How This Introvert Survived a Week-Long Group Vacation group vacation introvert

Last year, when my work friends talked about taking a vacation to Spain for three days, I could not turn down the opportunity. Little did I know that this weekend trip would quickly turn into an eight-day stay, whilst the list of activities and cities to visit grew and grew.

For some people, this might not be a big deal. The longer the vacation, the bigger the fun. But as an introvert, the idea of being with work friends 24 hours a day for more than a week straight worried me.

While being really excited for my first time in Spain, I was concerned that I would not be able to enjoy it as much as I would if I were with close friends or family. I also knew that if I ended up feeling overwhelmed, I would risk withdrawing and having my work friends think I did not enjoy their presence.

In order to have the best time I could, I did a few things that helped me avoid draining all my energy, as well as recharge as needed without isolating myself from my colleagues and missing out on the group fun.

1. Plan a day alone, and tell your group.

Days 1 and 8 were reserved for traveling to and from Spain. I was left with six consecutives days in Spain with the group, and I knew that I would need a few hours by myself in the middle of the week to recharge my introvert “battery.”

Fortunately, the group had a trip to a water park in sight on Day 5. Since I am not a pool person, this was my chance to get some time alone.

The important part here is to tell the people you travel with in advance that you will not be available on this particular day. It does not even have to be a full day (it could be just a few hours), but it has to be said before leaving for the vacation. This way, you will avoid peer pressure, guilt, and having to answer questions about why you won’t go with them.

Moreover, this could be a great opportunity to indulge in activities the others might not enjoy as much as you do, like going to an art museum or a park in the area (not the typical seaside activities).

In my case, I used this day to do some much needed cleaning of the place we rented, then I went for a walk, taking pictures of everything I could, living the day at my own speed.

2. Pack a “survival kit.”

When preparing your luggage, be sure to bring everything you will need to have some time to recharge.

My survival kit consisted solely of a few books, but it could include your planner, a notebook, good movies to watch, or even your favorite tea and comfy clothes.

Think about your comfort, too. If you tend to be sensitive to your surroundings (noises, temperature, smells, etc.), consider packing earplugs and noise-canceling headphones with you, or a small blanket, for example.

Moreover, I tend to feel out of place in a group when I don’t feel properly prepared for whatever is happening. During this trip, I was not planning on swimming in the sea but ended up going to the beach to read while my colleagues were jumping in and out of the water. Being the only one in jeans and a t-shirt when everyone else was in beach attire made me feel insecure and think I did not belong with them — which didn’t help when I was trying my best to spend time with the group.

My advice is to make a list of the different events you could face and be sure to bring what you could need (without taking your entire home with you), like a night-out outfit, an umbrella, or a sundress, for example.

3. Wake up early or go to bed later.

An easy way to have some time by yourself is to take advantage of the time when other people are resting.

Throughout the week, I naturally woke up around 7 o’clock, which was one hour before the others would start getting out of bed. During this time, I would get out of my room and read on the patio, silently, by myself. It was a good time to really take advantage of the environment I was in; the weather was beautiful, and I could see the sea from where I sat, while listening to the muffled sound of the waves.

If you’re a night owl, you could have quiet time at the end of the day. And, make the most out of nap time — it’s another opportunity for quiet.

4. Look for opportunities to have alone time while doing chores.

This one will require volunteering. In fact, a lot of daily chores can be turned into time to recharge.

In my case, I offered to take out the recycling bin. It was a five-minute walk across a flowery path, so it was as enjoyable as it could be.

This way, you are still taking part in the life of the group, even if it is an activity you do by yourself. It also makes you feel productive, which is always nice.

You could also volunteer to prepare food with only one or two people. When you spend most of your time with the group, being with fewer people can feel like a break.

5. Turn group activities to your advantage.

Taking part in group activities does not have to be draining. I really enjoy being around people, but I do not feel comfortable being the center of attention. This often makes me not want to participate in group activities; I would rather listen or observe quietly.

Any activity that allows you to still be able to be a part of the conversation while having your focus elsewhere is a good way to stay with the group and recenter at the same time.

During this holiday, I read a lot, but you could also opt for people watching, coloring, drawing, or even crocheting. I went to the pool with my friends quite a few time just to read, and they were happy to have me there witnessing their water battles and dive bombs, even though I was not in the pool with them.

Remember that your goal is not to flee the group but to arrange your time in a way that allows you to recharge as needed. At the end of the day, a group vacation can be a wonderful opportunity to create memories and deepen friendships.

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