Traveling abroad can be a thrilling, life-changing experience, providing you the opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures and unforgettable locations. But for those of us who consider ourselves introverts, traveling abroad can also present challenges when it comes to social interactions and jumpstarting relationships that will make your adventure that much richer.
That’s why we’re here to help! We’re here to give you some travel ideas and inspiration for introverts like you. Read on for more information on these different travel tips and get ready to plan your next trip today!
Pack Only Enough That You Can Carry Comfortably
Let’s begin with a little common sense. If you’re an introvert and you want to travel, you’re likely to be traveling alone, right? If that’s the case, consider only packing enough stuff that you can carry comfortably. You don’t want to be that person who steps out of the airport in Dublin or Tokyo or Johannesburg with three pieces of luggage in tow needing help getting it all in your next mode of transportation. Not only does it draw unwanted attention, it’s just inconvenient.
Invest in a high quality backpack and travel as minimally as possible. If you have everything in one place, that’ll make it easier to access and harder to lose. Furthermore, it will keep you light, mobile, and comfortable — giving you one less thing to worry about.
Don’t Stress Over Where To Eat
Crowded restaurants can be an introverted traveler’s worst nightmare. The good news is that it’s easy enough to avoid super-busy pubs and restaurants, especially in bigger cities — and often, cafes and restaurants that are off the beaten-tourist-path are much more representative of local cuisine and culture.
In most countries, you don’t need to worry about the stigma of ‘eating alone’, since there will be little doubt that you’re a tourist; except the fact that the people with whom you’re interacting, from the server to the cashier, know you’re not a local and embrace it. Be polite, smile, and do your best to make eye contact — these are actions that transcend any language barrier.
Choose Structured Activities for Social Interaction
While you may be an introvert, it’s safe to say that you are not completely antisocial. Human beings do need to have contact with other human beings occasionally. This isn’t as much of a paradox as you may think. There are structured activities that you can take part in as a tourist that don’t require you to have conversations you might not want to have, but still provide you with social presence.
Guided tours are a great way to experience this, whether it’s at a modern art museum or a tour bus going around a city that shows you all the sights. Other options include brewery and wine tours, as well as tours that go from city to city around a particular country.
Learn Key Phrases
A great tip for any traveler, especially introverts, is to learn a few key phrases in the native language of wherever you’re traveling: ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘pardon me’. No matter where you go in the world, if you’re able to nail down these five key phrases during your flight, you’ll have the basic tools to communicate in any potential interaction.
As an introvert, you’re probably hoping to avoid interactions, but traveling abroad requires a lot of basic negotiations, from booking a train ticket to ordering lunch. If you find yourself sitting alone at a bar having a drink, keep in mind: you’re not obligated to talk to anyone who tries to strike up a conversation with you. Simply smile and say, ‘no, thank you.’
Find Ways To Let People Know You’re Busy
There are ways to let people know (without being rude, of course) that you’re not available for chit-chat. In the 21st century, there’s always the tried and true method of looking busy by checking your phone, scrolling through emails or text messages, or popping in your earbuds and putting on your sunglasses.
While it’s always good practice to make an effort to converse, when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or experiencing particularly intense anxiety, your electronic devices can be helpful tools to get you through the episode.
Keep a Travel Journal
This last one is simple: keeping a journal can help you recall all of your trip’s experiences, both good and bad. This isn’t just good self-therapy, but it also can act as a sort of guide for your future trips that you take on your own, allowing you to do the kinds of things you enjoy and avoid the kinds of things that lead to unwanted interaction or discomfort.
Those are a few tips for traveling when you’re an introvert. Keep them in mind when you’re buying your next ticket!