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5 Tips to Survive - Group Travel as an Introvert

I was in the military when I discovered self travel. Despite being surrounded by folks, I was often the only one who wanted to or could go to a place. Rather than wait around for someone to take me up on my offer, I'd grab my overnight bag, go to the train station and ask the person at the ticket counter to book me a ticket. This was Germany and 2003, I doubt things work like that now but it worked until I exhausted all the areas I could visit within 3 hours and on $50 euro.

I love taking the train in Europe.
EuroRail - 2012

That's when I began looking for other options that would allow me to travel further for a fraction of the cost of a solo person. That's when I discovered group travel. It was a blessing and not a blessing because I didn't know what I didn't know about myself at the time. I quickly realized that initially my travel was my answer to escaping all the people I dealt with on a daily basis. Travel grew to a lust for adventure so I had to adjust and quickly if my budding relationship was going to reach new levels. So here are my tried and true tips to surviving Group Travel (including the ones I now curate) as an Introverted Introvert.

  1. Go Small - My largest group trip consisted of approximately 65 wonderful people on a 14 day journey. I started selecting small groups of 4 or 5 to interact with each day. I could not handle more than that at a time. So I now limit my travel groups to no more than 26 at a time. Whether you're traveling with us, creating your own group trip, or with another company, if you THINK that by day 3 you're going to need pure silence, stick with smaller group numbers.

  2. Be Free - Each itinerary I create goes through 3 or 4 revisions because during the first run I cram it with activities (can you blame me? it's no longer inexpensive to travel) and then I reel it in to consider the need for downtime. Do vet your itineraries. Enthusiasm will make you want more but your Introvert Introverted self is going to need less. Choose itineraries that allow for a free day to explore on your own or have dinner or lunch on your own. My recommendation is 2 -4 hours of downtime for every 1 to 2 days of shared activity.

  3. Pack Essentials - I mean specifically your people buffers and your coping tools. The things that say, in the sweetest way, DO NOT DISTURB. For me, I pack my Significant other (he's fantastic at warning or diverting people from me when I have hit my limit.), a scarf or large hat, earbuds, and either a book or a tablet. Truth is, often times I'm not reading the book or looking at the tablet, nor is anything playing on the earbuds...I'm shameless.

Israel, scarfed up for alone time.

  1. Sleeping Quarters - Tell your girlfriends, your homies, and your children that NO you will not be sharing 1 room with more than 2 or sharing a bed with more than 1. My criteria for bed sharing is - either I birthed you or I'm sexing you. I know it's harder when it's your children, but it's your vacation also and you deserve to have moments of freedom. Folks who believe sharing a room is more economical, I suggest considering downgrading on the hotel star quality and opting for a suite or connecting rooms. Often times, there's very little noticeable difference between a 3* and a 4* hotel. Prioritize your needs, everyone will thank you.

  2. Say No Thank You - Yes, please gracefully decline those extra invites to dinner or to the club or to go shopping or even sharing a bus row seat. I'm not suggesting that you don't go out but I am suggesting you go on your own (or with your immediates), be in your own thoughts, and enjoy the space within you. People love introverts, you're mysterious even when you're not trying to be so there will be plenty of invites....extroverts won't understand but they will appreciate it if they ever encounter you at the wrong time. When hosting trips, I just let the folks know during downtime call me only if its truly an emergency.

Recharging is essential for Introverted Introverts, do not deny yourself this joy and requirement. Please like and subscribe!

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