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The Introverts Travel Survival Guide

10 Easy Ways for Introverts to Recharge on the Road

Podcast Episode # 21

 by Brad Kammlah

In this Episode, You'll Learn:

  • How to tell if you’re an introvert
  • Challenges introverts face while traveling
  • Why introverts are amazing
  • How to build your energy during your trip
  • 10 ways to recharge on the road

Travel Stresses Us Out Differently

Travel can be stressful for all of us. If your flight is delayed or you're stuck in traffic it will likely stress anybody out.

But some things that stress us out differently depending on our personality type. While extroverts are more likely to experience travel stress when they aren't able to connect with family and friends on the road, introverts can experience and overwhelming amount of stress from the crowds and constant noise in busy airport terminals, hotel lobbies and subway stations.

By recognizing if you're more of an introvert or extrovert, then you can implement some strategies unique to you that can go a long way to make your trips better.

In this episode, we're going to cover the characteristics of introverts and strategies that can help them recharge while traveling and in next week's episode, we'll cover extroverts and specific strategies they can use to connect on the road.

Are You an Introvert or Extrovert?

The easiest way to determine whether you're an introvert or extrovert is how you recharge. Introverts recharge by being alone whereas extroverts recharge by being around other people. It's really more about how you get more energy not whether you're shy or social. It's also helpful to think about these personality types more as a spectrum than a definitive one or the other. No one is entirely introverted or entirely extroverted. We all have some elements of both, but most of us fall a little more towards one or the other.

It doesn't really matter whether you're an introvert or extrovert, they are both great. What does matter is what you do with that information to build in better strategies for you to recharge so that not only are your trips better but your life is better as well.

Introvert Characteristics

  • They take pleasure in solitary activities (reading, writing, working alone).
  • Their energy expands through self reflection.
  • They get overwhelmed my too much stimulation from social gatherings.

Still not sure if you're an introvert? Here's a great video where stand up comic Mark Normand talking about what it's like to be an introvert.

Introvert Slogan:

Or does this Introvert Unite T-shirt resonate with you? This should be the new universal Introvert Slogan… “Introverts Unite! Occasionally in small groups for very limited periods of time.”

Introvert Theme Song:

Or do the lyrics of this song, Leave Me Alone by Calypso Rose resonate with you at all?

“Leave me alone. I'm Going Home.”

Introverts are Awesome!

If any of these things seem to resonate with you then congratulations, you are an introvert! And I want to tell you that introverts are incredible.

Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there that introverts are nerdy or antisocial but introverts are responsible for some huge contributions to society. Just check out this Ted Talk: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain where she talks about all the wonderful things about being an introvert.

The Problem For Introverted Travelers

Travel can be particularly hard on introverts. Since introverts recharge by being alone it can be difficult to find some alone time when you travel. As soon as you walk out your front door, people are around. When you get to the airport, there are people everywhere. On the plane,  you're tightly squeezed between people. And if you're traveling for work then you're likely in meetings and then having dinner with even more people and on and on.

And while this may sound amazing to extroverts, this can really drain introverts and leave them feeling exhausted. If introverts don't find a way to recharge regularly while traveling, then when you finally get home it's not unusual to want to curl up in a ball in a dark room by yourself for a while.

This may be a good time to mention that I am actually an introvert and this is often a surprise to most people that meet me. I love people, I love teaching, podcasting and public speaking, but these activities do tire me out and I have to have some alone time to recharge. In fact I used to come home from trips, completely burnt out and couldn't figure out why I was so tired. It wasn't until I started implementing some of these strategies to recharge on the road that I was able to return home more refreshed than when I left.

10 Easy Ways for Introverts to Recharge on the Road

1. Recharge During Your Trip

The first strategy is to recharge throughout your trip instead of waiting till you get home. I used to go-go-go on my business trips, being completely extroverted all the time and by the time I got home I was exhausted. A much better approach is to continuously find time throughout your trip to be introverted and recharge so you feel better and have more energy.

2. Find a Quiet Gate at the Airport

Airports can be overwhelming for anybody, but they can be particularly stressful for introverts. So instead of waiting for your flight at your gate with the hundreds of other people, why not walk down a few gates to one that's empty? This way you can have a little more space to recharge before before boarding your flight.

3. Pick a Window Seat

Window seats are perfect for introverts because there's only one person next to you, while middle and aisle seats have people on either side. Even this small change can help make your flight a little less tiring if you're an introvert.

4. Use the Airplane Do Not Disturb Sign – Wear Your Earbuds

Back in episode 19 about Flight Focus, we talked about strategies that can help you be as productive as possible when you fly. And one of the strategies we talked about was using the “Airplane Do Not Disturb Sign” which is simply wearing your headphones so that people won't interrupt you while you're working. But for introverts wearing headphones helps to minimize the small talk with your neighbors that might drain you on an already long trip.

5. Rent a Car

While I often like the ease and convenience of taking public transportation, it can be an additional drain for introverts. One strategy that can help is to rent a car. This allows you some alone time driving to and from the office and the airport giving you a chance to reflect and recharge.

6. Book a Different Hotel than your Colleagues

One challenge of business travel is the extremely long days with colleagues. And while extroverts can love this overtime interaction, introverts can find it tiring. And since business travelers often go from the office to a team dinner to drinks back at the hotel, it can be hard for introverts to get any of that alone time.

So instead of staying at the same hotel as the rest of your colleagues, why not stay in a hotel across the street? Not only does this give you an excuse to peel away after dinner since you're headed to your own hotel but those short walks by yourself can be another way for you to recharge at the end of an extroverted day.

7. Eat Alone

Business trips often involve eating together and while this can be great to build stronger team relationships, it can sometimes be too much time together for introverts. So one tip here is that if you know you're meeting colleagues later for dinner, then see if you can find a way to eat your lunch alone. A small break in the middle of the day can go a long way for introverts to fill back up and power through an extroverted afternoon.

8. Eat in a Booth

And if you are eating alone, another strategy to make restaurants less overwhelming is to eat in a booth. Instead of a table out in the middle of everything, a booth can offer some privacy and a little less noise which can be very nice for introverts.

9. Take a 5 Minute Recharge Break

Most cellphones now have a quick charge feature that when your battery is low, if you plug it in, it will recharge very quickly in just a few minutes.

Introverts can use this same strategy by taking a few short 5 minute alone breaks to take a walk or be by yourself. Doing just a few of these can leave you much more energized at the end of the day than if you just powered through.

10. Plan Your Favorite Introverted Activities

The last tip is to make sure to build in some dedicated introverted activities during your trip. When I travel I like to stop at Barnes and Noble just to browse some books for a while. It's a great, quiet space to walk around and get back in my head before meeting up with clients and colleagues.

So if you're an introvert, pick a few activities that you enjoy doing and be sure to plan them into your trip. This is particularly important if you are going to a conference or networking event since these are almost entirely extroverted.

Go Ahead Recharge!

So if you're an introvert, try using some of these strategies on your next trip. Experiment and come up with some of your own strategies as well to find out what techniques work best for you.

Whether you're an introvert or extrovert, embrace your personality type and give yourself whatever it is you need when traveling to help make your trip even better!

Now that you know all about introverts, check out Episode 22: Extroverts Travel Survival Guide so that you can get up to speed on their personality type and how to connect on the road.

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