Travelling with Others as an Introvert: Tips to Make it Work

This photo, “IMG_4674 - Gimmelwald - Mountain Hostel,” is copyright (c) 2007 thisisbossi and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike license.
This photo, “IMG_4674 – Gimmelwald – Mountain Hostel,” is copyright (c) 2007 thisisbossi and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Whether you have already bought your tickets or are only considering going travelling in the coming months, it’s smart to think about who you will or might travel with. Travelling with others has the potential to strengthen your relationships… or to make you wish you’d listened to your parents when they told you to never leave the country.

The best parts of travelling with others are, arguably, that you’ll get to see amazing things with them and you’ll have someone to lean on when travelling mishaps happen. But regardless, a point may come when you wish this boat ride across the Pacific would finish. (Okay, maybe “boat ride” wasn’t the type of travel you were picturing.) This doesn’t mean you should automatically think you should have travelled alone (though that is an option I’ll write on next week!). You just have to consider a few things.

Like the fact that they might never leave you alone. Mostly because they have nowhere else to go, but still. How do you tell your travel partner to buzz off? Especially if they’ve made plans for your trip that cover every hour of the day and a lot of the night too (clubbing until 4 a.m.? Every night?!)—they obviously want to spend time with you. The last thing you want is to seem rude or ungrateful.

Moreover, what if you want to see different things than they do? What if one of you is spontaneous and the other more cautious? You can do a few things to plan for these potential problems.

#1: Talk to your travel partner beforehand about your expectations. Example: “After a long day out, I’ll probably want to spend the rest of the evening resting so I’ll feel relaxed for the next day. So if you want us to do something at night, could we plan ahead?” You may think that your travel partner knows you well enough that you don’t have to mention anything explicitly, but people are different when they travel—like, your partner might act a lot more outgoing and expect that of you too. I’m the type that will wake up for free breakfast at 10 am and then sightsee until 10 pm, for example… which is not exactly how I live out my everyday life! So it’s worth it to check. Also if you have sights that you absolutely must see, let them know! Don’t end up disappointed.

#2: Don’t assume that you have to do everything together. Togetherness is great for bonding, but separation is beneficial too. So if you do want to see something that your partner doesn’t care about (or vice versa), let them know that you truly don’t need them there with you. Now, you may be thinking that you wouldn’t want to do anything by yourself and you’d rather drag them with you. To that I’ll say, first, read my blog on solo travel next week (!), and second, consider that your partner is spending just as much time and money on this trip as you are. If you really do need their support, so be it, but allow them and yourself the option of separating. The separation could be used as a much-needed means of recharging…

#3: Create a bubble. Speaking of recharging, give yourself enough relaxing alone time. If being alone while out in an unknown city is stressful, plan to have time alone in your hostel/hotel. Make excuses to keep this alone time—like by keeping a journal that you absolutely have to write in every night, for an hour, without any distractions, thanks. Hissing like a cat if you’re disturbed is optional (and hilarious).

Ultimately, communication is key. And if the thought of travelling with others frightens you now (an introvert problem, eh?), check out my post next week on solo travel. Of course, share your own tips/concerns in the comments here!

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