Travel for introverts takes a lot of energy. That’s why it’s more important than usual for introverts to mentally prepare for their travel adventures—from making an action plan for quiet time, to scheduling rest days amidst the go-go-go, to stocking up on the introvert travel gear (and we don’t just mean noise canceling headphones). Even though your gut instinct might be telling you to stay home, know this: Travel is for ALL kinds of people. Decide your travel style for yourself and what your ideal adventure looks like. There’s no “right” way to do it, just your way. Introverts shouldn’t miss out on seeing the world just because they’re not into small talk in hostel common spaces. Revel in your quiet, deliberate nature, read these helpful introvert tips, then explore, rally, and recharge with confidence—you’ve got this! Lower the stress of your travels with these introvert friendly travel tips.
Splurge on a Private RoomSaving a couple extra dollars by sucking it up and staying in a multi-bed dorm room or a shared space Airbnb is tempting. And while you might save a buck, travelers who identify as introverts are probably better off allocating space in their budget to afford more private accommodations—an extra $20 to $40 a night on average. Think of your space abroad as more than just somewhere you sleep. The lodging you choose is where you have time to yourself, where you can read in peace, where you can even meditate or get some stretching in. It’s a safe space for when you’re mentally tired from a day of exploring and you just need a quick nap before dinner. Opting for your own private room is especially helpful if you are traveling in a group or participating in a travel tour. Splurging on privacy will give you space to recharge and find the energy needed to tackle the rest of the day. Think of it as a mental health investment.
Take it Easy & Slow DownIf you’re anything like me, it can be tempting to stack your travel itinerary with fun from the moment you open your eyes. There’s so much to do and so little time, right? Wrong. Well, not wrong, but hear me out. As an introvert, you’ll find the overall travel experience much more enjoyable if you allot time to mosey from place to place, linger where the coffee is extra strong, to stay put on that bench when the people in the park are too cute not to observe. One of my favorite travel tip for introverts is this: Let the destination itself help drive the itinerary rather than vice versa. Taking it easy and slowing down will give you the chance to savor the experience instead of rushing it. Give yourself permission to hang out in your (private) room just because you feel like it. Introvert travel is much more likely to feel successful if you let up on the gas most days. Bonus: Maybe this time you won’t return home feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation.
Balance Overstimulation With CalmYou have to experience the frenetic energy of Tokyo Station or elbow your way through crowds to catch a glimpse of Mona Lisa’s smug smile. Unfortunately, many of the world’s most desireable travel destinations are also are some of the busiest. That’s a recipe for over stimulation— loud speaker announcements, children crying, people in a hurry, raucous laughter, orders being shouted, hardly any room to breathe. Some people find it exciting (weird, I know) but for introverts, these enviroments can feel like a slow and painful death if experienced for too long. That’s where balance comes in. Schedule your days to spread out activities that might end up being overstimulating. Be sure to create space for quiet and calm. Yoga and meditation are great tools to help find stability amidst the relative-chaos.
Bring Something Familiar & Comforting From HomeThis is one of my favorite introvert travel tips of all time (and it has yet to fail me). If you’re feeling too overstimulated and spread thin, sometimes the only remedy is an old familiar pillow or your favorite slippers. Bring something (small and packable) from home that is cozy, warm, and familiar. Hello, comfort!
Acknowledge Your LimitationsTravel blogs, pamphlets, and Instagram accounts might breed an assumption that if you travel, you must be the most energetic, outgoing person on the planet—one who delights in constantly befriending strangers and doing exciting things all the time. Not true. Introverts might not engage as energetically in outgoing interactions, but they make great world travelers because they pay attention to the details. By acknowledging and understanding your gaps in knowledge, limitations, and imperfections, you are able to more humbly interact with the culture around you—to see the things others might gloss over, appreciating the nuances that make any given destination a complex, yet wonderful place. In short, when you acknowledge your limitations, you can also increase your depth of experience in a new place. Introverts have a place at the travelers table, too.
Push Your Comfort ZoneWe can all agree that one of the biggest benefits of travel is the chance to push our comfort zone in new ways. As an introvert, perhaps you might take the challenge to accept one invitation you might otherwise politely decline, to look for information on your destination via a different source (like conversation rather than a book), or try that food you can’t pronounce on the menu. Small steps and nudges against the limits of what’s comfortable are great fodder for growth. And increased self-awareness is one of the best outcomes of travel.
Great Gear for Introvert TravelBefore you hit the road, make sure your travel backpack is stocked with the essential gear for introvert travel. Investing in a few key pieces of gear will pay off in peace and a more pleasurable travel experience.
Carry On BackpackFor introverts, the added bonus of traveling carry on is avoiding the chaos and cacaphony of the baggage drop off and pick up circus. You’ll never have a negative interaction with an airline agent over a lost bag, and you’ll be able to move quickly and peacefully through the airport. Compare travel backpacks to determine which is right for you.
Kindle Paper WhiteSometimes, the best way to hide out in a crowd is with your nose in a book. Pack a well stocked Kindle full of your favorite books. Choose something fun and escapist, like the Harry Potter series—or something that encourages introspection, like Paulo Coelho books.
A Comfortable SweaterPacking a travel capsule wardrobe reduces packing stress and daily decision making about outfits while you’re traveling. No matter what you choose for your layers, always save room for your favorite warm sweater. I like Toad & Co’s Glenfyne Shawl Cardi, it’s $95.
Noise Canceling HeadphonesBecause it can never be too quiet. Try the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones; Bose are Team Tortuga favorites. Whether you’re trying to drown out your fellow passengers on an airplane, listen to the podcast walking tour in Paris, or simply hide out in a crowd, these are the best.
SunglassesHow else will you keep from making eye contact with strangers? Review our breakdown of the Best Travel Sunglasses, then pick your poison! Mine are Rayban New Wayfarer glasses, for $143.
A JournalIf browsing Rifle Paper Co. doesn’t inspire you, maybe nothing will. Choose a journal that feels like a warm safe place and then pack it as a companion. Check out the app alternatives for digital journalling. Pro tip: Pack some favorite art supplies—and be ready to do lots of writing/recording as you unpack both the new destination and new layers of yourself, too.
Coffee GearTruth be told, good coffee can be found in most places around the world, if you look. But let’s say you’re going to China, or to a more rural, far-flung spot in the Caribbean. Or maybe you’re one of those “weigh the water, then weigh the beans” kinds of people. You need your joe! Buy a portable coffee press and pack it along. The Aeropress is a fan favorite for travelers who are also serious coffee geeks.
Ear Plugs & Eye MaskNo need to miss out on your precious ZzZzzZ’s just because the pilot keeps making announcements or you accidentally booked a hotel along the partiest of party streets. I like the Nidra Deep Rest Sleep Mask when I need some instant alone time.
External Battery PackHey, introverts like to keep in touch with loved ones too! In fact, sometimes not having access to your support community can add stress to a trip. Avoid that. Having a separate energy source that’s compact but powerful will help you keep charged in a pinch. Read our in-depth analysis of best battery packs, then choose the one that will help you maintain communications. I use the Portable Charger RAVPower 26800 Battery Pack.
TL;DRIntrovert travelers—the world awaits! Rather than sitting in your favorite corner of your favorite coffee shop with your favorite beverage dreaming about the world, get out there and live it. Lower the stress of travel by:
- Opting for a private room
- Slowing down
- Balancing busy with calm
- Acknowledging your limitations
- Bringing something comforting from home
- Pushing your comfort zone (gently!)
- Traveling carry on
- Purchasing a few key items of gear to enhance calm, like noise canceling earphones and an eye mask