The Introvert's Guide to Small Group Travel
Small group travel may sound daunting for an introvert. If you are that introvert, this guide is for you!
Group travel and introverts...might as well be talking about oil and water. Something that, according to the rules of science, will never mix.
Well, screw the rules because small group travel is an excellent option when it comes to methods of exploring the world.
Though group travel seemingly lends itself to extroverts, introverts should also be able to take advantage of the perks of group travel (we’re talking affordable prices, pre-planned itineraries, awesome people, and seeing the world!).
As a fellow introvert who was once very leery of group travel, I wanted to share some tips that I have found helpful while traveling with groups.
So, without further ado, here are five tips on how to turn your oil & water into a f*cking peanut butter and jelly sandwich (Get it? They go together. Bad joke? Okay, fine...just keep reading.)
1. Find solo time
When traveling with a group, it’s important to find a bit of time each day to spend by yourself to recharge – after all, that is one of the defining characteristics of an introvert.
One easy way to do this is to take a glance at your trip’s itinerary in advance and build in a few moments of alone time.
When I was traveling in Costa Rica with Under30Experiences, I knew that my days would be pretty full with zip-lining, kayaking, and hiking as a group. So, while everyone would rise with the sun and go to yoga, I would wake up and enjoy a quiet breakfast on my own.
Not only was I able to start my day feeling recharged and ready to explore the rainforest with my new friends, but I also had first dibs at the breakfast buffet and hot coffee (Have you tried Costa Rican coffee?! Us mortals don’t deserve something that good. Consider this tip a two-for-one. You’re WELCOME. ).
2. Opt to have a roommate
For an introvert, suggesting that you room with a complete stranger could be borderline offensive. Stick with me here…
Roommates help ease into a group setting. On the first night of traveling with a group, a dinner table can quickly turn into a daunting sea of strangers.
Your roommate will, if nothing else, be a shining beacon of familiarity as you slowly integrate yourself into the rest of the group. That once daunting sea of strangers will quickly turn into an ocean of familiar faces in no time!
You are not required to become best friends and braid each other’s hair and gab about the newest pop icon, BUT it’s nice to know that you have someone there to help curb the loneliness that you may experience at some point during your travels.
3. Use your introversion to your advantage
One of the best perks of group travel is the people you meet along the way!
As introverts, we excel at listening and often prefer asking questions over answering them.
Use this super-power to your advantage and really get to know your fellow travelers.
Yes, the sunsets were breathtaking and the mountains piercing the horizon had the ability to stop me dead in my tracks out of pure awe, but the stories I’ve heard and the friendships I’ve gained are always the ultimate highlights of my group travel experiences.
4. Bring something familiar with you
No, I don’t mean that you should pack your Shiba Inu in your backpack and hope that he doesn’t bark while going through customs.
I mean that you should try to find something small from your normal routine that you can replicate while traveling. A metaphorical security blanket, if you will.
For me, I always travel with a book of crossword puzzles (yeah, hi, I’m cool). For others, this could be a good book, a yoga mat, or a 5 minute wind-down routine that they always follow when getting ready for bed.
Incorporating a bit of familiarity into your trips will help keep your energy basin full while still allowing yourself to enjoy your group travel experience!
5. Get out of your comfort zone!
You knew this one was coming. Sit down. Breathe. We’ll get through this together...literally!
Another benefit of group travel is the instant support system that you’ll have while experiencing new places and things.
This will be a generalization, but introverts tend to err on the side comfort.
Eating foods we know we already like. Following paths we already know have an end point. Saying NO to anything that may scare us (Exception: Spiders. Those are of the devil’s making and we should always say no to those.).
So why not, for 5 days while traveling with a group, take advantage of this built-in safety net around you and step outside of your comfort zone?!
Sit next to someone and share a dish that you cannot pronounce. Join your group on a hike and explore a new trail together.
As they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. It’s time to say,
‘Hello, life! Let’s live ya!’