vacay into the holodeck? Make it so.