How to Survive a Family Trip as an Introvert

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A common misconception is that introverted people are shy or anti-social. However, this isn’t always the case. 

Introversion speaks more to how you prefer to spend time and which social situations give you energy. 

For an introvert, spending time alone and with small groups gives us energy while large social settings can leave us feeling exhausted. 

Therefore, while family vacations can be a wonderful chance to make memories and enjoy time with the people you love, they can be a challenge for introverts. 

I’ve taken multiple trips with both my family and Ben’s family and have compiled my best tips to help my fellow introverts make the most out of their family vacation!

#1 Bring Your Introvert Tools

I don’t think I’m alone in this. As introverts, we all have certain things that allow us to “be with people” while also being in our own little world. 

For some, this may be books, a journal, sketchpad, knitting, cross-stitch, or a gaming device. 

Whatever your tool is, don’t forget it! 

When things are getting too intense for you or you need to escape but don’t want to appear anti-social, bring out your introverted toolkit and find your happy place. 

#2 Wake up Early for Alone Time

Waking up early is so essential for squeezing in a little alone time. 

It’s also a great way to enjoy any trip regardless if you’re with family or a large group. 

Take this time to walk around town or along the beach, maybe read a chapter, or do some yoga.

Starting the day by yourself provides a way for you to control the first hours of your day and can set the tone for the rest of the day’s activities. 

In my mind, if I can get a few hours to myself, I’m way more equipped to give my energy to others because I’ve already filled my cup. 

Sunrise walks in Sarasota, Florida while traveling Ben’s family.

#3 Solo or Date Nights Away

I highly suggest taking at least one meal time to get away as a couple or just yourself. 

Your family might not understand why you need this time, but it’s really important for us to find this alone time. 

Ben and I also use this time to find local, hole-in-the-wall places to eat that the rest of our family doesn’t have much interest in. These places are typically less crowded and provide a more authentic experience when you’re traveling. 

Read More: 9 Best Tools for Planning a Unique International Vacation

#4 Keep to Your Routines

If you wake up and exercise, or go to bed early to read a chapter, stick to your routines. These aren’t just ways for you to be alone, these activities help your mental health. 

Early on in our relationship I would feel guilty about going to bed early when everyone else would stay up, but I realized that our families didn’t actually care that much. 

It was more important for me to take care of myself than to make others happy while on vacation. 

#5 Voice Your Limits 

Story Time: This is really silly, but the thought of going mini-golfing one day on our family vacation just about killed me. 

It’s not the mini-golfing itself, I actually like mini-golf. But it’s the idea of 13 people piling into cars and then shuffling onto the mini-golf course for hours without an escape. 

(I hope no extroverts read this, because they’re going to think I’m ridiculous; but you get it, right?!)

So, when my family was organizing a min-golf outing, I simply said, “Hey, I’m going to skip this one”.

And to my delightful surprise, they didn’t care! 

It was a huge weight off my shoulders, and I got some alone time too! They had fun AND I had fun alone – win-win.

#6 Voice Your Interests

You may find it enjoyable to purposefully schedule an activity for your group that YOU enjoy. 

If you like visiting state parks, for example, make sure to voice to the group that you’d like to visit one on your trip. 

Most likely, there’s at least one other person in your group who shares your interests and will want to join you!

Introverts also tend to like spending time doing an activity with a group of people rather than just sitting around and talking. So this can be a great way to enjoy time with family that is more comfortable for you and fun for them!

Read More: How to Visit Cape Breton Highlands National Park This Year

#7 Say Yes

Like you, I could be alone for an entire trip and be content, but spending time with family and friends is vital to your happiness and health. 

You’ll look back on your time together and remember all of the amazing memories you made.

Say yes to playing games together. Say yes to going on that family walk. Say yes to the dinner and show. 

You won’t regret the time you spent together; you might just need a nap afterwards. 

How cute is this photo of Ben’s parents on vacation?!

#8 Let Go of Expectations

This may be a tip for family trips in general, regardless of if you are an introvert, but you really need to practice letting go. 

We all come to a vacation with expectations of how things will go. But when you travel with multiple people you’ll find yourself trying to herd cats. 

It’s best to put your expectations aside and try to live in the moment instead of trying to control the situation. 

Remember your toolkit from tip #1 and enjoy the ride.

Outer Banks, North Carolina with my family.

Read More: 11 Best Family-Friendly Activities in the Outer Banks

#9 Make a Deeper Connection

One common characteristic of introverts is the need for a deeper connection with others rather than superficial socializing. 

So, take this opportunity to get to know your loved ones more. There’s nothing like being together 24/7 to bring you together!

You could even utilize a game to help get the conversation started. 

#10 Schedule in Recovery Time

As an introvert, it is totally normal to be exhausted after spending extended periods of time with friends and family.  

Carve some alone time into the days following vacation before returning back to work or regular life.

This way you can gain your energy back and feel more like yourself. 

# 11 Be Understanding of Non-Introverts

I find it so interesting how extroverts, or non-introverts, find it puzzling why introverts love alone time. They can’t possibly understand what enjoyment we could get out of sitting by ourselves, alone with our own thoughts. 

But introverts find extroverts equally puzzling. How can they spend hours with people just to want to repeat it the next day? 

Instead of judging each other, we simply need to allow each other to take up space. 

Let introverts be alone. 

Let extroverts be with their people. 

This is especially true if you are in a relationship where one of you is an introvert and the other an extrovert. If you’re interested in attending a museum, but your partner really wants to go to do an activity with their friends, encourage them to go. It’s a win-win for everyone. 

Come back together and share your experiences.

Final Thoughts

Going on a family vacation as an introvert can be challenging. But with some intention and planned alone time, you’ll find yourself enjoying your vacation even more!

It’s important for us to make time for our family and friends but also ourselves. 

I hope these tips will help on your next trip – happy traveling!