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Introvert Travel: How to Reduce Anxiety and Preserve Your Energy

How to Travel as an Introvert and Still Visit Extroverted Places

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When the term “introvert travel” is uttered, many will tend to envision a socially anxious person whose only comforts lie in their hotel room. They’re afraid of speaking to strangers, have trouble hanging in groups, and are afraid of the world. Well, the truth of the matter is that introvert travelers are not necessarily socially anxious. They also love attending festivals, going on epic solo travel trips, and visiting the most condensed cities in the world. The main difference is what how introverts get energy.

Extroverts thrive on attention, interaction, new experiences, and noisy environments. They sound like the ultimate spring breakers, right? Introverts thrive in quieter environments either alone or with their close friends and traveling with basic plans in mind. But introverts can’t always, and don’t always want to, choose to visit the quieter destinations. Introverts also want to explore louder cities; but if they don’t take into account their energy levels, they might find themselves exhausted by mid-day. Here’s how to travel as an introvert without depleting your energy or giving up on your plans to explore the world.

Mural and city skyline at 13th and Locust Street in Center City downtown Philadelphia
A mural and city skyline at 13th and Locust Street in Center City, Philadelphia

Book Your Travel Arrangements in Advance to Avoid Anxiety and Reduce Decision Fatigue

Research and determine when your desired flight is typically the least busy. If driving, when is the road the safest and least congested? Are there multiple trains, buses, or flights per day along your route? If so, which one has the most available seats and is the least frequented? Don’t just go by the least expensive price. Instead, go with the one with the greatest value to you. It could mean fewer people overwhelming you, less noise and stress along the way, or a shorter commute.

four happy people on a plane

Meal Prep and Make Restaurant Reservations

If you have a long trip ahead of you, bring multiple meals with you so you don’t have to worry about where you might have to stop or if they have any options for you. For instance, when we’re on the road and have to drive through rural spaces, we often have to buy a few meals in advance in the city of our origin or meal prep at least a day’s worth of food. This also works for a long day of hiking. Don’t depend on a cafe or restaurant being nearby. Bring your own vegan energy bars, wraps, or at least do your research ahead of time to know what will be available for you after a long hike when you most need to refuel.

If you are already at your destination⁠—whether it be a national park, a world-class city, a country getaway, or a theme park⁠—knowing where you’re going to eat saves you a lot of time and energy. If possible, make reservations so you can avoid a long wait. If reservations aren’t possible, try to plan a meal time during the off-peak hours to avoid long lines or big crowds to lessen the noise. If knowing the time of your meal is not possible, knowing at least where you’ll be eating can save you the decision fatigue of choosing a restaurant or having nowhere to go with options for your diet choice or budget.

vegan thai chili burger at The Buckingham
The Buckingham in Edmonton, Alberta

Book a Lodging Where You Can Rest and Recharge

While price and proximity to places of interest are surely important, staying in a hotel that overlooks Time Square, neighbors a popular nightclub, or sits along a busy street will drain your energy. These locations draw lots of foot traffic, music, and lights, and many hotel rooms can’t dampen all of them enough to get a good night’s sleep. Instead, choose a neighborhood that sits in a quieter location in order to recharge your batteries after a long day of traveling. 

Additionally, keep in mind which kind of lodging makes you feel most comfortable. Is it a private room? Does it have a dedicated place to read or write? Is there room to lay out a mat to meditate or do morning stretches? Does it have enough space to store your belongings? Curating your space to your level of comfort is key to recharging your energy during your travels.

introvert travel, woman sitting next to her hotel tub

Bring Comforting Items to Calm Your Nerves

Each of us knows that bringing our favorite pillows, blankets, and clothing accessories puts us in good spirits in new places; yet, be sure to also consider other things that will keep you feeling centered. Do you like to read before heading to bed? Bring along your favorite book or Kindle. Do you need to listen to your favorite calming music while meditating? Don’t forget to download any apps and music before you leave town. Do you like to write down all of your thoughts during a trip? Try bringing along a physical travel journal instead of just using your notes app on your phone. You will love looking back at all of it after your trip and it makes a great souvenir.

One of the most important items to always have on hand is noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs in order to block out excessive noise or distractions. These can be a lifesaver if you happen to have a loud neighbor or are staying in an older home with bad sound insulation.

travel journal and a camera

Arrange Your Schedule Around Your Energy

As you plan your activities, look for activities that inspire introspective thoughts⁠—like museums, cathedrals, and libraries⁠—that are also famously quieter venues. Make sure to interweave these quieter to-dos in between your louder to-dos in order not to exhaust yourself by mid-morning. It’s also important to plan times to rest as some of the quietest places can still be crowded with tourists and locals. Look for cafes, book stores, or parks in order to plan time to recharge in between activities. If you don’t allow yourself time to collect yourself, then you won’t have the emotional energy to enjoy the more eventful parts of your trip. In short, plan your itinerary around the flows of your energy, and not just according to prices and locations.

Benjamin Hagerty of It's Bree and Ben reading a book at Capitol Hill Books
Capitol Hill Books in Washington, D.C.

The Upsides of Introvert Travel

Thanks to sitcoms and books like “Eat, Pray, Love,” many travelers see making plans and itineraries for a trip as a detriment to the romantic notion of travel. They see such plans as restraining them from unpredictable opportunities to explore and learn in any given destination. Despite that prevalent belief, planning an itinerary allows introverts to enjoy more without depleting their energy or giving up on their dreams. It’s one of the most effective means to ward off anxiety while on a trip⁠—and it frees up your time and ability to do more while doing so.

Introvert travel doesn’t mean you’re stuck to traveling during the off-seasons or you have to avoid the best New Year’s parties. (Although as an introvert, you might prefer that!) Understanding what gives you energy and what takes it away is essential because it allows you to see, do, and eat more of what you enjoy. The more you know about what makes you tick, and what ticks you off, the more you’ll be able to create the trip of your dreams, and do it on your own terms.

airbnb hosts and guests
Bree and Ben with both extroverted and introverted travelers in Edmonton, Alberta

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2 Comments
  1. Candace Bender says

    So true, planning ahead of time is key!:):)

    1. Brianne Nemiroff says

      It’s a game changer. Using guides and knowing what to expect reduces anxiety tenfold!

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