Ever been on a trip but just can’t seem to relax because you more extroverted travel companions won’t give you a break? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Us introverts need alone-time on a trip as much as any other time, maybe more. However, depending on who and how many people we travel with, this can be hard.
It doesn’t even have to be that you’re companions are extroverts. Though that might make it worse. It’s enough that they are always around you. Sharing a room, going sightseeing together, and basically being in the same place 24/7. No wonder it can quickly get too much for introverts, who after all are already more likely to struggle with the overwhelm that new places can bring.
If that’s you, don’t fret. There’s no need to cancel the trip. All you need to do is find ways to grant yourself time alone and get the breaks you need. How you can do that even with travel companions and while having a full schedule of sightseeing ahead of you, is what you will learn in this post.
Take advantage of drives
If you need to go anywhere by car, bus or train, chances are even the most extroverted travel companions will not spend the entire time talking. Especially not if it’s a long drive. Therefore, these are perfect opportunities for some alone-time on your trip, even if it’s more mentally than physically.
You could read a book or put on some music. Admittedly, this is easier if you’re travelling alone. Still, even if you don’t want to put on headphones out of respect of your travel companions, just looking out the window and enjoying the views can do wonders for your energy levels.
If you’re going by car, another good tip is to use the seating arrangement to your advantage. Say there’s three of you. You can volunteer to take the back seat. This makes it much easier to just not join into a conversation the people in the front are having but letting your thoughts wander instead.
When I recently went to Bavaria with two friends, I sat in the back on our way home. In this case, it wasn’t out of design, we simply took turns switching seats and this was my turn to sit in the back. But it meant I had a lot of opportunity to day-dream. Sure, I chatted with the others some of the time. But I also spend a lot of time in my head. I find it incredibly peaceful to just sit there and watch the landscape go by.
If you happen to be four people in the car (or train or bus), you may not be able to sit alone. But you can still make this strategy work by choosing to sit with the person least likely to be talking too much.
Go for walks – alone or with others
Walking is one of the best ways to let your mind wander. Whether it’s an actual hike or just a ten-minutes stroll to the next attraction, walking has something freeing and relaxing.
That is true even when walking with others. While this may not exactly be alone-time in a physical sense, it can still help give your mind a rest. Like with driving, chances are that at least some parts of the walk will happen in silence. Enjoy this as much as you can.
For example, you can suggest going on foot rather than jumping on a bus to get to the next spot. Or to just wander around the city a little, as this has the added advantage of showing you places you might otherwise have missed.
Get a free evening
If you really need a rest, try staying in one evening. This works particularly well if you’re travel companions like going out. As an introvert, chances are that bars are not your favourite places anyway. So don’t be shy about excusing yourself and enjoy a quiet evening alone in your hotel room.
By the way, this doesn’t mean that you should never go out with the others. It’s just about keeping things in moderation and managing your needs. You could go with them every other night. Or join them for a while and then excuse yourself to head home earlier. This way, you get to enjoy their company but still have time off to yourself.
Go to bed at a different time than the others
In parts, this goes back to the last point. If the others like going out, leave early and spent a quiet evening.
But it also works the other way around. If you’re with someone who likes to go to sleep early, you may be able to get some quiet moments by staying up longer. Even if you only use these to read quietly in bed.
This is what I often did when I travelled with my aunt through New Zealand back in January and February. Just experiencing the peace that arises when everyone else is asleep may be enough to give you the mental rest you need.
Get up early
If going to bed at a different time is one way to get alone-time on a trip, then so is getting up early.
I must admit this isn’t really something I do a lot, just because I’m not a morning person at all. I’m much more likely to be the one getting upt last. But I know others use this strategy very successfully.
So if you’re not quite as in love with your bed in the morning as I am, getting up an hour or so before everyone else can give you some blissful time off before the day starts.
Get separate rooms
Such a simple solution and yet not often done, in my experience. Remember that travelling together doesn’t have to mean you need to share one room. It could be you each take a single room, or it could be you rent an apartment together with several bedrooms.
Of course, not sharing a room means it costs more for everyone, so this might not always be a viable option. But it’s still a good one to keep in mind, if you have the chance.
Having your own room gives you the freedom to unwind by yourself in the evening and have time alone when you get up in the morning before meeting the others.
Make the most of little moments springing up during the day
There are often moments during the day that you find yourself alone, if only for a brief period of time. The other person is in the shower. Or getting ready. Or just checking something. When you’re all introverts in the group, you might also have times when you’re physically together but doing separate things, such as each one reading their book.
Become conscious of these moments and see them as opportunities to enjoy some alone-time on your trip. Even if they’re only long enough for some deep breaths. You’ll be surprised how much this may already help you through a busy day of sightseeing.
Suggest doing things separately
Your travel companions want to go somewhere you don’t care about? You want to visit that cool museum, but they’d rather go on the walking tour? There’s an easy solution: Go separately.
Yes, you’re travelling together, but does that mean you have to be together 24/7? Nope, certainly not.
Especially if separating means you don’t only get some alone-time on your trip, you also each get to see whatever attraction you’re interested in, rather than wasting time visiting something only for the other’s sake.
After you’ve each done your thing, there’ll be enough left for you to do together. And you’ll enjoy it all the more for having had this time alone.
Most importantly: Don’t be afraid to say when you just need a break
This is your holiday. You should be enjoying it. Which you won’t if you spend your whole time being exhausted and cranky. So if you feel things are just getting too much, say so.
I know us introverts aren’t always good as voicing our needs, especially when we fear we might hurt or incommode others by doing so. But keep in mind the people you travel with are your friends and family. They probably already know you need some time by yourself now and again.
As long as you state your need in a reasonable way that doesn’t make it sound like they did something wrong, they’ll understand.
How do you make sure you get enough alone-time on your trip? Any more tips on how to best recharge your batteries? Share in the comments!