Being an introvert doesn't mean you're shy and don't know how to mix and mingle while on the road. Being an introvert means that you value your alone time and need more space than others to recharge and regroup. While chatting up new friends in the communal kitchen or grabbing dinner with an interesting couple from Argentina might be right up your alley, so is locking your room door behind you and flopping backwards on the bed. Below are eight tips on how to balance the two while you're solo traveling across the world, ensuring you that you don't fizzle out by the time you catch your plane back home!
1. Sign Yourself Up to Tours When You're Done Recharging
If you've had your fill of alone time, venture out into a group situation by signing yourself up for a tour. The plus side of this is that it's low-intensity mingling. Since you'll be smack in the middle of an activity, there will be a chance for chatting but the majority of the time you'll be soaking up the city. So go on a walking tour, take a cooking class, opt into a pub crawl or find a sightseeing group!
2. Pick Hostels that Have Both Dorms and Private Spaces
When you're feeling social you can book yourself a dorm where you can sit on the floor and talk about all the stamps in your passport, but when you feel like you need some alone time you can switch over to private accommodations to have some breathing room. If you don't enjoy the idea of a hostel, you can always book a shared space in Airbnb. This means that you can hang out with the other travelers in the living room and grab drinks with the host, or retreat to your bedroom — the control is in your hands.
3. Choose Destinations That Are Quieter Than Others
If it's peace and solitude that's appealing to you, don't book yourself a one-way ticket to Bangkok or Ibiza. If quietness and emptiness is the equivalent of an awesome destination to you, listen to your preferences and tweak your travel plans a little. For example, instead of going to the party island of Mykonos in Greece, go to the calmer Ionian Islands instead.
4. Move Slower
As an introvert you need more time to recharge, so give yourself space by planning out slower moving trips. You don't need to go climb the Eiffel Tower, visit Ladurée for a bag of macarons, swim down the Seine, and drink cocktails at the Moulin Rouge all in one day. At the end you'll feel burnt out and stressed, all because you're not letting yourself recover and recharge. Don't force yourself into doing things you don't want to do just because it's in a guide book – move slower, see a little less, but enjoy your time more.
5. Throw Yourself into the Local Scene
A trademark of introverts is that they enjoy observing — you sit happily at the edges and think of what's buzzing around you. So while you might want to see your tourist sites, pad the bulk of your itinerary with local places. It'll be more fun for you to lean back in a cute café chair and watch the locals mill about their day than be thrown into the energy of a packed landmark. That and it'll give you a sense of what life in that city is really like, which is perfect for your observant personality.
6. Journal While You're Traveling
A travel journal gives you the chance to reflect and process what you experienced and saw during the day, as well as gives you a fun activity while you're stowed away in those corner cafes and dim bars.
7. Bring A Camera Along
Walking around side streets and city neighborhoods without a plan becomes all the more interesting with a camera at your hip. You'll find yourself appreciating fences with overgrown rose bushes, quirky café store fronts, and eccentric locals when you can capture them with your lens. You can also make a game out of your wandering, where you choose an item you want to photograph — like colorful chairs or quirky bookstores — and take as many pictures as you can in a day. It lets you indulge in your observant nature, helps you see different details in the city others might overlook, and helps you gather material over what to talk about when you're finally in the mood for company.
8. Make Your Own Walking Tour
Depending on what city you're staying in, challenge yourself to make a walking tour out of its specific fame to claim. For example, in Dublin you can visit all the bars that James Joyce frequented or in Chiang Mai you can café hop all the coffee shops within the old city walls. Not only will this give you a unique view of the city, but you'll have plenty of stories to share with your travel buddies when you come back to the hostel!