If you’re shy and take time to mingle, you know that your travel style is different than some of your more extroverted, outgoing friends. Going solo is actually a fantastic idea if you’re an introvert–you can choose who you want to talk to, whether you want to join a group or be by yourself and find ways to fit in plenty of quality time reserved for yourself on the trip! Below are a few handy tips to help you along the way.
Choose your accommodation wisely
If you find it difficult to meet people and are worried about that while you’re traveling, a great tip is to find a good hostel or an Airbnb with a shared space. For example, you can get your own private room in someone’s home or even rent a couch via CouchSurfing (if you’re feeling particularly adventurous and hit it off with your host). The key is to keep your safety and comfort in mind and find a place that is likely to have like-minded travelers. Even a hotel that’s popular for hosting solo travelers is a good place to start if you’re nervous about choosing a hostel – you’ll get your privacy but will also get a chance to strike up a conversation with someone interesting in the hotel bar or cafe. A win-win situation, right?
You’ll need to ensure you leave the safety and comfort of your cozy room behind in order to make some priceless memories. Look up events in the city (such as a stand-up comedy show or a poetry reading or even a bar crawl), and show up! Trying something new will help you feel extremely confident about your travel plans and prepare you for whatever comes next. You can even get a new friend from your hotel/hostel to accompany you to an interesting event or a trek. You’ll also be able to save on transport/package expenses by splitting the costs. And walking tours are amazing in more ways than one–you get to meet new people and really get to know an unfamiliar place and the plethora of sights, smells and sounds that make it special.
Sign up for a class
This can be anything –a cooking class, taekwondo, pottery, a writing workshop, an introduction to Spanish–so get wild and use your imagination to find something that fits the bill. It’s useful to keep an eye out on local sites for offers and options. Airbnb normally has a list of activities worth checking out in major cities across the globe. You’ll learn something new and get to have interesting conversations with other travelers. Who knows? You may even get along like a house on fire and become travel companions for a bit!
Look for the right places
You’ll definitely need time to unwind, relax and read away from the hustle and bustle of your journey. Do schedule pit stops at dreamy cafes and a cozy location or two to spend some much-needed quality time with yourself and your thoughts. Refer to travel guides or ask travel bloggers for advice if you’re not too sure about where you should go. Whether you prefer strolling on the beach or climbing a mountain and finding a spot for yourself to take in the view for as long as you can, make a plan. This will keep you sane on the road as you tackle challenges and roadblocks.
Remember that you’ve got a clean slate
You’re going to meet strangers, people who don’t have any knowledge of your past, your characteristics, your fears, your hopes and dreams and even your shyness! You can pretend to be really outgoing if you want to and talk to a stranger in a lovely little cafe over coffee, or you can dance in a club like no one’s watching and have no regrets. You don’t have to please anyone and can do exactly as you please on this trip. Trust yourself and trust the process–you’ll be absolutely fine.
Don’t force yourself to have a conversation in a busy restaurant if you don’t want to. Customize your trip, and change your plans as often as you like. There’s no rush, so you don’t need into make friends quickly. Take as long as you want. You’ll figure out that there are plenty of solo (and shy!) travelers like you, and it’s completely acceptable to ease into the whole thing instead of rushing through it all. Be kind to yourself, and follow your instinct. Don’t forget to be who you are, so take along your favorite book, your best playlists and earphones. It’s extremely liberating to listen to your favorite songs or read a great story in a new place at your own pace!