Traveling is a good opportunity for you to relax, refresh and rest. It is a very exciting activity that many look forward to doing after a series of weighty workload and draining responsibilities.
If you’re traveling alone, there are many good things you can get, and it’d be a thrilling experience that you’ve always been wanting to have. It’s both fun and challenging to travel solo, especially if you are an introvert.
If you’re an introvert who’s planning to travel alone abroad or even locally, probably, there are a few things that you’re worried about, and assumingly, it’s about the inevitable “interaction” you’ll be having with random people who are strangers, of course. But a good thing also is that traveling alone would be a nice way for you to improve your social skills.
And if you’re that introvert who’s trying well to improve his/her social skills, this piece, hopefully, would be a helpful read. Here are 6 solo travel tips for introverts who want to improve their social skills:
1 – THINK GOOD ABOUT PEOPLE
If you are an introvert because you are afraid of the presence of other people, their thoughts toward you, their “intimidating” looks and of how you will appear to them, then you should start unloading your mind with such thoughts of insecurity, negativity and dependence on others’ say.
For some, it’s hard to start a conversation with other people because they might be judged, but if that’s the first thing you will think about, then, you won’t succeed with gaining better social skills. When you travel alone, you don’t know the people around and the other way around. You are strangers with everybody, especially if you’re traveling abroad.
Think good about people. Think that they’re kind, accommodating and approachable. If after asking, you found out that they’re not, then it’s not a big deal. You can ask someone else instead.
Don’t let your “stereotypes” and “first impressions” of strangers you meet hinder you from asking about road directions and other questions you have. Don’t hesitate to reach out and approach people. They wouldn’t know that you are lost or looking for a certain restaurant if you just stand and look at people. Go near them and talk.
2 – SEIZE THE GROUP TOUR MOMENTS
Joining group tours would be a great chance for you to meet new people who can be your friends even after the trip. If you’re going with a group of people who are strangers to each other as well, don’t isolate yourself. You should’ve just hired a tour guide of your own if that’ll be the case.
Make new friends, and take the travel duration and the vacant periods as chances to interact with other travelers. You will meet locals and even tourists like you. It will be a remarkable experience especially if you share good times with your co-travelers.
You can share stories you want to impart as well without being very hesitant because those people don’t actually know that you are an “introvert”. It’s a chance for you to show the “interactive side” of you.
Group tours can also be an enjoyable time for you because you’ll be able to learn from tour guides and from the travelers. You can meet pairs, groups and even solo travelers like you.
It’s fun to discover awesome facts together with travelers who are as amazed with the scenery as you are.
3 – CAPTURE TREASURED MEMORIES
Photos are spectacular for they freeze moments you cannot take back the same way ever again. In traveling, it’s inevitable to take photos of awe-inspiring places, rare animals and even friendly people. When you go back home, photos will remind you of every special moment you surely miss and cherish a lot.
Probably one of the challenges for solo travelers is taking their own pictures. This is especially true if you don’t have action cameras, selfie sticks and a tripod. Well, if you have those self-capturing cameras with excellent quality, then, it won’t be much of a problem, but if you don’t, it might be. When the latter happens, don’t be reluctant to ask a random person nearby to take it for you. Don’t be afraid to pose and smile.
If along the way you meet people who helped you a lot and spent time with you as well, it’s good to take photos of them and with them too. In that way, you will be able to take note that those faces have been part of your special travel, and you will remember their faces wherever else you journey. You might meet them again one day in another part of the world, and it’d be a touching moment.
4 – RIDE PUBLIC VEHICLES
Booking a car and riding a private cab are surely much more expensive than riding the bus or a local public transportation. Yes, there are many benefits such as having alone time or a “quiet” time, but riding public vehicles is also good. It isn’t only for the “travel experience” but also for the chance to talk to people and gain important information.
You know that moment when your mom randomly talks with her seatmate in a public vehicle, relating to each other about something they’ve just seen from the vehicle’s window? They’re just strangers, but they share the same thoughts about that something. That’s the point. Riding public vehicles opens more opportunities for social interaction for you.
Drivers also have a lot to share to their passengers, especially if they know that you are a tourist. It’s a lovely chance to know more about the place and get travel tips from locals as well.
5 – PUT DOWN YOUR HEADPHONES AT TIMES
The big wall between you and social interaction won’t be broken down if you keep on making it tougher. You can actually help yourself in ways which seem small but actually do so much.
It’s a habit of many to use their headphones when they’re alone, riding a public vehicle to school or to work. For some, it’s a wall they’re putting up so people won’t dare talk to them and approach them. If you’ve been using it as such while wanting to gain more confidence in socializing, then let go of that habit.
This doesn’t mean you should not use earphones. Listening to music is a relaxing thing. It’s fun, and it could even make your solo travel an even more upbeat and delightful one, but let it not be a hindrance against interaction.
Bring down your headphones or earphones, and hear the busy streets, the singing nature and the voices of the people around. You won’t be able to start a good conversation with music on your ears, and people will be hesitant to approach you too.
6 – AND OH, A BRIGHT FACE!
It would be weird if you’re traveling solo and you laugh randomly looking toward nowhere. You don’t have to make it scripted and look really happy and approachable. Just be your confident self. Put on a bright face. Start thinking of happy thoughts. Look forward to the great things which are about to happen during your solo trip.
Prepare well for your solo trip. Be in a good mood. Forget about the stressful errands. Think that it’s a reward for yourself, for your hard work and for your accomplishments.
Having a smile on your face and an approachable aura will also enable you to gain good interacting experiences both for you and for random people you meet.
TRAVEL ALONE BUT NOT LONELY
Traveling definitely enhances a lot in one’s life — be it physically, mentally, spiritually and here, socially.
Being an introvert is not a negative thing. It’s just part of some people’s nature. It’s not something that you are absolutely required to change about yourself, but if it is a barrier for you in getting out of your comfort zone, achieving your dreams and doing bigger things, then it’s surely something you voluntarily want to alter about yourself.
Socializing is very important for specifically in traveling, no man is an island even when you’re traveling alone. You need to hear from others and to speak. Other people included in your travel memories can make your experience an even more unforgettable one.
Again, if you’re an introvert who wants to improve your social skills, traveling is a unique and extraordinary way to do that. Have fun while traveling solo, and come back home even better at reaching out and being more approachable!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. She finds quality and well-researched writing as a worthwhile avenue to enlighten and delight others about things that matter. For her, it’s restoring and fulfilling to the heart and a great way to clear the mind while loading it up with fresh learning. Film critiquing and filmmaking are among her interests too. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.