Are you a INFP or a INTJ personality type? Or perhaps more a ISFP? Or a ISTJ?
Not a clue what I’m talking about?
Then it’s time to take the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test and find out, because your personality strongly affects the way you experience the world around you. Something you definitely want to be prepared for before going on your next adventure.
I don’t know about you, but I personally LOVE taking personality tests. And boy, have I taken many of them! But none of them have proved to be so accurate for me than the Myers–Briggs test.
This test was designed by two clever ladies named Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers (her daughter). It is based on the theory by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung that there are four principal psychological functions by which humans experience the world: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking – and that one of these four functions is dominant for a person most of the time, as well as his conclusion that people show either introvert or extrovert behaviour.
The MBTI test goes a bit further into Jung’s theory by classifying people into 16 psychological types, each consisting of four letters. Each letter refers to a type preference: Extroversion, Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging, iNtuitive, Feeling and Perceiving.When you know your four-letter ‘code’, you can read more about the characteristics of this personality type and even learn why you sometimes act the way you do, or even which jobs and partner types are most suited for you!
You can find a link to the test at the bottom of this article.
What it Means to have an Introvert Personality
The Myers-Briggs Foundation website describes Extroversion (E) as gaining energy from active involvement, socializing, and action, and Introversion (I) as acquiring energy from handling complex ideas and abstract values either alone or in small groups.
From my test results, it became pretty clear that I am a total INFP, a total introvert personality. To be precise, I’m the following: Introvert (85%), iNtuitive (80%), Feeling (70%), Perceiving (59%) + Turbulent (69%).
This means that (according to this test, but I 100% agree) I am a true idealist, always searching for ways to make things better and to understand myself and my place in the world better. I have a strong language ability and like to focus on intellectual work around topics such as humanities and social science, spirit and soul, inspirational activities and creativity. I am driven more by personal values and service than by money or status and I want to engage with projects that feel important to me and on which I can work on my own. I hate routine, dealing with details and can often show a bit of absent- mindedness and other-worldliness, but my strong people awareness provides a balancing, mitigating effect.
That sure is 100% me!
I must say, that before this test and reading about extroversion and introversion on the Internet, I never really knew just how introverted I was. Apparently, “we” make up about a third of the population, so chances are that you recognize yourself in this article in one way or another.
But what is an introvert exactly?
Hiking in Nepal: the perfect activity for Introverts!
Being an Introvert: Not ‘One Size Fits All’
In short, introversion is all about introspection: internal experiences, intellectual interest, observation and reflection.
It’s also all about getting energy from yourself, rather than from other people.
Jonathan Cheek, a psychologist at Wellesley College who’s spent years researching personality, found that being shy, being sociable, and being introspective however, are all independent things. He and his team came up with a model with four different meanings of introversion: STAR, which stands for Social, Thinking, Anxious, and Restrained.
The Social Introvert
These type of introverts are not experiencing any anxiety when it comes to socializing with other people, they just genuinely prefer to be alone from time to time. Interactions with large groups of people tends to exhaust them, so they need their alone time to recharge their energy levels.
The Thinking Introvert
These people are generally introspective and thoughtful and spend a lot of time inside their own heads. They focus their energy inwards and therefore have a rich inner life. They don’t necessarily have the same aversion to social events that most other introverts do and will often not even score as introverts on a personality test.
The Anxious Introvert
While most introverts are not necessarily shy, this type of people definitely are. They feel self-conscious around strangers and get nervous in unfamiliar situations. They need to retreat to the safety of their own company after a while, to recharge, even if they are high in need for social interaction. Another common factor is that these type of people can still feel anxious even when they are alone. They will think back about situations they have been in a lot and worry about things that might (or have) go(ne) wrong.
The Restrained Introvert
These type of introverts prefer to think before they speak and make plans rather than be spontaneous. For example, they struggle to get going in the morning and hate it when someone invites them to do something last-minute. These people are often reserved and hard to get to know.
I think that I am a bit of a mix between a social and thinking introvert. People that have met me probably don’t realize that I’m an introvert, especially when I’m speaking and networking at blogger events. However, I need to be alone A LOT of the time.
I can easily spend the whole week working on my own at home, but I also have no problems with going out every now and then and meet up with like-minded people (that is important though, I’m not good with small talk) for a chat and a few drinks. After this, I am exhausted though and need to recharge for sure!
I also recognize bits from the restrained introvert, because I HATE last-minute changes to my plans. No surprise parties for me -ever! Please!
On top of having an introvert personality, I’m also born under the star sign of cancer, meaning I’m a total home-body and can easily spend a week (*cough* month) inside with the curtains closed, speaking to no-one curled up like a ball with a cup of tea and a good book. And… be perfectly happy about that, so don’t worry about me :)
I do think that the blogger social events, exploring London with Nick and travelling around the world help me to become not too much of a hermit, which is always a bit of a danger with introverts.
Source: Grant Snider
How to Travel as an Introvert
Ok, enough facts (although as an INFP I love facts, haha), let’s get into some practical tips for travelling as an introvert. Because while travelling is one of those activities where you actually have to leave the house and the chance you’ll talk to other people is pretty high, I have found that there are many ways to see the world and still get plenty of ‘me-time’ in which to recharge.
Here are my best tips for you fellow introverts, so that you can also keep exploring the world without feeling drained of energy all the time. Let’s do it:
1. PICK YOUR DESTINATION WITH CARE
For every type of travel personality, there is a place in the world perfect for you! The power of place can be really quite strong when it comes to this. Being an introvert, you might have a better time in nature, than in a bustling city with hundreds of people and pack metros, for example.
To name a popular travel destination: the East Coast of Australia is well-known for partying backpackers, while the West Coast attracts people looking for a long road trip. In the North and Center of the country, you can learn more about the Aboriginal history and in the South there are more cities and wineries, if you’re into that. Do some research on the country you’re looking to visit and see if there is a specific part of the country that fits with your preferred travel style.
Avoid party-places if you’re not keen on going out at night. Go off the beaten path if you want to disconnect from social media and find people to have a more in-depth conversation with. See if there is a place where you can do a business course or workshop before or after your trip. Find something in a place that draws you in on a deeper level than just the sights you are keen to tick of your bucket list.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia (with a bit of food poisoning, as you do)
2. RECHARGE. RECHARGE. RECHARGE.
This first tip for me personally is absolutely ESSENTIAL. If I don’t built in some recharge time each day without people around me, I go nuts, trust me!
My moment for this is usually at the end of the day, right after being done with sightseeing and before I go out for dinner with possible travel companions. I either edit photos, write in my journal, have some tea, take a shower or just lie on bed for a little while, listening to music.
Preferably, I’d like to take some down time for about an hour, but when I don’t have that even just 20 minutes can make all the difference. I just need to stop and breathe for a bit, no matter what. After that, I am usually recharged enough… so I can keep going all night if I have to!
Journalling in New Zealand
3. COMMUNICATE WITH TRAVEL COMPANIONS
If you’re choosing to travel with either a partner, family member(s) or friend, make sure to communicate clearly that you need a moment for yourself every now and then. It’s for their benefit too, really! If they are also introverted, they will probably get this and need the same, but if they are more extroverted, it’s important that you make it clear that at one point in the day, you will need that break from them… and that it’s nothing personal.
See if there is a moment where you can split up with your travel party, do different things and meet back up later. Perhaps they can already go to that bar or shop while you join them later. Or when you get too tired at night, perhaps you can leave a bit earlier.
At the same time, you also want to make sure that when you travel with more extroverted people, you don’t get too passive in approaching people and getting things organised. It can be easy for the other person to take the lead all the time, but when you make an effort you’ll see you’re very capable to also arrange things and make meaningful connections yourself as well. Of course, make sure you’re not feeling pressured to do this, try to find a balance that works for you.
In general, whoever you’re travelling with, make sure you talk about these things BEFORE you go on your trip, so you don’t get into any uncomfortable situations while on the road.
Hiking with Nick in Australia
4. MAKE GROUP TRAVEL WORK FOR YOU
When you think about joining a group tour, make sure you do your research well.
Does this specific trip go along well with your introvert personality? What is the level of fitness you need for this tour? What type of activities will the group do? What is the average age of the people on the tour? Is it a party bus or more individual sightseeing? What type of accommodation options do you have? Can you get a private room or are you always sharing rooms/dorms? How is transport arranged? Are there many long drives where you can relax/listen to music, or are there lots of transfers and local transport that could possibly drain your energy quicker?
Many active travel groups (including cycling, surfing, kayaking, rafting, walking tours, etc.) attract a wide variety of people, so there is usually someone to connect with. You will often see solo travellers on these type of tours, that just want the support of a tour guide, but enjoy participating in these activities alone.
On group tours, especially those that run for a couple of days or even weeks, getting your down time is extremely important. See if you can get up a bit earlier as everybody else so you can be alone a bit before the group activities begin. Read a book, have a coffee/tea, do some yoga or perhaps write a postcard (old skool!)
Find moments during the day where you can draw your own plan and break from the rest of the group. See if you can fit in an afternoon nap! Skip some group dinners (let your guide know, of course) and dine by yourself if you feel like it. Same goes with evening activities. Just go back to the hotel if you’re low on energy or go and do something on your own for a bit.
For example, when I travelled to South-East Asia with Intrepid, I spend almost 4 weeks with the same group, but during the day and at night we got to choose if we wanted to do certain activities, which I sometimes passed on, so I could do my own thing. That worked amazing! On this particular trip I was also lucky that everyone in the group was fun to be around and me & my room mate both needed time to relax, so most of us where on the same page. Especially when you’re sharing a room, you have to be lucky sometimes on trips like these, but if nothing else, you can always consider paying extra to have your own room.
I can also recommend for longer tours, to show up in the city where the tour will depart from a day or couple of days before the tour kicks off. That way, you can overcome possible jet lag, get yourself settled in with your new travel lifestyle and explore the area a bit. It will make you feel less rushed-in, which makes it relaxer to then meet the rest of your group.
And finally: start small. Perhaps going on a month-long group tour through India might be pushing it a bit. Why not do a day trip first, or choose a nice weekend break. Then you can grow it from there… if you feel like it.
My Intrepid Tour Group in Cambodia
5. TRAVEL ALONE
You probably already guessed we were going here. But yes, if there is one way to travel where you can set your schedule exactly the way you want it, it’s solo travel. While travelling solo usually doesn’t mean you’ll be alone all the time (in fact, I’ve never met so many new people when I travelled solo), it’s the easiest way you can truly build in some down-time for yourself in your travel schedule.
Solo travel can also help you getting more assertive in approaching people and certain situations, because you don’t have someone else travelling with you ‘to take care of it’. As an introvert, it doesn’t mean you never want to talk to people, but when you travel alone you do have the choice to speak to them on your own terms.
When travelling alone, always put safety first and keep in touch with your loved ones to let them know of your travel plans. This adds the extra benefit of processing your experiences with people that know you well and understand you.
My first solo trip: Tokyo, Japan!
6. CHOOSE THE RIGHT ACCOMMODATION
Another major point of planning your trip is considering the type of accommodations you will be staying in during your travels as an introvert. Here are some thoughts based on my own experience:
Hostels are usually the perfect place for solo travellers, but sharing a dorm with other people can also drain your energy as an introvert. You literally can feel like you don’t have time and space for your own thoughts as it’s never really quiet in these dorms.
Think about getting a 3- or 4 shared (female only) dorm instead of the cheaper 10-20 bed dorms, or go for the slightly more expensive private room. Make sure that when you book a hostel, you also read reviews on what type of place it is. Hostels can range from a simple budget accommodation for backpackers and families to a super-slick 24/7 party place where nobody seems to sleep. Doing some research can really make the difference!
Try and find some places in the hostel that are more quiet to unwind. Does the common room have a reading area, or can you watch TV? Is there an area to write on your laptop alone? Can you take showers during the day, so you avoid the busiest times in the common bathrooms? And if you’re staying in the hostel for a longer period of time, is there a way reception can add you to a room of other ‘longtimers’, so you don’t have to meet new people every single day?
When you travel as a couple or even when you travel alone, a hotel could be a good option for you to unwind, but of course you will spend most of your time just on your own and don’t really get to meet other people at all. When you travel long-term, it can be an idea to use hotels as a kind of ‘refuel break’ on your trip and just book for a couple of nights to recharge before you go back to staying in a more social hostel.
Hotels do have the benefit of breakfast buffets, where you can just go on your own without having to interact with others, or even room service, if you feel like avoiding people at all for just a few more hours. Great for introvert people!
Having a place of your own where you can return to at the end of the day (or at the end of a trip at least) is definitely something that most introverts can appreciate. Being on the road 24/7 is just exhausting and sleeping in a different bed can really throw you off sometimes. Having your own apartment could be the solution for you!
On websites as Airbnb or Homestay, you have the option to rent a room in someone’s house (which can be great to learn more about the area from a local), but if you really need a place to recharge, you probably want to opt of a private apartment instead. Just a little place in the world that you can call ‘home’, if only for a short while.
Have you ever thought about doing a retreat? This is the perfect travel accommodation for introvert people! There are retreats for yoga and meditation, but also for writing and other hobbies, so whatever interests you, see if there is a place in the world where you can do this activity in a natural, pristine setting. You’ll be sure to find only like-minded people on these trips, that also chose this accommodation because they like to recharge on their own.
Typical Hostel Scene in Sydney
7. CHOOSE ACTIVITIES WISELY
When you travel, you’ve got plenty of activities to choose from. And while most of them seem like fun, as an introvert, you might want to pick them a bit more wisely, or at least mix them up a bit!
Museums are by far the best activity for introverted travellers, as you can wander on your own and take in the exhibitions in your own pace, even when you’re visiting with someone else. Get an audio tour to really get some time alone! Other similar places that are great too are temple grounds, churches and excavation sites, where you can wander around and just have thoughts to yourself.
Teaching / Volunteering
While you might have interest to educate or help out the local community when you travel, think about the amount of social interaction and limited free time you’ll have. These kind of activities could really drain you when you’re an introvert, so see how you can do these activities in a slightly tuned-down version perhaps.
Instead of becoming a full-time English language teacher, why not work as a freelancer and do one-on-one language lessons? Instead of doing a month-long volunteering course, why not find volunteering options where you can help out for (half a) day or just a few hours? This way, you’re not committed to anything for a long period and can assess every day how much time you want to spend on others and on yourself.
Social settings are always easier to approach when you’re individually working on a common goal. Creative Travel could be the perfect travel style for you! You could for example take a cooking class, go painting, take a dance class, learn a language, do a workshop in pottery or go on a photography walk. You get to learn about the craft, the country and the local people in a natural way, where the attention isn’t so much on you, but on the activity itself.
Most cities in the world offer (free) walking tours, where you can participate in even when you’re alone. You’ll be in a group, but the focus is on exploring the city, not so much getting to know other people. If there is something you’re particularly interesting, such as food, history or street art, then make sure to check if there is a tour catered to that!
I already mentioned some adventures sports to do on your travels, but of course there are plenty more activities that you can do alone on your travels. How about: yoga, meditation, surfing, kayaking, cycling, hiking, running, horse riding, snorkeling, swimming, etc. And… don’t forget that the best activities can also be free, such as watching the sun rise or set and spending some time on the beach.
Unmissable Items for the Introvert Traveller
While your packing list won’t be much different to that of a “normal” traveller, I do have a few suggestions on things to bring if you’re an introvert traveller that can really make your trip a bit more convenient:
- Reading Material / Colouring Book
- Travel Journal
- Playing Cards / Travel Game
- Sleeping Mask
- Familiar item from home
Bonus Tips for Introverted Travellers
We’ve come to the end of this looooong (over 4500 words!) article, but there a few last quick tips that I wanted to leave you with:
- Are you planning on going to a music festival? Consider going just for 1 day instead of all 3-5, or leave the overnight stay out.
- Read a book or watch a movie about the destination you’re going to visit, that way you can really get into the mindset of exploring new territory.
- Find a theme to photograph/film on your next trip. Perhaps you’re interested in shooting colourful doors & windows (like I always do), or you’re covering local taxi’s, your food or anything yellow…
- Flying long-haul? Try and get the isle seat, so you don’t get stuck in between (talkative) people. Now you can easily go to the toilet or for a short stretch without bothering anyone, as well.
- Make sure to do your boarding online, so at the airport you only have to drop your bag and continue one.
- Process your experience while you’re on the road, especially when you’re travelling alone. Bring a journal, a sketchbook, start a blog or communicate with friends or family back home. Either way, find a moment each day to sit down and reflect on everything you’ve experienced, so it doesn’t get too overwhelming for you.
- Take an extra day off after you return from your vacation. The jetlag or just the feeling of being drained of energy after travelling is REAL.
Source: Jen Lewis, Buzzfeed
Thank you so much for reading all the way to the bottom of this article! I hope it was helpful for you! Let me know if you consider yourself to have an introvert personality (or do the introvert extrovert test below to find out) and what your best tip is to make travelling more fun for you!
Resource Library: Introversion & Travel
I hope I’ve already given you plenty of tips to plan your next trip as an introvert, but of course there are many more great resources out there full of tips and personal stories. Here is a selection of some of the best of them:
Free Personality Tests:
- One of the best sites to read more about the test and to find out yourself which personality type you’re categorized under is called “16 Personalities“
- This free personality test is based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ personality type theory
Must Read / Watch:
- Classics in the History of Psychology: C. G. Jung’s Psychological Types (1921)
- The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain (VIDEO)
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain (BOOK: UK Store – USA Store)
Great Blogger Articles:
- The Introverts Guide to Travel – Twenty-Something Travel
- Introverted Travel Part 2: Advice From the Experts – Twenty-Something Travel
- Why Travel Is Awesome For Introverts – Bren on the Road
- 6 Ways This Introvert-Extravert Couple Makes Travel Work – The Planet D
- Traveling as an INFJ – Caroline in the City
- I’m an Introvert. And here’s why that makes me a better traveller – Travelettes
- The Truth About Traveling As An Introvert – Jessie on a Journey
- The realities about traveling as an introvert – Young Adventuress
- The Shy Girl’s Guide to Hostels – Say Hello
- The Introverted Expat – A Life Overseas
- The Introverted Traveler – Taken by the Wind
- 10 Clues That You’re An Extroverted Introvert – Live Bold & Bloom
- Travel Tips for Introverts – Travel + Leisure
- Don’t drive us nuts: Notes from an introvert – The Boho Chica
- 8 Truths About Traveling As An Introvert – A Dangerous Business
- The Introvert’s Brain: Why They Might “Think Too Much” – Tiny Buddha
- Confession of an Introvert: It just doesn’t go away – No Hanging Around
- A Solo Travel Introvert? 7 Tips to Somewhat Social Solo Travel – Solo Traveler
- Introverted Travelling – Dave’s Travel Corner
- An Introvert Abroad: 3 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Travel Companion – Wanderful