A Self-Care Guide for Introverted Travelers
It’s my third day in the Andalucían city of Malaga, Spain and I already feel on-edge navigating the crowded streets and trying to drown out the constant noise of the late-night celebrations and traffic from the street below my apartment.
In fact, it’s already 2 am and instead of being fast asleep, as I would normally be back at home, I’m sitting in bed writing this article and trying to distract myself from the noisy revelry of this beautiful city.
Being mostly an introvert by nature, it’s difficult to also possess an insatiable need for travel and adventure. The two don’t seem to go together, but I am living proof that they do. I’m sure many of my fellow travel writers can relate to being an introvert. So what is a courageous introvert to do when they find themselves overwhelmed and exhausted by the energy of the place they’ve longed to visit and have finally arrived in?
Although both introverts and extroverts experience jet-lag and a period of transition between time-zones, cities and cultures, the way in which each personality type overcomes the stresses of travel are very different.
It’s important for introverts to have a good understanding of themselves and have a plan of self-care.
It’s important for introverts to have a good understanding of themselves and have a plan of self-care in place when they arrive at their travel destinations. In general, I’ve found that all the self-care in the world can’t overcome the extreme fatigue I feel when I spend more than a few days in the city, so I’ve learned to schedule my travels with a combination of apartments or hotels in the city and at a beach or in smaller towns.
Having a quiet, peaceful retreat to come home to after a long day of exploring and meeting new people is essential for relaxation and rejuvenation for all introverts. Scheduling time alone is also key, even when you are traveling with a friend or partner, as introverts gain clarity and peace from quiet introspection versus experiencing constant energy from those around them.
Having time blocked off in your travel schedule to spend on your own in a peaceful setting will allow you to fully recharge during your trip.
Solo travel is the fastest way I know to escape the overwhelming feeling of the noise and crowds in the busy city.
Finally, recognizing your needs and allowing yourself to truly meet your own needs is an important part of being at your best as an introvert, no matter where you’re traveling to or who you’re traveling with. Being mindful of when you are beginning to feel overwhelmed, and then recognizing it as a sign that you have a need, and then meeting that need is key to making sure you are truly taking care of yourself.
It’s not always easy to know that you have certain needs because you are an introvert, and it can be even more of a challenge to communicate these needs to your partner or travel friends. In the end it’s more than worth it to take some time to yourself to think, rest and rejuvenate – especially while you are traveling.
So, how am I surviving my Andalucían vacation? I’m clearly communicating my needs and wants to my travel buddy, and we’ve even come up with a plan to escape the city for a few days and explore the quieter mountain towns nearby. Making an appointment at the nearby Turkish baths was also important, in order to experience the quiet and calm, as well as pampering myself so that I am able to get over my jet-lag quicker.
I’ve also decided to head north to Scandinavia for the last few days of my trip on my own. Solo travel is the fastest way I know to escape the overwhelming feeling of the noise and crowds in the busy city. I’m heading off to a sleepy town outside of Bergen, Norway to unwind and find my introvert-paradise. Knowing that I get to end my vacation in a quiet and peaceful place makes the noise bearable for the next week, and allows me to quiet my overwhelmed nervous system.
A few more quick tips for introverted travelers:
- Look for places to stay that are peaceful and quiet at night so that you can get plenty of rest and truly replenish your energy.
- Noise-cancelling headphones are a must to drown out noise if you do get stuck in a noisy area. Downloading the Rhapsody app and creating an account on your iPhone also helps, so that you have a variety of music on hand to aide in relaxation. (Rhapsody works in most countries in Europe, whereas Pandora is not available outside the US).
- Bring a journal or laptop if you are an introverted traveler and like to write. Writing helps release anxious and fearful emotions that introverts feel when they become overwhelmed with outside stimuli.
- Choose apartments, villas or condos over hotels if you are traveling with a partner or friend. Most of these places have separate living rooms, bedrooms or areas where you can spend some time by yourself and have your own space.
- If possible, break up long travel days with time for rest and sleep. It’s sometimes better to travel over two shorter days than one long day. Scheduling this in as you are planning your trip will help you to avoid becoming overwhelmed and exhausted.
- Above all, remember that taking care of yourself and allowing yourself to spend some time resting and replenishing on your own will allow you to feel energetic and fulfilled while you are traveling, rather than tired and overwhelmed. Understanding what you need in order to feel like you are being your best self is the key to being a truly happy introverted traveler.