Being shy and traveling solo may sound awkward and difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. Hope this list helps you, traveler.
Social butterfly? Who is that, you wonder. Certainly not you. First of all, you’d never imagine yourself walking in a room full of international people and just waltz yourself from conversation to conversation. There’s just too much about a person looking your way that makes you cringe under a blanket. And more importantly, that’s a lot of energy you’d rather spend on a good book. Well I feel yah there and in fact I tell you, I’ve met only a few of those social species when I’m traveling. Because the truth is not all travelers are extroverted and outgoing as you might think. Some are, and they’re very entertaining, the others will probably fall somewhere in the middle – you know, those who’ll start with a degree of reservation in front of a stranger. But the rest will be the shy type. That’s right! There are shy or introverted travelers roaming the planet earth. And if you’re lucky, you might just meet your match. But I have a suspicion it will be a challenge because as bemytravelmuse said – traveling kills shyness.
So what do shy solo travelers do to cope with the situation? Two things. First pacify it for their peace of mind. And second, fight it for the experience.
1| Choose a suitable accommodation, a friendly social hostel (fight) or Airbnb (pacify)
The sleeping situation is usually our me-time and somewhere we want to relax. If having your own room will keep your sanity then go with airbnb. Those usually still have the local vibe you want with traveling. On the other hand, if you’re curious about this thing called a hostel travelers are always talking about then why not try it out. This way you have access to some socializing if ever a moment strikes you. Oh and some of these hostels will have a private room too! Win!
2| Sit in the common room (fight)
Obviously this is a ‘fight it’ tip because you’re making yourself available when you sit here. But do it in a hostel and great conversations will usually happen that by missing it will be too bad.
3| Think you'll only meet them once (fight)
Another ‘fight it’ tip but don’t worry we’ll get to the pacify it later.
When I’m nervous what’s usually happening is I’ll think the other person will remember all the wrongs in me. And that makes it extra hard for me to do anything because I’m afraid to make a bad impression. But really I’ll just encounter them once or maybe a couple of times. Now what do I do with the energy I’ve put with all the thoughts I had? Nothing, so why bother again right?
4| Take a class (pacify)
A cooking class. A language class. You choose. Some of these classes will be in a group setting but hold on just yet. Don’t runaway. Despite the fact it’s a group class, since most of you are focused on the subject matter being taught, they’ll leave you alone. You’re not required to mingle unless of course the topic does involve mingling a lot. So take a class, immerse in the local culture, and enjoy being shy.
5| Take a tour, like a walking tour, those are often social (fight)
Another activity that you can leverage on are tours. I take walking tours a lot and they usually are a nice experience. If you want another tip to ‘fight’ the shy in you do this. You’ll meet a soloista or two I’m sure unless of course you separate yourself in the walk. Invite them for dinner after the tour because somebody’s going to be hungry from all the walking.
6| Be flex with plans so you can go with your super shy friend (pacify)
You know being flexible in your schedule solves a lot of things when traveling and it also helps shy peeps. Take this for example. Some time in your travel as a shy person you meet Emma. You really got along well and have become inseparable. After a few days though you have plans to go to say Mountain city and she’s going to Sea city. You’re getting anxious about the turn of events but what do you do, these are your plans from before. Answer, if nothing’s stopping you from changing direction then why not go with Emma to Sea city! Fun for a few more days!
7| Create a persona (fight)
I’ve got this idea that out there traveling, nobody really knows who you are at first. So why not make a personality? A person who is an improvement of what you think you’re struggling with. Then show that to the people you meet. Just don’t present a lie and don’t hurt anyone.
8| Lonelyplanet.com - that's about hundreds of people all traveling alone
Wanna know a rough guesstimate of how many solo travelers out there? Go to LonelyPlanet. You can ask other travelers how they coped or fought shyness in their travels.
9| Earphones and journal
These two are really good tools for the shy. Just wear your earphones and boom, nobody will talk to you. The journal are for your thoughts because I think when shy people don’t talk, they usually have a lot in their head. Write it down, it’ll be like talking to someone.
If you got this far, you’re amazing! I really hoped you liked this list. Have any tips or experiences of your own you want to share to others? Feel free to comment below, traveler.
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