Traveling and being introverted sometimes seem incompatible to some people. I tell them no. There are more of us than you might think.

It’s true that we tend to think too much, to over-analyze every little thing imaginable. But we also live in the present and are great observers and listeners. If, like me, you’re deeply introverted and aren’t afraid to say it out loud, but are rather proud of it, welcome my friends!

I’m here to show you that traveling as an introvert doesn’t have to be difficult, and to give you a few tips to help you overcome the difficulties you’re likely to encounter on the road.

Misconceptions & Truths about Introverts

Motivational sentence and Introvert's travel
Photo by Chris Curry on Unsplash

First, I’d like to start with the misconceptions about introverts. Yes, some of us can be defined by certain characteristics, but that doesn’t apply to all of us. I’m pretty sure you’re not aware that your bubbly friend is also an introvert. We’re all different and sometimes it doesn’t show.

1. We don’t hate people

No, sorry but that’s not the case, we’re generally slower to get to know people or we tend not to like spending time with lots of people at once. I love spending time with my group of friends, but I get rather overwhelmed in the presence of a large group of people.

I like meeting new people, but it takes me longer to get used to them. However, we’re not hostile – far from it! And we often get on very well with like-minded people, whether introverts or extroverts!

2. We’re not all shy or lacking in self-confidence

Some of us are and some of us aren’t. It really depends on the person – I was shy at first, but traveling has made me less shy. Does that make sense? Anyway, you get the idea.

And please don’t think that an introvert or a shy person is someone who doesn’t have self-confidence. I’m perfectly capable of interacting with people and I certainly don’t feel like I lack confidence either. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have moved to the other side of the world at 22 if I did, right?

3. We’re generally on the quiet side

I won’t object. Again, this isn’t to say that we’re shy, but we simply like peace and being with ourselves in our own bubble, enjoying the silence. In fact, we’re never bored and are easily absorbed by the present moment. Whether it’s admiring the scenery, reading a book, reflecting on life…, you can leave us there for hours and we’ll be happy.

4. We’re great thinkers and observers

Whether we’re planning something or just thinking about our next meal, we tend to think long and hard about anything and everything.

I’ve learned over time not to plan much before and during my travels, but I still think a lot, all the time, every day, which can get pretty tiring. It’s a work in progress.

But it’s also an interesting character trait, because we like to analyze all information in depth to understand it better. We prefer to observe and reflect on everything carefully before making hasty judgments.

5. We live in the moment

As I said earlier, we are simple beings. Introverts are happy as long as they can take full advantage of their surroundings. Leave me on a beach or on top of a mountain and I’ll be more than content to listen to the wind or the sound of crashing waves and enjoy the scenery.

Sitting on a bench as an introvert

In short, an introvert is someone who goes at his or her own pace. We take longer to socialize than extroverts, and that’s perfectly normal. We also draw our energy from solitude, which doesn’t scare us – quite the opposite, in fact. And don’t forget that we’re all introverts or extroverts – we just have to accept it!

Guide to traveling as an Introvert

1. Best “weapons”: journal, book or headphones

Whether you’re alone in a restaurant, in the common room of your hostel or in a park, sometimes you just want to relax or have some time to yourself. It’s totally understandable as an introvert because, as I said earlier, it’s your way of recharging your energy and feeling refreshed to do group activities later.

Put on your headphones, write in your journal or read a book, people will usually understand that you’re busy or in your own universe and they won’t bother you.

Journaling as an introvert

And if that’s not the case, take the time to do what you want and what you like without worrying about what other people think. But don’t force yourself to go at someone’s pace because you’re afraid of offending them.

Your well-being is just as important as theirs!

2. Prioritize Slow Travel

One of the first mistakes I made when I started traveling was to plan too much and tire myself out to the point where I felt I didn’t value my time and experiences enough. At that point, I decided to stop everything I was doing and took three whole days to do almost nothing. My days consisted of walking around my neighborhood in Sydney, listening to music, writing in my journal and lying on the grass at Wendy Whiteley’s secret garden.

It was then that I decided to adopt the “slow travel” attitude. I travel less, but I take the time to appreciate the destination I’m in. I explore every nook and cranny of the place and fully immerse myself in this new environment.

What’s more, I no longer plan every last detail of my trip. I just look for the main things I want to do or see, and leave myself a little room – actually a LOT of room – to relax or return to a place I’ve loved.

3. Don’t feel guilty about wanting different things from your fellow travel buddies

Traveling with friends as an introvert

As much as I love traveling and sharing my adventures with friends, sometimes our opinions on activities or preferences differ. But I never feel guilty about separating from the group and doing my own activities if I feel the need. The worst thing you can do is go with the flow and do something you don’t even like, which will affect everyone’s mood and the experience itself.

Don’t hesitate to talk to your travel partners in advance about your hobbies, the things you like to do and the things you don’t, so that you can plan something to suit everyone’s tastes, without forgetting to compromise. Communication is the key to any good relationship, so share your feelings before you take it upon yourself to do something you don’t like and miss out on something else.

4. Get outdoors

Go hiking, swimming, sit on a park bench, but get outside. For an introvert, nothing beats the wilderness. It’s where we observe, relax and think deeply about life. And there’s no better place to feel that freedom we all yearn for. Nothing recharges me like nature and its wonders.

When I’m feeling stressed or the hustle and bustle of life in general starts to get too much for me, I simply go to the beach and listen to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. It calms me instantly and allows me to let go of all the anxiety I’ve built up.

Beach landscape for an introvert

By the way, like most of us, I think, I started traveling because I think the world is far too big and contains too much splendor to pass up the opportunity to explore it.

5. Join online social groups

Worried about making friends in a new country, keen to take part in group activities or just want to get advice from locals? Join Facebook groups or meetup.com and share your hobbies and passions with like-minded people.

It’s also a great way to get to know a city better while making new friends.
As a bonus, you’ll get out of your comfort zone by doing something you wouldn’t have even considered trying at home.

6. Book your own room from time to time

Hostel life is great when you’re in the mood to socialize, but sometimes the pressure gets to be too much and you feel the need to escape the madness of your 6-bed dorm as well as the constantly crowded common area.

When the situation arises, I usually book a hotel room or Airbnb for a few days to relax without having to worry about dozens of people staring at me when I walk into the kitchen.

Enjoying solitude is sometimes all I need and want.

Enjoying solo travel as an introvert

You got it, fellow Introvert!

I know a lot of fellow travelers who are actually introverts, isn’t that funny? Or maybe we just attract each other! Either way, it means that if we can all do it, so can you. These tips are here to help you when you’re low on energy and need time to heal. Follow your heart and think of your mental health first. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by situations that don’t suit you.
Everyone has a different rhythm, so travel at your own pace and enjoy your freedom!

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2 Comments

  1. Love this! I’m definitely an introvert and getting out in nature and taking a break from people occasionally is so important. Thank you for sharing these great tips.

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