People who know me are sometimes surprised that I travel as much as I do, since I don’t seem like the most laid-back person ever.
Since little things tend to bother me more than the average person, you’d think independent travel would be more difficult than it is for non-sensitives….and it probably is.
Here are some budget travel tips for introverted, highly sensitive people:
Make sure you have the HSP Travel Survival Kit: eyeshades, earplugs (try the Mack’s brand), and sunglasses, and if you are hardcore, maybe a neck cooler or personal fan.
- In hot climates, splurge for a room with air conditioning.
- Avoid hostels or shared rooms. Get your own room. AirBnb is great for renting full apartments which help you feel more at home.
- Give yourself downtime to relax, read a book, or just wander. Take a nap in the middle of the day to recharge from sightseeing.
- Research stuff ahead of time. The more you know, the less anxiety you’ll have about something unexpected taking place.
- Don’t feel like you have to see every tourist site. The best parts of most vacations aren’t the sites you see, but the interesting stories. (When I went to Peru, the most memorable thing wasn’t Machu Picchu, but rather getting robbed in Cusco. Hah.)
- What about tours? I avoid organized tours because I like to explore on my own and be in control of how I spend my day. Others may like tours because it removes the anxiety of having to plan things on your own.
- When you are going out exploring for the day, plan ahead and carry anything with you that you might possibly need: a sweater/jacket, umbrella, hat, sunscreen, insect spray, water, band-aids, a snack, or anything else that might make you more comfortable during the course of the day. It may seem like overkill, but you’ll feel better if you’re prepared.
- Buy health/travel insurance if it will help you avoid extra anxiety.
- Take a taxi or Uber from the airport to your hotel instead of trying to navigate local transportation in a new country. A taxi might cost more, but after a long flight, you just want to get to your hotel.
- Make sure the person/people you are traveling with understand your feelings and needs. If you say “no” to clubbing and drinking all night, they’ll understand it’s not because you are boring, it’s because it’s overwhelming to you.
- Try to stay in one city/town longer rather than moving quickly from place to place.
- Give in to the fact that there will be times when you will be uncomfortable and there’s nothing you can do about it, no matter how well you prepare or plan ahead. When I know I’m going to be uncomfortable, I handle it much better than when I’m unprepared. For example, I knew I’d be covered in insect spray, sunscreen, and dripping sweat at Angkor Wat, and I was ok with that. But when I got caught in a sudden rain downpour in Budapest wearing inappropriate footwear, I was super irritated because I was not prepared.
- Use the $10 rule. When spending an extra few bucks can make your life much more comfortable, stop worrying about the money and do it. Decision time: take a taxi, or walk to your hotel in the searing heat wearing a heavy backpack? Get a taxi! If it’s only a little more dough for a lot more comfort, DO IT! (The awesome $10 rule is from Chris Guillebeau, who has visited every country in the world.)
- Collect airline miles so you can redeem points to fly business/first class on long flights. When you upgrade, air travel changes from an awful cattle-car slog to luxury. You also get access to airport lounges when you fly business/first. Trust me, it’s a total. game. changer.
- Don’t feel like you need to “keep up” with what other people do. There are no rules to traveling. Go at your own pace and do what you want to do.
This is great advice thank you! I am also an avid traveler & very much a HSP! Happy to have found this website! Now I dont feel so alone. I crave excitement, adventure, & stimulating environments, & I am one of the rare extroverted HSP/s ha…I try to do EVERYTHING while traveling, but then I realize I am exhausted at the end, uncomfortable, & usually end up sick:-( So I am working on not having control of every situation & trying to relax & not plan too much. That is hard, but I am trying!
Kelly, this is a great post. I am also a budget/adventure traveler. I used to go super budget with dorms in hostels until I realized how much of a drain it was on me. Private rooms in simple hotels or Airbnb are indeed worth it! I’ve also found it is essential to spend at least a few days in one place or set up a home base form which I can explore.
Glad you like the post, Melissa! 🙂 sounds like we are on the same page!!
I do most of the things on your list, but until reading your article it never occurred to me that I was managing my high sensitivity. Thanks for the insight!
Great list, Kelly! Thank you! I also recommend a noise-cancellation headset. I can’t imagine flying without mine. Well worth the investment!
Great tips Kelly, I especially appreciate the HSP Travel Survival Kit tip. I’m putting ear plugs and an eye-mask on packing list. Another great thing to do is to call the hotel beforehand. Many times the front desk knows which rooms are the quieter ones and can often reserve them for you if you call book through the hotel.