Travel is by nature full of surprises and unexpected turns. However, there are things you can do when planning a vacation to ensure it’s as introvert-friendly as possible. This starts with picking the right destination and travel companions and ends with making sure your itinerary is as perfect for your needs as it can be. To help you with this, I’m listing a few points to keep in mind when planning an introvert-friendly trip. These will help to make sure you’re having the best time ever – without getting overwhelmed or suffering the infamous introvert hangover.
Chosing the right destination
When deciding where to go, the important question is: What do you want to get out of your trip?
I’m not really a fan of those „x best places for introverts” lists. Our interests and likings can be as diverse as we are. Sure, the quiet countryside sounds more introvert-friendly at first glance. But I also know many introverts who love city trips, myself included. So really, it’s more a question of figuring out what you want from your vacation.
Do you want to be in nature and see as few people as possible? A cabin in the mountains might be for you. Or a solitary beach far away from the beaten path.
Do you marvel at cultural experiences like museums, exhibitions or art galleries? Pick a city that offers plenty of that, but make sure you also find enough quiet spots (see later tip for more on this).
Do you long for being away from it all, except maybe that one chosen person to share the experience with? Try a road trip with a friend or your partner. If that’s too much company, go solo.
Do you want to get out of your comfort zone and make connections with new people? After all, introverts can be interested in getting to know other people, too. A group tour might be perfect, bringing you together with like-minded people while taking away the stress of having to organise everything yourself.
All of these trips make for very different experiences, but they all can be made very introvert-friendly. Just make sure the kind of vacation you pick is the one that actually fits your needs.
Finding the right accommodation
Just as with destinations, there are loads of different accommodation options. Which one is best for you depends on several factors: who you’re travelling with, what your budget is, or what kind of vacation you’re looking for. Let’s look at some of the common options and their pros and cons when it comes to introvert-friendliness.
The classic hotel is always a good go-to. You have a private room or shared with your travel companion. Having your own room can serve as a great safe haven after a day of exploring or when you just need a break. Also, hotels usually come in all forms and sizes. You can decide if you want something small and friendly or rather bigger and more anonymous. However, a hotel will always be more expensive than a hostel, especially if you need a single room.
Though they may seem like an introvert’s worst nightmare, staying in a hostel can actually be enjoyable, especially if you’re travelling solo. It’s a great way to meet people and make friends without much effort. I had many fun times in hostels, finding a great camaraderie and travel companions whom I stayed in contact with long after our time together ended. Plus, hostels usually can’t be beaten in terms of price. At the same time, it’s also true that sharing a room all the time can be exhausting for introverts. It’s much harder to find a place to be alone and really unwind.
If you want to be independent, renting a holiday apartment is probably your best bet. You get a fully functioning place. This also includes a kitchen, which saves you from always having to eat out like in a hotel. You have the kitchen to yourself, unlike in a hostel where it’s a shared community kitchen. Apartments are especially great when you travel with friends, as you share the cost. All by yourself, they might get a bit pricey.
With Airbnb, you have basically two options. You can rent a whole apartment to yourself. This is comparable to a normal holiday apartment in terms of pros and cons. Or you can rent a room in a private home, living together with the owners. This is great if you’re interested in making connections with the locals. However, it can also feel somewhat daunting to move in with people you don’t know. Personally, I’ve always struggled with this. I feel somewhat uncomfortable intruding into someone else’s home, even if they’re happy to have me. But that’s subjective and might be very different for you.
I recommend thoroughly checking all options available in your chosen destination. Then really think through what it would mean to stay in each. Of course, if you stay in more than one place during your trip, you can totally try different options. This way, you get the different advantages and see what you like best.
For example, when I travelled in South America I usually stayed in hostels, as it was cheap and I got to meet other travellers. But once in a while, I would splurge on a single room if I felt exhausted with all the socialising and needed some time to myself.
Prepare your itinerary with your introvert needs in mind
Many introverts prefer to know what to expect. Therefore, it can be helpful to plan in advance what you want to see. This isn’t to say don’t leave any room for the surprises and unexpected options you come across along the way. Definitely leave room for those. And of course, if you’re goal is just hanging out on the beach all day (and no judgement if it is), you don’t need much planning for that. But with most destinations, having some ideas of what there is to see and do will help you immensely once you get there.
This will mean some research beforehand. But that’s the fun part, isn’t it? Once you have an overview of your options, chose some you definitely want to see. Then choose those you still find interesting, but could also live without, for your „maybe”-list. You can use the latter to fill up any free spaces in your itinerary or leave them out if you need a break.
Breaks are the no. 1 tool for an introvert-friendly trip
When choosing your must-sees, make sure you want to leave enough time in between for breaks. I believe having enough breaks and opportunities for alone-time is the single most important factor when travelling as an introvert. Without them, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed by all the new sights and impressions you’re experiencing.
You need a chance to let all of the new impressions sink in and process your day before pushing on. If this seems like you’re wasting precious vacation time doing nothing, remember that it’s no much use powering on if you’re suffering from an introvert hangover or travel burnout and unable to enjoy what you’re doing. After some alone-time, it will be that much more fun visiting the next highlight on your list.
How many breaks exactly are enough will depend largely on your individual needs and preferences. Think about the pace of your life at home. Are you fine powering through a workday as long as you get to spend the evening alone at home? Then you may be fine having a full day with only the evening off to relax in your room afterwards. Or are even shorter bursts of socialising already exhausting for you? Then it’s probably a good idea to have more regular breaks throughout the day. You can always find a quiet cafe to read or go for a walk in the park if you need to slow down the pace.
It also helps to specifically look for places beforehand that might be relaxing enough to spend those breaks in. Are there any recommended cafes? Beautiful walks? Quiet libraries or museums? If you have a list of these, you won’t have to search long for a quiet place when you suddenly find yourself getting overwhelmed during your day.
Prepare your travel companions
Travelling with someone else? Then make sure your expectations and wishes for this trip are in line. Nothing is worse than arriving at your destination only to find that you all want to do entirely different things. Or that they want to spend morning to evening sightseeing plus hit the bars at night, whereas you just want to relax.
If you already have your list of must-sees, have your travel buddies make one too and then compare. What do you all want to see? Can you find a compromise for those things that are different? If you need more breaks than the people you travel with, would it make sense to split off once in a while? That way, they can go look at something from their list while you get some alone-time.
All of this will be much easier if you communicate beforehand. If you explain to your travel companions that you may occasionally need breaks because of your introversion, they won’t think that you leave them because you don’t like them when it happens.
And by the way, this is not only important when travelling with extroverts. Other introverts may also have different needs regarding solitude and alone-time, or different interests in what they want to do. Being clear in your expectations will help everyone have a better trip.
Be well-prepared on your destination to avoid awkwardness
Visiting new places can feel overwhelming or even intimidating for introverts. To prevent this as much as possible, it helps to be prepared. As I mentioned earlier, introverts usually like to be prepared because we feel safer and less insecure about new situations. And while I also said that there are things you couldn’t possibly prepare for when it comes to travel, there are those you can.
If you go to a different country, research the culture and customs beforehand. Learn some basic sentences in the language, if it’s not your own. Read about people’s experiences travelling in this place, for instance through blogs, to get an idea of what it actually feels like to be there.
None of this will one hundred per cent prepare you for what’s to come. Places always tend to be different in real life than when you just read or hear about them. But it can still help you feel a bit more confident about going there, especially if the thought of being in a new place makes you nervous.
Adjust your mindset
This last one is easily forgotten but quite important. I find it helps me a lot to handle nerves before a big trip if I keep my expectations in check.
I don’t mean being pessimistic and expecting it to be bad. On the contrary, it’s important to look forward to all the great things that you will see and experience. But you should not expect it to be perfect, either. I know there will be things going wrong and not everything will go as I hoped. But I also know that whatever happens, I’ll be able to handle it somehow. This makes me feel much more confident as if I thought everything would just go smoothly.
It may also help you to think of challenges as chances to expand your comfort zone instead. It’s natural to be nervous before a trip, especially if you don’t have much experience with travelling or if it’s a much bigger trip than you’ve done before. But that’s precisely why this experience will also help you grow. I have gained so much self-confidence through travelling, more than probably any other single thing in my life. Yes, it’s a cliche, but travel really does broaden the mind and lets you grow as a person.
I hope these tips help you plan the perfect introvert-friendly trip (once and if it’s safe to travel, of course). Feel free to ask any more questions you have about travel planning in the comments. Can you tell me where you plan to go next?