Travel. It’s exciting. It’s adventurous. It’s often life-changing. And it’s hella stressful for the over thinkers of the world (amiright?!)
I was going to title this post, ‘Travel Tips For Introverts’ or, even worse, ‘Pre Travel Tips For Introverts’ but that sounds about as interesting as organising my sock drawer. I don’t have a sock drawer and, if I did, it would probably still be a mess of mismatched socks (my favourite).
We’re not up and running for intergalactic journeys as yet so when I say ‘Guide to the Galaxy’ it’s more for poetic license than literal meaning, but you get my drift.
Leaving your warm and comfortable house can be a big deal when you’re particularly prone to introverting.
Leaving your warm and comfortable house for extended periods of time to throw yourself into a completely unknown and unpredictable situation, potentially seas away from said house can be…overwhelming to epic proportions.
And, as Bilbo Baggins once said (on behalf of, I like to think, Hobbits and introverts everywhere):
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
I’ve always loved that quote because it feels a little bit cautionary but, mostly, full of possibility and wonder.
I truly believe travel is one of the greatest things we get to do in this one precious life we are gifted with so it would be a terrible shame to let a joy of binge watching Netflix (from under your most snuggly blanket) stop you from seeing the wonderful sites of the world.
As you may or may not know if you stalk me on Instagram, I recently embarked on an overseas adventure to New York. Despite my more introverted tendencies, I have a soft spot for this loud pocket of the universe and, as excited as I was, I was also stressed up to my eyeballs in the lead up to my departure.
But, knowing that this is how things generally go for me, I was prepared (for a change) and I thought I’d share with you some of my best tips to prepare yourself for a big, exciting journey.
I’m just about the least organised person alive. I swear. Even when I try to be organised, I still seem to mess it up. For example, I laid all my clothes out days before packing, I did my washing in advance, I wrote myself little post its and reminders everywhere.
And I still got to NYC minus my make up bag.
But usually I would have been stressed in the lead up and probably forgotten WAY more than that. It felt like a significant improvement from previous trips, so I’m taking it as a win.
Make yourself notes, work out what you think you’re going to need, get all your paperwork in order well in advance, create reminders for yourself to reduce as much stress from the night before jitters or the early morning rush to the airport, and have everything you need in specific places so you’re not freaking out looking for your passport at the check in counter.
Take care of yourself
Being organised gives you time for this tip. Taking care of yourself. Obviously everyone should drink plenty of water, get a good sleep, and get in some exercise before flying but, for you, there might be a little more that you need to prepare for time away from home and your lovely comfort zone.
Usually when you travel, unless you go alone, you will find yourself surrounded by other people for the duration of the trip. And that can be really exhausting.
What can you do to reserve some energy in the lead up to travelling? Is it keeping up your daily meditation, or spending some extra time alone? Is it investing in some noise-cancelling headphones for the plane (something I fully intend on doing for the future)?
Basically make an effort to care of yourself in the lead up to your trip and maybe even have an idea of how you plan to take care of yourself while you’re away!
Carefully choose your travel buddy
This is something important to consider well before booking your trip. I was really lucky to fluke an amazing travel buddy in the gorgeous Sue of Smile Chickie. She joked that she’d be a pain to live with for a week and fly with for 22 hours but we are very similar and our intentions and plans for the trip were perfectly aligned.
If you’re wanting a super luxurious, quiet holiday, make sure you take a friend who is prepared to splash out on hotels and spa treatments. If you’re on a budget, going away with someone who wants to shop up a storm in designer boutiques is probably not your ideal travel buddy.
A great way to approach this is my old favourite: communication. Talk to the person or people you’re travelling with and tell them what you’ve got in mind. It’s okay if it’s different, but be prepared to split up sometimes and do different things. There’s nothing worse than having certain expectations and then having to bargain or feel pressured into something at the last minute.
Focus on what you can control
You don’t like surprises? I get it. I’m the same. There’s nothing quite like getting to your destination to discover your bags have been left at your last stopover, or your travel agent has misspelled your name and you have to get new boarding passes at every leg, or you left your make up bag at home and you have a couple of photo shoots and big events to attend while you’re away that require you to look your best!
The joy of travel, and of life in general, is that we can’t control what happens. All we can do is focus on what we CAN control and, so often, that’s how we react to the little surprises that emerge when travelling.
Getting upset or frustrated only adds stress to the situation. So breathe and remember that all you can control is yourself, there’s usually a simple solution, and everything will eventually work out just as it’s supposed to (especially if it means you get to buy yourself some new make up…).
I mean this in every sense of the word. From being organised so, the night before you leave, you can chill out and get some R&R instead of rushing around at the last minute to remembering to breathe through any turbulence on your flight. It’s so important to find your calm place at all stages of your overseas adventure.
If you’re more sensitive to this kind of stress, finding your own way to chill out before and during transit to your destination will make the whole process so much more enjoyable.
Get to the airport super early
If you’re not big on surprises, or feeling stressed, getting to the airport super early is probably the best thing I learned this time around. It allows you to factor in traffic delays, check in lines, and there’s plenty of bookstore browsing, coffee drinking, and reading to be done when you get yourself to the departure lounge.
The relief of sitting down to a nice, relaxing beverage well before your boarding time does wonders for stress levels and pre-flight jitters.
I always find myself feeling anxious or a bit stressed before I go away, instead of the excitement I usually see in other people and, even if that’s the way I handle things, I’ve found that being mindful and prepared this time around made such a huge difference to the lead up to my trip.
Do you find the thrill of travelling as stressful as it is exciting? Do you have any good tips for your pre-travel routine to share?
Leave a comment below with your best stuff, I’d love to hear from you.
I love these tips! I’d also love to see a guide for traveling with an introvert (actually, I could write it). My sister and I took an international trip last year and we were the best traveling pair. She’s outgoing and extroverted but knew when to just leave me be (years of living in close proximity will teach you that). Having the right travel companion and being aligned on your intentions and hopes for the trip makes SUCH a difference.
That’s beautiful, Katie! And so wonderful that you are close enough that your different personalities complement each other but that she knows well enough to give you space. Such an important part of any relationship, not just a travelling one 😉 thanks for stopping by xx
These are some really great tips. I’m currently living in South Korea and as I was preparing to leave America, I went through the stages of feeling extremely anxious and nervous. But at the end of the day, I knew in my heart that moving was the right thing for me and this enabled me to actually do it! After 5 months of living here, I often still have to remind myself to chill out because I’m a true introvet in the sense that I can seriously overthink a situation! I do have one other pre-travel routine of making an intention list before I leave. It’s a nice treat to read the list after a trip and see how many things I can check off!
Melody // http://www.marevoli.com
OOh Melody, I replied to your comment in the FB comments. Thanks so much for being here x
Ahh ok! I was a bit confused haha!
Brilliant tips Katherine. Being organised in advance and getting to the airport early are super effective for me. I hate rushing so I make a conscious choice in advance to attempt to make the whole process calm and effortlessly as I can, and then whatever happens, happens.
I’m so glad it’s not just me, Chloe! It takes SO much stress out of it for sure!
Love this post Katherine and what an awesome title! Totally sucked me in….so hats off to you lady! 🙂 I agree with all of your tips. Something that I really love to do is to set an intention for my trip…even in the lead up. My intention could be to relax and unwind or I may intend to be super adventurous and be open to new experiences. Having an intention helps keep me on track if I ever start to stress out or not feel grounded both before and during my trip. xx
Oh thanks, Ainslie! That’s such a beautiful idea, I really love it xx