If you’re an introvert, the idea of spending a couple weeks traveling with a group of strangers might fill you with at least a small amount of dread. It’s not that you don’t like meeting new people, you just know it can take a lot of energy which, of course, you don’t want to waste when you’re traveling! Here are my six tips for getting the most out of group travel—and why, as an introvert, it might actually be the best way to explore the world.
1. Figure out what helps you recharge
For me, it’s reading, so I always make sure to have a few books with me when I travel. Whether it’s adding songs to your favorite playlists, packing a collection of crossword puzzles or doing a bit of yoga in your hotel room, having a routine to center yourself at the end of a busy day can really refresh you and prepare you for the next one.
2. Seek out cultural immersion
There are plenty of ways to learn more about the local culture and, with a little creativity, you can really lose yourself in a place without too much effort. Try exploring a museum or wandering around the shops. Being a part of an audience is also a great way to meet new people without getting too overwhelmed, so why not try attending a concert, play or sporting event?
3. Take advantage of your free time
Most Go Ahead tours have a good balance of time with the group and time on your own. When you have a free day, use it to go exploring or grab a bite somewhere off-the-beaten-path. Breaking away from the crowds and “must-see” sights for even a little while can help you restore your energy levels—and you never know when you’ll find an unexpected gem along the way.
4. Get to know your fellow travelers in smaller groups
When you have free time for lunch or dinner, see if a few other members of your group want to eat together. A smaller group might feel more comfortable, and you’ll get to know your fellow travelers better when there aren’t as many people around. By the end of your tour, it’ll be hard to believe that they were strangers only weeks earlier!
5. Consider traveling in the off-season
If you’re able, think about traveling in the winter or early spring. Popular sites will be significantly less crowded than in the summer months, giving you more time to linger and appreciate your surroundings. My past two tours have both been in March, which afforded some valuable extra breathing room to experience everything without feeling exhausted.
6. Don’t sweat the logistics
If you’re traveling on your own, all the logistics fall on you: checking into hotels, arranging transportation and figuring out where and when to see the sights. But with your Tour Director, bus driver and local guides as the experts leading the way, you can conserve your energy and spend it talking with the locals, meeting new people and taking in the culture. Being an introvert doesn’t mean missing out; it’s all about how you interact with the world. With the practicalities taken care of, you can focus on making your connections, your way.