Human beings are social creatures but the case can be different for introverts.
Introverts are not antisocial but ‘excessive’ socialising can be seen as an introvert’s kryptonite. Where extroverts feel recharged after spending time socialising with a group of people, introverts tend to have a limited reserve for such social obligations before feeling wiped out. They typically gravitate towards spending time by themselves, which helps them recharge.
If this sounds like you, you’ll know that travelling can be a challenge as an introvert. You may not necessarily want to go on a holiday on your own during semester break, but at the same time, travelling with a group of friends can prove to be an emotionally exhausting experience when you’re cooped up with them for several days in a row.
So how do you balance your introverted nature without isolating your friends – or experiencing awkward situations with strangers – when travelling? Here are some suggestions:
Carry earphones with you
Wearing earphones or headphones immediately gives off the vibe that you don’t want to be spoken to. Carry a pair of these with you the next time you’re on a plane, bus, van or train to give a subtle message to the person next to you that you don’t want to engage in conversation.
Alternatively, burying your nose in a book or magazine can have the same effect. Before you do, consider smiling and/or nodding your head to acknowledge the person sitting next to you before proceeding to do your own thing – you want to avoid coming off as rude!
Schedule some alone time
If you’re travelling in a group, chances are, you’ll need some time to recharge after spending a long day out with your friends. So don’t feel bad about carving some time out for yourself or skipping an outing with your friends – especially if it’s in a place you’re not interested in – so you can enjoy some solo time.
Just be sure to communicate this to your travel partners before your trip to ensure they understand where you’re coming from. After all, there’s no point forcing yourself to do things when you’re grumpy or not in the right state of mind – it will only ruin your holiday!
Choose where you stay wisely
Hostels are cheap but sharing accommodation with others may mean having to make small talk with other travellers staying in the vicinity. If that’s not your thing, consider splashing a bit more money to stay in places such as a hotel, where you can enjoy some privacy without subjecting yourself to awkward conversations with strangers.
Find places where you can be alone – comfortably
After a day (or more) of travelling with a group of people, you’ll likely feel a need to recharge and be alone. Doing this is probably out of the question when you’re sharing a room with friends, so be sure to check ahead of time for some places to ‘escape’.
This could be a coffee shop with a relaxing vibe (and not something popular like Starbucks), a park or a hole-in-the-wall restaurant for some downtime.
Popular restaurants and cafés attract throngs of people and are some of the most awkward places to be when you’re seeking time alone. After all, rows of families or friends sharing a boisterous meal can exacerbate your sense of discomfort when dining alone, so do your homework before your trip.