There are two times in my life when I have done a group tour travel experience, both in Asia. The first time I went to Thailand with a friend and the second time was Vietnam and I went by myself. For those that do not know me (and for those that do) I am an introvert. The careers I’ve placed myself in professionally might make you think otherwise (Receptionist, Waitress etc.) but I assure you, I am. So what is it like to travel as an introvert? When hostels and groups of people who party might not be your thing? Here is my comprehensive guide on how to do group travel, as an introvert.

Picture this; you’ve just arrived in Vietnam completely alone, you’ve managed to arrive to the hostel around 4 hours before check in time and you’re hanging around with no one in sight. You’re a little nervous. However, you do feel slightly confident from your previous trip experience to Thailand that you probably wont be sharing a room with that many people. Check in time rolls around, no one is still here and you arrive to your room completely alone and see you’re sharing a room with 7 beds in. Oh boy.

Food in Vietnam

The Group

Meet up time with the group isn’t until 6pm anyway. So you try and have a nap, fail, go out, explore (read: try not to get run over) and grab some food to wait in the hostel reception for your group. When they arrive, they are all varying in ages (between 18 and 30), there are more than 30 of them and you overhear that the tour group all started together in Cambodia before coming here. You’re the new comer when everyone has already made friends. Oh boy oh BOY. My worst introverted nightmare.

Thankfully, a few people introduced themselves to me (and I them) and we went back to the room (which was now full) and did introductions before heading out to a bar for a night. By this time, I’d been awake over 24 hours (can’t sleep on a plane) and bars are not really my thing anyway (I don’t really drink). So I went back to the hostel.

Group Shot Vietnam - GAdventures

Some common misconceptions about the Introvert






My top tips for surviving introductions






Mistakes to avoid

I have to admit, I have such a bad habit of trying to bond with someone over negative experiences. About the traffic, the food at the specific restaurant, how hot it is. Please don’t do this. I did this in Vietnam and I believe it lead to people finding me annoying, moany and miserable. Combine that with all the other stuff like being around each other a lot, feeling hot, and it was a recipe for disaster. No one was ever impolite, a few people snapped but this was my fault. This was the perception I gave them. That I was a toxic miserable ass! When that’s far from the truth, I really loved Vietnam and I thought I had a really good group. This might not be an introvert problem but more of a *me* problem! But I thought I’d mention it anyway!

Try and find something else to bond with them about (the fact you both have dogs?! for example) and do not participate in any gossip, negativity or group politics. It’s just not worth it for the sake of your comfort.

Vietnam Hoi An Boat trip

Try not seclude yourself and stick to your comfort zone. You’re travelling! Even if bars are not your thing, try and make one or two nights. These are good ways to bond with your group.

A big mistake is thinking that you “don’t do” small talk. Maybe at home but on a tour? Different story! I hate it too. I want to talk about conspiracy theories, how aliens exist and all sorts but you’re really going to have to pull up your socks sometimes and hit them with the “The weather is apparently going to be really nice today! I’m excited!” Okay? deep breath.

Thailand TukTuk Group Shot

New things to try

If you have quite a bit of free time and want to try something new, ask around and find out what some individuals are doing in your group that day too. Half of us wanted to go to the Spa to relax and the other half wanted shopping, so I went with the spa group! Alternatively, if there is something you desperately want to do or see while in a certain town (like cafe hopping!) don’t be afraid to invite them and let them know your plans too. It’s good to swap ideas, you could find a hidden gem!

After a couple of days, if you’re comfortable enough with the people around you…Show them the real you!! By this point, you’ve probably got your own little group going and you can just let loose. Try and gain the mentality that you’re never going to see these people again, so who cares if they see you dance like a toddler? or they see you stuffing your face? You’re travelling too.

Thailand Group Shot Temple

You will be around each other a lot

A lot of the times Introvert’s really feel drained from social company. As previously mentioned, you really will be around people a lot of time and find it hard to recover sometimes. My top tip would be, If there is a group activity you’re not too fussed about, spend time in the hostel and just recover.  Alternatively, use the nights that people are out drinking to recharge. As I was sharing a dorm with 7/8 other people, sometimes staying in, there would be someone else there too. Pop in your headphones and watch a film. If your bed has a curtain, use it! I also successfully managed to get a seat on the bus by myself to long haul destinations, so when people were sleeping , I was emotionally recharging.

Sometimes you will get FOMO

I wont lie to you, I did suffer from FOMO sometimes (Fear Of Missing Out). Especially on the nights when every one went out and had a great time! Remember though, you’re there for the destination. A bonus is also that you’re not feeling sick on a bus driving on a rocky road.

Thailand group shot at temple


Overall I would recommend group travel for the introvert. It’s a good way to see most of the places in such a short amount of time. Not only that, you can make friends for life. I’m still in contact with people from my Thailand trip and chat to them regularly! I should probably also take some of my own advice next time I travel with a group!

What do you think? Are you introverted? Would you ever do a group trip?

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  1. This is super interesting! I’m an introvert too but I’ve never tried group travel. I think I may have to!

    • kirstindalton says:

      Honestly, despite all the pain, it’s definitely worth it! I’m already considering my next one. It’s just a good quick way to get from A > B and it’s already organised for you

  2. Bethany Jane says:

    Oh boy, when you described that scenario at the beginning I though this was the start of a nightmare! I would really hate to be faced with 30 people who all know each other. I’m an introvert too and not good at making a first impression so that would be hard! I’m really impressed at how well you seemed to have coped with it all though, and that’s great that you made some real friends. I love the idea of reminding yourself that you might never see them again – it’s such a good way to just relax and enjoy your trip. I’m really glad that group travel worked out for you!
    Beth x

    • kirstindalton says:

      Honestly Bethany, I don’t know how I held it together there and then!
      But I’m already considering my next one!
      Thank you for sharing with me. It can be tough out here haha

  3. I feel your introvert pain. Introducing yourself & making small talk can be the worst sometimes. Great tips for someone trying out group travel!

  4. says:

    Ah! These are great tips and things to consider Kristin!! I’m so bad for bonding with people over negative experiences and kind of going in my shell if I’m not feeling the group – I really do enjoy group tours though which is a bit confusing. That said, I remember in Croatia I found myself on a really party focused boat tour. I ended up barely speaking to 75% of the group cos they were only focused on drinking and partying till 5am each day and making friends with a small group of others that felt just as meh about it all.

    Chris |

    • kirstindalton says:

      Thanks so much Chris! Looks like you and I are in a similar boat haha. I still enjoy them too. It is very confusing. I think it’s the partying part that makes people bond too, which we naturally drift away from!
      Can you see yourself still going on group trips in the future?

  5. says:

    Pretty sure I will! I tend to plan my travels really last minute so group tours make things a bit easier and I find are a good way to see plenty whilst using work holiday (especially when I haven’t given my self much time to get sorted)

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