Even for those introverts who love to travel, it can be physically and mentally exhausting, whether traveling alone or with others. Here are five creative ways that introverts can recharge when traveling.
When flying: Let’s talk about airports and airplanes. In general, introverts like quiet places. A lot of noise and crowds of people rushing around can be stressful and exhausting because of all of the stimulation.
Airport Lounges: Several years ago my husband visited an airport lounge, and then sold me on the idea. At first I thought it was a perk that I did not need, but once I experienced them, I love them! In fact, I like to get to airports early just to be able to go into these lounges! Are they crowded? Well, yes and no. Depending on the time of day and the airport they can be, but they are quiet. And you can almost always find a place to sit that is away from others—a true introvert’s dream. You can get access to these lounges if you are a frequent flier on certain airlines; however, you can also get access through certain credit cards. Even if you pay extra to get access, consider the cost of food and beverages you would purchase at an airport, and the cost offsets that since food and beverages are provided at no charge.
Flying First Class Or Business Class: Speaking of perks, don’t shut me out on this one because you believe this one is over-the-top expensive! Flying first class can be super expensive, but sometimes when you are looking at an upgrade and on certain flights it is more reasonably priced and can be worth it on longer flights. And when you can, use your frequent flier miles to enjoy this perk.
Due to limited international flights, Delta Airlines is using their wide-body jets on some domestic travel, and their business class named Delta One is an over-the-top experience for an introvert or anyone who wants luxury and solitude. This article is not sponsored by Delta Airlines–I am posting photos of what these suites look like. Notice the privacy you get–you cannot even see other passengers. And you have the option to recline completely! The newer ones even have Do Not Disturb buttons!
When Driving: How in the world does an introvert get solitude when traveling by car with someone else other than a close family member or friend who “gets” your need for solitude? Think about it–if you are in a car for several hours, most people are going to feel a need to talk to fill any silence, and unless it is someone you are extremely close to, as an introvert that can feel stressful. If you are not the rider and not the driver, tell the other person in the car that you’re going to put your earbuds in, as there is an audio book, conference call, or podcast you need to catch up on. If you’re the driver, suggest that you both listen to an audiobook or podcast. People will be less likely to interrupt you if they know you are listening to something other than music. Or you can always let them know you are going to take a short nap. Just make sure and let the person know what you are going to do in advance so they don’t wonder why you all of sudden are not a captive audience or conversation partner.
Set expectations about time spent together: Even when traveling with people they like, many introverts will continue to need their time alone to recharge. The best thing you can do as an introvert is to set the expectations before the trip so that your traveling companions don’t think something is wrong when you disappear or decline their invitations to meet up during the trip. In the past, I have announced to friends prior to trips, “I see us doing our own thing during the day and meeting up for dinner.” When this is expressed before the trip, it prevents misunderstandings and disappointments during the trip. Let me share what happened recently. My husband and I are meeting our friends for a weekend getaway in Kentucky in a few weeks, and these friends love to plan back-to-back experiences. When they shared with me the agenda for all they had planned for the four of us, I felt myself getting anxious. I love my time with them, but it was too many hours of togetherness. So I told them I wanted to sit out of one of the activities they have planned– I just said, “I need some alone time to recharge.” And they know I’m introverted, so they totally understood. My husband will happily join them, and I will happily enjoy a cup of coffee with my journal or will take a walk by myself.
At hotels, always request an early check in and a late check-out: Let’s say you’re going to a conference or you have a meeting, and it is in the hotel or near the hotel where you are staying. Your hotel room is your ultimate escape, so you want to keep this room for as long as possible. I always request an early check-in and a late check-out. Most of the time you will not be guaranteed early check-in’s or check-outs until the same day, but you can usually get them. This way, whenever there is a break, while everyone is standing around talking to each other, you can escape to your room to recharge when you need to.
It is all about getting space to get some solitude–ideally physical AND mental space, but at the very least, mental space when you can’t escape physically. And if you are not introverted but frequently travel with introverts, let this article start the conversation of other ways they may want solitude.