If you think that group travel isn’t for the quiet, reflective type, think again
The idea of group travel can be intimidating to introverts, who, as inward-looking and reflective people, often feel overwhelmed by spending too much time with others.
As natural listeners, introverts prefer to think before they speak and can find talking in front – even just a couple – of people alarming. But introverts are often rather misunderstood-even by themselves. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re anti-social, shy or awkward. In fact, many introverts have great social skills and can be outwardly outgoing.
The one defining trait of introverts is a need to take time away from the madding crowd to reboot. And, contrary to what you might think, they can enjoy a group holiday. In fact, an introvert can thrive within small group adventures surrounded by people on the same wavelength.
With a bit of careful planning, a group holiday could be the best adventure an introvert ever had. Here are some travel tips to help make your travel experiences just so.
It’s tempting to try and shed your introversion and head into a group situation with a mask of faux extroversion. Don’t.
Pretending to be someone you’re not will cost you a great deal of energy and ultimately hinder your enjoyment of the trip. Plus, force jollity and sociability is pretty easy to spot, and your fellow travellers are likely to see right through your extrovert facade.
So don’t belly flop your way into a group, go in slowly at your own pace and you’ll find yourself slotting in where you feel most comfortable, once personalities and dynamics have settled down.
You can be yourself yet still push yourself out of your introverted comfort zone, particularly in the first few days. Make an effort to stay out, socialise and actively engage with your fellow travellers on the first night when you’re all getting to know each other. Lots of introverts hate the idea of small talk, but it’s a necessary building block to more authentic relationships (perhaps even making close friends) that you will no doubt make by the end of your adventure.
Asking questions helps deflect attention from yourself if you’re uncomfortable in the spotlight, while also laying the foundations for deeper relationships over time.
That said, don’t allow the conversation to be too one-sided – bombarding someone with questions could start to feel like an interrogation! Listen carefully-as many introverts naturally do-and pepper your responses with tidbits about yourself. Use your new found knowledge to ask questions relevant to the conversation if you start to feel anxious about the shift in focus.
Carve out time for yourself
Once you’ve established yourself in a group, if you feel you need to take some time out, take it! Read a book, write your journal, take a moment to soak up a spectacular view or get up an hour earlier than everyone else to sip your coffee in quiet contemplation.
Play to your strengths
As the great champion of introverts, Susan Cain, says in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, “Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.” In fact, introverts are integral to a group’s dynamic, frequently becoming a sort of ‘social-glue’ that bonds the different personality threads together.
Introverts tend to be fascinated by other people and love learning what makes them tick, and people are often attracted to introverts’ excellent listening skills and strong inner contentment. So harness your strengths (staying true to your temperament is key to finding your place within a group) by showing a true interest in people in your group, you will invite further discussion which will help you feel more at ease with your fellow travellers, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to enjoy their company.
You won’t be the only one
There is a tendency among introverts to think we’re a rare and wonderful species. While we are undoubtedly wonderful, there are far more of us than we like to think: introverts are everywhere (some have even managed to sneak into the upper echelons of companies and governments).
Being naturally curious about the world around them and fascinated by other people and places, introverts love to travel. So in a small curated trip, where an introverted personality can not only slot in but actually thrive, you’re unlikely to be alone in your introversion.
Small travel groups create a well-balanced dynamic where introverts and extroverts can embrace each other’s strengths and learn from each other, so go in knowing you’ll absolutely find people with similar interests who see the world as you do.
Pick the right trip for you
Introverts may love to retreat from the world with a book, but many are natural explorers who are up for a challenge and unafraid to push themselves out of their comfort zone, as long as they know that the ‘me time’ comfort blanket isn’t too far away. While it’s tempting to assume more sedate trips would suit an introvert, adventure-packed holidays could suit a thrill-seeking introvert better.
Seeking out an activity-based adventure allows you to mix without the pressure of socialising in a more constricted environment. It’s hard to be inward-looking when you’re abseiling down Table Mountain in Cape Town, or canyoning down ravines in Jordan. Alternatively, seek out a specialist trip where you know you’ll have common ground, such as a foodie holiday in Mexico or a surfing and yoga break in Morocco (surely a trip tailor-made for your average introvert).
Embrace the extroverts
Far from being the dominating, loud mouths of introverts’ nightmares, extroverts can bring out the best in introverts and a group generally. They bring the fun, are easy-to-know and often great at organising activities that help the group gel. Their personality type also gives introverts a platform to bounce off-allowing them personality purchase, if you like-in a way that two introverts together can sometimes find hard to find. Introversion and extroversion can be the perfect blend.
Don’t allow yourself to be trapped in an introverted box. Go with an open mind, armed with the knowledge you’re an interesting, fun person who is an asset to any group.
Three perfectly balanced trips
Feed your soul in Morocco
A perfect mix of exhilaration and escapism, this magical Moroccan trip sees you exploring the Atlas mountains, sleeping out under the stars in the desert and taking in the foodie delights of Marrakech, before rebooting with three days of surfing and yoga.
Tick off those bucket-list moments
Bring out your inner Indiana Jones with this eight-day action-packed adventure in Jordan. From canyoning to sunset camel rides in the majestic Wadi Rum, this trip is guaranteed to recharge and reset.
Get a taste for Mexico
Taking you off the well-worn Mexican tourist trail, this nine-day trip explores some of the country’s most impressive ancient sites while also giving you a literal taste of the country’s finest tequila and street food.